The Battle of the Rods: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite vs. Shimano SLX

If you’re an avid angler, then you know the difference a high-quality fishing rod can make when it comes to any successful outing. However, with so many options on the market, who’s to say which one will suit you the best? Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite vs. Shimano SLX – let’s take these two popular models to a head-to-head battle and see which one comes on top as the superior powerhouse rod.

Both Ugly Stik and Shimano Are Popular Choices Among Anglers of All Experience Levels

Whether you’re a beginner angler or an experienced fisherman, choosing the right fishing rod is crucial for a successful fishing experience. A quality pole not only enhances the overall performance but also affects the durability and longevity of the tool. This is especially important if you’re interested in special angling techniques that entail harsher conditions, such as saltwater fly fishing.

All in all, investing in a high-quality fishing rod not only improves the angling experience but also ends up being a reliable tool and a long-term investment. Both Ugly Stik and Shimano are fishing equipment manufacturers that clearly recognize this fact – both companies earned their reputation by producing affordable yet high-quality gear, making them a fan favorite among anglers of all experience levels.

Shimano Is a Globally Recognized Brand – Manufacturing Quality Gear for Over 100 Years Now

Shimano was founded in Japan in 1921 and has since become the leading manufacturer of not only fishing reels, rods, and other angling gear but bicycle components as well. The brand is known for its innovative engineering and attention to detail, which has earned it a reputation for producing some of the best equipment in the industry.

Ugly Stik – Proving Looks Aren’t Everything When It Comes to Fishing Gear

Ugly Stik is definitely a name you won’t forget once you come across it. This well-known company earned its name from the signature “ugly” appearance of the first produced pieces. But this shouldn’t be taken as an offense – the name actually underlines the fact that the original focus is on functionality and not on aesthetics. Besides, the Ugly Stik rods are pretty easy on the eyes these days, so they really offer the best in terms of both design and performance.

Person holding a spinning reel
A reliable tool by your side will ensure successful fishing trips

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite vs. Shimano SLX – A Brief Overview of Their Main Specifications

Before we start exploring the different aspects of these powerhouse rods, let’s compare their main specifications:

Specification Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Shimano SLX
Type Spinning, 2-piece Casting, 1-piece
Material Graphite and fiberglass 24-ton carbon
Length 5’0”, 6’0”, 6’6”, 7’0” 7’2”, 7’4”, 7’5”
Line Weight 2-17 lbs 8-30 lbs
Action Moderate-fast to fast Fast
Power Ultralight, light, medium, and medium-heavy Medium-heavy and heavy
Price $60 $100

The Choice Between Spinning and Casting Rod Depends on Your Preferences

When it comes to choosing between these two models, the final choice should depend on whether a casting or spinning rod would better suit your needs and preferred style of angling. While other factors come into play as well, the type of pole is probably the most important aspect that will determine which commonly caught fish you can target with it.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Is the Classic Spinning Rod Suited for Various Angling Techniques

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is your quintessential spinning rod, ideal for anglers who prefer to use light lures and fish baits. These rods are specifically designed to be combined with a spinning reel, and their flexible and lightweight construction is perfect for casting light lures over long distances. That’s why this should be your go-to gear for targeting freshwater species such as trout, panfish, and bass.

Shimano SLX Is a Great Casting Rod Fit for Handling Larger Species

Casting rods, also known as baitcasting rods, are another popular type of this particular piece of fishing equipment. These are often preferred by anglers who fish for larger species or like to use heavy lures or baits, and among those anglers, the Shimano SLX Casting Rod is a very popular choice.

How to Know Which Type of Rod Is the Best Choice for You

Spinning rods have downward-facing guides that enable the fishing line to flow freely, whereas casting rods come equipped with guides facing upward, which prevents the line from tangling. As mentioned, the first type is best suited for light lures and smaller targets, while casting rods are better suited for catching larger fish with heavy lures or fish baits. So, fair and simple – it all comes down to what you’re planning to do on your fishing adventures.

If you’re looking for a lightweight rod with a good casting range, the Ugly Stik is the right choice for you. With it, you can even try out some fly fishing techniques, including nymph fly fishing. As this is probably the most expensive angling style, it’s good to start it out with affordable gear before you invest in some serious equipment, including specifically-designed rods and tippet lines. On the other hand, if you want to cast heavier lines and target larger species in big bodies of water, the Shimano SLX rod is the better choice for you.

fish jumping out of water
It all comes down to your preferred fishing technique and target

These Rods Are Comparable When It Comes to Action

When a fisherman casts a line, the action of the rod determines how it bends and reacts to the weight of the bait and the catch once it bites on the fish hook. It can range from slow to fast, with each action impacting the rod’s overall sensitivity, power, and casting ability.

When it comes to action, these particular models are quite comparable as they offer fast action options, with the Ugly Stik Elite rod having an additional moderate-fast version. That means it provides versatile and sensitive performance ideal for delivering longer casts in various techniques, while the Shimano SLX focuses on quick and accurate shorter casts in even the harshest of angling conditions.

Ugly Stik Also Offers More Power Options Compared to Its Counterpart

In fishing equipment, power refers to the amount of weight that the rod can handle without breaking, and it’s usually denoted by a range of values, such as ultralight, light, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. When it comes to these particular models, Ugly Stik offers more options, from ultralight to medium-heavy, but it doesn’t have the heavy power version the Shimano SLX has.

However, this doesn’t mean that one rod is better than the other – it simply means that the better choice depends on your specific needs. If you want a rod that can handle heavier lines and baits, as well as fight off larger fish species such as salmon and catfish, go for the Shimano SLX Casting Rod. On the other hand, if you prefer to use lighter lines and lures, and you usually target species such as trout or crappie, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is the better choice for you.

Fishing trolling boat rods in rod holder
Which power rod is the better choice depends on what you’re planning to catch with it

Both Rods Are Made From Durable, High-Quality Materials

Whether you’re interested in traditional casting or want to try out your luck in the more challenging exploits, such as saltwater fishing at night, having a high-quality piece of equipment that will serve you well for years to come is absolutely essential. Fortunately, in terms of material quality, both of these models use high-quality materials to ensure durable and long-lasting angling companions.

First, let’s take a look at the materials used for the Ugly Stik Elite rod:

  • Ugly Tech Construction which combines graphite and fiberglass,
  • Premium cork composite handles,
  • Ugly Tuff guides from stainless steel.

Now, here are the materials that are used in the construction of the Shimano SLX rod:

  • High-quality carbon blank,
  • EVA foam handles,
  • Titanium-oxide guides.

A Head-To-Head Comparison of Their Size and Compactness

Unlike action and power, you don’t have to be well-versed in fishing slang to understand why the rod’s dimensions and compactness play a significant role in the overall experience. From casting distance to accuracy, the length and line weight of the rod significantly affect its performance and, ultimately, the angler’s success in landing a catch.

So, let’s compare these models in terms of length, line weight, and compactness:


Once again, the Ugly Stik Elite fishing rod has more options, as it offers a wide range of lengths ranging from 5 to 7 feet, making it suitable for various angling techniques and species in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Even though there’s less to choose from with the Shimano SLX, this model offers greater lengths that go up to 7’5”, which can be a deal-breaker if your top priority is range.

Line Weight

Line weight is another important factor to consider, as both the line and the pole need to be matched for optimal performance. As mentioned, the heavy-power Shimano SLX can handle heavier targets – depending on the exact model, you can land a heavy hitter of up to 30 lbs with this stick. Compared to that, the Ugly Stik has much less line weight, but if you’re planning on landing some medium-sized fish, it’ll serve you perfectly well.

Number of Pieces

Something that is often overlooked but shouldn’t be is the number of pieces the rod comes in. The Shimano SLX comes in one piece, which offers greater sensitivity, strength, and casting distance. Also, this type of rod is generally more durable, but it’s usually more expensive than two-piece rods such as the Ugly Stik. While it may be more convenient for transport and storage, this type of rod has ferrules, which can be weak points and may impact the long-term durability of the piece.

Here’s How These Models Fare in Terms of Handling

When it comes to handling, both of these models offer excellent experiences. The Ugly Elite’s lightweight and flexible design makes it easy for anglers to cast and control, while its comfortable cork handle provides a tight and secure grip.

The Shimano SLX is also a lightweight rod that’s easy to handle. Its ergonomic design, combined with the Shimano custom reel seat and cork grip, offers comfort and convenience for anglers even during the long fishing days that turn into night angling sessions.

Both Are Excellent Choices When Combined With the Right Type of Reel

The art of fishing entails much more than learning how to tie a fish hook – each and every part of your gear needs to be matched perfectly. When it comes to rods and reels, it’s critical to create the ideal balance necessary for casting, reeling, and fighting fish.

If you’re looking for a good spinning matchup, I’d recommend the Shakespeare Crusader Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo. On the other hand, Shimano offers a convenient way to match your gear with their specifically designed Shimano SLX XT Series Casting Reel.

The Ugly Stik Elite Rod Is the More Affordable Choice

Let’s be honest – fishing is far from being a cheap hobby. When all of the gear adds up, it can turn out to be quite an investment. That’s why it’s important to take all the time and effort you need to find a high-quality piece of equipment that won’t empty your pockets entirely.

Luckily, both models are quite affordable for the overall category and what they offer. However, The Ugly Stik Elite rod comes out on top, as it can be purchased for about $60, whereas the Shimano SLX is somewhere around $100. Additionally, if you opt for the cheaper option, you’ll also get an exceptional 7-year warranty, which is much more alluring than Shimano’s 2-year coverage.

Fishing rods, spinning rods with fishing line
All this gear doesn’t come cheap

It’s Time to Reel in Your Final Choice

All in all, the battle between these models is one without a clear winner, as the better choice depends on your preferred way of angling and what you’re trying to catch. If you’re looking for a customizable and versatile piece of gear, then the Ugly Stik is a quality choice at an affordable price. On the other hand, those looking to catch a heavy hitter should go for the impressive Shimano SLX. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have a reliable angling partner by your side. Good luck, and happy fishing!