The Shimano SLX DC has the legendary performance of Shimano’s DC series without the expensive price tag. While this reel has gained the popularity it deserves, many anglers aren’t sure which rod to pair with the SLX DC.
While Shimano offers a rod specifically designed for this baitcaster, many rods pair well with the SLX. Since the DC reels are designed for making long casts, reducing backlash, and elevating performance, finding a rod that won’t reduce these qualities is essential.
This guide will discuss the best rods for the Shimano Curado SLX DC and compare poles made by Shimano with third-party models. We’ll also compare the SLX DC with the Curado DC to help you decide between the two reels.
Shimano SLX DC vs Curado DC
The price is the main difference between the Shimano SLX DC and Curado DC. Shimano’s SLX DC model is more affordable but still provides exceptional performance.
If you’re looking for the smoothest reeling action, the Curado DC has high-end components for buttery-smooth cranking. However, this is achieved using fine mesh gears, while the SLX DC features durable gears with solid construction.
This design difference makes the SLX DC more reliable and ideal for beginner to intermediate anglers. While the Curado DC casts slightly further, for many, the difference isn’t significant enough to justify the higher price.
Anglers considering the Curado reel should review our guide to the best rods for the Shimano Curado DC.
SLX DC Rod Qualities
The Shimano SLX DC is a versatile baitcaster, so it’s best paired with a fast-action all-purpose rod. Poles with this design are great for fishing soft plastics, jigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and many other lures.
A moderate-action rod may play to your advantage if you only plan on casting crankbaits and jerkbaits. However, the rods we review are well-balanced and perform well with most bass lure types. You don’t have to build a complete technique-specific rod collection to catch loads of fish.
Rods with medium-heavy power ratings are also the most versatile and pair well with the Shimano SLX DC. Medium power rods may be ideal for casting lighter baits, but most medium-heavy models offer a better weight balance for this reel.
1. Fenwick HMG Casting Rod
4.8 Stars | 37 Angler Reviews | $100 - $180
The Fenwick HMG Casting Rod is a great pole to pair with the SLX DC. As the original graphite fishing rod, Fenwick has had plenty of time to refine the HMG and balance its qualities. Combined with the SLX DC, this rod casts far, provides excellent sensitivity, and has a comfortable weight balance.
Our favorite model for the SLX DC is the 7’ medium-heavy fast action rod. However, if you’re looking for a more sensitive rod, the medium power model also has an exceptional strength-to-weight balance.
Fenwick uses premium cork handles, stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, and a custom reel seat. While these premium components are used, the brand keeps this model affordable.
2. St. Croix Bass X Casting Rod
4.6 Stars | 3 Angler Reviews | $120 - $160
The St. Croix Bass X Casting Rod is an exceptional value for the money. This is an entry-level model from St. Croix, a famous brand that designs the highest-quality bass fishing rods on the market. Since it’s affordable, pairing this rod with the SLX DC won’t break the bank.
Even though this isn’t one of St. Croix’s tournament-grade rods, it offers many of the same top-tier qualities as the expensive poles. The Bass X features premium SCII carbon fiber construction, and the blank includes mid-modulus graphite materials.
The handle on the Bass X is made from premium cork materials and has a comfortable feeling in your hand. Any rod from St. Croix looks fantastic when paired with a Shimano baitcaster, as both brands have a low-profile approach to design.
We found the 7’1” medium-heavy fast-action model pairs best with the SLX DC. This combo won’t disappoint.
3. Shimano SLX CST Casting Rod
4.3 Stars | 75 Angler Reviews
If you don’tCroix’s want to customize your setup, Shimano made a rod specifically designed for their baitcaster. The Shimano SLX CST Casting Rod has a sleek look with the same color scheme used on the SLX DC reel. Like the baitcaster, this rod is designed to deliver high-level performance at an affordable price.
Shimano did a fantastic job matching the qualities of their baitcaster with this rod. The SLX CST brings out all the best qualities of the SLX DC and increases the casting distance and sensitivity. Feedback from the line flows seamlessly through the reel seat and straight to your hand.
Pairing this rod with your reel will offer exceptional weight balance and improve dynamics. Shimano tailored the rod’s material distribution to the exact weight of the SLX DC.
For more information about this rod, see our full Shimano SLX Rod Review.
4. St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod
4.6 Stars | 561 Angler Reviews | $135 - $220
If you’re looking for a more technical St. Croix rod, the St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod also pairs well with the SLX DC. The Mojo Bass is slightly more expensive than the Bass X but has improved performance.
The Mojo Bass has SCII graphite construction, while the Bass X is mainly constructed from carbon fiber. This premium material increases strength and sensitivity while also reducing weight.
Even though this pole is more affordable than other St. Croix models, it features the brand’s advanced IPC tooling technology. This eliminates all the transition points along the blank and ensures a seamless power flow. IPC tooling technology also increases the rod’s strength, sensitivity, and dynamics.
The best model to pair with the Shimano SLX DC is the 7’1” medium-heavy casting rod. This specification comes in a two-piece design, which usually reduces performance. However, St. Croix uses high-tech rod joints that don’t reduce power or sensitivity.