3 Best Kayak Fishing Rods For Closed Waters

Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today continues my investigation into all things kayak fishing with my 3 best kayak fishing rods for closed waters. Now, if you have read any of my posts in this area you will know that I do enjoy a good day’s kayak fishing so this one is right up my alley. I mainly use my kayak in a tidal estuary and occasionally a fresh water lake so I am keeping this post to those needs (I will cover sea kayak fishing in another post). That said, my choices here can certainly be used in more open waters if the need arises.

So, let’s what we can come up with for our closed water kayak fishing needs…

My 3 recommended kayak fishing rods

I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:

 RodPriceGet it
Best Kayak Fishing Rods - BERRYPRO UltralightBERRYPRO Ultralight Spinning Fishing Rod$CURRENT PRICE
Best Kayak Fishing Rods - Ugly StickUgly Stik Carbon Casting Fishing Rod$$CURRENT PRICE
Best Kayak Fishing Rods - St CroixSt. Croix PS60MLF Premier Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod$$$CURRENT PRICE

What should you be looking for?

Now, as per most things to do with fishing, everybody has an opinion in regards to what you need to be successful in your fishing endeavours. I am going to rely heavily on my own experience here so as usual, if you have different uses or have identified something that you think may work a little better, please do not hesitate to comment below. Anyway, let’s run through some of the influences you may need to account for when it comes to selecting a good rod for kayak fishing in closed waters.

Location

Generally here we discuss such things as current, hazards and the like but to be honest, the main thing to consider I think is the distance you will need to cast whilst fishing from your kayak. If you are dropping your line directly over the side, then a shorter rod will work well for you – especially if there is a stronger current. However if you need to cast a little further – or are using a lure – then a slightly longer, whippier rod may work better.

Kayak specifics

The next thing here is rather obvious but the type of kayak you are using can also be a factor. The main thing to remember is that with kayak fishing, you generally do not have a great deal of room to move around in so you need to ensure that your rod can work in well with the type of kayak you are using. So, consider the following:

  • Type – There are two main types of kayak – Sit on top – flatter, wider models where the paddler sits on top of the vessel and, Sit in – the ones with the cockpit on top where the paddler sits in. Generally kayaks are not big enough really to determine the type of rod you can use however the shorter the rod, the easier it is to work with when you need to change tackle or have caught a fish. Smaller rods however can be a bit harder to use in sit in models as you need to have them higher to account for the upper deck.
  • Length and width – Same as above, a longer kayak can be a problem for a smaller rod if you catch a bigger fish that swims around the front of the vessel.
  • Rod holders – This may sound obvious, but the number of rod holders that the craft has can determine the rods you use. I have four in my kayak so I can take two types of rod with a space for my net. If you only have one holder then you may want to look at a general sized rod that can be used for casting but also work well for when you just want to drop bait directly beneath you.
Best Kayak Fishing Rods - Stripe

Composition

In general, fishing rods are made from one of three main materials, Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Fibre with qualities as follows:

  • Fiberglass – Very strong and durable with very little maintenance required (rinse off after fishing is generally all that is needed). Also, very cost effective with many good options available that don’t cost the earth – although these types of rods appear to be less available these days due to the introduction of carbon fiber technology.
  • Graphite – Graphite rods are generally more rigid with higher power ratings (see below) however tend to have greater sensitivity than their fiberglass cousins. Their composition also means that a little more cleaning if required over time to avoid them becoming brittle and snapping. These are good for shorter rods too as they can handle bigger fish without the ‘give’ that longer rods have.
  • Glass Tip – Glass Tips orHybrid’ rods are made from a combination of graphite and fiberglass. These are designed to give the best of both worlds with extra strength of the graphite rod added to the sensitivity of the glass tip. Great if you are using the rod in a number of locations and water types.
  • Carbon Fibre – This is a newer compound in fishing rods being more rigid than the fiberglass/ composite rods but also lighter – which is great for kayak fishing. These types are becoming more and more popular for all levels of experience due to their toughness and versatility.

Good carbon fibre rods have severely come down in price in recent times as well making them, in my opinion, a great choice for kayak fishing.

Length

When it comes to kayak fishing, size can definitely matter. As mentioned above, there is not a lot of space on a kayak so something like a surf rod is just not going to work. And if you really want to have some fun, try and get a fish off the hook on a kayak with a longer rod… Shorter rods also provide for greater accuracy which can be helpful if you are fishing amongst trees, mangroves or other hazards. However, as we have already discussed, slightly longer rods are better if you are looking to cast a little further away or want to ‘jig’ a lure along the bottom. So, depending on your location and casting requirements, you can choose from the following lengths:

  • 5 – 6 foot – Use when dropping directly below the kayak or precision of casting is needed. Not great for longer casting but can generally handle heavier sinker weights etc.
  • 6 – 7 foot – These are a good middle of the road rod – especially if you only take the one. These allow for longer casting whilst maintaining some accuracy.
  • 7 – 8 foot – You are getting to the absolute end of length suitability here but these can work well if you are going to be drifting or trolling with a lure or need that extra casting distance. My tip here… make sure it is a ‘whippy’ one (see Power section below).

Reel

Many kayakers will look at purchasing a combo set but if you already have a reel that you are planning to attach to your rod, then you will just need to make sure that the one you purchase will attach to it properly (most do but still worth checking) and is not too big or heavy for the rod.

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Power

There are plenty of technical terms for the power settings of a fishing rod but in simple language, I have always known the power rating as a measure of how ‘bendy’ it is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy need a lot of pressure to bend. So, in short:

  • Light – very bendy – even whippy – will bend a lot with even the smallest fish.
  • Medium – needs a bit more pressure to bend – this is a good measure for those who only use one rod in their kayak and want the best of both worlds.
  • Heavy – takes a lot to make it bend – these are a bit harder to cast but I like a heavier power setting in my really short rods – especially if I have not need to try and cast in mangroves etc.

There is also a measurement that some rods have in regards to what they call Action or Speed. This is determined by where the rod bends. Fast action bends from the top third which increases their sensitivity whereas slow rods bend down towards the reel. To be honest, I had never really taken much notice of this until I purchased a rod for my kayak with fast action. It is the best as you can really feel everything! For a generalist rod, I would go moderate or medium, unless to have a need to cast a long way from your location, then maybe edge towards a fast rod as they allow for heavier rigs.

Best Kayak Fishing Rods - Stripe 2

Handle/Grip

This has nothing to do with the art of catching fish rather than the weight and comfort of it. Some common options include:

  • Hard foam – sort of like a very hard version of a pool noodle.
  • EVA – Soft Rubbery stuff.
  • Cork – often very light and commonly used in these types of rods.
  • Rubber Shrink Tube – soft and extremely durable and also can be quite light.

I like the cork handles myself as they are comfortable and very light. One of mine however does have a rubber shrink tube handle and it is very comfortable to hold as well.

Split/one piece

When it comes to kayak rods, whether you have a full piece or a split piece (where the rod pulls apart into two or more pieces) is, in my opinion, a matter of circumstance… I have used both and if I am being brutally honest, I really don’t see enough of a difference when it comes to catching fish. After all, on the days I have not caught anything or worse, lost a big one that I had managed to hook, I guarantee that the fact that my rod comes in two pieces had nothing to do with it…

I will say however that one of my mates that I go with often in the kayaks will only use a full piece as he reckons he can feel the bites better…

What Do I use?

As mentioned above, I take two rods with me. The first one is short – which I tend to just drop down below me with a fresh local caught bait on it and a longer one which I use with a soft plastic lure. I also have a second which I use if we are chasing the Mangrove Jack – a very strong and hard fighting fish – in the mangroves. I will explain that as well however my main two ‘go to’ rods are spec’d as follows:

Rod 1

  • Made from: Fiberglass
  • Length: 5.4ft
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Moderate/fast
  • Composition: One piece
  • Handle: Cork

This is an old rod so I am making an educated guess on the specs here. Regardless I like this type of rod as it is short and easy to work with. It is sensitive enough to feel bites without thinking I have something every time sinker bounces on the bottom. Is not good however if I try and cast more than 5 metres (16ft) or so.

Rod 2

  • Made from: Carbon Fibre
  • Length: 6ft
  • Power: Light/Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Composition: Two piece
  • Handle: Cork

I actually bought this one for my son as a fairly cheap rod and reel combo. The reel didn’t last long but the rod has become one of my favourites. I use this one for dragging and jigging soft plastic and harder lures as it casts really well whilst still being short enough to handle well in a kayak. It’s lighter Power and Action settings really make it a nice sensitive rod to use with a cork handle making it also extremely light. It’s downfall however is that is struggles if I need a heavier sinker or lure due to fast currents.

I also have a 7ft option with similar specs to above. It is nice and light and can work well enough in a kayak (maybe a touch too long) as well as those looking to fish from a bank. So this may be also a good option if you are looking for a rod to use in both locations.

Mangrove Jack Rod

  • Made from: Glass Tip
  • Length: 7ft
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Moderate/Slow
  • Composition: Single piece
  • Handle: Hard Foam

I only use this one in my kayak if we are chasing a strong and aggressive species of fish called a Mangrove Jack in the estuary or Murray River Cod in one of the local dams. It is a very heavy rod (I use a Shimano 6500 bait runner reel which is also heavy) so it really doesn’t work well for too long on a kayak. It is actually a rod designed for catching Snapper etc. off a boat but it is good here as it is quite accurate to cast (mangrove banks contain many snags) and strong enough to handle the fish. I don’t recommend this one for general closed water kayak fishing however just wanted to highlight for those chasing bigger fish in these areas.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above, and my own experience, I recommend the following for for kayak fishing in closed waters.

1. BERRYPRO Ultralight Spinning Fishing Rod

I have chosen this first rod based on the fact that is the best I have seen for the budget minded fisherman. There are two different length options and it breaks down into 2 pieces making it easy to transport. It is a good, solid and durable product that is light to hold with specifications as follows:

  • Made from: Carbon Fibre
  • Length: 6 or 6.6ft
  • Power: Ultra-light
  • Action: Fast
  • Composition: 2 piece
  • Handle: EVA

Other advantages include:

  • Lightweight carbon fiber composition.
  • Stainless steel mixed with ceramic guides for smooth casting and reeling.
  • Split wheel seat with carbon fibre insert for reduced weight.

Why have I chosen it?

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This is a good little rod for a good price as it is lightweight, sensitive and easy to handle. I would generally like to see a slightly heavier power rating as I am not sure it would work so well in areas with fast currents but to be honest, there is enough other advantages that I don’t see this being an issue is most conditions. It will take a good range of line strength (2 – 8 lb) with a solid casting length ability as well.

 

2. Ugly Stik Carbon Casting Fishing Rod

My second rod is a good one for the both the beginner and more experienced angler who is planning to do a little more fishing and hence wants something that will do the job with great durability and usability. With models ranging from 6 – 7ft, it can handle most locations and line/tackle requirements. It is also not as expensive as some of the other graphite models on the market with specs including:

  • Made from: Carbon Graphite
  • Length: 6 – 7ft
  • Power: Medium – Light
  • Action: Moderate – Fast
  • Composition: 1 piece
  • Handle: EVA

Other advantages include:

  • Lightweight composition 24 Ton carbon fiber blanks at the core (lightest Ugly Stick Ever!).
  • Stainless steel guide frames with super hard Zirconium inserts (for longer casting).
  • Fuji reel seat for added comfort.

Why have I chosen it?

I like this one as it is a good lightweight, durable rod for a decent price. I like carbon graphite and its specification range would allow it to handle most kayak fishing conditions including the ability to cast a bit further if needed. Stick to the 6 – 7ft models as they will handle any line and tackle setups requirements that you would be using in a kayak without becoming too cumbersome. Avoid the longer options unless kayak fishing will be your secondary use for the rod.

 

3. St. Croix PS60MLF Premier Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod

The third rod I have chosen is a little more expensive but for a kayak fisherman, it is almost the perfect rod. It is a very manageable 6ft in length making it a good all round rod for those who only wish to take one with them with all of the specs I like to see for this type of fishing. The graphite construction is part of the reason for the higher cost but it also means that it can handle the bigger catches whilst maintaining the sensitivity that kayak anglers need. Its specs include:

  • Made from: Carbon Graphite
  • Length: 6ft
  • Power: Medium – Light
  • Action: Fast
  • Composition: 1 piece
  • Handle: Cork

Other advantages include:

  • Premium quality SCII Carbon.
  • Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim, strong aluminium-oxide rings.
  • Premium grade cork handles.

Why have I chosen it?

As I have mentioned above, this rod is a great one for kayak fishermen of all experience levels who a looking for a little quality over price. The graphite build and specifications make it a very versatile rod for most conditions and needs with the ability to handle most applicable line strengths as well. Stick to the 6ft models unless you need to cast longer or fish on a bank or a beach as well.

 

Conclusion

And there it is – my 3 best kayak fishing rods for closed water fishing. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price. This may include sales made via Amazon, Piscifun or Fishing Booker.

 

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