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Ugly Stik Gx2 Rod Review

I started fishing with the original Ugly Stik in my late teen years. A friend had an ultra-light at the local dam and we were having a blast. Since then, I have had several of their rods in different configurations and was intrigued when I saw their fancy-looking new Gx2 line on the shelf at Walmart.

I started fishing as a child with closed faced reels on a kid’s rod and moved on to open faced reels and anything I could learn how to cast. I’ve used and own everything from $600 rods down to $10 rods. It’s relatively easy to find something to do the job, but hard to find something that does the job well without spending crazy amounts of money to enjoy a Saturday afternoon.

I started fishing primarily for carp over the past few years due to the size of the fish and fun of the fight. It’s a cheap way to have a lot of fun just relaxing and waiting for a big fish. There are plenty of techniques for stalking carp as well if you prefer more a more active style of fishing.

These fish can weigh over 70 lbs and require a strong and flexible rod to bring them in reliably. The Ugly Stik Gx2 rods do their job every time.


The Ugly Stik didn’t start it’s life as the rod we know today. The first rods had metal handles, were very large, and the graphite showed through the blank. It took a long time for them to evolve into what we recognize today.

The classic Ugly Stik was made by Shakespeare. With millions sold, they have had something special since the beginning. Shakespeare has always been a company that produced quality products in a very friendly price range. This means they have made a name that anyone that owns a tackle-box knows.

So why change something that you know works? Materials and processes have come a long way since 1976 when the rod was introduced. The new Ugly Stik Gx2 rods are still produced using the Howald method developed by Dr. Arthur M. Howald and was first used in the Wonderod in 1947.

The Howald method uses an internal spiraled fiberglass core and parallel glass fibers impregnated with a polyester resin. This was covered with several layers of tape while they cured in an oven. The tape was removed after curing using high pressure water jets.

This construction method ensures a finished product that is stiff and sturdy while still being flexible. A modern ultra-light from Ugly Stik can be bent in a full circle without snapping.


Years of product development and expecting the best of their gear, Shakespeare listens to the anglers that use their products.

The Ugly Stik Gx2 has a lot of new features that are allowed by modern technology. Shakespeare uses a new blank through reel seat design for added strength. When you have the reel installed properly, the only way a fish is taking your reel off is by breaking it.

They also came out with a new way to combine the graphite and fiberglass for the Gx2 rods. This new process results in much better balance as well as sensitivity throughout the product line.

Shakespeare uses their new ‘Ugly TUFF’ guides on all of the Gx2 models. This new design provides maximum durability and prevents insert pop outs by using stamped, one-piece stainless steel guides.

The cosmetics aspects of the Gx2 have come a long way since the original Ugly Stik. The new rod has a very nice matte black finish with red and silver accents.

I do miss the aesthetics of the cork handles on my first Ugly Stik, but the new EVA grip is great for anyone that prefers foam. Paired with the new finish, this also gives the rod a very modern look.

Even with all of the new features of the Gx2, Shakespeare managed to give a nod to their original rod. The clear tip still gives sensitivity and extra strength right where you need it the most. They also kept the weave above the grip that so many people loved about the original.


The right fishing rod always come down to your intended use. Many fisherman have a wall full of rods, all with a different purpose. If you take an ultra-light rod deep sea fishing, you’re gonna have a bad time.

I have always wanted to get the most fun I can out of the best gear for the cheapest price, but there’s a very good reason that other rod is only $10.

You can easily spend thousands of dollars getting into a new style of fishing. What if you have never been fishing and just want to try it out? Ugly Stik rods are made for people that don’t need to have the best money has to offer, but still want something that will do the job for years and years to come.

The Gx2 line has over 40 different models to choose from. From your kid’s first pond rod to their first ocean fishing trip, Shakespeare has you covered. The entire line of Gx2 rods mas an MSRP of just 39.95. This means you can have more rods for different styles of fishing for the same price as one rod from a more expensive manufacturer.

If you make your living on a boat, this rod may be a little low budget to risk your income. For the weekend warrior that uses his rods on nice sunny summer days, this rod will last years and years of the worst you can throw at it.


I have been fishing for over 20 years. In that time I have owned and used a lot of different rods. My step-dad always swore by Pflueger, Diawa, and Shimano rods, and I still have his rods to this day. While they are all quality manufacturers, a single rod can run you north of $200. This initial cost can intimidate someone looking to get into the sport.

Carp fishing can be a prime example of this. Three quality baitrunner reels will run $450. Three fishing rods to put on your new pod, a spod rod and a marker rod can easily cost you over $500. This money can be very hard to recuperate if you decide the sport is not for you.

I have been carp fishing for almost 10 years and use Ugly Stik Gx2 rods that I bought during end of season sales over those years. I have three of the 9’ medium rods, a single 7’ ultra-light, a 6’6” medium-heavy, and a 6’ heavy. This entire arsenal of rods was purchased for less than $180 over those 10 years.

Every one of these rods comes to the river with me while carp fishing. A few have even seen time with salt water. I have reeled in carp over 35 lbs with just the ultra-light.

They may not be the choice rod for a professional angler or someone that requires nothing but the best, there is always a better rod for more money. However for the 15-20 times I use these rods every year they have never let me down. I never hesitate to recommend them to someone just starting down the bass hole.

What happens if you decide fishing just isn’t your thing? Well if you bought three Shimano spinning rods it would cost over $600 compared to the $120 for three Ugly Stik Gx2 rods at full MSRP. You could give the Gx2 rods to the neighbor kid and you would lose less money than if you sold the Shimano rods used.

I still have the same rods I’ve owned my entire life regardless of manufacturer. There are a ton of great companies out there. Ugly Stik rods just have a great value for their entry level price. If you’re looking to get into carp fishing, I have a great article on some budget gear to get you started here.


If you’re an amazon prime member you can have the rods at your house in 2 days by clicking here. If you don’t have a prime account and free shipping sounds nifty, you can get a free trial here. They have a great starter kit for kids here too.

If you’re not in a rush, you might want to wait and check the end of season sales here at Wal-Mart as well.

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