Best Musky Rods For The Money – 2019 Reviews and Buying Guide

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When you’re fishing for musky, your gear needs to be heavy duty and up to the task of landing those ferocious fish. The rod is the piece of equipment that takes the most abuse, as it’s used to wrangle the fish in, holding all of their force along the way!

Given the importance of the rod in landing musky, you need to make sure you have one that’s capable of withstanding even the toughest of fights. Landing a musky isn’t easy, but landing one with an inferior rod is nearly impossible!

Below, we have a comprehensive list of a series of the best musky rods that we strongly believe will help any angler land more muskies. They’re durable, usable, and ready to land your next trophy fish.

Criteria for Choosing a Musky Rod

Let’s face it: certain fishing rods just aren’t durable enough to land a musky without risking hardware failure. There’s nothing worse than hooking into a fish that’s too big for your gear and watching as your rod bends and snaps, leaving you with equally broken dreams.

We look for certain criteria when determining what rods are the best for catching musky. We’ll outline them all below to give you an idea of how we rated our choices and came to a final decision.

Rod Power

When selecting a fishing rod, you want to make sure you pay attention to the rod power. You may hear fellow anglers refer to rod power as “backbone.” This is the lifting power the rod has, and when catching large fish like musky, you’ll need to make sure it has appropriate strength.

Rod power is also directly correlated with the line weight that you’ll be able to use. The higher the rod power, the higher the line test you’ll be able to use. Since musky anglers use higher test line, you’ll need a higher power rod.

You’ll see that a rod’s power can range from ultra light to ultra heavy, with six other categories in between. When fishing for musky, you generally won’t want to go below the medium heavy level. This will ensure your rod is strong enough to sync with the line you’ll be using.

Rod Length

Most musky fisherman sport a rod in the range of 7 ½ feet to 9 feet in length. If you’re making the transition from catching smaller fish, this could come as a shock.

You’ll need the long rod length to help you cast large bait and handle the aggressive fighting nature of the fish. The length, combined with the proper rod power, will ensure you have an enjoyable fishing experience.

We find that a rod length of around 8 feet is the “sweet spot” when fishing for musky. It gives you plenty of length and strength for casting the large lures, yet it’s much easier to handle than a 9-foot rod.

Action

Rod action is the amount of bend in the tip of the rod when you apply pressure. It’s measured with designations of extra fast, fast, moderate, and slow. The “faster” the action, the further up the rod the bending will be.

The ideal action for a musky rod falls around the fast area, which is great for setting a hook in the tough musky lip and fighting the monster into the net.

Line Weight

You’ll need a rod capable of handling at least 65 lb. test line in order to fish for musky. We believe this is the bare minimum line weight you should use. As such, you’ll need a rod capable of handling such a robust line.

Ideally, though, you should look got a rod that can withstand 80+ lb. test line, as we’ve found that to be the most effective weight line for musky fishing. This goes hand-in-hand with our recommendation above that you select a rod with a medium heavy power higher.

While you may hear incredible stories of people landing 50-pound musky on 6 lb. test line, these are the outliers–people that caught a musky while trying to catch a much smaller fish. You should never intentionally attempt to catch muskies with less than optimal gear.

Lure Weight

One of the biggest things that separates musky fishing from other freshwater fishing is the sheer size of the lures you’ll be casting. These things are monstrous! Thus, you’ll need a rod capable of casting a large lure without snapping in half from the force.

Given the fact that a single musky lure can weigh up to 8 ounces, this is another reason your musky rod needs to be extremely strong. Casting such a large item can easily destroy a rod that’s not rated for bait that large.

Durability

The last–and possibly most important criteria in choosing a musky rod–is the durability. The construction of the rod, as well as the materials it’s made of, play a vital role in determining its longevity.

The last thing you want is to spend hard-earned money on what seems like the perfect rod, only to watch it crumble in your hands when a musky is on your line. You need a rod made of high-quality materials that can take the beating and still land fish after fish.

Final Thoughts

When you’re buying a new musky rod, there are tons of factors to consider. We’ve chosen what we believe are the best rods on the market, along with why they’ve made our list.

The final choice is yours, ultimately, so let’s take a look at the contenders!

In need of a reel too? Check out our buying guide and reviews for the top musky reels.

Reviews

St. Croix Premier Musky Rod – Our Pick!

St. Croix Premier 8ft MHF 1pc Musky Rod
Amazon 

Rod Power: Heavy

Rod Length: 8 ft

Rod Weight: 10.2 oz

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 40-80 lb

Lure Weight: 3-8 oz

In the musky fishing world, few rod manufacturers have the clout of St. Croix. They’ve created the perfect musky fishing rod in the Premier PM80HF.

Coming in at 8 feet in length and featuring a weight of only 10.2 ounces, this beautiful rod is both lightweight and strong. The Premier has a heavy rod power and a fast action, both of which are in the optimal zone for catching musky.

The rod can hold 80 lb. line along with a lure up to 8 ounces. This makes it highly unlikely that you’ll run into a situation where the Premier won’t suffice.

The only negative thing we noticed about the rod is that it runs a bit on the “heavier” side when it comes to rod power. We would consider it on the upper end of the heavy rating it’s received.

The St. Croix Premier is an extremely well-built fishing rod. It’s crafted with the highest quality SCII graphite blanks, and the guides are aluminum oxide with double-plated black chrome frames. WIth a handle constructed of premium-grade cork, this rod is extremely well-made, and it gets the highest marks for craftsmanship.

Pros:

  • Highly durable
  • Perfect length
  • Holds up to 80 lb. line
  • Can cast lures up to 8 oz.

Cons:

  • Rod power is a bit heavier than advertised

Shimano Sojourn Casting Muskie Rod

SHIMANO Sojourn 1-Piece Casting Muskie Rod (7-Feet Heavy)
Amazon 

Rod Power: Heavy

Rod Length: 8 ft

Rod Weight: N/A

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 65-100 lb

Lure Weight: 2-10 oz

Shimano created an excellent musky rod with the Sojourn Casting Muskie Rod. This eight-foot behemoth is a great choice for both the seasoned musky fisherman or the beginner.

This thing is great when it comes to its ability to hold heavy line and lures. With a line weight range of 65-100, it’s in that perfect musky fishing zone. Being able to properly cast and retrieve lures between 2 and 10 ounces is also ideal for the musky angler. Combine that with the fast action, and you’ve got a great all-around musky rod!

Shimano rods are generally well made, and the Sojourn is no exception. This rod can withstand some abuse with its comfortable cork grips, aluminum oxide guides, and a strong graphite composite construction.

The guides, though made of good material, do seem to be a bit weak. This could lead to some issues down the road, but we’re confident that this rod is still a solid choice.

Pros:

  • 8 ft length
  • Holds up to 100 lb line
  • Can cast large lures
  • Comfortable Grips

Cons:

  • Possibly weak guides

Okuma EVX Muskie Rod

Okuma EVx-C-931H-Tb Evx Muskie Im-8
Amazon 

Rod Power: Heavy

Rod Length: 9 ft. 3 in.

Rod Weight: 12.3 oz.

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 50-100 lb.

Lure Weight: 2-10 oz

Okuma makes quite a few rods that are great for musky fishing, but we found that the 9-foot-3-inch version of the EVX Muskie Rod is top of the line.

While we generally prefer rods in the eight-foot range, this massive Okuma simply gets the job done. It’s telescopic, so it’ll shrink down to help with storage. Another advantage of the length of this rod is it casts huge distances!

Able to accommodate line weights from 50 to 100 lb., this rod is very versatile. You can also use a lure up to ten ounces, so even the largest lures shouldn’t be an issue.

The cork grips and carbon construction feel nice in the hand. Those premium qualities compliment excellent performance to make the EVX a rod any musky angler would enjoy.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Perfect gear ratio
  • Nice build quality

Cons:

  • Long and a bit cumbersome

St. Croix Mojo Musky Rod

St Croix Mojo Musky Rods (MHF, 72)
Amazon 

Rod Power: Heavy

Rod Length: 8 ft.

Rod Weight: 10.4 oz

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 40-80 lb.

Lure Weight: 3-8 oz.

The second St. Croix on our list is the Mojo Musky Rod. The first thing you’ll notice about this rod is its attractive purple finish. It’s really a looker that aesthetically blows away some of the other more mundane rods on the market. This could be a con, though, if you’re on the market for a rod with a more classic look.

At 8 feet long and 10.4 ounces, you get the length to perform at a weight that won’t be too tiresome. The fast action is also perfect for landing musky.

The Mojo Musky Rod can easily use lures between three and eight ounces. While this lure capacity is on the lower side, it’s plenty enough for most use cases. You can also use line ranging from 40 lb. to 80 lb. test, giving you a nice range of options.

Like all St. Croix rods, the Mojo is exceptionally well made. Premium-quality materials and superb ergonomics make this rod a joy to use.

Pros:

  • Perfect length
  • Lightweight
  • Great range for line and lure weight

Cons:

  • Purple color could put some people off

Tica MNSA Musky Rod

Tica Musky Rods Fishing Rod (Heavy, 8-Feet /2-Piece, 50-Pound)
Amazon 

Rod Power: Extra Heavy

Rod Length: 8 ft.

Rod Weight: 10.9 oz

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 65 lb.

Lure Weight: 3-12 oz.

Tica is the lesser known brand in our review roundup. However, don’t let the lack of name recognition put you off: the MNSA Musky Rod is a wonderful piece of equipment!

Coming in at 8 feet long and 10.9 ounces, the rod is right in the middle of the pack in terms of size and weight. The MNSA Musky Rod is also the only one on our list that has an extra heavy rod power. It’s definitely stiff, but not so much so that you’ll run into many problems.

Holding a line weight of 65 pounds, the Tica MNSA barely reaches an area we consider optimal. While 65 pounds is certainly enough to land some musky, we generally recommend using 80 pound test line. The good news is, this rod can cast and retrieve lures up to 12 ounces! That’s the best mark out of all the rods we’ve reviewed.

The Tica MNSA Musky Rod is constructed from high-quality Japanese graphite and a lovely cork handle. It feels nice to hold, and it casts very well.

The performance of the Tica rod surprised us, and we were impressed by its quality.

Pros:

  • Can use up to 12-ounce bait
  • Perfect length

Cons:

  • Only 65 lb. test line
  • Extra heavy power

Daiwa DXM Muskie Casting Rod

Daiwa Muskie 7.6-Foot 1-Piece Casting Rod
Amazon 

Rod Power: Heavy

Rod Length: 7 ft. 6 in.

Rod Weight: N/A

Action: Fast

Line Weight: 30-65 lb.

Lure Weight: 2-6 oz.

The last rod on our list is Daiwa’s DXM Muskie Casting Rod. Daiwa is a well-known brand in the fishing world, and this rod exudes the quality we’ve come to expect from them.

The rod is on the shorter side at seven-and-a-half feet, but that doesn’t undermine its capabilities. While we generally prefer a longer rod when fishing for musky, a sub-8 foot rod will still suffice.

The ability to hold 65 lb. test line means you can catch musky in most cases without issue. However, only being able to handle up to 6 ounce lures could pose a problem if you are looking to use some larger bait.

Overall, the Daiwa DXM rod is durable, and it’s well-suited for catching your next trophy fish or just having a good time out on the water.

Pros:

  • Well constructed

Cons:

  • Short at 7 ft. 6 in.
  • Can only use bait up to 6 oz.
  • Only 65 lb. line

Our Pick – The St. Croix Premier Musky Rod!

The St. Croix Premier Musky Rod ran away with the win here. It literally does everything right, and the only nitpicky thing we could find wrong with it is that it’s a bit stiffer than advertised. That extra stiffness in no way affects its ability to catch musky, so the Premier is our favorite option for musky fishing.

The other rods on this list are all extremely capable, with a few minor nagging issues. The only rod we wouldn’t recommend as strongly is the Daiwa DXM Muskie Casting Rod, as it just doesn’t quite meet our parameters for musky fishing. That doesn’t make it a bad rod, just not one of the best when fishing large, aggressive fish.

We highly recommend you consider the St. Croix Premier. It has the highest quality, the nicest feel, and the most overall performance on the market today.

Now grab your rod and hit the water. The muskies are waiting!

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