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There are lots of decent Salmon rods out there so finding the right one can be a bit of a challenge, too much choice is not always a good thing when you are looking to narrow down your buying list on a new rod.
Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
So we decided to put together this buyers guide that looks at the essential features of a good salmon rod and our 5 picks that we think are strong contenders for the title of best salmon rod for the money (the Lamiglas X-11 is our top pick).
Now, a lot of it comes down to preference and style of fishing but our 5 picks cater for most salmon fishing situations so hopefully this gives you some good suggestions.
What Makes A Good Salmon Rod?
Before you go out and buy any kind of salmon rod, there are a few key considerations that you should pay attention to if you are investing in a decent rod.
1. Slow Action
For salmon fishing you want a rod that has relatively slow action. In other words, you want it to bend a good deal down the rod towards the butt.
Hooking salmon and keeping them on the line can be a long process, and when fighting big game fish like this, you don’t want quick and snappy movements to rip the hook right out of the fish.
Quick and jerky movements are not the way to go about salmon fishing, at least when larger fish are in question, so you don’t need a fast action rod. When it comes to salmon, fast and moderate action rods are fine for smaller ones, but for larger sizes a slower action rod is best.
You need to have a lot of backbone in the rod so you can pull the fish around and keep fighting it without having the rod snap in half on you. A very strong rod, combined with high test line, is essential when it comes to reeling in those big salmon.
Do keep in mind that a stronger rod might be a bit less sensitive. Yes, you need a really strong rod for the big salmon, but for medium and smaller salmon, you want to go with something that is also quite sensitive so you can actually feel the bites.
For one, when it comes to salmon fishing rods, the length of it is very important. Depending on the exact type of rod you are using, you will want to stick with one that is between 8 and 10 feet in length.
You also want the butt of the rod to be between 6 and 12 inches. When fishing for big fish, you will often have the end of the rod resting on your waist or torso, so a rod butt length that is either too long or short will not do.
When fishing for salmon, what you need is a rod with a whole lot of strength and a good deal of flexibility too.
Therefore, either a fiberglass or graphite rod will do just fine. However, if you want the best of the best, we would recommend a graphite and fiberglass combination rod.
5 Best Salmon Rods For The Money
There are actually a lot of good rods out there but these are our own personal top 5 that we think are some of the best for the money;
1. Lamiglas X-11 Cork Fishing Rod
If you need a good average all around salmon fishing rod, the Lamiglas X-11 is a pretty decent option to go with.
This specific rod is 8 foot 6 inches in length, making it ideal for smaller and medium size salmon. It’s not particularly long, but also not particularly short, which is ideal for smaller salmon fishing applications, just not for the largest salmon out there.
On that same note, this rod is a fast action rod. Now, although you do want a medium or slow action rod for reeling in those really big fighting salmon, a fast action rod like this will do just fine for smaller salmon.
Power & Line
Do keep in mind that this is technically a bait casting rod, which means that getting a far and accurate cast is easy. This rod is designed to be used with a line weight between 20 and 30, and lures between 1/2 and 2 ounces.
In other words, as you can see, it’s fine for small and medium salmon, but not for the very largest ones out there. What is impressive here is that this rod is a medium power rod, so it does have decent backbone, or in other words, in terms of weight, it can handle some pretty decent sized fish without breaking.
This rod is made with ultra high density 24 ton carbon graphite. In other words, this thing has a lot of strength, power, and it is quite flexible too, not to mention that it has a decent level of sensitivity, once again making this rod ideal for smaller and medium salmon.
This is a good all-around rod for beginner and novice salmon fisherman who are going for all kinds of salmon except for the very biggest ones in deep sea conditions.
We do also like the custom tapered cork handle, which is both durable and comfortable for long fishing trips. It’s comfy to hold, it provides good grip, and allows for lots of leverage too.
- Fast action for sensitivity – good for small and medium size salmon.
- Medium power – good for fairly large salmon.
- Strong material – quite powerful and flexible.
- Ideal length for most salmon fishing applications.
- Can handle medium and large lures and test line.
- Durable and comfortable tapered cork handle.
- Not ideal for very big and heavy salmon.
- Eyelet inserts may cut the line a little bit.
- Eyelets made of brittle plastic.
2. HLHB Salmon Spinning Fishing Rod
In terms of versatility and choice, you definitely get a whole lot of it here. This particular rod comes in many different lengths, action ratings, and power levels too.
It would take a whole lot of time to list all of the different lengths and power ratings available here, so let’s just say that you can get everything from a 8 foot 6 inch medium or medium heavy rod, all the way to a 14 foot heavy, medium heavy, medium, and medium light rod.
We like the fact that this rod comes with so much selection, because you can choose the rod length, action, and power rating that work best for your fishing situation and they size of salmon you are going for.
As you can see, you can get a rod that has a very heavy power rating with slower action, which is perfect for deep sea fishing and for catching those big fighting salmon. You can also choose a rod that is a bit shorter, one with faster action, and one with a lower power level, which is best for smaller salmon.
Material & Build
In terms of the design of all of these rod lengths, they all feature high modulus TC2 graphite material, a material that is both quite strong and flexible. The blank here is made to be both strong and fairly sensitive, making it ideal for smaller and medium size salmon.
The FUJI Hardloy ring guides are very durable and can handle various lines with ease. When it comes to the handle, it is made with super durable cork which is comfortable, easy to hold, and can help provide quite a bit of leverage too.
The reel seat here is made with APS graphite, which is true for both spinning and casting models. This rod is actually quite lightweight, at least the shorter ones are.
- Choice of various lengths.
- Choice of various power ratings.
- Choice of various action levels.
- So much choice means it is easy to find a specific one that works for your fishing purposes.
- Fairly strong and flexible graphite material.
- Reel seat that can hold spinning and casting reels.
- High quality cork handle.
- Most options are not ideal for really big and heavy fish.
- Most options are a bit stiffer than you would expect.
- The butt could be a bit longer.
3. Okuma Celilo Graphite Salmon Spinning Rod
If you need a nice spinning rod for salmon fishing, the Okuma Celilo Spinning Rod is a good option to keep in mind.
This particular rod is 8 feet 6 inches in length. This makes it ideal for mostly all sizes of salmon that you could fish for. The fact that this is a spinning rod does make it ideal for beginners due to ease of use, although casting distance and accuracy might be a bit worse than a bait casting rod, the fact that it is ideal for beginners remains the same.
In terms of the action, this rod is a medium action rod, which is fine for small, medium, and fairly large salmon, just maybe not for the very largest ones out there, especially the big fighters.
Power & Line
In terms of its line rating, the ideal line to use with this rod is a 4 to 12 pound line. In other words, it can handle line that is ideal for small and medium size salmon, but not the very large ones.
Material & Build
This particular rod is made with a graphite blank, which is both fairly strong and flexible, plus it has a decent amount of sensitivity too. Once again, all of the features of this rod makes it ideal for small and medium size salmon fishing.
It features stainless steel hooded reel seats, so it can probably be used for saltwater fishing without much issue. At the same time, the guide inserts are made with aluminum oxide for long lasting durability.
The handle is made with high quality cork for good leverage and grip. The rear grip length on this thing is 12 inches, so it does provide for good leverage no doubt.
- All of the features make it ideal for smaller and medium size salmon.
- Has a good mix of sensitivity, flexibility, and power.
- Most components are treated to resist the effects of saltwater.
- Ideal length for most sizes of salmon.
- The tip is held on with only glue, making the tip somewhat weak.
- Generally speaking, the reel seat is upside down.
4. Shimano Clarus Salmon & Steelhead Casting Rod
As you can tell by the name of it, this is a bait casting rod. So, right off the bat, beware that if you are not a pro, this thing might suffer from some kickback when casting. If you don’t do it right, the line may tangle a bit and come loose in the reel.
With that being said, if you need something for accurate long distance casts, this rod is a good way to go.
Material & Build
We do like that this particular rod is made of IM-8 graphite. This means that it is quite strong, fairly flexible too, plus it has a decent amount of sensitivity. As is the case with most salmon fishing rods, you need a good mix of all of these things. It’s sensitive enough for small fish, but strong enough for pretty big guys.
We do like the A-Grade cork handles included here, as cork is quite durable, it is comfortable to hold, and the handle here is of an ideal length to get good leverage on some pretty heavy fish. We do also like how the blanks on this thing are exposed, which helps to increase sensitivity.
Length, Action, & Power
Now, we cannot really get into the power or action of this rod, as it comes in many different styles. When it comes to length, you can get an 8 foot 6 inch model, a 9 foot model, a 9 foot 6 inch model, and a 10 foot model too, so you can choose whichever one works best for you.
This rod also comes with the choice of fast and moderate action, making it ideal for smaller and medium size salmon, but probably not for really heavy ones.
In terms of the line strength, you can go with models that can accommodate lines anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds, and lures anywhere from ¼ ounce to 1 ounce.
- Comes in many choices of action, rod lengths, and line capabilities.
- Good mix of sensitivity, power, and flexibility for smaller and medium size salmon
Strong graphite construction.
- High quality cork handle with decent length for leverage.
- Aluminum oxide guide system for strength and corrosion resistance.
- Not the best for very large trophy salmon.
- Guide frames are not all that smooth.
5. Fenwicks HMX Salmon Spinning Fishing Rod
In terms of choice and versatility, the Fenwicks HMX Salmon Spinning Fishing Rod is definitely one of the better options out there.
Now, do keep in mind that this is a spinning reel, which means that it is very easy to get the hang of and perfect for beginners to use. However, do keep in mind that very accurate long distance casting is going to be a bit of an issue here.
With that being said, the blank here is made with modulus carbon fiber, which does make it quite strong. Once again, this is a rod with a good mix of strength, sensitivity, and flexibility.
Length, Power, & Action
This rod comes in many different lengths, power ratings, and with various action ratings too. Here you can choose from a 5 foot rod all the way up to a 10 foot 6 inch rod.
You can also choose between light, medium light, medium, and medium heavy power ratings, which means you can use various lure weights, various line weights, and thus it’s ideal for various sizes of fish too.
The rod itself, for the most part, is fast action and some of them come in moderate-fast action too. While it’s not the best choice for ultra-heavy fish, it does work well for all but the largest of salmon.
We do also like the cork grips here, as cork is just super durable, it is comfortable to hold, and the length of the handle on most of these rods is ideal for getting good leverage on some pretty big fish.
Even better is that you can choose between split grip and full grip models. What we do need to say here is that both the real seat and the guides are not of the best quality around.
- Tons of choice.
- Various lengths, power ratings, and action ratings.
- High quality cork handle.
- Full and split grip models.
- Great for smaller and medium size salmon.
- Ideal for beginners to use.
- Ideal for various kinds and sizes of lures and lines.
- Not very accurate at casting.
- Fairly low quality real seat.
- Not the most durable guides.
Types Of Salmon Fishing Rods
There are multiple different kinds of fishing rods that can be used for salmon. Each of these following salmon fishing rods have their own advantages and excel in certain situations, so let’s take a closer look at each of them right now.
1. Salmon Bait Casting Rods
These baitcasting rods for salmon fishing are great for fisherman that know what they are doing. They are excellent in terms of accurate casting and can be very productive when it comes to hooking fish.
They are a little harder to maneuver than your average spinning rod and they can suffer from backlash, but they are also a little lighter too.
2. Salmon Spinning Rods
If you are a beginner and are just getting into fishing, a salmon spinning rod might be the best way to go.
When you use the right spinning reel with it, they can be really easy to cast, although not 100% accurate.
They are great for fighting those big and heavy salmon that are going to put up a fight.
3. Salmon Fly Fishing Rods
When it comes to salmon fly fishing rods, if you are in a fast moving river, these are essential for fighting those really big salmon, a 9 or 10 foot long fly rod will work very well.
A long fly fishing rod is always a good choice to go with for reeling in those beefy salmon.
4. Salmon Saltwater Spinning Rods
In terms of spinning rods and spinning reels, the saltwater variety is in all honesty quite similar to your average salmon spinning rod.
Now, the difference is that saltwater spinning rods are more adept at dealing with the destructive effects of saltwater, plus they tend to be bigger and thicker, and they have more power to deal with those big ocean game fish.
5. Salmon Trolling Rods
For both freshwater and saltwater fishing, trolling is one of the best ways to catch salmon all around.
Trolling involves a lot of constant stress being put on your rod as you drag it behind the boat, which is of course even truer when you actually hook a fish.
Salmon trolling rods are designed to handle a lot of stress and they come with a strong backbone.
The bottom line is that there are many different types of rods out there which are ideal for salmon fishing. If you are a beginner, we would recommend with a spinning rod, but if you are advanced, you might want to use a bait casting rod. Also keep in mind the various factors and features that go into a good salmon fishing rod. As you can see from our reviews, there are many different salmon rods out there which might be right for you.