Trout Baitcasting Rods

Trout baitcasting rods are an outgrowth of the Bait Finesse System (BFS), which allowed bass anglers to cast light lures accurately with baitcasters. It did not take long for Japanese anglers to adopt BFS reels for trout fishing, and rod manufacturers were not far behind that. There are now a number of excellent trout baitcasting rods that can handle light lines and light lures

As with spinning rods, JDM baitcasting rods for trout can be divided into rods for stocked trout in Areas (managed pay-to-fish ponds) and wild (native) trout in mountain streams. In a sense, the two different rod classes illustrate the two different sides of the finesse coin - micro lures and ultra light lines in the Areas, and extremely accurate casting in the mountain streams.

There will be a gap. It is supposed to be like that.There will be a gap. It is supposed to be like that.

For any of the rods sold on, when you put the sections together there will be a gap. It is supposed to be like that. Please don't force it.

Trout Baitcasting Rods - Wild Trout

Wild trout rods offer a wide range of rod lengths, from rods under 5' designed for smaller mountain streams up to rods over 8' long for big fish in wide rivers. At least for now, will concentrate on the shorter models for smaller streams.

Daiwa and Shimano offer baitcasting rods for trout but I have to admit I am drawn to the Tenryu Rayz models. Tenryu is a name not well known in the US, at least not yet, but their rods are well known in Europe, and of course, in Japan. I started importing their tenkara rods a few years ago and have been very impressed with the quality. Not only are the blanks and actions excellent, the fit and finish are absolutely unsurpassed.

Tenryu is a small company and they have only one production run per year for their trout rods. I try to forecast demand for the entire year, but if (when) I run out of stock it may be months before I can get more.

Tenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BCTenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BC

Breakdown Length
Rod Weight
Line Weight
Lure Weight

Wild (stream)
82 cm (32 1/4")
74 g (2.6 oz)
1 - 4 lb
1 - 6 g (1/32 - 1/5 oz)

Wild (stream)
86 cm (33 7/8")
79 g (2.8 oz)
3 - 6 lb
2 - 8 g (1/16 - 1/4 oz)

Tenryu RZ53UL-BC, Calcutta Conquest BFS HG reel, 2.5g Daiwa Crusader spoonTenryu RZ53UL-BC, Calcutta Conquest BFS HG reel, 2.5g Daiwa Crusader spoon

Tenryu's trout baitcasting rods are rated for a wide range of lure weights, from 1 - 6 g  (1/32 - 1/5 oz) for the RZ53UL-BC and from 2-8 g (1/16 - 1/4 oz) for the RZ56L-BC. That is both as light and as heavy as you are likely going to want to use for either trout or panfish.Their light and ultralight baitcasters are probably the nicest you will find anywhere.

Tenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BC, Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG, 18Tenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BC, Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG, 18" smallmouth bass.

And even though they are trout rods, they can handle modest bass.

Shimano Trout One NS B50ULShimano Trout One NS B50UL

Shimano has a few trout baitcasting rods. For wild trout they offer a Trout One series with two models, and a Cardiff series with four models. They are nice rods, with the Trout One series being particularly nice rods for the price! The Trout One B50UL is the UL baitcaster in the Trout One series. Shimano's design goal was for a rod tailored to fishing "heavy minnow" plugs, which are increasingly popular in Japanese mountain streams  (3.5 to 4.5 grams - 1/8 to a bit under 3/16 ounce). Interestingly, 1/8 ounce is the weight of the home-made spinners that Frank Nale has settled on after decades of fishing spinners for wild trout in both freestone and limestone streams in Pennsylvania. Although Frank fishes a spinning rod, he settled on the 1/8 oz  weight as optimal for the smaller wild trout streams he fishes. He maintains lighter lures do not get down to where larger trout often hold. Heavier ones get snagged too frequently.

The specs show a wide 1 gram to 7 gram lure range for the rod, but it appears to be optimized for the middle of that range. Shimano gave the rod a fast action, with a SofTube Top that has the sensitivity and flexibility of a solid tip, together with a firmer midsection. Just picking up the rod and giving it a quick wiggle, you can really see yourself making rifle shot casts to tiny targets.

Shimano Trout One NS B50UL reel seat side viewShimano Trout One NS B50UL reel seat side view
Shimano Trout One NS B50UL reel seat top viewShimano Trout One NS B50UL reel seat top view
Shimano Trout One NS B50UL with Aldebaran BFS HGShimano Trout One NS B50UL with Aldebaran BFS HG

Shimano's CI4+ "fighting grip" is a proprietary carbon reinforced resin that is lighter and stronger than conventional resin.

Shimano Trout One NS B50UL with Aldebaran BFS HGShimano Trout One NS B50UL with Aldebaran BFS HG

The Shimano Trout One NS B50UL gives you a fast action rod optimized for the lure weight that is best suited to small to medium sized wild trout streams, whether in the Appalachians, the Adirondacks, the Rockies or the Sierras. I like the rod a lot and have had a hard time keeping them in stock.

Shimano also makes a Cardiff series of wild rods. The NX B50UL has very similar specs but a slightly different blank (and a slightly higher price) than the Trout One NS B50UL. for anglers who are not fishing small mountain streams for modest trout, the Cardiff NX B64L offers a longer, more capable rod, rated for lures up to 1/2 ounce and lines up to 8 lb. Any of the Trout One or Cardiff baitcasters will do very nicely for trout when matched with one of the Shimano BFS reels.

Trout Baitcasting Rods - Area Trout

Daiwa has described the move to Bait Finesse System reels, small lures and light lines as "area bait finesse." It is definitely a niche market, though, and there are only two baitcasting rods offered in the Area Bum series, compared to seven  spinning rods

The two baitcasting models are the 60L-B and a 62ML-B. The 60L-B is softer and has more of a mid flex bend profile, while the 62ML-B is definitely a bit firmer and is more of a tip flex rod. Both are rated for lines up to 5 lb. The lower end for the 62ML-B is 2 lb line. For the 60L-B, the lower end of the recommended lines is 1.5 lb!

Did you ever even consider that a baitcaster would be designed for lines down to 1.5 lb? This is not your father's baitcaster!

Daiwa Area Bum 62ML-B rod, Daiwa SS Air reel and Varivas 2.5lb Bait Finesse Mono lineDaiwa Area Bum 62ML-B rod, Daiwa SS Air reel and Varivas 2.5lb Bait Finesse Mono line

I have to admit that I have never used 1.5 lb test line, even on a spinning rod, let alone a baitcaster. However, I can say that the Varivas Bait Finess Nylon 2.5 lb line works very well and is plenty strong enough for nice fish if you don't have to battle fast current as well as the fish.

Daiwa Area Bum 60L-B, Daiwa SS Air, Sunline Small Game PE-HG line.Daiwa Area Bum 60L-B, Daiwa SS Air, Sunline Small Game PE-HG line.

Either of Daiwa's Area Bum trout baitcasting rods would be an excellent choice for fishing lakes. And even though the main thrust of is on trout, the rods are sensitive enough that you can feel the gentle tap of a  sunfish - and have fun bringing it to hand.

Daiwa Area Bum 60L-B, Aldebaran BFS XG, Varivas Bait Finess PE line.Daiwa Area Bum 60L-B, Aldebaran BFS XG, Varivas Bait Finess PE line.

I recently received a question from a guy who was looking for a baitcaster that would be suitable for trout, panfish and smallmouth bass. Either of the Daiwa Area Bum rods would work. The 60L-B would be the better choice if his primary catch will be panfish and smaller trout, while the 62ML-B would be the better choice if his primary catch will be smallmouth bass.

And if any largemouth anglers out there question using a 5 lb line (max) for bass, I have fished Maine for smallmouth bass almost every year for decades now, and have rarely used anything other than 4 lb mono. If you are not dragging bass out of weeds, you don't need to fish with heavy line! Fishing for smallies in open water over rocks? Four pound line is perfectly adequate. And for trout fishing in lakes? Unless the fish are huge, you won't even need 4 lb line.

Cardiff B64L-F area baitcasterCardiff B64L-F area baitcaster

Shimano also has a couple trout baitcasting rods intended for fishing the Areas, the Cardiff B64L-F and the B62SUL-RG. At first glance, the specs are similar. The B64L-F is rated for 1.5 to 7 gram lures and 2 to 6 lb lines, whereas the B6SUL-RG is rated for 1.5 - 6 gram lures and 2 to 5 lb lines. The big difference is the blank composition. The B64L-F is 95.3 percent carbon, while the B62SUL-RG is 74.2 percent glass!

"High Power X" winding reduces rod twist and increases casting accuracy.

Shimano has reinforced unidirectional glass with their "High Power X" carbon wraps to reduce rod twist and increase casting accuracy. If you have been looking for a baitcaster with the silky smooth casting of a glass rod, look no further. This is a seriously fun rod!

Shop for trout baitcasting rods.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.