Are Ugly Stik Rods Good? Don’t Buy One Until You Read This!

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Are Ugly Stik Rods Good?

Our team of experts that have been using these rods since they were first introduced in 1976 share their opinions on Ugly Stik rods.

We have used these rods for everything from trout and bass fishing, to tarpon and sailfishing.

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We will spell out the good things about Ugly Stik and the bad things, while looking at all of the components that go into the building of ugly stik rods.

Are Ugly Stik Rods Good?

The Ugly Stik fishing rod was invented in 1976 by the Shakespeare Company.

What makes this rod unique is its proprietary construction that involves using graphite in the center and then wrapping it with fiberglass and covering it with epoxy resin. The graphite gives the rod excellent sensitivity, while the fiberglass makes it extremely durable.

The Ugly Stik was so successful that it is now its own company and a subsidiary of Shakespeare.

The Ugly Stik is known for being able to be bent in a circle without breaking. 

I don't know how many fisherman would do that with a fish on, but it is good to know that it can be done, and it does show the strength of the rod.

Bending an Ugly Stik Rod in a circle

Don't try that with your expensive fishing rods!

Shakespeare released a new version of their Ugly Stik rod (GX2) in 2013. Similar to the old version, the new brand GX2 rod is loaded with great value and has had some significant upgrades that will have even the most experienced anglers excited about buying and adding it to their fishing arsenal. 

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Ugly Stik rods will hold up well to abuse and misuse. Stainless steel guides won't rust , even with saltwater use, although you should always rinse your gear after using it in saltwater.

They are powerfully designed to hold even the heaviest braided lines and the blank is exposed in the real seat, which makes it incredibly sensitive for detecting even the subtlest strikes

Ugly Stik rods are available different weight classes, action levels, and lengths. They literally make an Ugly Stik for every type of fishing.

Key Features of Ugly Stik Rods

Ugly Stick Spinning Rod

Now, let's outline the new upgrades that will make you want to grab the Ugly GX2 Stik fishing rod. 

One-Piece Guides

Shakespeare has completely re-engineered an entirely new guide system for the Ugly Stick called Ugly Tuff™.

The guides are made of one piece durable, stamped stainless steel that makes them extremely  difficult to damage or destroy.

The old Ugly Stik guides were tough, but they had a ceramic insert that could break easily. The new guides are durable, and there are no inserts to break. 

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Ugly Stik Stainless Steel Guide

Clear Tip 

The clear tip has been a signature of the Ugly Stik rod ever since it was first introduced, but why the clear tip?

The tip is made out of just fiberglass for extra durability and sensitivity. Most fishing rods are broken at the tip, so Shakespeare designed the Ugly Stik tip to be very difficult to break.

When you pick up a fishing rod, you can tell instantly if it is an Ugly Stik by the signature clear tip.

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Rod Blank 

The rod blank is made out of graphite, which is then wrapped in fiberglass and covered with an epoxy resin, but one of the features of the new Ugly Stiks is that the graphite blank is exposed in the real seat, which makes it incredibly sensitive to what is happening at the end of your line.

Durable Grip 

The Ugly Stik GX2 features a durable EVA foam grip and the Ugly Stik Elite features a cork grip with an exposed blank in the real seat and the Ugly Stik logo etched into the cork.

The grip alone makes the Ugly Stik Elite worth the extra $10

Other outstanding features of the Ugly Stik fishing rod include:

  • It's well balanced
  • Features a clear, durable tip
  • One-piece hardened stainless steel guide design
  • Graphite rod blank wrapped in fiberglass and coated with epoxy resin
  • Ugly tuff & Ugly Tech construction

Pros and Cons for Ugly Stik Rods

Ugly Stik GX2 Rod

Since you're well aware that every product is likely to have its advantages and disadvantages, below are some of the things we liked and disliked about Ugly Stik Rods.

So, let's start with the pros:

Pros Of Ugly Stik Rods

  • Available in numerous configurations for every type of fishing
  • Proprietary construction method is extremely durable
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price
  • Unbreakable
  • 7 year warranty

Cons Of Ugly Stik Rods

  • Some fisherman don't like the stainless steel guides

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FAQs About Ugly Stik Rods

How good are stainless steel guides on ugly stick rods?

The stainless steel guides on Ugly Stick rods are good for most fishing situations. The only place where you might have an issue is if you were fishing for tuna or other fast running species and using braid. We could see a scenario where the braid could cut a groove in the stainless if the fish was running hard and fast for a long period of time. For most fishing scenarios, the stainless steel guides on Ugly Stik rods work perfectly and are extremely durable.

Are the line guides on ugly stik elite rods any good?

Yes, the line guides on Ugly Stik Elite rods are very good. They are the same Ugly Tuff, one piece hardened stainless steel guides that are found on all Ugly Stik rods. They provide excellent line flow with minimal friction and are extremely durable, living up to the Ugly Stik name.

How strong are Ugly Stik Rods?

Ugly Stik rods are one of the strongest and most durable rods on the market today, as evidenced by the 7 year warranty. There is no other fishing rod in this price point that stands behind their rods with that kind of warranty.

Ugly Stik rods are so strong that it has been said they are unbreakable. One fisherman decided to put that claim to the test on YouTube.

You can see how strong Ugly Stik rods are by watching the video below.

In which country are Ugly Stik Rods manufactured?

Ugly Stik Rods are manufactured in China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Are Ugly Stik Rods recommended for bass fishing?

Yes, Ugly Stik rods are recommended for bass fishing. Our top pick for best bass fishing rod for beginners is the 6' 6" Ugly Stik Elite. It is a great all around bass rod that you can use for many different baits and presentations.

Can you put a baitcasting reel on an Ugly Stik spinning rod.

We do not recommend putting a baitcasting reel on an Ugly Stick spinning rod. Read this article to find out why. Can You Use A Baitcaster On A Spinning Rod?

Final Thoughts

Are Ugly Stik rods good?

If you have read this far, you now know that, yes, Ugly Stik rods are good. They are one of the best fishing rods for the money and provide incredible value with their low price point and 7 year warranty, making them ideal for beginners learning how to fish.

Here at, we have many Ugly Stiks in our rod holders, but our favorites are the Ugly Stik GX2 and the Ugly Stik Elite.

They make a model for just about any fishing scenario you can come up with, so pick one up for yourself today and see what all the fuss is about!

Tight Lines!

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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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