Ugly Stik Gx2 Review | Best Budget Rod Ever?

Ugly Stik is a brand that most anglers start their fishing life. Yes, they are considered as beginner rods. Almost everyone at some point in their life will put them down in favor of flashier rods.

But, Ugly Stik has made a comeback, and the GX2 is the new generation of rods for new and old anglers alike.

These rods are better than their old ones but still maintains that strong feature. We all know rods from Ugly Stik’s are literally unbreakable. That just goes to show how strong and durable these rods are. However, durability isn’t the only improvement with the newer one.

Read the full Ugly Stik Gx2 Review to know what’s new and what to expect. And why this rod is considered as the best budget rod ever.

We all have this misconception about this brand is that a pro angler would never use them in a professional tournament. But this is where most of us are wrong.

It’s true that every angler at one point of their life used them and some still do. But this new model is sure to surprise you at performance and price.

Why You Should Go For A Budget Rod?

The new GX2 generation of rods from Ugly Stik is available is both casting and spinning models and also comes in at a budget price. What’s truly surprising is that they perform much better than expected for a product at that price point.

If you want to get serious about fishing, filling your collection with rods that cost hundreds of dollars is not only daunting but also impractical. I’m not saying the expensive ones are bad, but when you are just starting to fish, spending this much is not worth it.

With the Ugly Stik Gx2, you can buy as many as you need to swap out rods quickly. You can hookup during a tournament and no matter what species you are fishing, you will always be ready for the action that you are looking for.

Ugly Stik Gx2 Review

Improved components, a little bit better looking makes it feel like a high-end rod. The mix of fiberglass and graphite in the rod blank make it very lightweight and at the same time more durable as well as perfectly balanced.

It fishes like higher end rods that cost hundreds of dollars and yet it costs around 40 bucks. That’s crazy!

A really cool thing about this rod at this price point is that you can buy six of these and fill out a quiver of rods for probably what you would spend on one rod with another brand.

1. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod Review

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

The GX2 spinning rod has 23 different models. They are available in a variety of lengths, blank numbers, weights, and power ratings. There are so many possibilities that it is very important that you go with a particular range of fishing applications in mind.

It will help you to narrow down your options and make the right purchasing decision. Hopefully, by reading this review, you will be able to find the right product for your need.


From ultra-light to heavy, you have four different models available. There are five ultra-light models. These are great for small fish. It’s also perfect for finesse fishing where you need extreme sensitivity and also for setting up the hook.

For trout and panfish, you should choose the light models. They will have high sensitivity as well as some extra lifting power throughout the rod length.

Medium and medium heavy models are for the majority of freshwater species. The heavy power models are suitable for some large saltwater species like pike and salmon.


For each power settings, you can choose several rod lengths. Models between 4’6” and 7’ rods are available in ultra-light models. 5’6” and 6’6” are light power models. Medium power models range from 5’6” to 9’. 4’9” and 6’ model are heavy power rods.

Once you have narrowed down your rod selection to a particular power rating, then you can think about the length. Normally, longer rods will give you more casting distance. But it will become less accurate as the length of the rod increases.


You won’t even use a lot of those finesse techniques for spin fishing applications. The long length of the rod and the clear tip gives a lot of sensitivity, feel every bump and take and use a lot of retrieval techniques.

On the other hand, you will lose a lot of sensitivity with shorter, heavier models. But they work wonders when landing big stripper that’s running deep or huge rolling cat that requires a lot of power.

Choose the right model for the right fishing applications, and these rods will exceed your expectations.


Last but not least, the casting applications. It depends a lot on the use of properly sized lures, a good reel, and line test. When you combine all of these and look strictly at how the rod performs, the overall performance goes well beyond the previous generation of Ugly Stik rods.

2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod Review

UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod

If you prefer fishing with baitcasters, these are 15 different models for the casting series of the GX2 that will pair well with your choice of casting reels. Similar to the spinning rod version, this too has different models that range in power settings, black pieces, lengths and handle design.

Handle Style

Depending on the model that you choose, there are three different grips available for the casting series. First one is the simple dual EVA foam grip. You also have the dual EVA pistol style grip. The later provides a little more comfort and maneuverability.

For using longer length models, you also have the option to choose an extended handle. This will allow you to put in a little extra power behind your cast. For casting and retrieving lures, all the handles utilize a trig style reel seat. This gives you a lot more maneuverability with the rod.


Baitcasters are normally designed to throw heavier lures at increased distances. That’s why the power settings on these rods are more limited than their spinning reel counterparts.

Power settings range from medium to heavy. Medium-light has 2 models, 8 models for the medium power setting, 4 for medium heavy and 1 for heavy power.

The casting series is designed to handle larger fish species. When working with aggressive fish, these rods can really lay down some power.


For each power settings, there are different length models. 7’ and 7’6” rod type is available in medium light models. These are great for chasing fish that require fewer sensitive techniques. For example, finicky bass.

Medium power rods are available from 5”6” to 7’ models. In terms of casting performance, they cover a wide range of versatility. 6’ to 7’ are medium heavy models, and the heavy power model is 6’6” in length.

This is strong enough to land the biggest bass in the lake. Also, for smaller inshore saltwater species that require big lures and distance to entice.


I have to say; I’m really impressed with the handling of these casting rods. I’m sure you will too. Even with the longer length models, you won’t have any problem with casting accurately at increased distance.

The sensitivity in the 6 and 6’6” rods is also very impressive. They make for an excellent bass and trout fishing rods because the lengths really hit the sweet spot between power and finesse.


They didn’t state any info about the speed of their casting series rods. However, I have found that they are medium-fast action rod and depending on power, they can load up and haul heavy lures at increased distances.

Key Features Of The Ugly Stik GX2

If I had to choose only one rod that I have to buy today, this would be the one I would go for. With all the features and a competitive price range, it’s a no brainer.

New Design

The first thing you would notice about the new GX2 is the mat-black finish. It’s certainly a definitive change from the traditional glossy appearance. Another new addition to this rod is the fiberglass rod blank.

Josh Silva who is the marketing manager for Shakespeare calls this “A tiny bit of graphite.” It isn’t just the appearance that changed, the adding of graphite significantly reduced the overall weight too.

It is enough to notice, especially when you compare it with the traditional one side by side.

The only similarities they still kept are the diamond winding pattern located just above the handle and the signature clear tip. It won’t take long to notice that it isn’t your father’s Ugly Stik.

Slight Increase in Price

The casting version starts at 38 bucks. There was a time when you could buy one 28 dollars at Walmart. This slight 10-dollar price increase is something that won’t bother the fans of Ugly Stik at all.

With all the new improvements, I’m surprised they didn’t increase it more than that. You are sure to like what you will be getting for that extra 10-spot.
Improved Handling

Another improvement I have noticed on the new version is the handling. They took the necessary steps to improve the balance point by shifting it toward the butt end of the rod.

This reduction of weight and a noticeable balance shift will give you a lighter weight feel. You will also be able to work a lot with the new rod and feel less fatigued.

Improved Line Guides Aka Ugly Tuff

No more two-piece guides with a ceramic insert. Pro anglers will surely notice this change seen in the line guides. They have replaced it with an extremely tough and extremely durable one-piece stainless-steel guides.

This extreme durability is known as Ugly Tuff, and it is going to stand up to anything you throw at it. There was a test performed by Josh Silva where he placed weights on both the old and new rods.

The results were really amazing. It looked like the stainless-steel guides can take a pounding where the old one crumbled under pressure.

Built To Last

Ugly Stik is known for making durable rods. For years this has been the main ingredient to their reputation. This rod is built like a tank and can withstand just about anything you put it through. You can fish your heart out without worrying about the rod snapping.

Super Sensitive

The clear tip is super sensitive. This one can handle subtle presentation, and you can feel every rock, tap of a fish or weed underwater.

Superior Grip

I’m not a huge fan of EVA foam grips. They are not the prettiest of handles. However, you will get an insane amount of grip even when the rod is wet. No need to worry about fish slime all over your hands and on the rod, this one is meant to stay in your hands.

The grip on this one is certainly better than other models on the market. This one is lighter and makes for a perfect all-day long casting rod.

Wide Variety Of Options

The GX2 has 15 casting models and 20 spinning rods as well as three-pack options. There are 6 models for the ladies too. Each with different length, power, and weight.

Final Thoughts

There isn’t anything left to say about the Ugly Stik GX2 review. These are great for a beginner angler who just got into the game. It’s an Ugly Stik, this thing will never ever break. All you need to take care of is how you are going to fish and what peripherals you would want to take with you.

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