Last updated on March 7th, 2023 at 05:15 am
Are you looking for the the best musky rod?
If so, you may have noticed that the selection can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of different musky rods for sale.
It didn’t always use to be this way. In fact, years ago, the selection of the best musky rods was actually quite poor. Below we will look at the best musky rod for the money, the best musky rod for bulldawg lures, the overall best musky rod for 2023 and we will even discuss the best musky rod and reel combo. You can also read our musky reel buyer’s guide to help you decide what is the best musky rod for you.
Later in this article, we’ll take a quick look at the past and present of musky rods.
Table Of Contents
- Best Musky Rod 2023
- 1. St Croix Legend Tournament Musky Casting Rod – Best Musky Rod For 2023
- 2. St Croix Mojo Musky Rods – Best Musky Rod For Bucktails
- 3. St. Croix Premier Musky Rod – Best Musky Rod For Bulldawg And Pounders
- 4. Okuma EVx-C-861XHT-FG EVx Musky Telescopic Rod – Best Telescopic Musky Rod
- 5. Redington Predator Fly Rod – Best Fly Rod For Musky
- Best Musky Rod And Reel Combo
- Best Rod And Reel Combo For Musky Fishing With Larger Baits
- Best Musky Rod And Reel Combo For Bucktails And Topwater Baits
- Musky Rod Buyer’s Guide
- Rod Length
- Rod Power
- Rod Action
- Where To Buy
- Best Muskie Rods 2023
Best Musky Rod 2023
|CHECK PRICE & AVAILABILITY
|St. Croix Legend Tournament
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|St. Croix Musky Mojo
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|St. Croix Premier Musky
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|Redington Predator Fly Rod
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1. St Croix Legend Tournament Musky Casting Rod – Best Musky Rod For 2023
By far, the best musky rod for 2023 is the St. Croix Legend Tournament Musky casting rod. This rod is a super fast action musky rod that delivers on all fronts. This is our all-time favorite muskie rod for tight wrist action snaps using either minnow baits or traditional jerkbaits.
This rod is also great with the longer sweep-like action that is needed with a lot of the newer glide baits. That’s why we also rank it as the best musky rod for glidebaits.
We have also successfully used this rod for topwater lures and crankbaits in heavy chop where a short, accurate cast is very important.
The St. Croix Legend Tournament Musky casting rod is arguably the most accurate casting rod we have ever used. If, for example, you need to thread the needle and land your lure into open pockets and holes in slop, or if you are trying to cast a jerkbait accurately to muskies hunkered down in tight brush or other wooded cover, this is without a doubt the muskie rod for you.
It’s really amazing how accurate this heavy, stiff, fast action musky rod is versus longer models with more bend. Give this musky rod a shot and see for yourself. You will be truly amazed at just how accurate and easy to work this model is. We can’t imagine ever musky fishing without it. It’s no surprise that so many pro guides consider this to be the best musky rod for 2023.
2. St Croix Mojo Musky Rods – Best Musky Rod For Bucktails
When it comes to casting bucktails, the St. Croix Mojo Musky Rods are the best musky rod for bucktails.
The St. Croix Mojo Musky Rods are an exceptional all around musky rod that is fully capable of casting both 1/2-ounce bucktails and a 3-ounce swimbait. This is a solid crankbait stick. It’s great for working deep divers over the rocky humps and also along weedy edges. This muskie rod is a top choice for straight retrieve topwater lures.
This rod is relatively lightweight, yet incredibly strong. It offers the perfect amount of sensitivity while not sacrificing durability. If you are looking for the best musky rod for bucktails, the Mojo from St. Croix is what you want.
In spite of the vast variety of musky lures on the market today being plastics, bucktails and similar spinnerbaits remain probably the number 1 musky producer overall. Check out any online musky lure merchant and you will see just how popular these lures remain. Spinnerbaits and bucktails catch everything from pike to bass to muskies, and more musky fishermen are adding this bait to their tackle box every year. That’s why you need the St. Croix Mojo, the best musky rod for bucktails.
We like this St. Croix rod so much that we actually keep several of these on board at all times. Usually, we have one rigged up with an in-line spinner and another with some type of bucktail.
3. St. Croix Premier Musky Rod – Best Musky Rod For Bulldawg And Pounders
When it comes to throwing big baits, our top pick is the St. Croix Premier Musky Rod.
The superior strength, sensitivity and hook-setting power of the St. Croix Premier make it the best musky rod for bulldawg and other large lures.
This musky rod has been designed uniquely so that it will maintain the proper rigidity and stiffness in proper areas of the rod. The part near the tip of the rod is where the bending needs to happen for both casting and fighting big fish. This is all done without adding any significant additional weight near the middle and tip of the rod which would result in casting fatigue and slows down hookset speed.
Made with St. Croix’s SCII graphite, these rods are built to stand up to the beating that they will take musky fishing. Their toughness also makes them the best musky rod for pounders, if that is your bait of choice. Casting pounders for hours on end will wear out even the most in-shape musky fisherman. However, doing so with the Premier will be much less labor intensive. Your elbows and shoulders will thank you for getting this rod.
4. Okuma EVx-C-861XHT-FG EVx Musky Telescopic Rod – Best Telescopic Musky Rod
The Okuma EVx-C-861XHT-FG is a great musky rod that won’t break the bank. In fact, this is the best telescopic musky rod for the money, in our opinion.
This rod is made from a super sturdy carbon rod blank that is virtually indestructible. You would have a very difficult time breaking this rod, even if you tried. It will be able to handle even the biggest of muskies with east. Should the rod break for some crazy reason, it is covered by a lifetime warranty.
That being said, the quality of the rod guides doesn’t match up to the rest of the rod. They are the one potential point of failure on the Okuma EVx Carbon Musky rod. If a guide should happen to break loose, it is a simple and relatively inexpensive fix.
Perhaps the best feature of this rod is that it is a telescopic musky rod. That means that the rod collapses into itself for convenient storage and transport. If you have ever tried to put an 8-foot 6-inch rod in your vehicle before, then you know what a major struggle that can be. Not so with this handy telescopic rod. Just be careful that the rod is fully secure before using it, otherwise it could unintentionally collapse while fishing.
All in all, we really like the Okuma EVx and feel that it is a good choice for the price.
5. Redington Predator Fly Rod – Best Fly Rod For Musky
The Redington Predator Fly Rod is the best fly rod for musky fishing.
If you are going to fish musky with a fly rod, you are going to need a specific big-fish fly rod somewhere in the 11 to 12 weight class. These tend to be the best fly rod weight for musky.
You don’t want to use fly rods with ultra-fast rod actions. You want a musky fly rod with somewhat slower action. A medium or medium-fast fly rod will provide more forgiveness while casting.
When it comes to fly rods, many think of G. Loomis, and those are generally really good rods. However, when it comes to musky fishing with flys, we prefer the Redington, which is a great musky fly rod for both experienced fly anglers and beginners. This rod is a pleasure to cast during long days of musky fishing, thanks in part to the slightly softer butt section.
Fly fishing takes some extra practice. Whichever musky fly rod you choose, be certain to practice with it for at least a couple of weeks prior to a big musky trip. You don’t want to to be “that guy” who is wiped out by noon, due to poor casting technique.
Choosing the best musky rod and reel combo for the money can seem like a daunting task. Knowing that each angler has their preferred musky baits and musky fishing style and techniques, all of which are best served by the various product attributes, it is difficult even for us to pick just one best musky rod and reel combo. However, below we list some of our top choices to help you decide.
What is most important when looking for the best musky rod and reel combo for the money is that you match your equipment with your presentation. By doing so, you are able to fish a lot more comfortably, and also enables you to work your baits in the proper manner.
Best Rod And Reel Combo For Musky Fishing With Larger Baits
If you are going to be casting a lot of heavier baits, such as Bull Dawgs, and you need a good amount of speed and huge cranking power, then we would recommend going with our favorite musky reel, the Shimano Tranx. This reel will give you the power and speed that you need for bigger baits.
Pair the Tranx with a rod in the medium-heavy to heavy power range. We highly recommend pairing the Tranx with our favorite musky rod, the St Croix Legend Tournament Musky Casting Rod in your length of choice.
This will certainly not be a cheap setup, but absolutely worth it, and few could argue that this is not the best musky rod and reel combo for large baits like Bull Dawgs.
Best Musky Rod And Reel Combo For Bucktails And Topwater Baits
If you are looking at burning bucktails or other lighter weight topwater baits, then you are probably going to want a reel with some speed. When it comes to speed, there is probably nothing faster than the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel.
The Revo Rocket is FAST! With it’s 7.6:1 gear ratio, it has a 42″ retrieve rate per crank. This reel is amazing for burning bucktails and other topwater lures. Once you try it, you will be amazed at the speed and ease of the Rocket.
You would do well to pair the Abu Revo Rocket with our favorite musky rod for bucktails, the St. Croix Mojo Musky Rods. Once again, not the cheapest setup, but arguably the best musky rod and reel combo for bucktails and topwater baits.
Musky Rod Buyer’s Guide
When selecting a fishing rod for any style of fishing, you should think of it from these two perspectives. First, consider how the fishing rod will both cast and work a particular lure. Secondly, how will that particular rod set a hook and then fight the kind of fish that you are after. Setting the hook and fighting the fish are key aspects to success with musky fishing, yet few anglers consider these in their rod selection.
If the musky rod that you are using does not set the hook well, a big musky will likely spit out the hook in no time. This becomes more of a concern with the longer rod types in the 7 1/2- to 8-foot range. In the past, a lot of the longer muskie rods were simply too slow and soft. They didn’t deliver enough power when needed during the hookset.
My how times have changed. A few decades ago the longest musky rod made by St. Croix was a whopping 5’6″. Today, St. Croix is making musky rods over 10 feet long!
While more and more musky fishermen are using longer and longer rods, the best musky rod length remains a controversial topic. But, in our opinion, the truth is that there is no best musky rod length. It is merely a matter of comfort and preference for each individual angler.
As the size of musky baits has increased, so has musky rod length. Let us talk a bit more about today’s popular baits and discuss the reasons for the increased musky rod length.
When it comes to bucktails, fishing on a slightly longer rod that offers some tip bend is best for these popular lures. In order to effectively cast these lighter lures, a fair amount of tip bend is essential. You might get away with a 7-footer in this case, but our experience has taught us that a musky rod that is at least 7 1/2 feet is most ideal. The six extra inches really makes a big difference while casting with low to medium weight lures. Truth is, the 7 1/2-foot medium heavy musky rod makes casting a bucktail spinner a real pleasure. Additionally, this length of rod has some other advantages which may not seem quite so obvious, but are nonetheless equally as important.
Swimbaits, an increasingly popular style of musky lure, are larger, soft plastic musky lures that often weigh as much as six or more ounces. It requires a big fishing rod to cast these lugs. Once they hit the water, a steady and slow retrieve with an occasional stop-go crank sort of action will frequently attract some musky movement. So jerkbait-like, quick musky rod responses are usually not necessary. A long sweeping motion for the hookset with consistent pressure is essential to musky hookups. This is where a longer musky rod comes in handy.
Jerkbaits are a large part of today’s musky tackle, and they have pretty much always been a productive tool. Years ago, the main jerkbait fishing rod of musky hunters was a 6-footer. 6-feet is short by today’s standards. While not as popular today, the shorter 6-foot musky rod did have it’s advantages. Using simple wrist action, it was easy to work with. Throwing larger baits was also quite easy. The lighter weight of the 6′ musky rods made them easier to fish for extended periods of time without too much fatigue.
But, the shorter muskie rods also had some noticeable drawbacks. Two of the main ones are a lack of hookset sweep at greater distances, and a lacking of overall bend in the rod while fighting the fish. These contributed to a high number of lost muskies after the initial strike. This is because it is rather difficult to keep the fishing line tight with a shorter stiff rod.
Yes, the 6′ muskie rods did work a jerkbait well, they simply couldn’t keep the fishing line tight. Therefore the musky would often get loose after the strike. While trying to keep the line taut and the rod bent while battling a fish, too much pressure was very often exerted on the musky. This usually resulted in a bent-out hook or even a hole torn in the muskie’s mouth. Either of which would result in a lost fish.
One other key disadvantage to the shorter traditional 6′ musky rod happened at boatside during a figure-8 procedure. Musky rods that are less than 6’6″ simply are too short for an effective figure-8. Longer musky rods are greatly superior versus shorter versions while making a large figure-8 to hook a following fish. Executing a figure-8 and setting the hook is much easier with a longer rod.
It used to be that when length was added to a musky rod over 6′, either the rod became too heavy, or the tip action softened too much. Thanks to newer technologies, rod manufacturers have been able to develop the right taper, while also maintaining the rigid stiffness that is critical to good action while using jerkbaits.
Today’s best muskie rods deliver by being longer while preforming similar to a short 6-footer while casting and jerking the bait, and also bending properly during battle. Additionally, they work far better on shorter line hits at boatside.
When referring to he ‘Power’ of a musky rod, this basically means how much pressure or force that it takes to flex the rod. Different musky rod powers, ranging from ultra light to extra heavy, are engineered to efficiently handle a particular range of line sizes and musky lure weights. The best way to choose a musky rod power that is best suited for you, look at rod choices that are designed to cast the size of line and the weight of baits that you will fish for muskies with most often.
For example, if you fish with larger lures, the best musky fishing rod should have a perfect amount of bend that enables you to fight a big muskie or pike with good control. It is important to keep consistent pressure and tight line on a big monster after the hook is set. The bigger 3 to 6-ounce muskie lures typically have larger treble hooks. That means they use a thicker gauge metal on the hooks with a larger barb surface area. Because of this, you need far more power in the hook set, while at the same time have consistent, solid pressure after the hooks are driven home. A musky rod that is at least seven feet in the medium heavy action range will surely offer this.
The ‘Action’ of a musky rod ranges from slow to x-fast and is determined by the point at which a rod flexes along the blank. With a slower action musky rod, the main flex occurs down into the butt section of the blank. For moderate action musky rods the flex happens near the middle of the rod blank. And finally, for faster action musky rods, the flex occurs mostly near the tip of the blank.
If you are throwing larger, heavier baits, then you probably want a musky rod action in the moderate range. For lighter weight baits, go for a musky rod action in the fast range.
For example, when musky fishing with topwater lures, a musky rod that is a little bit slower on the hookset is usually preferred. If you have super quick reflexes, you may very well miss way too many pike and muskies using a 6’9″ heavy action rod, but that won’t happen nearly as often with a medium heavy, slower-tapered rod.
There’s no doubt, musky rods can be expensive. The price on some of the best musky rods can be up to $400 or more. We know that is a lot of money for most people, but we have found that the top of the line musky rods, such as the St. Croix Legend, to be worth it in the long run. You get a great quality product that will make your musky fishing much more enjoyable. We look at it as a long term investment. And, if you ever decide to sell it, musky rods tend to have pretty good resale value.
You can also certainly get a decent quality cheap musky rod in the $80-$100 range. If you are new to the sport, or will only fish 2-3 times per year, then a musky rod in this price range may suit you fine.
For the average musky fisherman, they can expect to spend around $150-$200 for a solid musky rod that should give them several years of good, heavy use.
Musky rod warranties vary with each manufacturer. Since your rod is going to take some serious abuse when fishing for musky, it’s important to factor in the musky rod warranty when making a purchase.
Some of the cheaper rods only come with a one year warranty, and their customer service may be lacking when you need it. On the other hand, St. Croix has stellar customer service and offers several different warranties.
Where To Buy
When it comes to buying a new musky rod, you have plenty of options. The most obvious of which is your local big box retailer. And, while they are great places to go and get your hands on a rod, which we recommend that you do, they are probably the worst place to buy a new musky rod if you care at all about your finances. The markup at the big box stores is at it’s highest, unless you manage to snag a good end of season sale.
Next up would be your small mom and pop musky tackle shops. You will pay a little bit more here than our next mention, which is buying online, but we highly encourage you to support the locally-owned retailers. We don’t feel bad spending a couple extra bucks on a musky rod at the local tackle shop, and neither should you.
Of course, as with most things today, buying online tends to land the best deals. Amazon is still king, and we have purchased loads of musky fishing gear from them. Given their great shipping and customer service, you can’t go wrong buying a new musky rod from Amazon.
Last but not least, you can look to buy a used musky rod on various online marketplaces, such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Another hidden place to find great deals on used tackle is Facebook musky groups. Just do a search and you will might be pleasantly surprised with what great deals you can find on used musky rods.
Quite a few of you TigerMuskie.net readers are old enough to recall the days when the norm was simply one all-purpose musky rod. The standard for best muskie rods was a stiff, short, 5 1/2- to 6-foot pool-cue type of rod, and we all pretty much had that one single muskie rod. Back in the day, this was the only musky rod carried in stores. Sport shops would almost certainly offer a wide variety of actions and lengths in fly casting or spinning tackle, the best muskie rods were just that one single rod.
This wasn’t due to a lack of a diverse selection of musky lures. While the muskie lure department of yesteryear couldn’t match what is available today, there definitely was a complete array of musky lure weights and styles. In northern Wisconsin, lightweight, small bucktail spinners, usually weighing in at no more than 1 1/2 ounces, were for certain the most popular, but they also had a good selection of 4 to 6 ounce heavyweights. Large jerkbaits made of wood were, not surprisingly, even more popular back then than they are today.
So why was there a lack of selection with musky rods? Well, for starters, the musky rod industry simply wasn’t producing the selection of rods needed to cover the wide range of tiger musky lure techniques and weights. Few manufacturers even offered a true complement of musky rods to handle musky lure diversities, with the exception of St. Croix musky rods and a small handful of others.
Another reason for the lack of selection with muskie rods was that the retail industry itself was not as knowledgeable on musky fishing the way stores are today. As soon as you were about 30 minutes outside of an area containing musky lakes, the sport and tackle shops simply did not see stocking the best musky rods or other musky tackle as a priority.
Thankfully, that has changed dramatically.
A third and decisive reason for the lack in selection of muskie rods in years past was due to the available materials used at the time in larger big game fishing rods. While today’s graphite fishing rods and their various components are light but powerful, rigid, and responsive, yesterday’s muskie rods and components were both slow and heavy with very little sensitivity. In order for a muskie rod to attain proper action stiffness to effectively cast a larger 4- to 6-ounce musky lure, for example, the fiberglass needed to be beefed up a fair amount. Doing so added weight. Fishing rod weight slows down the response and deadens the sensitivity while also promoting angler fatigue.
A growing interest in musky fishing along with new technology has spawned an industry that today now features musky rods with components, lengths, and actions that can rival a pro tournament bass anglers selection. Now you can buy a muskie rod to fit basically every lure weight, and even further refine your choice to fit your height. Additionally, today’s best musky rods are manufactured with the very best components.
To go along with this 21st Century selection of musky rods, musky reels are better than ever, as well. Let’s not forget the fishing lines we fish for muskies today are also so superior to the products available just 5-10 years ago that when combined, the reel, rod, and line are perhaps the three most technologically-advanced fishing items available.
The end result is a solid collection of the best musky rod and reel combos that enables today’s musky fishing angler to fish and perform at a much higher level. Superior lure manipulation, less fatigue, fewer lost fish, far better casting ability, and a slew of other benefits are the result of the many new musky rod and reel combos. Along with there being more places to fish for muskies today, the tackle available now is also far superior. Including a great selection of muskie rods.
As you can see, musky rods have come a long way. The best musky rods for 2023 are vastly different than the ones a couple decades ago. Longer musky rod lengths and better materials have dramatically improved catch rates for today’s musky fisherman.
Today’s musky angler also has no shortage of choices for a new musky rod. We hope our buying guide has made it a little bit easier for you to select your next new musky rod.