Soft plastics are one of my favorite ways to catch bass. From worms to craws, flukes to swimbaits, sot plastics are some of the most lifelike baits you can use. They’re almost always guaranteed to get bites when other hard plastics won’t.
So you should devote one fishing rod in your arsenal just to soft plastics if you can. Thankfully, most soft plastics fish very similarly so having one all-around rod for your soft plastics is very doable, from beginner to professional.
Below are 5 great rod choices for your soft plastic rod and then some information on why the specifications are ideal for soft plastics.
Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod - HMGPX70M-FS
If I had to pick the best rod at a reasonable price to use for soft plastics, it would be the Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod – HMGPX70M-FS.
Fenwick has long been an underappreciated brand in the fishing industry. They were on the forefront of innovation when the graphite rod was created years ago and they continue to provide high quality fishing rods year after year. For the price, it’s hard to beat a Fenwick Rod.
The HMG in particular is a great offering because it is constructed with spiral carbon wrapping – making it more durable but still nice and light to use. Line guides are updated from standard stainless steel guides to Fuji guides – making it more sensitive. The cork grip is also easy on the hands and is more comfortable to handle than felt for most anglers. And it comes with a limited lifetime warranty!
Those features and more are what make the Fenwick HMG the perfect soft plastic rod. The guides help with sensitivity so you can feel even the lightest of bites when fishing something like a plastic worm. The strength from carbon wrapping is helpful to pull a bass from brush or get unstuck from a rock without breaking anything.
I haven’t found many rods that can match the Fenwick at this price point, and the HMGPX70M-FS would be my #1 choice for soft plastics.
Bass Pro Shops Graphite Series Spinning Rod - GRS70MS
If you don’t have $100 to put on a fishing rod, you might want to look at the entry level Bass Pro rod – Bass Pro Shops Graphite Series Spinning Rod – GRS70MS.
You’re going to sacrifice the carbon wrapping, upgraded guides, and overall enhanced features that something like the Fenwick HMG provides. But in return you get a rod that will work well for a long time for only $35. Is it going to impress your fishing buddies? Probably not. But it will absolutely put fish in the boat.
Unlike many rods at this pricepoint, the Graphite Series from Bass Pro is made from complete graphite construction which makes it durable and sensitive. It even has a full cork grip which puts it above competitors like the Ugly Stik at this price. My father has had a Graphite Series rod and has put it to use over several years. Usually a cheap rod will have the reel seat come unscrewed, guides break off or chip. The Graphite Series has held up more like a $100 rod.
If you are budget-conscious – there is nothing wrong with the Bass Pro Shops Graphite Series GRS70MS. There are better options available though that will keep you happy for years and be much lighter, more sensitive, and durable.
St. Croix Bass X Casting Rod - BAC71MF
I recommended spinning rods with the best overall because I believe it is more versatile – something we will get into below. But baitcasters can make great soft plastics rods too if you get one that can handle the lightweight and sensitivity soft plastics can require.
For me, there isn’t a better option than the St. Croix Bass X rods when it comes to meeting this need. And the BAC71MF in particular will make a great all around soft plastic rod.
Bass X rods are the closest competitors to the Fenwick HMG rods in my opinion – with a solid graphite blank coated in two layers of Flex-Coat to prevent breakage. It also has an upgraded Fuji reel seat, aluminum rod guides, The handles are not only cork, but split grip which makes the rod lighter overall while providing great feel.
St. Croix is perhaps the most well-respected vendor in bass fishing rods as well, so you get a trusted brand to boot. For $120, it’s one of the best rods you can buy. But only comes with a 5-year warranty, so durability may be a concern.
Best if Price is Not a Concern
G.Loomis Greenwater Spinning Rod -
Speaking of trusted name brands, there is one brand that stands above the rest for making the best rods money can buy. And that is G. Loomis.
The issue is, they’re awfully expensive. The G.Loomis Greenwater Spinning Rod – GWPR843S that I would recommend as the best soft plastic rod you could buy is $270. Which s a pretty penny for a fishing rod that doesn’t even come with a reel – meaning you’ll be spending $350 by the time you’re done.
But if you have the money to spend, you won’t find a rod more comfortably to use, more sensitive, and more durable. It’s very rare to find a rod this expensive that has many positive reviews. On Bass Pro, the Greenwater rod has a 4.4 rating which is at the top of the category. So people don’t mind paying the price once they get it in their hands.
Fishing with a Greenwater Spinning Rod is just like stepping onto a completely different level. So if you’re a professional fisherman or just really love have the best gear – know that it is worth the money. Even if it is extremely expensive.
Bed Rod & Reel Combo
13 Fishing Kalon A/Blackout Spinning Combo
Most people don’t prefer to buy their rod and reel together as it limits your options. But if you don’t mind going with a preset pairing – you can save a good bit of money while still getting great quality products.
My choice for a rod and reel combo for soft plastics would be the 13 Fishing Kalon A/Blackout Spinning Combo. 13 Fishing is relatively new to the fishing game but they have made a name with great quality products for even better prices. This combo is $120 for both the rod and reel, better than you’ll find buying them separately anywhere else.
Even with the cheaper price you aren’t really missing out on upgraded features. It is lightweight but strong due to the solid graphite construction and split grip. It is felt, but with the split grip it still feels good in the hand. Stainless steel guides have zirconia inserts, which adds some sensitivity.
It isn’t quite up to par with the Fenwick HMG or St. Croix Bass X rods, but it’s in contention with those rods. And you can get it, with a good reel included, for about the same price as just the rod for the others.
Features you should be looking for in a fishing rod for soft plastics
If you don’t like any other options above or you want to go to your local bait shop for a rod, then lets go through every thing you should look for in a soft plastic rod.
Casting v. Spinning
The first big decision to make is if you want a spinning or casting rod. You can definitely use both for your soft plastic rods, but I think a spinning rod is way more versatile so a better choice if you’re going to have just one. Here’s why.
A spinning rod is necessary for any lure under ¼ of an ounce. Baitcasters just aren’t great for fishing when your lures are lighter because it doesn’t have enough weight to cast without backlashes. And there are many times with a soft plastic rod you’ll want to go very light – NED rigs, wacky rigs, or weightless flukes. They all need spinning rods.
Spinning rods also allow you to skip casts – which is necessary if you want to fish soft plastics under trees or around boat docks. The one thing you won’t be able to do is flip and pitch as effectively, but it can be done with spinning rods as well. Look at the video below for more guidance on that if it’s a concern.
Finally, spinning rods are the easiest to use in windy conditions which you may find yourself in at some point. They also are better for beginners, and if you’re looking for just one soft plastic rod you’re probably safer to go with the easier option. There’s nothing worse than getting a birds next in a baitcaster and having to fix it immediately to use your soft plastic again.
Regardless of choosing a spinning or casting rod, you will want to get a rod with a Fast action. If you want to know more about the difference between action and power read this article, but a quick explanation is below.
The action is where your rod bends. A fast action will only bend in the tip and have a solid backbone. This is important with soft plastics because you need to be able to detect the slightest of bites. If that nibble goes through the first half the rod, you won’t feel it. You need a quick tip that can really alert you to the bite all the way down the pole.
When setting a hook it also helps you immediately get the hook into a fish’s mouth. With soft plastics, this is almost always a necessity. You don’t want something long and bendy like you might with open treble hooks that you get on a crankbait.
Length is more of a personal preference in my opinion. But a good all around length for every need is 7 feet.
This gives you a good long rod that allows you to cast great distances if you need to. But it isn’t so long that it gets unusable. Anything longer can also be a lot harder to skip. BUt if you get a 6 foot rod you’ll lose some of the flexibility, casting distance, and abilities to get a big long hookset when needed.
Overall – this is probably the least important aspect to a good soft plastic rod in my mind. Pick up a bunch of different lengths and see what feels comfortable to you. I like a shorter rod than most anglers, and frankly it makes it easier to transport as well. I don’t miss any more fish because of it. It’s more personal preference.
Length may not be super important, but power can be. The power of a rod relates to action in that it is how bendable the pole is. The lighter the power, the more easily it bends.
So you’re probably thinking you want no bend at all – which would be a heavy rod – but your really don’t. Having bend in a soft plastic rod is really important in helping you fight a fish, work lures, and get great casting distance.
So go for a medium power rod if you ant a good all around option. It can handle any lures from ⅛ of an ounce up to ¾ or even 1 ounce if you’re careful. And frankly with soft plastics you’ll almost always be on the lower end of the spectrum.
If you fish really deep fisheries, use big lures, or just want a heavier rod you can go with a medium heavy. Or likewise if you are always under ⅜ of an ounce and like lightweight techniques then go with a medium light. The medium is just a great all around option that can go both ways without any problems.
You should now know everything you need to go get a great soft plastic fishing rod. If you have anything else you would look for or have a great soft plastic rod you want me to review please leave a comment below! I love testing out new equipment!
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