Ugly Stik GX2

8.5 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
User's rating: based on 2 user ratings
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Ugly Stik GX2 Review Facts

If Darth Vader were to go fishing, the Ugly Stik GX2 would likely be the rod he would choose. The red and black color pattern and slim build make the GX2 an eye-catching fishing rod. The sci-fi appearance of the rod will impress fellow enthusiasts and can hold its own.

Those who were fishing in the late 70s likely used an Ugly Stik rod. The rod was not bad, but the design was rudimentary compared to others offered at the time. In spite of its unfortunate appearance, the Ugly Stik rod was a statement of precision and durability. The rods are still acceptable tools for finesse fishing applications. Ugly Stik is now proud of its appearance as well.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Lots of weights available
  • Price to value ratio
  • Some fishermen prefer a cork handle
  • Two-piece model can come apart
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 4 hours analyzing a total of 900 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • I just bought my second ugly stick and I love it. My first I have had for 40 years and it is still good. The medium weight is very light. I can feel a fly rub his legs together if it lands on the tip.
  • I paired this with a Kast King and it works so good. I am getting the spinning rod soon. It is a great rod.
  • We were looking for a versatile rod and this is exactly what these are. So good. They are strong and flexible. Just what you need in a pole.
  • These rods are so durable and sensitive. For the price it is one of a kind. One of the best I have ever owned. I have bought 4 more. They are money but so useful and you won't go hungry, they cast perfect and get all the catfish! I super duper recommend this thing.
  • Got a 6’ 6 and it is so good for bass fishing. It feels nice and has good action response to it.I am super impressed.
  • Always check your gear as soon as you get it. My first rod was bent but they replaced it with a straight one no issues. It happens, usually during shipping. The rod is great and seems really durable. I got it in 3 parts and man, i am catching some sweet eats. It is light and really works super well. Great Rod.
  • I am really liking the feel and action of this rod. It is a replacement for another one that snapped, no an Ugly Stick. It works great when you anna channel ct fish. It holds some serious drag and is really durable and flexible.
  • I ended up buying 3 of these after the first one. I loved it! I would suggest definitely going to a store and buying one. I got two in the mail with defects but customer service is great.
  • I am so happy with this. It can take some weight. I paired it with a baitcasting reel and man does it work great. It has a great reel seat and is way stronger than the last one I had. It isn’t pro but it is worth the price.
  • The butt shorter than I expected, not a fan. However, the rod is good. I can’t use it for slow jigging like I wanted but I am catching some heads on it. It is great for $40 though.
  • Super light weight rod. It is comfortable and easy to use. I got the 7 footer and wow. It is super flexible. I would recommend anyone try it if thy are looking it works great.
  • Very strong and well built rod. I like the brand and they never disappoint. It breaks down well and easy to get together. Has a nice strong plastic carrier too. Really flexible and fit for a tough real in.
  • The guide eyes are really strong. I used some putty to get her together nice and tight and man she is sturdy. It really can take a beating and bends well. Its worth buying for sure.
  • I was really happy with the way this rod performed. The tips aren't as sturdy as some hough. This rod especially had a couple beak on me.
  • The 6’6 is nice and active. It works so well. It can handle some serious weight. This has become my travel rod. It is so convenient and easy to use.
  • This is my second and I am still impressed, nothing has changed. They are superb for the price. The tip is super responsive and can feel the slightest tug. It has great length and strength . you cannot go wrong with this thing.
  • I have had numerous Ugly Sticks and they can handle some serious fishing. I have had over 30lbs on these without a break. The reel seats could use some work. It works great for a travel rod for sure.
  • I use this for kayak fishing. It breaks down easy nad has a good pull to it. It casted great from the kayak. I am able to reel and jig too.
  • I am using a bait caster reel with it and mad it is working great. This thing can really take on a fight with no pressure. Super sturdy and flexible. I totally recommend it. Great price too.
  • This thing started cracking after the first time I used it. It was a 28” halibut. It it cannot handle that then I question the makers.
  • This cracked on the last eyelet after a week. I am not impressed. Pretty bummed after all the great reviews I read. I'll keep looking.
  • I had it for 5 minutes and the real seat separated. This is not good at all. Poor quality.
  • After a few uses, there were grooves in the eyelets. I was told they were super tough but that is not my experience. I am not sure why, I don't use it the wrong wa or out rated line. I just see a poor quality product.
  • This is officially my gold fish pole. It is so flimsy and not made for anything. It snapped right in two on the first tug. I was like WOAH… this is a real actual fishing rod. Not good at all.
  • This thing has a very poor locking system to it. The screw is bad on top and super flimsy. It really is a good looking rod, hoped it was a defect but all 5 rods had the same issue. It is poor quality.
  • I used it once ad the tip got snagged and went right in the a water. I was so upset. I won’t be buying another one of these.
  • The thing broke during a cast! I was dumbfounded. I mean It is supposed to be a sturdy rod, nope! This thing is garbage.
  • This is nothing like the original Ugly Stick, which was great by the way. It doesn't work worth a crap and is super flimsy.I would dnt wanna try to fish anything over a fish bowl with this thing.
  • The tip on these are way too wobbly. There is no weight distribution and It is hard to cast. I won’t buy another, I like to keep fishing.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 900 reviews we found in total, 18% were negative, and 82% were positive.

Basic Features

The Ugly Stik signature characteristics include the clear tip design that is known for its durability. A classic winding diamond pattern in red and silver, above the grip, highlights the rod. The clear tip delivers the needed sensitivity to feel the light strike of a stealthy fish. It has the durability required to handle a 100-pound tarpon or 50-pound redfish. The clear fiberglass tip gives the rod more sensitivity and strength.

Advanced Features

For the sake of nostalgia, anyone who used a previous Ugly Stik rod should make a hands-on comparison to appreciate the evolution that took place. It is packed with the value of the original and has some upgrades that excite experienced anglers.

There are plenty of new design aspects. The new design incorporated graphite and fiberglass for a clean black matte finish. The designed guides are single-piece stamped stainless steel that adds durability to the rugged design.

The balance point is now in the rod’s butt end. It feels better in hand than previous models. Ugly Tech is the name given to the new generation of technology. It features a blank through reel seat that is a combination of fiberglass and a touch of graphite. Due to the graphite, an eye appealing black matte finish replaces the glossy finish of older models. The Ugly Stik logo on the butt end is a new feature.


The rod is a hybrid between fiberglass and graphite. The blend of materials increases the performance of the Ugly Stik, especially for finesse fishing. The rod offers the sensitivity of graphite and durability from fiberglass.

It may not be the best rod available, but it is durable and affordable. Because lightweight materials are used, the rod is suitable for novice and experienced fishermen. The rod can splinter, but one of the testers accredits the cause to the way he handles the rod. He pulls bass out of the water without the line instead of lipping them or using a net.

Clumsy people don’t have to worry about the rod breaking. The GX2 is one of the most durable fishing rods. For decades, it has maintained a high-durability rating. The Ugly Stik GX2 does not tarnish the legacy.

Shakespeare claims the Ugly Stik GX2 is the toughest on the market. One tester set out to deliberately break a 6½ foot medium rod for which he paid $49.99. The reel was included. He put 80-pound power pro line on it.

The rod is designed to throw one to two ounces of lead optimally. The tester tried to throw ten ounces of lead. He found it could be cast easily. Sixteen and 32 ounces of lead also cast easily. The examiner attempted to lift a filled milk jug with the rod. It was not only lifted but cast multiple times. The milk jug was destroyed with no damage to the rod.

His little boy played a role in his shenanigans. The line was tied to the tykes belt loop, and he tried to walk away from the rod in an attempt to break it to no avail. Next, his son sat in a fiberglass canoe, while Dad pulled the vessel over the dry ground with the rod.

A chainsaw and a 22-pound bike were lifted by the rod without breaking it. For a bigger challenge, he attempted pulling his fishing boat and trailer on dry land. The attempt was unsuccessful. It was the ten-dollar reel that broke not the rod.

Upgrading to a Penn Pursuit 8000 reel, he made another attempt. He was able to move the boat. It took attaching the rod to a motorized go-kart, driven by a teenager to break the rod. It did not break at the ferrel. The rod just came apart.

The rod can be lent to a friend without fear of damage. The Ugly Stik GX2 outperforms rods that cost two or three times more than the GX2 and are not as durable. The fiberglass tip makes the rod more responsive than other materials.

The strong rod holds up for a long time. Unlike pure graphite rods, the rod will not crack or break when a big fish is caught. Shakespeare has been in business since 1897. They started making fishing rods in 1976. They know something about producing quality fishing rods.


The guides are likely the most significant change in design. Shakespeare engineered a single-piece guide called the Ugly Tuff. Old guides were tough, but the traditional pop out made of ceramic had the potential of getting broke.

The one-piece stamped stainless steel is extremely durable and nearly impossible to destroy. Paired with a high-quality reel the rod completes a great combo. Unlike most rods, the stainless steel rod guides are not in multiple pieces.

The Ugly Tuff guides of the GX2 are one-piece, which is an ideal choice for improving strength. The guides are perfect for braid, ball carbon, or monofilament. The big guide stays on the main blank. In the older version, all the guides were on the blank.


The grip is made of EVA material that is comfortable Pin the hand after hours of casts and retrieves. EVA is a very durable alternative to cork. The logo is burned into the handle. The handle is stout; the trigger is decent, and the reel inserts are so-so, but they hold up.

While some fishermen prefer cork handles, one tester chose the foam handle because the cork of the older model was popping off the rod. He had to glue the foregrip in place a few times because the cork started peeling away and cracking.

The foregrip of the GX2 is bigger than the Elite Light series foregrip. The long rear grip can be locked under the elbow for more leverage when pulling in big fish. It still has the trademark basketweave in the foregrip.


The GX2 design is not representative of an ugly fishing rod. It has a black finish with red trim that gives it a sporty look. Improving the design is a way of maintaining high-quality construction. The rod design is enough to draw attention without being too flashy or colorful. It looks both professional and sporty.

Those who value appearance will like the GX2. Ugly Stik does not have a reputation for impressive fishing rods. From an aesthetic standpoint, this one combines quality build and a modern look.

A variety of users benefit from the lightweight design. Kids can learn how to use the Ugly Stik GX2. Experienced fishermen take advantage of the fiberglass and high-modulus graphite construction to reduce fatigue when they go on long fishing expeditions.

The rod is available in different length and width combinations. It is not a ‘mini’ rod. There is a wide configuration variety. Shakespeare produces 15 casting and 20 spinning models. Six models are specifically for ladies.

There are three pack rod options. Several combo packages add a few dollars to the purchase price and are great for those just getting started. There are eyes on the rod to hook bait when transporting.

They are a little flimsy but do not break. The rod is heavy enough to provide some lifting power. It is sensitive. Redfish can be felt in 30 feet of water. Trout nibbling on bait can be felt. The top eyelet of the Light series tended to pop out and need to be replaced. The eyelets will corrode after a couple of years of saltwater use. They can be wiped clean.

There is a one-piece or two-piece option. One tester found the two-piece option was breakable. Another inspector prefers the two-piece because he likes to break it down to put in his kayak or truck, so the road doesn’t dangle. It can be taken along when rollerblading or ride a bike. It fits in a backpack.


The GX2 is a friend of those who find themselves giving into fatigue. The lightweight construction is ideal for all-day fishing. The design does not limit casting distance and is compatible with braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon lines.

It is easier and lighter to cast, which translates to the forearm not feeling overworked at the of a long fishing day. The rod operates more smoothly than its predecessor. Fishermen can cast further.

Shakespeare may have perfected the best budget-friendly rod. A medium action rod is a little more flimsy on top than the Light version. It still has an excellent backbone for catching big fish. The medium rod is an all-around quality rod.

It can be used for bass fishing bass fishing. Anglers can jig fish with it. They can still use crankbait, and use topwater. The six-foot rod is recommended when casting into docks, underneath trees, or in small places. If the rod is too long, the fisherman loses a little control.


The price point of the rod is a stunning feature. It costs more to dine out at Applebees. The rod is an excellent value for the price. It is available with or without a ten dollar reel. Purchasing one without a reel allows the user to install a favorite brand of reel. There are excellent budget reels available, to be used with this not so ugly rod.

The price of the rod starts at $39.99. At that price, there is no guilt associated with purchasing a quality piece of equipment. The Ugly Stik GX2 has a seven-year warranty. The rod is excellent as a primary, backup or loaner rod.

For the affordable $39.99 price tag, it makes an excellent gift. It surpasses other budget-friendly rods and rods that are more expensive. A tester who has used Ugly Stik rods for more than ten years had a rod from the Light series with a cork handle.

It was not entirely indestructible. The Light series was pretty good. It was acceptably stiff with a perfect backbone for catching big bass, muskie, and pike. The rod started to splinter in the middle.

He had a second for backup. The guide popped off. The blank was still in good shape. He could have gotten the rods fixed under warranty. When he took the cost of shipping or taking it to a pro shop to have a new guide attached into consideration, he decided to buy the new GX2.

One tester recommends buying two of the economically priced rods. He has two. On one, he has brand and monofilament on the other. Having two allows switching on clear water days when the braid can be seen to the monofilament rod for jig fishing, spinning, using spinner baits, or crank fishing. A second rod serves as a backup or a rod for someone who goes fishing with you.

Key Features

* Better balance than previous models
* Clear tip
* EVA grip
* EVA handle
* Fiberglass and graphite rod blank
* Lure weights
* One-piece Ugly Tuff guides made of stainless steel
* Ugly Stik clear tip
* Ugly Tuff and Ugly Tech construction

Bottom Line

The Ugly Stik GX2 is a budget-friendly fishing rod available in various spinning and casting models. The durability of the rod has continued to be one of the best assets. The same attention to detail that was important 40 years ago still exists.

The first Ugly Stik was introduced in 1976. It has always been a durable and dependable rod. Most experienced fishermen equate it with value and durability. The Ugly Stik GX2 was released in 2013.