Ugly Stik is one of the more consistently high-rated brands that also comes from the Pure Fishing family line of products with a particular focus.
Harkening back to when Ugly Stik was owned by Shakespeare Fishing, this rod, and the brand more broadly aim at providing exceptionally durable products.
With the Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod, the company keeps this reputation intact, but this comes with its own set of tradeoffs.
Figuring out if this fishing pole’s spec configuration best suits your needs can be tricky as they don’t necessarily split along the selectable options and are instead more a matter of the overall build.
While it’s a good overall build, it potentially runs the risk of falling in the “anti-Goldilocks Zone” where it’s not actually the best choice for anyone.
Thankfully, this baitcasting fishing pole might be the ideal choice for a specific type of fisherman, but you have to keep reading to figure out if it’s right for you.
Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)
Regardless of the specific model, when you buy a fishing rod from Ugly Stik you generally expect to get one of the most durable options within its given market.
That said, the Ugly Stik GX2 casting pole is a budget-friendly option, and durability generally tends to be where companies start when finding corners to cut.
Aside from the fact that that dynamic undercuts the overall value, it can make some baitcasting rods veritably unusable, but this pole has no such issues.
For starters, the use of fiberglass, whatever potential negative qualities come along with it, makes virtually any rod significantly stronger than one just made out of graphite.
On top of that, the spiral construction of the fiber layering further reinforces the strength and durability of this baitcasting pole without adding or increasing any contrasting negatives.
As if that weren’t enough, this baitcasting fishing rod also uses one-piece guides and inserts which are more durable than multiple-piece options.
Given that it’s an inexpensive option, you wouldn’t really expect to hear anything about the Ugly Stik GX2 fishing rod regarding its length… unless it was bad.
Thankfully, this casting pole bucks that trend and instead surprises with a wide range of different sizes and stops at logical points along the way.
For starters, this lineup covers a massive spectrum of two feet which is rare on its own, but the inclusion of rods under 6’0” and over 7’2” is a nice surprise as well.
It also doesn’t hurt that not only does this baitcasting fishing pole provide stops at every 6”, they also include multiple spec configurations for each stop– including the extremes.
This is a big part of where Ugly Stik rods, in general, and the Ugly Stik GX2 fishing pole, in particular, achieves its near-legendary durability.
Specifically, this fishing rod combines fiberglass with whatever other material the rod is made out of to increase its overall durability.
Granted, this increases the total weight of this pole and generally leaves a less attractive product, but it might be worth the trade.
Outside of that, the use of stainless steel makes for one of the strongest materials used for the one-piece rod guide and inserts, and the EVA foam handle is reasonably durable.
As a budget option, the Ugly Stik GX2 pole sits precisely where any even modestly experienced fisherman would expect: exclusively fast action rods.
That said, this decision isn’t necessarily the worst as a fast action at least increases some much-needed sensitivity for a blank that struggles with the inclusion of fiberglass as it is.
Whereas the action fell in line practically exactly as you would expect for an entry-level model, the Ugly Stik GX2 fishing rod’s power ratings far more than exceed reasonable expectations.
Granted, part of this has to do with the fact that this is an extremely inexpensive option to have so many different options.
But just as important is that the different power ratings come in different configurations as well, providing a surprising range of different setups for your pole.
From medium-light to heavy, and every step in between, these rods come in such a wide array that figuring out your exact configuration is its own task.
In this price category, you generally expect a rod that is extremely light due to not having anything noteworthy or extremely heavy due to the materials used.
While the Ugly Stik GX2 fishing pole is not really either of these options, it’s still a little bit heavier than you might expect because of the fiberglass used in the blank– though this is necessary for the added durability.
Whenever you encounter an inexpensive fishing rod, more than the good, one of the first things you should look for is the bad– because it’s going to be there.
You just have to hope that whatever aspect or part sees a drop-off is either not the most important or not as bad as it could be.
The Ugly Stik GX2 casting fishing rod tries to skirt around this a bit with its blanks by increasing the durability with materials that ultimately decrease its sensitivity.
The fast action helps compensate a bit for otherwise dampened sensitivity, but if you’re used to all-graphite blanks, you’ll definitely notice a difference.
The rod guides of the Ugly Stik GX2 baitcasting rod are notable for a couple of reasons but probably the most important is the use of a one-piece design.
This increases the overall and specific durability of the rod guides and their inserts, making it that much more difficult to break or dislodge either.
However, this pole’s rod guides are also notable for being made out of stainless steel which is one of the more durable materials used and also fairly inexpensive.
However, it is worth noting that stainless steel is not the smoothest material for the guides and can make casting with a baitcasting rod that much trickier.
Handle (material, shape, etc)
This is another area where you don’t generally expect much movement from a low-budget option outside of the material choice.
However, the Ugly Stik GX2 baitcasting fishing rod surprises once again by offering different shapes and styles of handle depending on your particular fishing technique.
Granted, this pole doesn’t offer the largest selection of different handles, but at this price, having more than one handle to choose from is surprising.
Outside of that, this rod uses standard EVA foam for the material which is water-resistant and durable enough while also being comfortable.
This is another aspect where the Ugly Stik GX2 fishing pole surprises as you would even expect as little as 1 year for the warranty.
However, this baitcasting rod increases its overall value even more by coming with a 5-year warranty which would be good even if the rod were three times as expensive.
Uses (Who is this good for)
It would be nice to say that the Ugly Stik GX2 baitcasting fishing rod is a great option for everyone, but truly, it’s not ideal for a lot of different fishermen.
That said, this particular casting pole combines an extremely low price with an otherworldly level of durability for a pole you could practically throw away if you wanted to.
As it turns out, those are the perfect combination of features for a brand new fisherman who might not even know whether or not they like the sport enough to keep fishing.
In this instance, the price is low enough that it doesn’t matter if the fisherman never uses it a second time or breaks it.
Of course, breaking it is easier said than done as Ugly Stik’s Howald process allows it to bend in ways that would snap other rods, especially good for when the line gets tangled in vegetation or flotsam.
If you’re having problems getting your line tangled, we recommend learning how to properly add a line on your reed
However, it is a bit cumbersome and not the most sensitive, so more experienced fishermen might not love it.
When you break it down, the Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod is an incredible overall value with an extremely low price, amazing build durability, and solid warranty.
However, this baitcasting fishing pole is definitely better for beginners who need a cheaper rod that can take a beating but might not be the most refined option on the market.
As such, more experienced fishermen may be willing to pay a bit more to get a rod that’s more sensitive and tuned for a specific type of fishing than a novice.
However, this pole is so inexpensive that even an experienced fisherman can find some use for it– especially for fishing around heavy vegetation.
Still, it’s hard to get around the fact that, basic though it may be, the Ugly Stik GX2 provides such a wide array of different options to choose from, most people can find a rod for different types of fishing.
When you add the finishing touches of one-piece rod guides and multiple handle choices, this casting pole really shines.