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Shimano SLX Rod Review (2022)

Shimano SLX casting and spinning rods

The Shimano SLX Spinning and Casting rods are specialized rods that are specifically designed to be paired with the SLX DC baitcasting reel. Many anglers considering purchasing the Shimano SLX DC often wonder whether the custom-made rod is the best rod for the reel.

We decided to put the rod to the test and figure out whether it deserves the hype. After putting the SLX rod through our multi-stage tests, this review breaks down our findings. For more details, see the 39 Angler Reviews.

An Overview

Our team at Bass Tackle Lures has years of experience reviewing fishing equipment and recommending the best value rods. We consider sensitivity, casting performance, weight, length, power, and price, among other factors.

Overall, for under $100, the SLX rod offers impressive value. The rod has a minimalistic design with superb detailing. It has a surprising amount of performance, especially when paired with the matching Shimano SLX DC baitcaster.

This pole is well-balanced, and the handle is comfortable in your hand.

SLX Construction

The blank of the Shimano SLX Rod is constructed from 24-ton carbon fiber, which makes it strong and lightweight. As of 2022, KastKing and Shimano are at the forefront of affordable carbon fiber construction.

Both the casting and spinning models are sold in one-piece and two-piece designs, making them more practical.

Frequently, rods with a two-piece design sacrifice sensitivity and strength. However, the SLX rod joint is well-designed, giving the two-piece and one-piece rods the same amount of performance.


Compared to other rods in the same price range, the SLX rod has exceptional sensitivity. You can feel everything going on under the water with baits such as crankbaits and jigs. The rod’s sensitivity lets you feel a clear difference between rocks, vegetation, and fish strikes.

While the Shimano SLX doesn’t have the ultra-dynamic feeling of tournament-grade rods, it’s a well-made rod.

Casting Performance

From jigs and jerkbaits to topwater and finesse lures, the SLX rod can do it all. The baitcasting models are especially versatile, as you can get away with casting lures that are lighter than the suggested lure weights.

The rod has a soft tip and loads up well when casting. Unlike other entry-level rods, the SLX doesn’t have a stiff blank but still has plenty of power.

When paired with the SLX DC reel, this setup casts a mile. The tapered guides with titanium inserts help reduce friction and improve line management.

Rod Weight

An essential part of building a good bass fishing setup is ensuring a good weight balance. Our impression is that this rod has an excellent distribution of materials, meaning the weight is balanced perfectly in the middle of the rod.

This design makes it easier to pair with a spinning or baitcasting reel. As long as the reel size matches the rod specifications, the SLX will give you a dynamic feeling that’s hard to find under $200.

Length & Power

The Shimano SLX is sold in lengths between 6’10” to 7’5”. There are also plenty of power and action ratings to choose from, depending on the types of lures you fish.

If you’re looking for a versatile bass fishing rod, the 7’ medium-heavy fast-action model is ideal. This rod is great for fishing jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and many other popular bass lures.

We also recommend using the fast action rods instead of the extra-fast models. Through our testing process, we found the fast action designs have more than enough sensitivity, while the extra-fast rods sacrificed backbone strength.

Lastly, we thoroughly enjoyed fishing the 7’6” medium-heavy fast-action rod around heavy cover. If you’re looking for a second technique-specific setup for frogs, punching, and flipping, this model is ideal for fishing around vegetation.

SLX Spinning and Casting Models

The Shimano SLX spinning and casting rods are fundamentally similar and constructed with the same blank technology. Shimano’s spinning rods are more sensitive and don’t weigh as much as the casting rods.

Spinning rods are better for finesse applications and casting lighter lures. A spinning setup is also more straightforward for beginners, as baitcasters take some practice.

The casting rods have more strength and offer better performance. If you know how to use a baitcasting reel and are still deciding between the two types, we recommend using the casting rod for the most versatility and casting performance.

Reel Pairing for the Shimano SLX

Shimano SLX DC Baitcaster

If you don’t already have a reel you want to pair with this rod, the Shimano SLX DC Baitcasting Reel performs exceptionally well with the SLX rod. These two products were designed to be used together, giving you the best weight balance and casting distance.

The reel seat on the SLX rod was also custom-built to seamlessly connect with the SLX DC reel. This design allows for a better transfer of vibrations and more power when fighting fish.

While Shimano offers a standard version of the SLX reel, the SLX DC model is worth the upgrade. The reels don’t have a significant price difference, and the DC model features significantly upgraded components.

The Shimano SLX DC reel has much of the same technology as the high-end Curado DC reel, but it’s much more reasonably priced.


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