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They say a craftsman is only as good as his tools. The same could be said for a musky fisherman and his rods. All the knowledge, effort and best lures in the world won’t mean a thing if your rod can’t hold up.
That being said, here are my 10 best musky rods for varying budgets, skill levels and situations. The rods on this list will make sure that monster musky ends up in the boat, not smiling back up from the depths below.
The Shimano Sojourn is great for the muskie fisherman on a budget. Don’t let the price fool you, this budget musky rod can still get the job done.
The 7’ 6″ model has the casting accuracy of a higher-priced rod while still maintaining some of the strength and durability you would expect from a one-piece rod. This rod is a great deal for the price, and I would recommend it to any beginning muskie angler.
- Ultra-sensitive composite rod is great for all lure weights
- The cork hand provides a comfortable, firm grip
- Oxide guides are rust-resistant, keeping your rod in good shape over time
- Mid-sized length at just under 8 feet allows for easy maneuverability
- Ideal for casting
- Being a mid-sized rod, it tends to struggle in harsh conditions while trolling
As opposed to the numerous other well-established members of this list, the Okuma brand is relatively new to many in the muskie community. I really love the new EVX rod from Okuma. This is a really responsive and durable rod. The Okuma Evx-C rod can really overpower even the strongest freshwater game fish.
Another thing I really like is the distance you get casting this rod. With the Okuma EVX, every cast is a hall of famer. This rod is one that will surprise even some of the more grizzled musky veterans out there. I also really enjoy the responsiveness of this rod. You literally feel everything and never miss a strike.
The EVx-C is suitable for all terrains as well. Don’t mistake this rod for a lightweight rod, however. The 24-ton blank can handle big fish with ease. Lastly, It is easy to transport as well as it breaks down into three pieces, making it an excellent travel rod!
- Responsive, ultra, sensitive feel
- Powerful for a three-piece rod
- Easily portable
- The three-piece rod detachment makes for less power than a one-piece rod
One of my all-time favorite fishing brands Abu Garcia has come out with the new Veritas Toro rod and it is really making waves in the muskie fishing community. The 7’9” rod is great for transport and is much easier for casting than some of your 8-10 foot rods. Perfect for the muskie hunter who wants to get into shallow weed beds, around trees, rocks and tough to maneuver areas.
Abu Garcia had developed an easy-to-use rod, to take some of the stress off of big game fishing, and it is much appreciated!
- 30-ton graphite shaft provides strength and power.
- EVA foam grips ensure durability and comfort.
- The lightweight design ensures less stress on the wrists and joints
- Can throw heavy lures with ease
- This rod has a bottom-heavy feel
- Not extremely well balanced
My favorite muskie rod right now is the St. Croix Legend Tournament Musky casting rod. This rod performs in all aspects. It can cast anything from large bulldawgs to smaller jerkbaits and is far and away the most adaptable rod on the market.
This rod is nimble and fast-acting enough to cast accurately into crowded areas and powerful enough to hold up under the constant stress of trolling.
This rod is great for working a jerk baits. I have used this rod often when trying to work my favorite jigs, and it has never ceased to amaze how easy it makes it for the angler. I want a rod that responds easily to my movements. I don’t want to feel like I’m moving a telephone pole when trying to get a feel for my bait. This rod provides great feel and sensitivity for the user.
With so many different skills packed into one rod, it is absolutely my favorite on the market. This rod can do it all. St. Croix, you’ve done it again.
- Best all-around musky rod
- Pinpoint casting accuracy
- Great feel, and sensitivity
- Strength to hold up against all elements and water pressure
When it comes to straightforward retrieving rods the Premier Carbon Musky Rod from St. Croix is an outstanding addition to any anglers stable. I really prefer this rod when casting. It is a super powerful rod that holds up well to heavy-duty crankbaits.
I am a big believer in bucktails and heavy spinning lures when it comes to muskie, so this is a rod I use often. I also like its sensitivity when working with lighter lures and baits.
This rod is also uncharacteristically light for a heavy-duty rod. It is very hard to believe that such a powerful rod can come in a lightweight package. This is where its performance-designed SCII carbon build comes into play. This makes life easy when casting for multiple hours on end.
The world of muskie fishing has added so many different types of lures over the years but the straightforward retrieval bucktails and crankbaits still land the highest number of fish, so you need a rod-like the Premier, one of the absolute best rods for straight forward retrieving.
- Lightweight, sensative
- Smooth guides lead to easy retrieval
- Powerful SCII carbon blank
- Comfortable, easy-grip handle
- Lightweight rods can be prone to damage
As a personal statistic, I have landed about the same number of muskies casting as trolling. While I definitely prefer to cast as most anglers do, however, there are days when trolling is a necessity and the St. Croix Premier is the rod for the job when it comes to trolling.
The astonishing combination of sensitivity and raw hook-setting power of this rod makes it the leading muskie rod when it comes to trolling.
This is a rod that is extremely stiff, making it capable of withstanding an enormous amount of weight and pressure that trolling speeds combined with a muskie strike can put on a rod. I have witnessed its power in action as my brother hauled in two, 50-plus inch fish on Rainy Lake, and the rods handled them with tremendous success.
Made with St. Croix’s SCII graphite, these rods are built to make life on the water easier for the fisherman. If you are someone without the strength of Paul Bunyan then this rod will make your lives much, much easier, and you won’t wake up in the morning having lost the feeling in your upper body.
- Extra stiff SCII graphite shaft
- One-piece leads to consistent power
- Thick, heavy-duty eye guide is extremely durable
- Great for trolling
- Casting Accuracy and feel
This is your more middle-of-the-road priced rod from Kunnan. As with all Kunnan rods, you receive the durability and reliability, but this time in a slightly smaller package.
This 7’ heavy-duty rod has fast action and can withstand upwards of a 40-pound test line. It is a one-piece model that trends towards a power rod, but the shorter length allows for the feel and casting accuracy that is needed for a casting rod. The casting accuracy of this rod rates with any rod I’ve used and allows easy lure maneuverability to make easy work of jigs and jerkbaits.
The only knock that I have on this rod is even though it is a one-piece rod, it isn’t quite as stiff and powerful as I would prefer in a muskie rod. If I were to hook a 30 plus pound fish it would be a battle.
- Casting accuracy
- Cork handled, comfortable grip
This is an unfamiliar rod for many that needs to be on the radar this coming season. This heavy-duty rod is great for casting big lures without putting too much stress on the angler. It has a two-piece design that allows for flexibility and provides whip to gather distance in your casts.
At 8 feet in length, this rod throws big or heavy lures with ease without cutting down on accuracy. It is also powerful for a 2 piece rod. I generally would not associate power with a two-piece rod, but with its 50-pound test capability, I have to give it a high power rating.
This is a rod that I have recently purchased and have really enjoyed. It is easy to work and is comfortable to hold and cast.
The one flaw that I have seen in this rod is durability. I broke an eyepiece off of this rod within the first week of having it and had it repaired in what I would consider normal wear and tear for a rod.
- 2 piece system allows for flexibility
- Easy storage and transport
- Heavy-duty test capability
- Casting accuracy
I took one of the new models on my latest fall muskie expedition and used it almost exclusively to try it out, and it didn’t disappoint. It was really comfortable to use and I saw just how easy it was to cast into tight windows.
I didn’t have any big fish on it, but it seemed very powerful as well. I used the 8-foot, 7-inch heavy-action model and I enjoyed it a lot even though we were in tough conditions throughout the trip. It definitely held up to its end of the bargain.
- Extended handle
- Casting Accuracy/Feel
These are excellent rods, not the typical big bulky musky rod, it is lightweight and perfectly balanced. I have had the opportunity to use this particular rod a number of times as it is a staple of my fishing partner, and avid muskie guide.
He uses these and only these rods and would tell you that he likes to let his rod do the work and doesn’t want a fight. If you enjoy the rod doing all the work then this is the rod for you. I have seen the difference in the casting distance between this rod and other rods of its size. The only downside to this lure is consistency when working a large jig or bulldawg.
- Lightweight feel
- Excellent casting distance
- Perfect balance
- Doesn’t have a consistent feel when working a jerk bait
The truth of the matter is you can’t go wrong with any of these great rods. Each of these rods has its own unique aspect that makes it an extremely valuable addition to any muskie angler’s repertoire.
To be a truly productive muskie fisherman you need to have a variety of rods, reels and lures in order to consistently bring in big fish. I believe the 10 rods highlighted here give anglers of all experience levels and budgets the opportunity to up their game in the pursuit of the ‘fish of 10,000 casts’.
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