When you're fishing for stripers, you have to be prepared with the right equipment. It's overly optimistic to think your standard bass fishing equipment will be able to land these prized gamefish. Striped bass can have up to three times the pulling force as largemouth bass, and will make light work of finicky tackle.
Freshwater striper species are just as aggressive as their saltwater cousins. However, anglers should consider their unique situations when identifying rod criteria. Whether you fish from a boat, beach, kayak, or shore, this guide will help you find the best striper rod for your specific needs.
Our team has years of experience recommending high-performance fishing equipment, with your budget in mind. For more equipment information, check out our complimentary guide to the best striper reels on the market.
Best Striped Bass Rods
Penn Squall Combo - Best Striper Trolling Combo
4.7 Stars | 434 Angler Reviews
The Penn Squall Combo is the best striper trolling combo of the year. It's able to handle big-game fish better than any other setup with a similar price tag. The rod and reel were made for each other, allowing the Squall Combo to be perfectly balanced.
This reel won't give even when fighting +50lb stripers. The same can be said for the rod, which is both durable and sensitive enough for freshwater uses.
Penn Squall Details
As seen in the image above, this combo includes a "Level Wind Reel." This is a type of baitcasting reel with a unique line sorting mechanism that moves back and forth, ensuring an even line lay.
There's nothing worse than a reel that "cross-lays" your line. Cheap products that do this will frequently cause you to lose fish.
Penn's exclusive HT100 carbon fiber drag gives you more power than you'll get anywhere else. Overall, this is a comparable alternative to a custom +$800 trolling setup that will save you a whole lot of money.
TICA Striper Collector - Best Inshore Striper Rod
4.3 Stars | 61 Angler Reviews
Anglers searching for the best inshore striper rod should consider adding the TICA Striper Collector to their arsenal. This rod was specifically designed for striped bass fishing and won't break the bank. You can now fish with quality equipment and avoid spending habit disputes with your spouse!
Every striper fisherman knows how expensive good quality equipment can be. This rod is made from the same graphite and fiberglass composite combination that far more expensive rods are built from.
This two-piece rod has a solid backbone capable of handling big stripers and casts 1/2 to 2-ounce lures without any problems. We also like how the cork grip feels in your hands.
Berkley Big Game Spinning Rod - Best Budget Rod
4.6 Stars | 717 Angler Reviews
If you're on an ultra-tight budget, you'll be glad to know there's an option that costs under $50. Berkley's Big Game Spinning Rod has an X-veil high modulus blank and titanium guides with slim profile Zirconium inserts. These features, among others, give it the affordable power that others have yet to replicate.
This rod has a Fenwick custom reel seat, and an EVA split grip handle. We recommend 8' Medium-Heavy power for saltwater species and 7' Medium power for freshwater species. It's best to pair the Big Game Rod with a 4000 to 8000 sized spinning reel.
Berkley includes a lifetime warranty with every purchase, which is rarely included with entry-level products. This is always a useful bonus as it protects you from breakage or faulty equipment failing.
BerryPro Spinning Rod - Best Surf Rod for Stripers
4.5 Stars | 87 Angler Reviews
The BerryPro Spinning Rod is the best surf fishing rod for striped bass. While there are plenty of surf rods made by different brands, you won't beat the value BerryPro offers for the price. However, it's important to consider that this rod is made for lighter surf tackle, such as live bait and chunks.
IM8 X-Carbon technology makes this rod strong, sensitive, and lightweight. Well-shaped EVA grips make it comfortable to use, and the one-year warranty is an enticing bonus.
When we put this spinning surf rod to the test, it had all the qualities we were looking for. Since it's versatile, you'll have no problem landing species other than striped bass.
The backbone can easily handle halibut, surfperch, rockfish, striped bass, small sharks, rays, and anything else you may catch when fishing from the beach.
Okuma Cedros E-Glass - Best Jigging Rod
4.6 Stars | 165 Angler Reviews
If you're in search of an inexpensive jigging rod, the Okuma Cedros E-Glass offers the most value for the money. With an included lifetime warranty, the E-Glass is hard to pass up and has been gaining popularity.
6'0" to 6'6" is the ideal length as you don't want a long rod for jigging situations. This E-glass rod design gives you a ton of power and reduces shocks down the blank. With a stiff tip and a long butt, the Cedros gives you adequate leverage for striper jigging.
We recommend 30lb to 50lb braid for all types of striped bass. The Cedros heavy power model is best for saltwater fishing, while the medium-heavy is ideal for freshwater species.
Penn Carnage II - Best Boat Casting Rod
5 Stars | 21 Angler Reviews
The 7' Penn Carnage II is a reliable boat casting rod with the ideal features for striper fishing. Whether you're casting topwater plugs, swimbaits, or most other lures, this model will outperform the competition.
We love the grip strength the rubber handle offers as well as the sturdy aluminum reel seat. Through all of our testing, we've never had to tighten the reel seat, and the rod has never let us down.
Our favorite reel to use on the Carnage is the Abu Garcia Revo Beast X Casting Reel. While it's a premium baitcaster, the quality and long lifespan make it worth every penny.
If you tend to rip topwater baits out of the fish's mouth, you might want something different. The excitement of getting a big blowup causes some anglers to set their hooks too quickly. These anglers would benefit from using a crankbait rod, which will give you a built-in hook-set delay.
Abu Garcia Veritas LTD - Most Versatile Casting Rod
5 Stars | <5 Angler Reviews
Inshore anglers will love the versatility of the Abu Garcia Veritas LTD. This model is 15% stronger and 5% lighter than the other Abu Garcia rod moels. You'll be able to cast baits all day without getting tired. The Veritas gives you the maximum casting distance with medium-lightweight lures.
The 3-year warranty and awesome aesthetics are bonus qualities. When you're around rocks and other structures, the Veritas helps you get fish back to the boat quickly and pull them out of obstacles they could wrap around.
We've found this rod pairs extremely well with an Abu Garcia baitcasting reel such as the Revo Beast X.
Toadfish Rod - Best Striper Spinning Rod
4.5 Stars | 40 Angler Reviews
Toadfish Rods are exceptional mid-range striper spinning rods. While they have a funny name, this series casts a mile and has a satisfying feel in your hand. This is an agile, lightweight, and dynamic spinning fishing rod.
The 7'6" medium-heavy fast spinning rod is ideal for striped bass. It's a great value for the money, and we think it performs better than some models that cost well over $300. It throws medium-sized jigs, flukes, and other baits very well.
With a 40-ton graphite blank and 2-year warranty, it's easy to see why Toadfish is gaining popularity. It's also worth mentioning that the company gives back to marine life by replanting oyster beds with every purchase. You can find out more through the Amazon button above.
Ugly Stik Striper Round - Best Budget Trolling Combo
4.5 Stars | 510 Angler Reviews
At first glance, the Striper Round Combo seems too good to be true. Since the rod and reel are inexpensive, you might expect them to be flimsy or poorly made. In reality, this rod combo is exceptionally durable for the money, and the reel is on-par with +$300 products.
Every striped bass angler knows how difficult it can be to find affordable and high-quality fishing equipment. However, Ugly Stik is known for selling well-priced rods that are the strongest on the market.
The reel features a line counter that goes up to 1000ft, a handy feature to have out in the ocean. We recommend a 20lb braided line for the most fish-fighting power.
Striper Rod Buyer's Guide
Freshwater vs. Saltwater
Saltwater striped bass are entirely different fish than freshwater stripers. The saltwater variety is much larger, and they tend to put up a bigger fight! Freshwater stripers are often smaller, but they're a lot stronger than other bass species, such as largemouth.
Boat Fishing vs. Shore Casting
When considering a striped bass rod, it's important to consider where you'll be casting from. If you're fishing from a boat, you generally don't want a longer pole. However, longer rods will help bank-fishermen, as they'll be able to cast baits farther and into deeper waters.
If you intend on trolling from a boat, there are rods specifically designed for your needs. Often, the best trolling setups are sold with the rod and reel together as a combo because the pieces are uniquely designed to be fished together.
Lures vs. Bait Fishing
Whenever you're fishing live bait, cut bait, or chunks, it's important to use a rod with a soft tip. This will keep the fish from feeling the rod before it has a chance to swallow the bait. You'll get perfect placement of the circle-hook, right in the corner of the fish's mouth.
Graphite rods with soft tips are the best for all bait types, from eels and shad to lively bunker.
Jigging for Striped Bass
When the water temperatures drop, the stripers tend to move from deeper waters to shallower points. You'll want to jig vertically in 20-30ft of water with a shorter rod. A fishing rod with a longer butt will give you more leverage and help you keep your presentation active.
The best jigging practice is to imitate a dying baitfish that's trying to escape predator fish. Pull your rod aggressively to get the attention of the largest stripers in the area.