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Ugly Stik GX2 Rods (and Reel Combos) Review

Mark Armstrong
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If you’re on the lookout for a budget rod (well, a rod that isn’t going to break the bank), you’ve probably heard of the Ugly Stik GX2 rods from Shakespeare.

When buyers read “budget”, there’s the obvious initial “if it’s budget, does that mean it’s crap?” type question.

We know how difficult it can be to choose fishing gear, particularly if you’re a beginner. So we’ve fleshed out the main features of the GX2 range to give you a little more info on whether it might be the right option for you.

Top Features Of The Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning RodPin
  • Length: 6 foot 6 inches
  • Power: Medium
  • Pieces: 4

The Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod is a lightweight 4 piece rod that is designed to be both sensitive and durable. It is built to offer good value, as well as versatility.

Ideal For Travel

The Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod comes in four pieces, which makes it an ideal choice if you’re looking to travel and especially if you plan to hike to a fishing hole or go kayaking. It can also be useful if you plan to take it with you on public transportation.

Finding a place to store this rod at home should also be much easier compared to a one piece rod, as you could easily store it in a closet or keep it packed with the rest of your fishing gear.


The GX2 is generally a versatile rod that is designed for freshwater but could also be used in saltwater. However, because it’s intended for freshwater use, it may not have the strength required for larger saltwater fish.

It’s recommended that you use between 6 and 15 pound test line with the rod and lures from ⅛ to ⅝ ounces, so it can be a good choice for a range of presentations and could be a good rod for beginners.

It also features Ugly Stik’s signature Clear Tip, which is built to enhance sensitivity and could be useful in finesse presentations when you need to feel the smaller bites.


The Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod is crafted from Ugly Tech Construction, which is a combination of graphite and fiberglass, which is engineered to provide strength without sacrificing sensitivity. It also gives it its lightweight feel.

The handle is made from tough, lightweight EVA foam, which is designed to offer comfort and grip. The rod also features six Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides, which are built as one piece, so you won’t have any trouble with inserts inconveniently popping out.

Video:  Fishing Rod Challenge! Can I Break An Ugly Stik GX2?!

Main Features Of The Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting RodPin
  • Length: 6 foot 6 inches
  • Power: Medium/heavy
  • Pieces: 2

The Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod is a durable, lightweight rod that comes in two pieces and is designed to be durable and affordable. It can be a good choice for beginners who are new to casting rods and could be ideal for targeting larger fish.

Big Fish

The GX2 casting rod is a medium heavy rod that is designed to handle larger fish and could be ideal for targeting striped bass, as well as other saltwater and freshwater species. Being a baitcasting line it may be better suited to open water fishing rather than small ponds and streams and can be.

The rod is designed to be used with line of between 10 and 25 pounds and lures weighing between ¼ and ¾ ounces.

Similar to the GX2 spinning rod, the casting rod also benefits from the Clear Tip feature at the end of the rod which is designed to improve sensitivity and can let you see the movement in the rod a little better due to the change in appearance.


This casting rod is built for strength and durability. It’s made from Ugly Tech graphite and fiberglass composite and features 7 one-piece stainless steel guides that are designed to be used with all types of line.

It comes in two pieces, which can make it a little easier to transport to and from the water and useful if you’re heading out on a canoe or kayak with limited rod space.

What About The Ugly Stik GX2 Rod & Reel Combos?

GX2 Spinning Combo

GX2 Spinning ComboPin
  • Length: 6 foot
  • Power: Medium
  • Rod Pieces: 2
  • Reel Gear Ratio: 5.5:1

The GX2 Spinning Combo features a 2 piece 6 foot medium power spinning rod and a spinning reel with 4 bearings and a capacity of 140 yards of 6 pound test line. It can be a great option if you’re new to spinning gear and are looking for a rod and reel combo that can get you started.

Being a medium power rod it can offer versatility and is designed to be used with line of between 6 and 15 pounds, letting you target a range of freshwater fish, including bass.

GX2 Casting Combo

GX2 Casting ComboPin
  • Length: 6 foot 6 inches
  • Power: Medium
  • Rod Pieces: 1

The GX2 Casting Combo is a 6 foot 6 inch casting rod that comes with a suitable baitcasting reel, which can be ideal if you’re just getting started with baitcasting reels. It can also be a good option if you’re looking for an affordable casting rod and reel combo to add to your line up.

The reel is designed for freshwater use and features 1 bearing and a graphite spool that comes pre-spooled with 12 pound line. The reel is lightweight with an aluminum handle and has a capacity of 120 yards of 12 pound test line.

Things To Consider Before Buying Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Gear

The Ugly Stik GX2 range is designed with affordability in mind. This means it can be a great choice of gear if you’re just starting out or if you’re looking to branch out with new techniques, such as migrate from spinning gear into casting gear, for example, to add extra strings to your bow.

Because the GX2 range is designed to offer good value, it may not be suitable if you’re looking for more high-end features or if you’re looking to progress into more expert level gear with professional grade components.

However, the GX2 range is engineered to be extremely durable and strong, which can add to its versatility, meaning it should be able to handle a range of fish and help you put up a fight if you need to.

The GX2 range is primarily designed for freshwater fishing so may not be the best choice if you’re looking to target big saltwater monsters. However, some of the rods in the range can generally be used in both freshwater and saltwater, which can be ideal if you’re targeting striped bass, for example.

The reels, however, may not have the high corrosion resistance that you may want from a saltwater reel, as the GX2 reels tend to be built for freshwater fishing.

It can be a good idea to think about where you plan to fish, as this should give you a better idea of whether you will need freshwater or saltwater gear. The GX2 range can typically be ideal for bass fishing, as well as for targeting other freshwater fish, such as trout and panfish.

There are a range of products available in the GX2 range, which can make narrowing down your options even more difficult.

First there’s a spinning rod, which comes in a range of lengths and power options so that you can find the most suitable rod for the type and size of fish that you want to target, as well as your type of presentation.

The spinning rod can be more suitable for fishing in freshwater with lighter lures, including finesse fishing, and it can be easy to use, even for beginners.

The GX2 casting rod can let you cast greater distances but may not be suitable for everyone, as it can take some time to learn how to cast with a baitcasting rod.

 Video: How To Cast A Baitcaster (For Beginners)

However, the GX2 rod could be a good option if you’re looking to get started with baitcasters. The casting rod may also be better suited to heavier lures or if you’re fishing in open water or for larger fish.

Additionally, the GX2 range features rod and reel combos, both in spinning and casting options. These combos can be ideal if you’re new to fishing, as it can take the stress out of choosing a suitable reel to match your rod, allowing you to get out there on the water right away, once you’ve chosen your fishing line.

GX2 Alternatives

KastKing Crixus Spinning Rod

KastKing Crixus Spinning RodPin

The KastKing Crixus spinning rod is a 6 foot 6 inch medium power rod that comes in two pieces for convenient storage and transportation. It features a golf club style water wicking handle, as well as stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings that are ideal for all types of line.

This spinning rod is built for freshwater use but can also be used in saltwater environments, with a suitable saltwater reel. It’s in the same price range as the GX2 spinning rod, so could be a good alternative.

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting RodPin

This Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod is a one piece medium power casting rod. It’s 6 foot 8 inches and made from carbon for lightweight durability. It features a graphite reel seat that is engineered to be more comfortable to hold due to its ergonomic design.

The rod also features an anti-line twist tip for improved casting and a hook keeper to protect your gear. It’s designed for 8 to 12 pound test line but is a little pricier than the GX2 casting rod.

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger President Spinning ComboPin

This Pflueger President Spinning Combo consists of a 6 foot 6 inch spinning rod and a spinning reel. The medium power rod comes in one piece and features corrosion resistant stainless steel guides, a durable, lightweight cork handle and a graphite blank for strength and added sensitivity.

The reel features 10 corrosion resistant stainless steel bearings, which could help in saltwater conditions. It’s a little higher in price than the GX2 combo but could be a good option if you’d prefer a cork handle.

KastKing Cadet Casting Combo

KastKing Cadet Casting ComboPin

This KastKing Cadet combo features a 2 piece 6 foot 6 inch medium power graphite casting rod and a graphite framed baitcasting reel with a 6.3:1 gear ratio and 5+1 shielded bearings.

The rod features stainless steel guides, an EVA handle grip and a handy hook keeper. The reel is designed for freshwater and features a CNC aluminum spool with an aluminum handle.

It’s similar to the GX2 casting combo but comes in a little higher in price.

Questions And Answers

How Do You Spool An Ugly Stik GX2?

To spool the spinning reel:

1) open the bail and tie your line onto the spool. 

2) close the bail and keeping the line taut

3) turn the handle to spool the line on.

Remember that your line should come off of the packaging spool and onto your reel spool in the same direction.

To spool the baitcasting reel:

1) start by threading your line through the line guide

2) then tie a knot once the line is around the spool

3) turn the reel handle to spool the line onto the reel.

Are These Designed For Salt Or Freshwater?

These rods can be used in both saltwater and freshwater, with the spinning rods generally being more suitable for freshwater and casting rods more suitable for saltwater because of the weights of fish they tend to be aimed at. The reels in the combos are designed for freshwater.

Are The Rods 1 or 2 Piece?

The GX2 rods come in 1 and 2 piece rods, as well as 4 piece rods. The rod in the spinning combo and the casting rod are 2 piece rods, whereas the casting combo rod is a 1 piece rod and the spinning rod featured is a 4 piece rod.

What Is The Pound Test On The Rods?

On the spinning rods the recommended pound test line is from 6 to 15 pounds and on the casting rod it is from 10 to 25 pounds.

In Conclusion

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 range can offer affordability, durability and versatility. The rods and reels can be great options for beginners and if you’re looking to expand your gear.

GX2 Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning RodPin


  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for beginners


  • Not built for saltwater

While the GX2 range may not offer some of the professional features that you might see on expensive high-end gear, it can be ideal for recreational fishing and should let you target a range of fish using a variety of presentations.

Have you used any of the GX2 gear before? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. If you found this helpful, feel free to share it with your fellow anglers.

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