Are Shakespeare Rods Good?

Shakespeare is a manufacturer of some of the best fishing rods in the industry. The company offers a wide range of options to fit the unique needs of novice and experienced anglers. Versatility, affordability, sustainability, and efficiency are their working keywords. But are Shakespeare rods good?

This guide seeks to shed more light on Shakespeare fishing rods and why you may consider them over leading competitors.

We've also reviewed five of their rods and discussed some of the few critical considerations to make to help you make an informed decision when buying your next Shakespeare fishing rod.

Is Shakespeare a Good Brand for Fishing?    

Shakespeare manufactures excellent fly rods, spinning rods and baitcasting rods that are perfect for all types of anglers.

The company offers a tremendous amount of variety and other valuable tools to a large segment of the fishing population.

It offers the perfect combination of quality, affordability, and utility to provide you with an enjoyable fishing experience. 

Shakespeare fishing rod

Who Makes Shakespeare Rods?

The Shakespeare Company manufactures the original Shakespeare fishing rods and is based in Columbia, South Carolina. It has been providing quality fishing equipment to the fishing community for several decades at a very affordable price. Shakespeare is a more than a century-old company since it first started producing fishing equipment in 1897. It is currently controlled by a reputable company in the fishing industry called Pure Fishing. 

Many anglers prefer the Shakespeare rods because they are affordable and efficient. Even though the rods may not be as sensitive as premium brands, they certainly perform the job well. The designers at the company have over 100 years of experience in manufacturing uncompromising fishing products suitable for different fishing setups. Anglers from all walks of life can enjoy affordable rods coupled with a durable tackle and support system.

The Evolution Of Shakespeare Casting Reels and Rods

Throughout its 120-year history, Shakespeare has played a critical role in developing fishing equipment and techniques. Shakespeare has always led the way in developing fishing reels and fishing rods. Because of their innovations, they invented the backlash brake that allowed the creation of casting reels. Backlash brake technology helped the company increase their sales and brand recognition among the fishing community.

Backlashes happen when a lure slows down when you are ready to cast it, but the spool keeps spinning, and it can cause a mess when the line that you are trying to attach to it becomes tangled. Fortunately, today's baitcasters are highly specialized, with advanced braking and anti-backlash mechanisms that allow anyone to cast a line without being penalized.

Shakespeare has been at the forefront of innovation and their work has resulted in the evolution of the fishing rod and reels.

Shakespeare Hall Of Fame

In recognition of the enormous popularity of the backlash brake among the fishing community and the invention's popularity as a helpful device, Shakespeare was inducted into the National Sporting Hall of Fame in the late fifties. This achievement triggered the company to work hard to produce valuable tools for the fishing industry. 

The Shakespeare rods have held up well, caught some nice fish, and haven't earned any complaints. They are known to retrieve fish reasonably quickly and smoothly compared to most of the other fishing rods on the market. Additionally, they are light enough to feel a strike yet powerful enough to fight a heavy fish without fear of breaking it. Moreover, there are no odd defects you can associate with these rods.

How is Ugly Stick Associated With Shakespeare?

When the company launched a subsidiary called Ugly Stick fishing rods, its overall sales witnessed a huge spike across the globe. Ugly Stick is basically a highly respected brand owned by Shakespeare. The company has also been offering an exceptional fishing equipment range that is more expensive than original Shakespeare reel kits and fly rods. Since the fishing community started embracing their premium products in 1976, Ugly Stick has grown and become more established daily.

Ugly Stick is reputable for producing durable and high-quality fishing equipment, and customers are continually amazed by its features. It has everything that makes high-quality fishing equipment that is second to none regarding reliability and effectiveness. Most importantly, Ugly Stick fishing rods are convenient and very helpful for many novice anglers. 

Shakespeare spinning rod

Using clever design and sturdy manufacturing methods, they produce rods that can comfortably withstand the test of time and still provide the user with all the necessary features and benefits. Everyone from amateur fishermen to fishing experts use Ugly Stick devices quite often. Ugly Stick models are a lot heavier than many models of Shakespeare. 

For purposes of reviewing affordable rods for our audience, we chose to include some of their products in this buying guide. This is especially important because when shopping for your next fishing rod or reel, it's critical to consider the price to avoid spending more than you anticipated!

Why Are Shakespeare Fishing Products So Famous?

Shakespeare has always provided a high standard of convenience to its customers in terms of value for money, reliability, operational efficiency, and thoughtfully designed fly rods. People are always looking for cheap products that are functional, and Shakespeare is all about that. Shakespeare ensures that the angling community gets high-quality, durable fly rods at very competitive prices. However, a low-cost fly rod does not necessarily mean that you are going to sacrifice sensitivity or a rod's ability to work efficiently. The company's fly rods have stood the test of time and have beaten the big guys, the leaders in the industry.

Best Shakespeare Fishing Rod Reviews

Now, let's dive into some great Shakespeare fishing rods available on the market:

Best For Beginners And Kids: Shakespeare Complete Trout And Panfish Kit

Shakespeare Complete Trout And Panfish Kit

This Spinning Rod And Reel Combo is perfect for beginners and children that you would like to introduce to fishing.

The package includes an ultra lite spinning rod, matching spinning reel spooled with 4 lb test fishing line, Berkeley Powerbait, swivels, hooks, weights, 2 lures, a fish stringer and a complete rigging guide.

Everything that you need to start fishing immediately, all at a very reasonable price.

We were very impressed by the quality of the Shakespeare fishing reel, given the low price point.

The rod is also very good quality and we love that it has a real cork handle.

Key Features 

  • Weighs 0.61 Kilograms
  • Measures 36.4 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • The fishing style is Trout – Spinning
  • Unisex-adult users
  • Monofilament fishing line type
  • Accessories include rod & reel 

What We Like

  • All Aluminum spinning reel.
  • 4 lb test monofilament included and pre-spooled.
  • We love that it includes a rigging guide.
  • Berkley Powerbait is included.
  • Perfect for beginners and kids
  • Complete kit. Start fishing immediately
  • Very low price.

What We Don't Like

  • Only for beginners and children.

Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Combo

Shakespeare is known for producing quality fishing gear at very reasonable prices and the ultra-light combo hits the nail on the head.

It is small and compact, perfect for fishing streams for trout or ponds and lakes for panfish and bream.

We love the graphite rod with the cork handle and the spinning reel features 2 ball bearings, which allows it perform very smoothly.

It comes pre-spooled with 4 lb test Stren monofilament fishing line, and is ready to use, right out of the package.

Key Features

  • Graphite composite rod with cork handle and ultra light action
  • 2 Ball Bearings for a smooth retrieve
  • Smooth multi-disc drag system
  • Pre Spooled with 4 lb test Stren Monofilament 

What We Like

  • We love how light the 4'6" graphite composite rod is.
  • The short rod is perfect for trout fishing on small streams.
  • The drag is super smooth and we were able to catch some pretty big trout with this setup.
  • The price can't be beat.

What We Don't Like

  • We had one that the handle broke off.

Best Baitcasting Combo: Shakespeare Alpha Baitcast Combo

Shakespeare Alpha Baitcast Combo

The Alpha Baitcasting Combo is one of the lowest priced combos that offers any real value. The graphite baitcaster comes spooled with 8 lb test fishing line.

The 6 foot baitcasting rod is made from a tubular glass rod blank and is super sensitive, yet it has the power to haul big bass out of the weeds.

We put this combo to the test on the Potomac River in Maryland. We were throwing snakehead lures in the shallows, trying to catch a snakehead.

Fisherman with a snakehead

We managed to catch a few snakehead and a couple of bass on this combo and we were very impressed by its performance, for such a low cost combo.

It's not the best bass fishing rod, but it is a really good choice for beginners, when they are learning to use a baitcaster.

Key Features 

  • Lightweight graphite baitcasting reel
  • Tubular glass rod blank construction
  • Pre-spooled with 8 lb test mono
  • Comfortable EVA foam rod handle

What We Like

  • We really liked the EVA foam grip, It was cold on the Potomac the day we reviewed this combo and the grip helped keep our hands warm.
  • We like the low profile design
  • The rod is really responsive, making it easy to throw heavy baits
  • The price is excellent

What We Don't Like

  • It's good for beginners, but experienced anglers aren't going to like it.

Shakespeare Amphibian Spinning Combo

The value that Shakespeare provides for the price is really something and the Amphibian cobo is no exception.

They use the same tubular glass construction in the rod blank as they do with the Alpha baitcasting rod. It is super responsive and utilizes the same EVA foam grip, which we love in cooler weather.

The spinning rod is medium action and is a great all around rod for freshwater use. It is great for trout, bass, walleye, perch, panfish and just about everything else that swims in freshwater lakes, pond and rivers.

The Spinning reel and rod combo is available in three different colors, blue, orange and pink, so each of your kids can have their own at this price.

You can't go wrong with this spinning combo, and if you do have a problem with it, Shakespeare customer service is excellent.

Key Features 

  • Tubular glass rod blank
  • 5 foot medium action rod
  • EVA foam split grip
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Pre-spooled with monofilament fishing line

What We Like

  • We really like that the rod is a medium action rod. It is ideal for a wide variety of fish.
  • We like the split grip. The sensitivity is amazing, because your hand is on the rod blank and not the grip.
  • We like that it comes in 3 colors. Each kid can have their own and not argue over whos is whos.
  • Super low price.

What We Don't Like

  • The real is not that good.


What is the best Shakespeare fishing rod?

The best shakespeare fishing rod is the Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod

Shakespeare has some of the best rods that the fishing community has been relying on for best performance across the world for years. In terms of durability, this rod will last for years and is a pleasure to use.

Who makes Shakespeare fishing rods?

Shakespeare fishing rods are now made by Pure Fishing. Pure Fishing acquired Shakespeare and the company now operates as a subsidiary of Pure Fishing. 

Where are Shakespeare fishing rods made?

Unfortunately, Shakespeare fishing rods are made in China, but that is what allows them to offer their products at such low prices, which allows them to bring the love of fishing to the masses.

Wrapping Up

Shakespeare has been manufacturing top-notch quality fishing gear since 1897 that is designed to suit the needs of all anglers regardless of their levels of experience.

They are still making great fishing gear and offering it at prices that anyone can afford. We love the fact that they are bringing the joy of fishing to all anglers regardless of their income bracket.

RELATED: How To Catch Redfish

Photo of author

Clarence "Fish" Fishburne

Fish grew up in the south fishing for catfish, bream, bass and anything else he could get to bite his bait or lure. After college he moved to Maryland and now fishes the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and other waters in the surrounding area. He frequently travels to other parts of the country in search of his favorite gamefish, the elusive catfish.

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