Oh Ugly Stik, the brand that every angler seems to start off their fishing life with. You probably think Ugly Stik is for beginners only, not something that a real kayak angler would use—but you’re wrong. Ugly Stik’s GX2 series offers a casting rod at the budget price of $39.95, but it seriously outperforms its price point.


Ugly Stik Gets Serious with GX2 Rods

For every angler who wants to get serious about fishing, filling out a quiver of rods that costs hundreds of dollars apiece is not only daunting but often impractical. The new GX2 generation of rods from Ugly Stik provides an affordable alternative.

Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod sits across the bow of a fishing boat
The Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod will surprise you. | Feature image: Ben Duchesney/YouTube

Available in both casting and spinning models, Ugly Stik’s GX2 rods are priced to let you buy as many as you need. Swap rods quickly and hookup during a tournament, no matter what type of action you’re looking for.

Key Features of the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod
  • Ugly Tech construction combines lightweight Graphite and fiberglass to create a strong, yet sensitive rod with better balance
  • New one-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides  eliminate insert pop-outs and can be used with all types of line, including braid
  • Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for extra strength and added sensitivity
  • Durable and lightweight EVA grips
  • Enhanced cosmetics for a more modern look
  • 7-year warranty

Testing the GX2 in the Weeds

Jerkbait and spinnerbait require practically zero touch and feel, so I tied a white soft plastic swimbait on a jig head to test the GX2 rod’s sensitivity. It was clear that this rod can handle subtle presentations as I lightly tickled the bait over rocks and through weed beds looking for smallmouth bass. With water temps still at only 50ºF around me, I barely moved that soft plastic and I felt every rock, weed or tap of a fish.

Ugly Stik GX2 rods continue to perform when you do want to let ‘er rip or need that power to shine on a hook set. Learning to get a good hook set from a fishing kayak is a common problem for novice anglers. I replicated this tricky position by intentionally dropping anchor so that I pointed away from where I wanted to fish. Casting directly behind myself, I was able to hook a fish with a barely-there hook set. The power translated really well through the GX2 rod and I was able to sink that hook in deep enough to land the fish.

GX2 Rods Can Take Rough Handling

While the EVA foam grip isn’t the prettiest of handles—I’m a big fan of cork—you have an insane amount of grip, even when the rod is wet. When the weather turns and there’s fish slime all over, this rod will stay in your hands much better than most others. The mix of graphite and fiberglass in the rod blank also makes it feel lighter in your hands, because it’s perfectly balanced for casting all day long.

Man fishes with an Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod
Casting the Ugly Stik GX2 is just like fishing with a pricey rod, but it’s also nearly indestructible. | Image: Ben Duchesney/YouTube

The shining feature of the Ugly Stik is obviously the durability. I still remember that Ugly Stik commercial with the angler’s wife trying to destroy his rod while he’s sitting at a table eating lunch. When he’s finished he takes his rod out of the trash compactor and goes fishing. Brilliant.

Cast Carefree with Ugly Stik’s GX2 Rod

Not having to worry about breaking the Ugly Stik GX2 means you can fish your heart out worry free. Let the rod roll around your fishing kayak while you land or release fish. The peace of mind will let you focus on the task at hand and forget about everything else in the world. What more can you ask for in a rod?

Video Review of the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod:

For more information about Ugly Stik or their new GX2 casting rod, check out their website, UglyStik.com.

The Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod will surprise you. | Feature image: Ben Duchesney/YouTube



  1. Two-piece rods, because of their heavy weights, tend to be very clumsy to use, especially if you’re just starting out. A one-piece fishing rod is a lot lighter and can allow even beginners to use them without any problems.

  2. Ugly Stik GX2 is no doubt a great rod, perfect for sensitivity, lets’s feel the slightest fish nibbles but the guides were affected after a braid cast, they should be improved to bear braid abuse.

  3. Worst Ugly Stik ever purchased!!! Have not bought an ugly stik in years. Purchased gx2 casting rod, same weight as previous rod, junk. Alaskan who has fished a lot and owns ugly stiks. Did not know the quality had gone to shit! The finger hold will seriously hurt you! Your finger is slammed into a less then 90 angle with an opposing rod backing which becomes extremely painful with hours of use. I have never seen such a poor and painful design. Plastic grip is made up of two pieces of plastic the form a sharpe ridge inside of grip hold which is very cheap and not smooth. New guides suck! as they are taller and weaker without the support other ugly stiks have. What the hell happened. I drove 2 hours to purchase this rod and wished i had spent more time feeling it out, as i would not have bought it. Yes you get what you pay for but thought Ugly Stik was different. Will never buy another Ugly Stik, what a waste!


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