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3 Of The Best Fishing Rods For Kayaks (Both Casting and Spinning Rods)

3 Of The Best Fishing Rods For Kayaks (Both Casting and Spinning Rods)

I love fishing from my kayak. I also really enjoy fishing from my canoe. What both of these small water craft have in common is the amount of space that I have. Once I get my fishing rod, tackle box and perhaps a small bag or cooler in there with me, all the usable space is pretty much taken up.

So what that means is if you want to head out on the water in your kayak to do some fishing, if you grab your go-to bass rod or other longer fishing rod, you’re going to be miserable.

Many rods have a butt-end that is longer which can therefore get snagged in your PFD or along the edges of the kayak or canoe. I’ve been there. It’s frustrating. So what I did is start looking around for a fishing rod that was designed with kayakers in mind.

In this article, I’ll review what I’ve found to be three of the best fishing rods for kayaks.

What To Look For In A Kayak Fishing Rod

When you go to purchase a rod for your kayaking fishing adventures, the most important thing to do is focus on choosing a rod that best matches the species of fish that you’re targeting. However, there are two specific traits that you need to look for in any rod that you plan to take onto your kayak with you.

A Short Rod

First, don’t buy anything over seven-feet long. I know a lot of anglers like to whip massive rods around nowadays, but an overtly long rod will be very difficult to maneuver when you’re in a kayak.

A Short Butt-End

The butt of the rod should also be relatively short. Longer handles allow you to have more leverage in a fight, but they also get caught up in your life jacket, and since you don’t have a lot of room to move, they make it difficult to cast. Try to get a handle that gives you enough room for both of your hands, but there shouldn’t be a lot of excess handle length sticking out when you grip it properly.

Kayak Fishing Rods Mentioned In This Article

Reviews Of The Best Kayaking Rods

In the sections below, I’m reviewing what I believe to be three of the best kayaking rods on the market today. Please note that all three of these rods come in casting and spinning variants. So, don’t worry about loving one of my reviews just to find out that a specific rod is only compatible with baitcasters. I’ll provide links to both variants so you can check out both if you wish.

St. Croix Mojo Yak Series

The spinning and casting versions of this rod series are practically identical. The only differences are the reels they’re designed to pair with, and the spinning version has a hood built into the reel seat.

First, both rods are made from SC II graphite blanks. That makes them more sensitive, but you need to be careful not to slam your car door on them, smack them off of trees, or anything like that. Once a small fissure forms in the graphite, it’ll snap without warning. These are great rods, but they are a bit delicate. I recommend keeping them away from your kids.

St Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Fishing Rod

Click image to view on Amazon.com

The rods also come in a variety of lengths, but I suggest sticking to the standard seven-foot model. That’s short, but it’s still long enough for you to make proper casts.

The handles are made specifically for fishing from a kayak. They’re a bit stubby, but they’re split grips. Basically, there’s a cap on the butt of the rod, and there’s a bit of padding near the reel seat for your main hand. This maximizes your leverage, but the handle won’t smack you in the side or snag your life jacket every time you cast.

Finally, the other components are all high-quality parts. The reel seats are made by Fuji, the guides are made by Kigan, and the rod incorporates Poly-Curve mandrel technology. So, St. Croix didn’t cut any corners with this series of rods.

St Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Fishing Rod

Click image to view on Amazon.com

Pros:

  • High-end components
  • Built for kayaking
  • Sensitive and powerful

Cons:

  • If you’ve got clumsy hands you’ll learn to hate graphite blanks. They’re strong and sensitive, but they don’t handle cracks very well. Even a small bump into a tree can cause a fissure that will eventually snap your rod without warning.

Take Away

This series of rods is the one I recommend the most. All of the rods in this series are built for extremely experienced anglers, and they’ll perform perfectly every time you use them. However, young fishermen might abuse them, and they are quite expensive to replace. Don’t get a Mojo Yak if you’re prone to abusing rods.

Check out the Mojo Yak Casting Rod on Amazon.com

Check out the Mojo Yak Spinning Rod on Amazon.com

St. Croix Mojo Inshore Series

The Mojo Inshore series has spinning and casting rods that are almost identical. They have the same pros and cons. The series isn’t as good as the Mojo Yak series, but it’s a little cheaper, and its main flaws aren’t that bad.

Like the Mojo Yak, the Inshore series has different rod lengths you can choose from. Again, I recommend buying the seven-foot size. That’s on par with the Yak series, but the handles aren’t. The handles have split grips made of cork, but they’re also way too long. The handles are almost twice as long as the handles on the Mojo Yak series.

St Croix Mojo Inshore Casting Rod, MIC70MHF

Click image to view on Amazon.com

Other than that, the blanks are made of SC II graphite, and they’re one-piece blanks. Be very careful when transporting them. You can’t break them down, and you don’t want to smack them into things.

They don’t really have the advanced parts that the Yak has, but the Yak is a premium series of rods. So, that makes sense.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than Mojo Yak rods
  • Great fit and finish
  • One-piece design

Cons:

  • This series lacks the high-end components of the Mojo Yak series. That’s not a big deal for most fishermen, but elite fishermen will notice the difference in performance.

Take Away

This is a great option for people who are on a budget, but they still have enough money for a relatively high-end rod. The Mojo Inshore series isn’t the best series, but it’ll impress people who are used to using UglyStiks and Shakespeare Durangos.

Berkley Lightning Series

Like the other rods on this list, the Berkley Lightning series of rods come in casting and spinning variants. Unlike the other rods on this list, these rods are not high-end rods. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. They’re perfect for fishermen who are on a budget, and they’re great for beginners.

Berkley BSLR661MH Lightning Spinning Rod

Click image to view on Amazon.com

First, the rod blanks are made from a carbon composite material. The blanks aren’t as delicate as the graphite blanks that St. Croix uses. So, you don’t have to worry if you’re a little bit clumsy. The blanks are also relatively short. The longest rod you can get is seven-feet long. However, you sacrifice a little bit of sensitivity when you use a non-graphite rod.

The reel seats aren’t anything to write home about, but they do have a double-locking system, and they work pretty well.

Berkley BSLR661MH Lightning Spinning Rod

Click image to view on Amazon.com

The handles are what I don’t like. They’re a bit long, and they’re one-piece handles. The length is problematic for kayak fishing, and the one-piece design doesn’t work as well for the casting versions. all of that is just based off of my personal preference, though. The handles aren’t overtly long, and some of you might love the one-piece design.

Pros:

  • Super cheap
  • Great for budget-mind fishermen
  • Not as delicate as graphite

Cons:

  • I don’t like the handles. However, that’s not the biggest issue. These are the best budget rods for kayak fishing, but they’re nowhere near as good as the St. Croix rods, though. Once you’ve gotten through a few years of kayak fishing, you’ll want to upgrade to a better rod.

Take Away

I recommend this series of rods to beginners and budget-minded fishermen. Advanced fishermen will want something that is a little more robust, but this is a great starting point.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, I think everyone should save up for a rod from the Mojo Yak series. It’s the best kayak fishing series available, and while the rods are expensive, they’re worth it. You’re likely to outgrow the Berkley Lightning, and the Mojo Inshore series is cheaper, but you can easily save up for a couple more weeks to buy one of the superior Mojo Yak rods.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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