Hunting the ever-elusive musky? It’s not always an easy task. To score this species of pike, having the correct fishing gear is vital. Fishing for musky requires a heavy-duty rod that can achieve specific actions. To help you have the best chance at a catch, we’ve selected a few of our favorite rods that can get the job done with ease.
Comparison of the Best Musky Spinning Rods
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What is a Musky Spinning Rod and What is it Used For?
A musky spinning rod is a fishing rod equipped with a spinning reel made specifically for targeting musky and similar species of fish. They’re generally longer than the average fishing rod, as they can provide long, powerful casts that a short rod cannot.
Musky rods tend to be fairly heavy-duty compared to a more traditional rod, as the fish are large and powerful. The rod must be able to handle a big fish with quite a bit of fight, so they are made with strong, durable materials that won’t snap under pressure.
Musky rods are also popular for fishing other species' of large fish, making them a good choice for trophy hunters. Though they may be made with musky in mind, they’re a great pick for pulling in any large species of freshwater fish.
How to Choose a Musky Spinning Rod
If you’re not sure where to start when picking out a new rod for hunting musky, keep the following in mind to make the process a little smoother:
Though it may seem a little unusual if you’re used to fishing for smaller species, a musky rod should measure between seven to ten feet in length. A rod of this length may feel awkward at first if you’ve never had experience with one, but the extra inches are essential for adding casting distance. Around eight feet is a good starting point for your first rod.
Musky is a very large species of fish, so it’s important to get a rod with quite a bit of fighting power. If you skimp on a sturdy backbone, there’s a good chance you might end up with a snapped rod by the end of the day. Try to seek out a rod with a power that ranges from medium-heavy to heavy power.
Having a faster action is important to the winning casting technique one can achieve with a great musky rod. Getting a fast action rod will provide sturdiness and control while contributing to a solid casting performance.
Review of the Best Musky Spinning Rods
Finding the perfect spinning rod is a tough task to achieve. Check out our favorite rod options for targeting musky below:
Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod
Cadence’s main selling point for the CR5 line of spinning rods is their balance between strength and sensitivity. Each rod is created with a 30-ton carbon fiber blank that is super strong, a quality that is much needed when it comes to fighting musky.
The CR5 line offers a range of rod lengths and powers that can be used in a variety of fishing settings, ranging from a smaller 4’8” ultralight with moderate action to a powerful 7” medium-heavy rod with fast action, and everything in between. Buyers can choose between an EVA foam, cork split, or full grip, depending on their preferences.
The rods come with special components designed to make the rod as durable as possible. For example, the exposed Fuji reel seat and blank are wrapped in a carbon veil to “enhance durability.” They also feature stainless steel guides with SiC inserts that are created to prevent the line from snagging and minimize friction.
If you’re an angler looking to dip your toes in the musky world but not make a huge commitment by purchasing a rod that is too heavy-duty, this might be the pick for you! The CR5 line offers great versatility in rod choice and for the most part, buyers were thrilled with the performance. The main complaint concerned the rear of the split-grip handle design— so perhaps, opt for a full grip option.
Best for the Money:
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik is a revered company within the fishing world. It’s pretty tough to find an angler who hasn’t handled or owned an ever-popular Ugly Stik at some point in their fishing experience. Along with its consistent reliability, the Elite Spinning Rod makes it to our list for its incredible value.
The Elite rods come in a variety of sizes, actions, and powers ranging from a short ultralight to a seven-foot, medium-heavy rod. They are all created with a graphite composite and this line includes up to 35 percent more than the previous version. This keeps the rods super-sensitive without compromising strength. This line features the company’s “Clear Tip” design, which was created to react to the slightest bites from shy fish.
Other components include one-piece “Ugly Tuff” stainless steel guides, an exposed-blank reel seat with a cushioned stainless steel reel hood, and a full grip cork handle.
Overall, the Ugly Stik reputation holds true with the Elite line of rods. There are some issues that could be easily improved, especially with the stainless steel guides and reel seat size, but for the value, this rod is hard to beat. It’s super-strong, so you won’t have to worry about an unwarranted snap in a fight with a tough musky, and there are plenty of powers and actions to choose from.
The second musky-specific rod in our favorites, the Okuma EVX Musky Rods were created with power and strength at the forefront of the priority list. This particular rod is created with a tough 24-ton carbon fiber and graphite blank and measures a lengthy 9’3”. The length and design of this rod allow the angler greater casting ability than a model of a smaller size.
The EVX Musky Rod features several angling technologies that are specific to Okuma. Most notably is the “UFR”, or Unidirectional Fiber Reinforced rod tip. The UFR tip was created in order to triple rod tip lifting power, allowing the angler to pull in the largest of fish.
This is a telescopic design, which means the rod can collapse in on itself before and after use. This makes it easy to set up and transport from place to place. Other features include a contoured cork foregrip, double foot stainless steel guides, and an RS tip insert for added durability over time.
Overall, the Musky rods from Okuma obviously have the ability to get the job done in style. The majority of anglers who have purchased this rod were thrilled by its performance on the water. The main advantage of the EVX rods is the power in their backbone. Although this line of rods may be too long/stiff for some anglers, for the majority, this is a great pick.
KastKing is another very popular brand in the angling world, thanks to their commitment to affordability and consistent quality. We love the Perigee II line of rods because not only are they a great value, but they also offer a serious, sturdy backbone without compromising sensitivity.
The Perigree line offers a very long list of rods with varying actions, power, and length. For musky, we’d recommend one of the seven-foot rods in a power range between medium and heavy. Each rod in this line is created with a heavy-duty carbon fiber blank. As an added bonus, KastKing throws in an extra rod tip, just in case.
The rods feature Fuji O-ring line guides and high-quality EVA foam handle grips. The rods are also designed with comfort in mind. They feature ergonomically-designed graphite reel seats which won’t bother your hands or wrists throughout a full day of fishing.
The KastKing Perigree line is a great option for anglers on a budget who are looking for a consistent, quality rod. Along with other praises, buyers loved this rod’s casting abilities and sleek design. One area where there is room for improvement is in the line guide design, but if you can overlook this, these rods could mean the perfect musky catch for you!
When you pick a fight with a musky, you should have the battle force of a rod at your disposal. The Mojo Rod from St.Croix packs the punch an angler needs.
Built for tough performance, the power of the Mojo Rod comes from its high-quality SCII graphite blanks. The blanks are durable and also offer a great deal of sensitivity when it comes to detecting shy bites. This line of rods features fast actions and have power ranges that measure from medium-heavy to extra-heavy, the perfect combination for targeting musky.
The one-piece rod is equipped with top-of-the-line aluminum oxide guides along with double-coated black chrome frames. Other features include a black Fuji reel seat, a split grip cork handle, and two coats of Flex Coat for durability and shine.
When it comes to Musky rods, power should be the top priority. The St.Croix Musky Rod is great because it packs a major punch in terms of backbone but its graphite construction also allows the sensitivity an angler needs for great fishing performance. While there are some minor improvements that could be made design-wise, for the most part, buyers of this rod were very satisfied with its action and overall performance on the water.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
Before jumping into a purchase, ensure you’re making the best decision by considering the following aspects:
It’s easy to spend a fortune on a musky-specific rod only to figure out they’re not the fish for you. If you’ve never fished for musky before, consider purchasing one of the rods on our list with a more versatile range of abilities. That way, if the challenge is too much, you’ll be able to target other species with ease.
Style of Fishing
Are you more drawn to bank fishing? Fishing off a boat? Depending on your angling style, you can cater your rod to your specific needs to give you a better chance at a catch. If you choose to fish from the bank, you may want to go for a rod that’s on the lengthier end of the scale so you can have maximum casting abilities.
Type of Bait
Heavy lures and rigs can put a great deal of strain on a rod that doesn’t have suitable power. While a medium-heavy rod can work great with medium and small lures, if you want to throw the big boys, consider a rod with a heavy or an extra-heavy power to ensure you can cast the bait with ease.
What Size of Musky Spinning Rod Do I Need?
As aforementioned, a musky rod should be longer than a traditional fishing rod. Anywhere between seven and ten feet should be suitable. Long rods are great for fishing for musky, because not only do they provide longer casting abilities, they can also provide great control in the fight with a large fish. If you’re fishing from a bank, go for a rod on the longer end of the spectrum. An eight-foot rod tends to be a good compromise for most musky anglers.
Though musky are not the easiest species of fish to catch, the challenge makes the rewards that much sweeter. With the purchase of a high-quality musky spinning rod, the chances of making the perfect catch are that much closer. Happy fishing!