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.

For any of the rods sold on, when you put the sections together there will be a gap. Don't force it.

Trout Baitcasting Rods - Wild Trout

Wild trout rods offer a wide range of rod lengths, from the 5' to 5'6" models 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 last year 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 have ordered a selection of  their light and ultralight trout baitcasting rods as well as their light and ultralight spinning rods.

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 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, 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 only a couple models, but they are very nice rods for the price! Shimano recently introduced the Trout One series of wild trout rods. The Trout One B50UL is the baitcaster in the 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.

The blank has Shimano's "High Power X" winding, which reduces rod twist and thus increases casting accuracy.

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 NX B50UL with very similar specs but a slightly different blank (and a slightly higher price). Either the Trout One or the Cardiff baitcasters will do very nicely for trout when matched with one of the Shimano BFS baitcasters.

Trout Baitcasting Rods - Area Trout

Daiwa's write up of their Presso AGS baitcasting rods sums it up perfectly when it describes 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 Presso AGS series, compared to eight  spinning rods

Daiwa's Presso AGS trout baitcasting rods are definitely distinctive. These are NOT your father's baitcasters!

Daiwa's Air Guide System yields lighter, stronger guides by using a combination of carbon fiber and titanium.

The precise orientation of  the carbon fibers is critical to obtaining the highest elastic modulus. The orientation of 0 degrees, 45 degrees and 90 degrees is optimal. Daiwa's X45 process adopts the three angles with the highest modulus of elasticity, which is scientifically proven to be the optimal structure to reduce twisting.

Daiwa's SVF carbon reduces the amount of resin, creating thinner, lighter and stronger rods by increasing the density of the carbon fibers.

 At each joint in any rod there is an overlap, which doesn't bend as easily as the sectioms between the joints. Daiwa's V-Joint increases the flexibility of the joint, which reduces the flat spots in a rod's bend profile.

The Presso AGS 60L-B has a parabolic action and the Presso AGS 62ML-B has sufficient tip action for working a lure or bottom bouncing, but with a fish on the line the action becomes more parabolic (especially with a football of a trout like the photo to the right, caught with a Presso AGS 62 ML-B).

Either of these 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, particularly the rods designed for Area trout, that you can feel the gentle tap of a redbreast sunfish - and have fun bringing it to hand. Modest bass would be no problem for the rods as long as you are fishing open water.

Daiwa Presso AGS 62ML-B and Daiwa SS AirDaiwa Presso AGS 62ML-B and Daiwa SS Air

The Daiwa Area Bum series also has two trout baitcasting rods. As with the Presso AGS rods, there is a 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? Like I said, 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 recently received a question from a guy who was looking for a baitcaster that would be suitable for trout, smallmouth bass and panfish. The Daiwa Area Bum 62 ML-B would be a very reasonable choice. It is designed as a trout rod but it is not too soft for smallies. It is a bit more rod that you would need for most panfish, but a hand sized sunfish will still put a bend in the rod.

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.

Shop for trout baitcasting rods.


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