Finding the Best Jigging Rod – Reviews & Comparison For 2018

Specialized jigging rods are relatively short, tough saltwater rods built to take the vertical jerking motion of a heavy jig for long periods of time. These rods also need to have a lot of backbone because jigging techniques are commonly used on halibut, grouper, snapper, and other large species that hug the bottom and take to shelter when hooked. A good offshore jigging rod is light and comfortable enough to pull up and down for hours at a time and strong enough to handle a heavy-duty style of fishing.

Freshwater or inshore jigging calls for fast-action and good sensitivity. The rod must allow for working with jigs under 1/2oz of weight and fish that may be shy biters. The light touch needs to be combined with the backbone it takes to set hooks in large fish and bring them to the boat.

9 Best Jigging Rod Comparisons

What makes a good jigging rod? 

Look for rods built on tough graphite or glass composite blanks, with anodized aluminum reel seats and either full or split EVA grips. Guides should have super-hard inserts that can handle braided lines – ceramics and exotic alloys like zirconium are popular. On heavy jigging rods made for use with conventional reels, the lead guide will be positioned close to the foregrip to hold the correct line angle while fighting fish.

Modern jigging rods are adapted to work with braided lines, which have far less stretch than mono line. Rods now do not need to be as stiff as in the past. They are made to bend almost double, letting the fish fight the rod and taking the strain off the angler. Composite graphite/fiberglass blanks give the combination of light weight and strength needed for this type of rod, and most of the best jigging rods today utilize this design.

Jigging Rods Reviewed 

Learn more about jigging rods with our review of a selection of the best. We looked at specialized saltwater gear as well as some lighter and more versatile rods to give you a head start on searching for the best jigging rod.

9 Best Jigging Rod – Reviews

1. St. Croix Mojo Jig Fast Conventional Rod

St. Croix Mojo Jig Fast Conventional Rod

St. Croix is one of our favorite rod companies, and their Mojo series saltwater jigging rods combine extreme strength with quality detailing and user-friendly handling. We tried out a 6ft 6in medium heavy rod that is designed specifically for vertical jigging in saltwater. St. Croix builds these rods on premium quality SCII graphite blanks with specialized Advanced Reinforcing Technology and Integrated Poly Curve technology. They come in bait casting and spinning versions, and can handle 50 to 100lb braided lines and jigs from 4 to 8 ounces. When set up right, the Mojo is one of the easiest rods to work a jig with. The power of the rod is apparent, and we never came close to its strength limits. For a pure-bred heavy saltwater jigging rod, the St. Croix Mojo is our first pick.

What we liked

  • Extreme durability
  • Super strong

What we didn't like

  • For heavy use only
  • 1 piece rod is difficult to transport
  • High price point

2. Shimano Trevala S Medium Fast Jigging Rod

The Shimano Trevala is a new breed of conventional jigging rod that uses new technology to cut weight and diameter while maintaining maximum strength. This rod is unbelievably thin and sensitive in the hand, yet it can work a 6oz jig and bend nearly double without a problem. Graphite/glass composite blanks with Shimano proprietary C4S construction, lightweight Fuji Alconite guides, and graphiteylon reel seats help to trim all excess weight. The result is a rod that is so light and comfortable that it feels like panfishing in a lake until you remember the 80lb Powerline on your reel. If you have ever wanted to fight big fish on light tackle, the Shimano Trevala is a rod you have to try. It is our favorite in the light tackle, fast action category.

What we liked

  • Amazingly light and sensitive
  • Nearly unbreakable
  • Shimano quality and service

What we didn't like

  • 1 piece rod is difficult to transport
  • High price point

3. Penn Carnage Medium Heavy Jigging Rod

Penn Carnage Medium Heavy Jigging Rod

The Penn Carnage is a traditional short jigging rod that can mount a spinning reel if desired. Made primarily for straight dropping from a boat in saltwater, the Penn combines sensitive feel with amazing strength. The power of this rod is amazing in comparison to its light, comfortable feel in the hand. It can handle line weights up to 80lbs, and jigs to 7oz. The backbone you need to haul grouper out of their holes or fight big snapper is there, but it is also easy to feel lighter bites from smaller fish. We felt the overall balance of the rod was better with a conventional or round bait casting reel mounted, but that is personal preference. The Carnage comes at a fairly high price point, but this is a quality rod that will provide years of service.

What we liked

  • Strength and finesse combined
  • Comfortable to use
  • Penn quality

What we didn't like

  • Only comes in short lengths
  • 1 piece rod is difficult to transport

4. Daiwa Vip Saltwater Jigging/Spinning Rod

The Diawa VIP is a tough E-Glass rod with a little more length that gives it the ability to work for both jigging and throwing lures. The VIP Fast Action is not a super-heavy rod for winching the bottom of the ocean up. Instead, it handles well with mono up to 40lbs and provides the shock-absorbing power needed to wear down fast-running fish like tuna and wahoo. This rod has a lot of nice features like the extended triangular-shaped Powerlift foregrip, Fuji guides and reel seat, and a nylon gimbal/rubber butt cap combination. We liked this rod because it offers versatility that you don’t get from the heavy, specialized jigging rods. But it still works well with small to medium sized jigs, and is a lot of fun to fight smaller fish on. If you need a more all-around style of rod that can still work for most jigging applications, the Diawa is a good choice.

What we liked

  • Versatility
  • Lively, sensitive feel

What we didn't like

  • Takes mono line only
  • 1 piece rod is difficult to transport

5. Okuma Cedros CJ-C-601M Medium Heavy Jigging Rod

Okuma Cedros CJ-C-601M Medium Heavy Jigging Rod

The Okuma Cedros offers a balance of strength, quality, and affordability. The Cedros medium heavy is a popular go-to rod for striped bass fisherman, and charter captains who need to buy large numbers of durable rods. This rod is built on a fiberglass blank that give incredible strength and pulling power at the sacrifice of light weight. The rod is still comfortable to use, and touches like the ergonomic pyramid shape of the reel seat and the ribbed EVA foregrip make up for the extra weight. The Cedros is made for braid, with zirconium guide inserts and high-rise frames that keep the line off the blank and grip. We feel that glass rods help absorb the shock transferred by braided lines. This rod is the one to use for taking on extreme fish like the goliath grouper, or big rays. The Cedros gets our vote for most durable saltwater jigging rod.

What we liked

  • The strength and durability of glass
  • Ergonomic touches make long fights easier

What we didn't like

  • Not as sensitive as a graphite rod
  • No rod butt gimbal

6. UglyStik Tiger Elite 6ft 6in Heavy Jigging Rod

UglyStik Tiger Elite 6ft 6in Heavy Jigging Rod

The venerable UglyStik brand comes through again with a brute of a rod designed specifically for jigging on the bottom. The Tiger Elite has a higher graphite content than many of the other UglyStiks, making for lighter weight and more responsive feel. We like the extreme durability of UglyStiks, but it comes with a mushy feel. This rod seems to have put that problem to rest. It is sensitive enough to let you feel the hits even with 7oz jig on and 150ft of line out. The Tiger Elite is built to handle saltwater, and we like the corrosion-resistant one-piece guides that eliminate the problem of popping inserts. Cushioned stainless steel reel seat hoods take conventional and spinning reels. The dense EVA foregrip is contoured to provide comfort during long fights. This rod casts well enough to be used for jetty fishing or throwing big plugs. The UglyStik offers strength and versatility at an easy price point, making it a good entry-level offshore jigging/spinning rod.

What we liked

  • Bulletproof construction
  • 1-piece guides
  • Casts well for a heavy action rod

What we didn't like

  • Lead guide is too far forward
  • Difficult to get reel seat tight enough

7. Penn Rampage Medium Heavy Jigging Rod

The Penn Rampage is a composite rod built for vertical jigging in saltwater but versatile enough to use for bottom fishing and casting as well. Setup for use with conventional reels, the Rampage has a corrosion-resistant build and is durable enough to make the grade on offshore charter boats where rods have to combine affordability with the capability to withstand abuse. Fuji aluminum oxide guides are wrapped and glassed in place and are nearly indestructible. The heavy-duty reel seat torques down well, but we don’t care for the exposed threads that can appear on the upper end depending on the reel being used. We do like the fat EVA foregrip and contoured butt with rubber gimbal. We found this rod to be surprisingly responsive and slender for a stick that can handle 100lb line. The Rampage features some of the highest quality detailing in this price range and is a great boat rod.

What we liked

  • Quality build at a low price
  • Versatile
  • Sensitive tip section

What we didn't like

  • Tip guide is not beefy enough
  • Exposed threads on upper reel seat

8. RoseWood 6ft 4in 2pc Slow Jigging Rod

The Rosewood is a light-weight carbon fiber rod that offers a slow action and sensitive feel for both jigging and casting applications. Cross-wrapped carbon fiber cloth cuts weight while keeping the strength high. The rod is built with the split grip design that leaves the butt section of the blank bare for better feel. Low-profile guides are built to handle braided line, and are extremely solid. Only the Shimano Trevala came close to matching this narrow-diameter rod in bottom feel sensitivity and responsiveness to strikes. The RoseWood has plenty of pulling power and can handle lines up to 30lbs on a 15lb drag setting. This rod undoubtedly gives up some strength in comparison to high-quality composite rods, but it will give you the feel and performance of a rod like the Shimano but at less than half the price. The RoseWood offers 2-piece portability and is the best of the budget-priced lightweight jigging/spin casting rods.

What we liked

  • Great price to quality ratio
  • Very sensitive feel
  • Versatile and portable

What we didn't like

  • Lead guide will not line up well on some reels
  • Unproven brand name

9. Fiblink Graphite 2pc Saltwater Jigging Rod

Fiblink Graphite 6ft Heavy 2pc Saltwater Jigging Rod

Fishermen looking to pick up a heavy saltwater jigging rod at a budget price point will want to check out the Fiblink carbon graphite rod. This 2pc rod has a butt joint design that gives the feel of a 1-piece rod with the convenience of portability for the traveling angler. The solid Japanese TORAY carbon fiber build offers toughness and backbone for hauling big fish off the bottom. The rod is setup with stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts, a graphite reel seat with tapered hoods, and a machined aluminum gimbal protected by a rubber butt cap. Ready to take line weights up to 80lbs and jigs up to 7oz, this rod has the features and feel you get from far more expensive gear. The Fiblink is the shortest rod in our test, and it is surprisingly sensitive considering how much power it can put on. This rod gets our vote for best value for the money as well as the best-built 2-piece rod.

What we liked

  • Stiff and strong
  • Portable
  • Quality detailing

What we didn't like

  • Guide legs look fragile
  • Too stiff to cast well

The Jig is Up 

We find that modern jigging rods break down into 2 main types: short, thick power beasts for pure offshore bottom work, and the new breed of super-strong, super-flexible light-weights like the Shimano Trevala. While it is tempting to have one of each, the average fisherman might be better off going with the versatility of a longer, more sensitive rod that can handle jigs, throw lures, and even fish bait well. We hope this review helps you narrow in on the best jigging rod for your style of fishing.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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