The 11 Best Fishing Brands

This list breaks down the eleven best conventional fishing brands. If you’re unsure of where to start with your next gear purchase, these brands are great choices.

A man holds a fishing rod and reel in his hand.

Photo by Evan Wise

There are hundreds of different fishing brands on the market today, and as a growing industry, more and more fishing brands come about every year. Trying to narrow down your gear selection can be overwhelming with all the choices for fishing gear brands, but there are a handful of manufacturers that hold their place among the best and have stood the test of time because of their innovation and high-performing gear. If you’re unsure of where to start with your next fishing gear purchase, whether you are a seasoned angler looking to branch out into a new brand or you are a beginner at purchasing fishing gear, these brands are a great start. Any product from one of these brands will serve you well on the water, but I’m sure you’ll find different products from each that you especially like so you can fine-tune a setup that’s perfect for you!

The 13 Fishing logo is a black 13 inside of a white squre on a black fish.

13 Fishing

Clearwater, Florida-based brand, 13 Fishing has gained momentum over the past few years as a trusted source for high-performance rods, reels, and lures for both fresh and saltwater anglers, but they got their start catering to the underserved ice fishing community and quickly grew from there. 13 Fishing continues to innovate with unique rods, reels, baits, and fishing apparel for a variety of fishing styles and species, but they have become a favorite among competitive bass anglers as well as anglers looking for dependable saltwater reels. They have a large selection of various products and continue to improve and expand their inventory to add to their catalog each year. 13 Fishing is quickly becoming one of the biggest and best fishing brands in the industry and is well known as one of the fastest-growing brands today.

The Abu Garcia logo reads "Abu Garcia" next to a red parallelogram.

Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia got its start in 1941 in Sweden, and since then, has been producing high-value fishing rods and reels. Abu Garcia is one of several brands that make up the Pure Fishing Corporation, a collective of fishing brands based in Columbia, South Carolina. Pure Fishing strives to produce and market the best fishing gear available, and as a result, you’ll see several of their brands on this list. Abu Garcia finds their niche almost exclusively in the bass fishing world. They continually put out baitcasting and spinning rods, reels, and combos designed for targeting black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, etc.), and they sponsor many professional tournament anglers to solidify their place at the bass fishing brands table. Abu Garcia products are known for being widely available, affordable, and reliable. I myself own two baitcasting reels, two casting rods, and one spinning reel from Abu Garcia, my favorite being the two baitcasting rods—a 7’ heavy Veritas and a 7’6’’ medium-heavy Vendetta. I have never had any issues with my Abu Garcia products and continue to use them on every fishing trip.

The Daiwa logo reads "Diawa" in a stylized segmented font.

Daiwa

Daiwa has been an innovator since it produced its first spinning reel in 1955. Since then, this Japanese brand has been producing some of the best and most innovative fishing reels in the industry, making them, without a doubt, one of the best fishing reel brands out there. Daiwa reels are incredibly durable and have a dependable, smooth drag system. Most of their reel models are made with corrosion-resistant components, such as stainless steel ball bearings, making them saltwater ready. Daiwa makes high-quality reels perfect for adventurous anglers who fish in both fresh and saltwater environments. They also make great, reliable graphite and carbon fiber rods and fishing tackle as well, including many models designed for inshore and offshore saltwater fishing. Plus, Daiwa's lifetime warranty is hard to beat!

The Fenwick logo reads "Fenwick" in green cursive.

Fenwick

Another component of the Pure Fishing corporation, Fenwick specializes in rods designed for light tackle freshwater and inshore saltwater angling, and they excel at this. For bass, salmon, trout, walleye, and inshore anglers, it’s hard to beat the sensitivity, castability, and dependability of Fenwick rods. I own two Fenwick spinning rods, a 7’ Nighthawk and a 7’ Eagle, and I am pleased with how they have held up perfectly over several seasons of wear and tear, even when I am not the most careful! If you’re looking for a great rod at an exceptional value, Fenwick rods are the smart choice that will help you catch all the fish of your dreams.

The Lew's logo reads "Lew's" in yellow font within a black oval outlined with red.

Lew’s

Since the 1940s, Lew’s has been producing innovative and tried-and-true fishing rods and reels that many other brands have emulated. In 1973, Lew’s came out with their first model of the Speed Spool, which was the first teardrop-shaped, low-profile baitcasting reel and is now a must-have style of reel that is synonymous with the bass fishing world. Lew’s continues to make excellent, high-value rods and reels, namely their signature Speed Spool reels and Speed Stick rods. Many professional bass anglers put their trust in Lew’s products, and the brand seems to have found their place among the top brands that cater to the bass fishing community, but they have also utilized their technology in saltwater rods and reels designed for inshore fishing, so Lew’s can satisfy the needs of any light tackle angler.

The Okuma logo reads "Okuma" with "Inspired Fishing" below the text. The font is dark blue.

Okuma

Since 1986, Taiwan-based fishing brand Okuma has produced highly respectable rods and reels for both fresh and saltwater in many configurations to suit any angler's needs. Okuma’s strength is that they make affordable gear that is also very durable with their precision engineering. I personally own a 5500-size Okuma Stratus spinning reel that I use for catfishing, which was the second-ever reel that I bought back in 2011 for around $60. It still works great to this day and is my go-to catfish reel. If you want hardy, long-lasting gear that won’t break the bank, Okuma is your go-to choice.

The Penn Fishing logo says "Penn" in white text inside a red rounded rectangle outlined with blue and white.

Penn Fishing

For brands in the saltwater fishing scene, look no further than Penn Fishing. Since 1932 in Pennsylvania, Penn has specialized in fishing gear for the saltwater fisherman, whether that be inshore, offshore ocean fishing, or surf fishing. Penn’s reliable rods, reels, and rod and reel combos offer an outstanding value for saltwater anglers. Many anglers agree that the gold standard for offshore conventional baitcasting reels are the International models, and the Spinfisher and Battle products have always been extremely popular spinning gear for their reliability and line capacity. Penn reels and rods are intentionally incredibly durable, designed for the toughest conditions, so any product from Penn will last you a lifetime. Penn continues to produce new and improved models each year, though, along with stylish designs and color schemes, so there is always an excuse to upgrade every season or two!

The Pflueger logo reads "Pflueger" with a cursive P and block letters for the rest of the word.

Pflueger

Pflueger, another industry leader under the Pure Fishing umbrella, focuses on producing some of the finest reels at an unbeatable value, especially their President, President XT, Supreme XT, and Supreme spinning reels. Pflueger makes some of the smoothest and most durable smaller-sized spinning reels (2000-3500) available on the market. I personally own several President XT spinning reels, and I find it hard to see myself buying any new spinning reels that aren’t Pflueger, and I know I’m not alone on that! Pflueger spinning reels are among the most popular reels available and for good reason.

The Shimano logo reads "Shimano" in light blue.

Shimano

Another titan of the Japanese fishing brands, Shimano makes some of the most premium and meticulously engineered fishing rods and reels in the world, most notably because of their unmatched gear technology. A quote from Shimano’s website explains that every angler who has used Shimano gear “has a reason to thank a Japanese visionary named Shozaburo Shimano, who in 1921 declared ‘I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.’” He just might have accomplished that! Shimano makes both spinning and casting reels and rods of many different styles and sizes, but the Shimano products that stand out are their low-profile baitcasting reels designed for bass fishing that feature the DC (digital control) component, which is a computerized reel. These reel models, namely the coveted Curado DC and SLX DC, feature a microcomputer that controls the spool for perfect casts without the headaches of backlashing, as well as being fitted with a high gear ratio. Shimano has brought space-age technology to the fishing industry, and they don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

The St. Croix logo reads "St. Croix Rod" in gold lettering inside a gold oval. Below the oval is "Best Rods On Earth."

St. Croix

Based out of Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been producing innovative and user-friendly fishing rods since 1948. St. Croix produces multiple rod styles for just about any water type, fishing technique, or target species. Their rods have a die-hard cult following among Midwest walleye anglers, as well as bass anglers, with their Mojo Bass line of rods, but the word has gotten out about the versatility and quality of St. Croix rods. With their wide variety of rod styles and pricing levels, St. Croix has something for everybody, and they have become a household name among American fishing communities. The durability, sensitivity, and comfortable weight and grips of St. Croix rods, as well as their strong customer service, keep anglers coming back, so much so that some anglers won’t use anything else!

The Ugly Stik logo reads "Ugly Stik" in red text.

Ugly Stik

Originally launched under one of the oldest fishing brands, Michigan-based Shakespeare, Ugly Stick has branched off under its own name while still remaining in the collective of the Pure Fishing brands. Ugly Stik is the trusted source for anglers who like to get down and dirty in the toughest conditions and seek dependability and value over everything else. For many catfish anglers, there is no other rod choice than an Ugly Sik. Their Catfish, Tiger, and Bigwater rods are extremely popular among trophy anglers because of their variety of choices in rod length and powers for both casting and spinning models, and of course their unbeatable value. Ugly Stik also offers lighter tackle options as well, such as their popular GX2 spinning and casting graphite rods, as well as accessories such as knives and tools for all of your fishing adventures.

These are a list of some of the very best fishing reel brands and best fishing rod brands, but, of course, there are many others to consider. Your Curated Expert will know all of the best-selling choices for you! If you have any questions about these best brands or want to pick out some gear from any of them, reach out to a Conventional Fishing Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations. If you're curious about the best fly fishing brands for the top fly rods and best reels, check out this article.

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Written By
I am a lifelong fisherman based in the Midwest, and I have had a passion for fishing and the outdoors for as long as I can remember. As a recreational fisherman, I have fished in many states across the U.S. in freshwater lakes and rivers, as well as some inshore and offshore saltwater experience. My...

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