Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod Review

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod continues the legendary brand full of durability, performance, and prowess in saltwater or freshwater fishing environments.

Ugly Stik has done a complete job of offering fishing rods and reels that address the major needs of anglers throughout a range of styles, durability, and fishing locations.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is no exception to that tradition. Now let’s review this rod in detail.



Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a 2-piece blank with a mix of fiberglass and graphite, and 35% more graphite than fiberglass.

The added graphite increases the durability while the fiberglass helps to solve some durability issues with graphite rods.

Small nicks in graphite can lead to rod weaknesses and breakage under pressure.

Got a big fish on with a graphite rod that has nicks in the blank, and you could be facing a broken rod.

The fiberglass in the blank helps add strength to the rod in those situations.

The Rod’s Tip

The tip of the rod features a Clear Tip which is designed to improve the responsiveness and rod’s strength.

The clear tip improves the feel as you fish. Small bites will resonate allowing you to target smaller fish such as brook trout.

The Grips and Handles

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod comes with cork handles which offer a standard and comfortable grip that holds up to water well.

Eyes or Guides

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a spinning rod, with metal graduated eyes made from stainless steel.

The smooth eye designs protect the line during casting and intake so that line integrity remains strong for months and maybe a year.


Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod comes in four lengths.

5′ 6″ feet – less accurate casting but ideal for jigging or deep pool fishing.

6′ – less accurate casting but good for drifting bait or deep pool fishing.

6′ 6″ – accuracy for casting is improving but still shy of spot-on casting.

Use this pole for general casting where you don’t need the finesse to drop a lure in to a pool with a brushy bank.

7′ – The extra length improves casting accuracy enough that you can sight fish, cast into difficult spots, or hit the shore for perch and other surf fish.


The 2-piece blank is made of a composite of fiberglass and graphite for ultimate durability.

The fiberglass gives the rod a bounce to its bend while the graphite adds more strength to the rod for big strikes and lots of bend to the pole.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is available in the following action ratings – Moderate Fast for smaller fish and a sensitive tip, Fast for smaller fish and sensitive tip, Extra Fast for fish under two pounds, thinner lines, and smaller lures, Medium for bigger fish, heavier lines, larger hooks or lures, and Medium fast for fish under 3-5 pounds with mid-range lines and smaller lures.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod comes in a range of power ratings allowing anglers to select a rod that matches their fishing style and fish targets. Those include:

  • Ultralight – smaller lures and line tests under six pounds
  • Light – Ideal for panfish, bluegill, crappie, smaller trout, smaller lures, and lighter line weights.
  • Medium-light – designed to handle bigger fish but maybe not trophy rainbows or big browns. The rod bends in the middle making it stronger for handling fish with more strength.
  • Medium – This is a rod that can handle ocean fishing nearshore or from shore. Ideal for perch, sea trout, smaller bonefish, reds, and other fish in the five-pound range.
  • Medium Heavy – Ideal for big fish, such as small salmon, bigger brown trout, lake trout, and bigger rainbow trout. The rod will hold and handle heavier test lines, and you can toss larger lures or bait balls.

Power is the rod’s rating for resistance to bending. The range of power options for the Ugly Stik Elite sets the buying choice to a range of fishing applications and fish sizes.

You can target small fish, such as brook trout and cutthroat trout with lighter power rods, or go after larger fish with medium and medium-heavy rods.

The range of power options makes the Ugly Stik Elite very suitable for freshwater lakes, streams, and brooks, and also for saltwater fishing for shore fishing and inshore fishing.


Line weight and lure weight vary by power and action choices.

For a 5′ 6″ foot, moderate-fast action rod with light power the following applies.

Line weight = 4-8 pound test – tells us you are targeting smaller fish, such as brook trout, cutthroat trout, smaller brown trout, smallmouth bass, etc.

Lure Weight = 1/16 – 3/8 of an ounce – sets up for smaller hooks for smaller fish.

For a 6′ foot, fast action rod with medium power the following apply.

Line weight = 6-14 pound test, tells us that there is less accuracy here with casting as the rod is shorter, but you would fish this pole in deeper holes where you might find bigger trout, bass, pike, and even lake trout.

Lure Weight = 1/4 – 5/8 of an ounce.

For a 6′ 6″ foot, fast action rod with medium power the following applies.

Line weight = 6-14 pound test – while the line weight is the same as the 7′ rod, a shorter rod has less accuracy when casting.

The rod is good for drifting lures and bits down a rifle while still being able to handle bigger trout and bass.

Lure Weight = 1/4 – 5/8 of an ounce.

For a 7′ foot, fast action rod with medium power the following applies.

Line weight = 6-14 pound test giving a hint that this rod setup will handle bigger fish such as fat lake trout, bigger rainbow trout, largemouth bass, saltwater fish such as reds, snook, and bonefish.

Lure Weight = 1/4 – 5/8 of an ounce indicates the rod will handle heavier rigging without damage while casting.

For a 7″ foot, Moderate-fast action rod with medium-light power the following applies.

Line weight = 4-10 pound test = smaller trout and bass, including smallmouth bass, cutthroat trout, and brook trout.

You might get away with a few larger fish, such as medium brown trout.

Lure Weight = 1/8 – 1/2 of an ounce, which are small flies, small lures, and smaller hook riggings.

The mix of power, action and rod length allows anglers to choose an Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod that fits an array of fishing opportunities.

The nice price also means that you can select an Ugly Stik Elite rod for specific applications, such as bass fishing or targeting trout.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is available in the following action: Action equals sensitivity to bites.

Moderate-fast bends the rod above the 1/2 way mark.

A fast action rod bends in the top 1/3 of the rod, and an ultra-fast action rod will just bend the tip.

These three types of action enable you to fish for smaller fish, fish that nibble the bait, and in slow-moving waters.

Medium and medium-fast action will bend the rod near the middle and sometimes below the middle.

These are excellent for aggressive fish, such as big bass, big trout, and saltwater.

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod sensitivity levels allow you to effectively use the rod in a range of fishing environments and bait or lure types.

Suitable for small to large fish and various types of conditions and rig settings.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod has a standard taper making it more sensitive to fishing than rods with thicker tapers.

From the base to the tip the taper ranges from thick to thin rather than from thick to moderate.

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is designed for small-medium fish and nothing that is too far offshore.

Taper is not really a big deal unless you are shopping for a trolling rod, which this is not.

Markings on Rod

The brand is marked along with the cork handle and the blank is marked with the maker – Shakespeare – Brand – Ugly Stik – and Model – Elite

Rod Guides

Built for durability with 2-piece stainless steel and graduated guides for smooth line movement and the ability to stand up to freshwater or saltwater.

The smooth taper eyes handle the line during casting, fishing, and when battling bigger fish.

Stainless steel means the eyes will hold up to water rusting or degrading – either issue could cause line fraying and that makes hauling in a fish risky.


Handles are made from quality cork with a soft but firm grip that is comfortable for your hands-on longer fishing trips.

The setup is a split grip system with handholds above and below the reel.

If you are looking for a fishing pole with a comfortable grip, cork does well.

If you need a softer grip you might consider a pole with foam grips.

There are aftermarket foam grips that you can slide over the cork.

Otherwise, cork is a good choice since it airs well and drys without damage should it get wet.

The biggest issue you want to overcome when you consider the grip of a fishing pole is comfort.

You will be holding the rod for most of the day and if it is not comfortable in your hand, fishing will become a chore.

Type of Rod

The Ugly Stik Elite is a spinning rod as belayed by the tapering eyes and the eye position facing downward when bent.

A casting rod would likely have a trigger grip rather than the cork split grip, and the eye guides would be of the same diameter from butt-end to tip.

Expect a quality rod with a range of applications.

The mix of fiberglass and graphite makes for a versatile spinning rod that you can apply to many fishing environments.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is suitable for a wide array of anglers from those who are new to the sport to those who have a lot of experience fishing.

The nice price range makes The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod approachable for all budgets.

Because it is suitable for freshwater or saltwater fishing, and because it comes in a range of power, weight, and length options, it is suitable for anyone who wants to target specific types of fishing environments, types of fish – bass, trout, pike, or who want a versatile rod to use wherever you fish.

Reel and Real Seat Compatibility

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is suitable for spinning reels of various sizes.

You have enough room to switch reels as needed from small to larger spinning reels or to change reel styles and add a casting reel.

The setup allows you to use existing reels designed for use with a spinning rod.

You can attach your favorite reel without issue. That fact, adds value to the purchase as you do not need to purchase a reel to go with the pole.


Shakespeare warranties each Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod for 7-years against manufacturing defects.

They do not repair rods but will replace the rod if the damage is covered by the warranty.

They do not replace rods when damage is due to neglect, lack of care, or if the rod is modified.

To return the rod, reel, or both you send them to the place where you purchased the products.

For combo rod-reel sets you can return the reel to your local store if they offer repairs or return service.

Customer Service

You can reach Shakespeare by phone or email. Their email address is:

[email protected]

(800) – 334-9105 in the US.


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is perfect for light to medium fishing and for both saltwater and freshwater settings.

They offer a range of options, so you can choose a rod with the right power, weight, and length for the type of fishing you do.

The overall construction makes the rod perfect even for master fishermen who want a quality rod or a utility rod that can handle a range of fishing targets.

The modest price makes The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod a great value for anglers of every skill level and for every budget.

Is it a perfect fishing rod? No. Some concerns include the fact that graphite blanks are easy to nick or damage.

That makes The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod more suited to fishers with some experience and not a great choice for children learning to fish.

Caring for the rod is important if it is to last.