Ugly Stik GX2 Review: How this Rod Beats ALL Competition

​Introduced in 1976, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik is something that most of us anglers are familiar with. During our growing up years when we saw the Ugly Stik being used by our fathers and grandfathers, we developed a kind of attachment to it.

During mid-2013 Shakespeare released a new upgraded version of the Ugly Stik known as the GX2. Just like its predecessor, it was packed with value. But mind you, that attachment is not purely emotional. A major reason lies in the fact that this rod has always been dependable and durable.

​My Verdict on the Ugly Stik GX2

​​I love the GX2. It brings you the same ruff ‘n’ tuff, budget-friendly fishing rod paired with refined features that compete with some of the more expensive rods out there.

This rod can be your primary go-to rod instead of just being a backup. It deserves more.

​They come in both casting and spinning variants and I have reviewed both of them. You can see below that I found them equally good.

Being serious about angling doesn’t really mean spending hundreds of dollars unnecessarily.​ ​The expensive rods are good indeed but this isn’t bad either.​​

Its pocket-friendly price allows us to buy multiple Ugly Stik rods and they do well in the tournaments too. So pro-anglers, don’t overlook this one!​

Competitors of the Ugly Stik GX2 Rods

GX2 Spinning
90 Top Pick
Great sensitivity, strength and durability at unbelievable price.
Check Out On Amazon
GX2 Casting
88Great casting distance along with other features of the spinning version.Check Out On Amazon
Cadence CR5
n/a​Extreme value at remarkably low price.Check Out On Amazon
Kastking Perigee II
n/aPremium functions and a twin-tip technology highlight.Check Out On Amazon
Ugly Stik Elite
n/aGraphite composition increased by 35%.Check Out On Amazon
Fenwick Eagle
n/a​Classic, royal looking design with good features.Check Out On Amazon

​Detailed Analysis Of The Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod

​”Oh, but it’s a beginner’s rod and a cheap backup”, I do get to hear that a lot. Let us tell you, nothing could be further away from the truth.

This Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 review will change your perception if you too have been a victim of misinformation.

Coming at a very low price point, it puts those to shame who brag about how expensive their rod is. ​And by the way, the picture used above is not just for the sake of it.

Type in ‘Ugly Stik GX2 durability’ on YouTube and see what you get. ​Now, with ​a better mindset, let us get to know this wonder in detail!​

​1. What’s New In The Ugly Stik GX2?

  • ​Graphite + Fiberglass give it a clean matte-black finish.
  • ​Redesigned guides into single piece stamped stainless steel for durability
  • Balance point shifted to butt-end of the rod
  • ​Lighter and easier to cast.

The Ugly Stik GX2 series has been a rage among anglers ever since its inception.

Rightly so, their faith is not misplaced in this Shakespearean wonder (just like the great playwright) and it continues to garner attention in the fishing community with its lovely performances.

Here I have reviewed both the spinning and the casting model, thus further easing out the process of making a choice.

2. Ugly Stik GX2 ​Key Features


Handle: Shakespeare has provided us with EVA material grip in the Ugly Stik GX2. Unlike before, it now feels very comfortable even after hours of cast & retrieves.

A new development is the Ugly Stik logo at the butt-end of the rod. Though people are mostly fond of the cork grip, this is a good alternative.

The dual EVA grips work excellently in wet conditions and are fairly easy to clean. Ultimately, your forearm won’t feel fatigued.

The fore-grip on the GX2 is quite big too, with a trademarked basket weave. You can lock the long rear grip under your elbow for more leverage while hauling in a big fish.

Looks: Addition of the graphite has brought in a more appealing matte black finish. It is a development over the classic glossy look.

Also, a classic diamond winding pattern, colored in silver and red, highlights the rod right above the grip. With a signature clear tip, it has helped many anglers to identify this rod easily in a huge stack.

From an aesthetic point of view, it features a sporty and professional look. The handle is pretty slim and tapers in a balanced way along the length of the rod.

Thus, it doesn’t have a bulky appearance like the earlier Ugly Stik models.

Weight: The rod is pretty lightweight, owing to the lightweight materials used in the design. This makes it a popular choice among anglers both novice and seasoned.


Rod Blank: The UglyTech™ technology features a combination of fiberglass with a touch of high-modulus graphite in its new blank over a reel seat type of design. It incorporates more strength into the rod.

If you are clumsy like most of us, don’t worry. The durability of Ugly Stik has your back and the GX2 certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Though such a composition has been a part of the previous rods before, there is increased use of graphite in the GX2.

One-Piece Guide Design: The biggest change is the new guide design.

Single-piece guides referred to as UglyTuff™ have a stamped stainless steel design which makes the rod extremely durable and almost impossible to destroy.

The older version was tough, but it came along with traditional pop-out ceramic inserts that were easy to break.

Be it braided, carbon or monofilament lines, the guides are perfectly fine for all. Here the big guide remains on the main blank, unlike the earlier version where the blank carried all the guides.


Signature Clear-Tip & Casting: The clear-tip provides the sensitivity which makes it possible to feel even the lightest strike of the most stealthy fishes. We are free to use a lot of retrieval techniques.

The rod has been designed in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the casting distance. The GX2 feels much more smooth than the previous Ugly Stik models.

Finesse-Fishing: The rod is a hybrid between graphite and fiberglass has an increased performance due to the blend of materials.

We get the best of both the worlds i.e. sensitivity of graphite and durability of fiberglass. Also, hooking baits when transporting has been made easy by the presence of eyes on the rod.

Variety: With twenty-three spinning and fifteen casting models of different lengths, weight and power ratings, the Ugly Stik GX2 features a wide variety of choices depending upon your need and liking.

It has variable lengths with six models dedicated to our female angler friends. All-in-all, we have a quality build paired with modern looks.

Again, with the models comes the choice of a 1-pc or a 2-pc blank thus suiting whatever needs you have.

You could either opt-in for more sensitivity with a 1-pc blank or a decent enough sensitivity but the ease of carrying the rod around with a 2-pc blank.

Power & Reel-seat Design: The rod packs with it some massive lifting power, making it durable enough to handle a large 50 lbs+ redfish or even a 100 lbs+ tarpon.

The reel-seat design gives you two locking options i.e. you can either go for a conventional locking system or you can opt for a twist-lock design.

Both systems are adept enough at keeping your reel secure.

Rod Length & Rod Action: The medium-action rod is flimsier as compared to the light-action one on the top. But still, it carries a strong backbone for catching fishes.

It can be called a rod with all-around qualities. Use it for bass fishing, cranking, jigging, topwater use and you’ll not be disappointed.

If you’re looking for something specially for bass fishing, then my guide to the best bass fishing rod and reel combos will help you find some reliable options.

I recommend short lengths like 6-feet when fishing near docs, trees or small places since longer rods would be difficult to control in such situations.

Maintenance & Repair Cost

Warranty: Along with remarkable durability, it is backed by a long 7-year warranty from Shakespeare at the time of writing this article.

Corrosion-resistance: The eyelets might begin to corrode after a couple of years of usage in saltwater but it is nothing to worry about as you can always wipe them clean.


Affordable: The best thing about this rod is its low-price point and attractive features. Some other brands offer almost similar functionalities at 2x or 3x the price but aren’t anywhere near in durability.

This is what makes Ugly Stik way ahead of its competitors as it continues to be budget-friendly.

Purchase a reel of your choice and you would be good to go.

​3. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

UGLY STIK GX2 Spinning Rod Rating
Top Pick

Overall Score: 90


  • Variety of models
  • Sensitivity is good
  • Amazing durability
  • ​Has a light weight
  • Won’t pinch your pocket


  • Thick foam grip reduces some sensitivity
  • Braided lines might cause an issue
  • A few models can seem stiff

​Rod Power

​You can choose out of the following available powers:

Ultralight: Imparts extreme sensitivity for setting to the hook and is perfect for catching those small fishes. Available in 5 models.

Light: A nice choice for catching those trout and panfish where some extra lifting power is required. The load is distributed throughout the length of the rod but it still remains sensitive. Available in 4 models.

Medium and Medium-Heavy: Almost all the freshwater fishes you can imagine cannot escape you now if you have this rod in your hand. Available in 9+3 models.

Heavy power: Large pikes, salmons, and even some saltwater fishes can be your game now. Available In 2 models.

Power also describes the lure size and line test-loads. Increasing power ratings enhance the capability to cast larger lures effectively.

Small models can be useful for 1/4oz lures whereas heavy models would be able to handle 1oz lures easily.

Rod Length

Power settings also vary according to rod length. Once you are through with the choice of power rating, you can move forward and find the desired length.

  • Ultralight Models: Available in lengths ranging from 4’6” to 7’.
  • Light Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 5’6” to 6’6”.
  • Medium Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 5’6” to 9’.
  • Medium-Heavy Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 6′ to 7’.
  • Heavy Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 4’9” to 6’.

Longer rods will enhance your casting distance but the longer the rod gets, the less accurate its casting becomes.

Shorter rods with heavy power are great for gaming big fishes that require a lot of lifting strength but they lack in sensitivity.

​4. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

UGLY STIK GX2 Casting Rod Rating

Overall Score: 88


  • Great price point
  • Strength and durability are good
  • Nice casting distance


  • Uncomfortable finger rest
  • Some might find it a bit stiff

Handle Style

​Along with the simple EVA grip, and a dual-EVA grip for more comfort, control, and maneuver.  The elongated handle in the longer models allows us to put in more power behind our casts.

The handles make use of a trig reel seat for a lot more casting movement and lure retrievability.

Rod Power

​Baitcasters are predominantly designed to throw heavy lures at considerable distances and therefore we have limited power-settings.

  • Medium-Light: Available In 2 Models 
  • Medium: Available In 8 Models​
  • Medium-Heavy: Available In 4 Models​​
  • Heavy: Available In 1 Model​

​These rods are made to handle large fishes and can really provide some serious power while battling.

Rod Length

Power settings also vary according to rod length. Once you are through with the choice of power rating, you can move forward and find the desired length.

Medium-Light Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from  7’ to 7’6″. Good for basses requiring a sensitive approach.

Medium Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 5’6” to 7’. Adapted to suit a wide variety of general use.

Medium-Heavy Power Models: Available in lengths ranging from 6′ to 7’.

Heavy Power Models: Available in length of 6’6″. Capable of catching big fishes that require distant casting and heavier lures.

​You won’t have any problems casting lures ranging between 1/4oz to 1oz at distances more than 50 feet.

The Ugly Stik GX2 Will Be Your All-time Companion

​Irrespective of whether you are a fresher or a seasoned angler, it can never hurt to have an Ugly Stik GX2 by your side.

My readers often shared the anecdotes regarding how carefree they are while lending these rods to even the clumsiest of friends as they know they will be safe.​

The GX2 is like the friend who sticks with you through thick and thin.

​If you know someone who loves fishing, this rod can make the perfect birthday gift and they would be delighted to have this rod on-board.​

People have great fishing memories ​attached with Ugly Stik rods ​and they would love to make some more.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not freshwater fishing in the nearest creek or enjoying saltwater fishing by taking boats far in the ocean.

Recent Posts

Mühüm futbol görüşləri ötrü, adətən, pul qoyuluşuna açıq olan mindən yuxarı bazar olur. android üçün mostbet azerbaycan MostBet yukle apk mobil proqramı Android os əməliyyat sistemi üçün rəsmi bahis saytından mümkündür. artırmaq üçün Müştəri xidməti komandası da mehriban və cavabdeh olduqları üçün təriflənir. etmək istədiyiniz məbləği Bir çox üstünlüklər gətirən və tayı zamanda həzz və xeyir verə bilən əyləncədir. mostbet aviator