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It’s a fact. There’s not really such a thing as a beginner’s fishing rod. In some respects, however, there are rod types that are better suited for those new to fishing and those developing new skills.
The development of skills is generally particular to each individual.
I’ve witnessed 7-year-old girls cast lightweight full graphite flick sticks with consummate ease after a little instruction and an hour’s practice and repetition.
On the other hand, there are some fishing buddies of mine that have never managed to sort out a reasonable casting technique with a moderate action composite surf rod.
After all these years, they still manage to cast willy-nilly across my line without fail, causing all sorts of chaos. They also manage to lose fish with erratic strikes.
Choosing the best rod for a beginner is about understanding the coordination and motor skills of the individual. It’s also critical that you choose a rod that is appropriate to the types of fishing they will do.
In this article, we’ll first address key considerations for fitting up a new angler with their first rod.
Following this, we’ll look at 5 rods that, generally speaking, will help a new angler develop their rod handling and fishing skills.
How To Choose The Right Beginner Fishing Rod
Horses for courses, as they say in the classics. Giving a 6-year-old a 15-foot fiberglass surf rod and setting them loose on the waves is completely impractical.
On the same token, a rough and tumble 10-year-old boy known for breaking all of his toys is likely not suited for refined finesse style flick sticks.
In other words, there’s a significant element of common sense that should be observed when fitting up a beginner angler for a new fishing rod.
A critical thing to understand is that modern fishing has taken specialization to the extreme.
Once we bought a rod based on the location we intended to fish such as deep sea, surf, rock, mountain stream or estuary, etc. Now you can purchase a fishing rod that is designed specifically for niche applications.
For example, rods can feature design elements that make them more suitable for casting light soft plastics, fishing crankbaits, catching squid, flipping and pitching, jigging, and more.
It can be overwhelming when faced with so much choice. Particularly for a beginner.
To reduce the selection pool and make the selection process less daunting we can resolve a few questions first.
Let’s have a look at a few critical considerations for fitting a beginner with a new fishing rod.
Articles such as this are invaluable for getting equipped with some basic ideas, fishing language, and terminology.
With some good basics, you are better placed for a discussion with an experienced angler, a pro, or your local tackle shop pro.
The benefits of chatting with a good tackle shop pro is not only their experience but their unrivaled knowledge of the products available.
Even if you’re an experienced angler fitting up your kids, it’s a good idea to go to a good tackle shop for a chat.
Sure, you may know exactly what you’re looking for as you know the application.
However, a good tackle pro knows the right questions to ask to ensure you end up with the perfect fit.
Addressing the following questions in the headings below will help narrow down the best beginner fishing rod options.
Where Will The New Starter Rod Be Fished?
There are 2 broad categories of fishing, land-based, and boat fishing.
While there is a significant level of application crossover between suitable rod types for both, identifying whether a rod will be deployed from a boat, land, or both is a great place to start.
Often, fishing locations are referred to as inshore or offshore. Offshore is boat-based and outside the heads, usually a significant distance from the coastline.
Inshore is, by and large, everything else.
You will hear the term near shore, which is boat-based and outside the heads, but as the name suggests, closer to the coastline.
Identifying the general location that a beginner will fish is important for matching them up with an appropriate rod.
Target Species and Baits
Will you be spinning for trout, or casting big baits at big drum? Will you be targeting catfish or largemouth? Or will you be targeting flounder and pompano from a Florida beach?
The size and power of the fish you are chasing will be the biggest determining factor of rod choice.
Often, a beginner will be using one rod to cover a host of different species. In which case, general-purpose rods are best.
On the same token, beginners will often cut their fishing teeth in a pond or river down the road, where a particular species is prevalent.
In this case, a rod can be selected with features better suited for that particular species. It’s also important to determine if you will be fishing with lures or natural baits.
Most rods are suitable for both. However, if you will be mostly fishing lures, it would make sense to purchase a rod that has features designed to enhance lure action.
Lure size and weights are selected, generally speaking, based on the target. For a balanced rig, you will need to purchase a rod that is suitable for the lure weight you intend to cast.
Again, discussing the target species with a tackle shop pro can be invaluable here.
Will the rod be deployed from a high pier? Perhaps you’ll be fishing from a heavily wooded riverside bank. You might be lucky enough to be fishing a shallow offshore reef.
Maybe your local lake has great fish, so long as you can cast the significant distance from the bank to reach the deeper holes and structure.
Geography makes a difference. You might be targeting largemouth only.
However, the rod you use from a heavily wooded bank is significantly different from the rod you require to cast way out from shore to reach the deeper structure where the fish are feeding.
This is where rod length plays a significant role. Beginners will quickly get frustrated if they continually hit branches casting from a heavily wooded bank.
On the same token, there is an equal disappointment when a beginner doesn’t have the rod length to cast far enough to reach a distant target zone.
Again, discuss likely fishing locations and the geography with an expert.
The Beginner Angler
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to match a rod to the new angler. Where kids are concerned obvious physical limitations should be taken into account.
Big heavy rods are difficult for small hands and bodies to manage. Smaller rods 6 feet and under are usually the best choice, regardless of target.
For teens and grown-ups, choose a rod that is suitable for purpose. Even those lacking coordination skills can learn the basic timing required to cast and strike, regardless of the rod features.
Some rods are more forgiving for the beginner and allow time to nurture skills without punishing mistakes.
In many cases, the composite rods are ideal for the beginner, particularly the longer surf and rock rods.
Arguably, full graphite fast action rods require a little more skill to learn the finer arts of timing, especially casting. Slow action glass or composite rods also require timing skills, particularly when striking at the fish.
It’s also worth considering the care habits of individuals. Full graphite rods are more prone to impact damage than glass and composite.
Finesse style rods and refined flick sticks are also fragile if not used, stored, and transported correctly.
Most rod damage is caused by impact through poor handling, misadventure, and lack of care.
If the new angler is prone to any of these ‘accidents’, selecting a more robust fishing rod is often a wise choice for the beginner.
Budget will be a consideration for many. My advice is always to buy the best you can afford.
Luckily, modern fishing technology ensures we can get budget beginner fishing rods at very accessible prices.
Top shelf expensive models might be a risk for the beginner. Beginners ultimately might not take to fishing, the rod might be treated carelessly, or it might collect more dust than it does fishing records.
However, if you can afford to choose from the top shelf, why not. Precision fishing rods will often nurture new skills, inspiring confidence, and a passion for the sport.
Top 5 Best Fishing Rods for Beginners in 2021
The rods listed below are designed for different but common fishing applications.
While not designed as beginner rods, they all have features that will help nurture rod skills, while being more forgiving in terms of mistakes and mishaps.
The list below doesn’t necessarily represent ‘the best’, as suggested in the title. Such claims would be nigh on impossible to justify.
However, they are of excellent quality and perform in every way to the specifications as claimed by the manufacturers.
In short, these rods are great for beginners. They’re as sure a bet as any sure bet can be.
A note about casting rods/reels
You will note that all of the rods listed are spin rods. They are designed for a spinning reel.
While it is possible to learn to fish using a casting reel/rod, it is nearly always the case that beginners master the core skills of fishing faster using spin gear and with far less frustration.
Casting reels require far greater timing skills. They are also very unforgiving of mistakes. It’s fair to say that a bad day with a casting reel can turn a beginner off fishing altogether.
1. ABU GARCIA VERITAS 682 ML ROD
“Best Inshore Rod For Beginners“
The upgraded Veritas is a beautiful looking fishing rod. At 6’8” it’s ideal for the boat but will also present the beginner with plenty of land-based options as well.
The medium-light 682ML delivers on the versatility front. New anglers will be able to get the hang of casting a lighter class of lure while maintaining access to a larger class of fish such as bigger largemouth using bigger, hardbody lures.
It’s a brilliant inshore boat-based allrounder that will suit a large range of inshore targets, salt or fresh. It’s great for lures and natural baits.
The Fuji Alconite guides reduce the chance of tangles, which is a great feature for the beginner. Fuji also allows for great performance with mono or braid.
The full graphite blank is sensitive and responsive yet employs “Sublayer Armour technology” to enhance strength, which is a great feature for the beginner.
The Veritas is a refined-looking rod, with a narrow diameter blank. This gives the beginner a feeling of using pro-quality.
To be honest, the performance is right up there too. It’s an absolute weapon in the hands of a seasoned pro.
While a little pricey, the Veritas is an investment that will see the beginner through to graduation to a seasoned pro.
- Fantastic design and cosmetics
- Light and narrow, yet robust and strong
- Beautifully balanced
- Loud design might not appeal to many
- A little pricey considering application limitations
Features and Specifications
- 30 Ton graphite blank
- Sublayer Armour
- Ultralon EVA grips
- Fuji Anti Tangle Alconite Insert Guides
- Ultra-sensitive and lightweight construction design
- Line weight: 3 to 7kg
- Lure weight: 8 to 35 grams
- Suits 2500 size spin reel
- 2 pieces
- Length: 6’8”
2. PENN PREVAIL II General Purpose Rod
“Best General Purpose Beginners Rod“
A general purpose rod has to be incredibly versatile and cover a heck of a lot of applications.
The Penn Prevail II does it with strength and style and at a cost that keeps fishing accessible. If you could only have one rod in your arsenal, this would be a great choice.
Its strength durability and general all-around performance make it ideal for the beginner looking to try as many types of fishing as possible.
At 8’4” the Prevail 842SPM delivers plenty of access. Taking a line class of 6 to 10kg, you can cast lures 10 to 65 grams.
The Prevail provides access to some surf and rock applications and is a good model for pier fishing.
At 8 foot it is cumbersome in a boat but still doable, particularly as it is in a standard 2 piece configuration.
It’s a great model for rock walls, and ideal for when casting distance is necessary.
Ideal for a medium-class of fish, it’s by no means overkill for pan size keepers for the table. Packed with 10kg line, you will have access to a pretty large class of fish.
You’ll be able to launch metal slugs of up to 65 grams a country mile. This is a great style of lure fishing for the beginner. Grip it and rip it, targeting bullet-style surface feeders.
It’s a Penn, so you know from the outset that it’s designed to handle the rough stuff, punching on through countless sessions in tough salt environments.
Match it up with a spin reel from 4500 to 6000. This is an ideal rod for chasing a larger class of inshore fish from rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
- Highly versatile
- Excellent build quality. Robust without being clunky or chunky
- Covers a wide range of fishing applications
- Ideal for casting metal slugs and larger lures such as swimbaits
- Value for money
- A little cumbersome in a boat
- A little heavy for a smaller class of fish. But that’s a general Purpose rod trade-off. To be expected, and not a criticism.
Features and Specifications
- Series: Penn Prevail Surf Rod II
- SLS Carbon rod blank
- Blank protection via Carbon Shield technology
- Guides: Fuji Alconite
- 2 piece configuration
- Length: 8’4”
- Line: 6’ to 10kg
- Cast:15 to 65 grams
3. SHIMANO TEREZ RODS TZS69MH
“Best Offshore Boat Rod For Beginners“
The Terez is super popular for its large range of rod options and superior strength and performance.
When you’re fishing for a larger class of blue water fish, there’s no substitute for strength.
In many respects, the beginner chasing a large class of pelagic will need all the help they can get. The Terez offers all of that help and then some.
At 6’9” it’s long enough to cast a heavy stickbait or popper at the likes of Spaniards and GT’s yet isn’t so long as to cause trouble on the tight confines of a boat.
The rod can be cast, trolled, jigged, or bounced on the bottom, providing a high level of versatility for the beginner trying every technique available.
The 69MH will fit a 5000 reel size up to 8000. Again, the beginner can rig appropriately to target without worrying about overkill or battling underpowered.
The Terez was released back in 2011 but has remained super-popular ever since it hit the shelves.
The ergonomic grips and butt assembly is model specific and ideal for the beginner experiencing the insane power of blue water pelagic bullet trains.
Yes, it’s pricey. However, this is a rod that well cared for will last countless brutal offshore sessions, as well as the knocks bumps, and user error mishaps common with new bluewater anglers.
Beginners are often in shock when they feel the power of their first blue water hook-up.
The Terez is the perfect weapon for instilling confidence in a shell-shocked noob, wondering what on earth they have to do to turn this whale toward the boat.
- Ideal weight for a range of offshore techniques and locations
- Suitable for tackling a huge range of bluewater species
- Versatile. Great for casting jigging trolling and bottom bouncing
- Outstanding build quality
- Ergonomics are exceptional. Great for long fights in the hands of beginners
- The price might cause a few heart palpitations
Features and Specifications
- Rod blanks feature Shimano High-Power Spiral X technology
- Fuji K Alconite
- Shimano EVA Butts
- Unique EVA grip
- Fast / Extra Fast
- Shimano custom reel seats
- Length: 6’9”
- Line: 40-80lb
- Reel: 5000 to 8000
4. DAIWA BEEF STICK 1303XHS
“Best Beach and Rock for Beginners“
Surf and Rock fishing is incredibly taxing on your fishing gear. Add this to a beginner’s status, and a robust rod is most definitely the order of the day.
The Beef stick is an outstanding offering for the beginner looking to explore the rigors of rock and surf angling.
At this price, it is very difficult to pass up and indeed very hard to beat. Performance and inclusions are excellent relative to the entry-level price point.
Moreover, beefy durability is a standout. Expect plenty of bumps and impacts when you hit the rocks. You can expect that, within reason, your Beefstick’s composite blank will soak it up.
The strong blank construction is ideal for wrestling large fish and sharks up onto the sand and rock platforms.
There’s plenty of low-end strength for this purpose without encroaching too heavily on weight, feel, and sensitivity.
At 13 feet, a little practice will enable you to cast some prodigious distance, even when loaded with heavy lures and live baits.
Carbon hardware goes some way to keeping weight down, as does the carbon outer scrim on the lower half of the rod.
I really like the solid glass rod tip which is incredibly durable while maintaining sensitivity.
Strap a 6000 to 8000 size spin reel to it and you’ll be tackling monsters from the rocks and the surf.
The user friendly, forgiving blank is ideal for helping noobs learn the art of casting big baits a long way.
- The highly affordable entry-level price
- Exceptional value for money
- Awesome looks and styling. Classy and understated
- Incredibly strong, robust, and durable
- Great inclusions for this price point
- 3 piece configuration
- This length can be a challenge for the beginner
- A little heavy
Features and Specifications
- High-Power Spiral X technology
- Fuji K Alconite
- ShimComposite Graphite Blanks with integrated solid fiberglass tip
- Carbon Outer Scrim
- Graphite Reel Seats
- Flat top EVA grips
- Composite cork butt
- O-Ring guides
- Taper: regular
- Length: 13’
- Line: 15 to 24kg
- Pieces: 3
5. DAIWA ISLA INSHORE 76MHRS
“Best Beginner Rod for Fishing the Banks“
This is new from Daiwa and I bet plenty will argue that this is no beginner’s rod. On the contrary, I say.
The Isla delivers a heap of strength and power in a lightweight package – ideal for the beginner.
It’s beautifully balanced and a pleasure to hold and cast. Such is the feel, I believe it will enhance the fishing experience for the novice and facilitate skills development.
Despite being user-friendly and lightweight, the Isla is still super strong. I’d be more than happy to tackle record-breaking largemouth from the bank or similar monsters from sea walls in bays and harbors.
Balanced with an appropriate 3000 spin reel, casting manners are top-notch. Again, this is a boon for noobs looking for every bit of assistance they can get.
Quality Fuji hardware, including 10 K series guides makes casting a breeze whether you use braid or mono.
The regular action will be easier for the noob to master casting the Isla.
The cork handle is brilliant. It transfers every touch straight to your hand. This is another brilliant training aid for the new angler.
While the cork tends to damage more easily than EVA, I think this sacrifice in durability is worth it for the amazing feel and direct feedback.
The blank has markers on it, useful for measuring fish.
The rod seems a little classy for such a gimmick, however, there is a genuine benefit to being able to quickly reference fish lengths for legality.
Pricing is surprisingly affordable relative to its top-shelf performance and sleek aesthetic appeal.
The cork handle adds a serious touch of class, which I’ve no doubt will set it apart from its competitors.
For a rod that has pro dripping all over it, I expect an enthusiastic noob will love every bit of it.
- Excellent casting manners
- Classy look
- Cork grip delivers outstanding feel
- Robust and strong for its narrow diameter and lightweight feel
- Excellent guides and inserts
- Value for money
- 1 piece configuration delivers excellent blank integrity
- Cork handle is not so durable
- 1 piece construction makes it more difficult to store and transport
Features and Specifications
- Lightweight and balanced
- Designed for inshore saltwater fishing
- Premium cork handle with a split grip
- Two markers for legal fish length
- Fuji Fazlite rings
- Fuji Tangle Free K-Series guides
- Spiral X technology
- Fuji K Alconite
- Length: 7’6”
- Line: 8 to 17 lb
- Lure: ¼ to ¾ oz
- Action: Regular
Which Beginners Pole Would I Choose?
If I had to choose one, I think I’d go for the Isla. It’s just so appealing at this price point.
That’s saying a lot for a surf and rock angler. I’m also a fan of the Veritas. The look is a little loud for me, but in terms of versatility, access, and performance, it’s a great beginner fishing rod.
I have rough fishing buddies who should still be using a Penn prevail. The Robust construction is ideal for the noob expecting to battle with traversing any structure without doing damage to something.
For outstanding value, the Daiwa Beefstick is a legend. If you’re looking to learn fishing in the surf, the Daiwa presents a cost-effective path to hitting the beach quickly with more money left in your pocket.