Ugly Stik Elite Rod: You Don’t Need To Spend $100 Or More

4.0 rating

If you’re just getting started with using a casting rod you probably don’t want to spend a fortune. One of the options is the Ugly Stik Elite rod and in this post, I’m going to be talking about whether or not it’s worth picking up.

The Ugly Stik Elite is one of the highest-rated casting rods under $50 and that’s why I picked it up to use with my Shimano SLX reel. I haven’t used too many expensive castings rods but I have tested multiple different models in this price range and the Ugly is one of my favorites. If you pair the rod with a high-quality braided line then you’ll get the same sensitivity you’d get with a $400 option.

If that’s all the info you were looking for then great. If you want a more detailed review or to know the cheapest place to pick one up then continue reading.

Style & Comfort

Other than the price, one of the main reasons I got this rod was because of how comfortable it felt to hold. I got the 6’6 medium heavy option and mainly use it for shore fishing in somewhat tight spots (which it works great for). I trek through some pretty heavy brush at times and I’m not really worried because it’s pretty cheap to replace (haven’t had any issues though).

I also prefer the cork handle over rubber or foam and that’s what this Ugly comes with. You can get a different model if you prefer rubber but I think most people prefer cork.

The rod is super simple to put a reel on and take off and I haven’t had any issues at all with my reel coming loose. Overall, the rod looks good and feels good and that’s awesome for an inexpensive fishing rod.

Quality & Performance

The main thing that really matters is the quality and performance of the rod. Like I said before, I haven’t really used an expensive casting rod so I can’t compare it to that but if you put it up against another rod in this price range the Ugly will blow it away.

The action is fast and the guides are stainless steel which makes them tough and smooth and I’ve never had any issues or had to replace them (knock on wood). I haven’t had the rod for too long so I can’t say for sure how long it’ll last but I’ve been pretty tough on it and it’s working great. Plus, there are tones of good reviews so I’m not worried at all.

The rod is rated for 10-20 lb test but you can throw heavier lures on and you’ll be alright. I’ve caught everything up to like 10 lbs and it’s always done the job. Pair it with a braided line and you’ll have a fish magnet. If you just throw a regular fishing line you won’t have the same sensitivity as you would a higher-end model but with the braided line, it changes that big time.

It is a 1-piece rod so it’s much stronger than a lot of the other entry-level units and because it’s so light it also makes it easier to cast a long distance. You really can’t go wrong with this rod in my opinion.


  • The price can’t be beaten.
  • You can catch some pretty decent-sized fish with it.
  • The quality of the guides seems really good.
  • The sensitivity is great with a good braided line.


  • The guides weren’t perfectly centered (didn’t make that much of a difference).
  • It’s not the best for casting lightweight lures.
  • It’s a bit hard to transport because it doesn’t break down.

The Breakdown

  • Casting Score: 8
  • Comfort Score: 9
  • Quality Score: 8
  • My Personal Score: 8.5

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What lb line can the Ugly Stik hold?

A. The lightweight can hold around 8 lb, the medium around 20 lb, and the medium-heavy around 30 lb.

Q. Can you use the Ugly Stik to troll behind a boat?

A. Yes, you can.

Q. Should I go with the medium or medium-heavy option?

A. Most people (including myself) prefer the medium-heavy.

Q. What are the best lures to use with this?

A. It depends on the fish type but I prefer casting with a 1/2-3/4 oz lure.

Q. What is the rod made from?

A. Graphite.

The Verdict

Overall, if you’re looking to get into baitcasting and don’t want to break the bank then this could be a great option for you. It’s not as advanced and not as strong as some of the higher-end models but for the price, it can’t be beaten. Click here to see the price on Amazon.

I’ve been using it to catch trout, kokanee, bass, and a few other things with no issues and I’ve always been able to rely on it. It’s one of the best 50 bucks I’ve spent and I’d highly recommend it. Just be sure to put a quality line on it and take care of it on a regular basis.

Happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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