Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Review

Our overall rating:4.4
Build Quality:5


  • Extremely affordable
  • Sensitive (fiberglass clear tip) and durable (graphite backbone)
  • Wide range of models for all applications
  • Well balanced
  • Much lighter than previous Ugly Stik models
  • Easy to handle EVA grips
  • Very powerful rods
  • Aesthetically sleek


  • Not the best casting performance comparatively
  • Most models not best for finesse fishing

Anyone who was introduced to fishing at a young age has at some point held an Ugly Stik in their hands. For some unfair reason, Ugly Stik has been labeled as a beginner fishing rod, or even a cheap back up rod for your more regal fishing rod. In this Ugly Stik Gx2 review, we are going to change the way you perceive Ugly Stik rods.

What the Gx2 brings you is the same rugged and affordable fishing rod with more refined features that rival even the most high end fishing rods on the market, You will find that this rod has the potential of being your primary fishing tool.

In this review we will look at the pros and cons of the Gx2, take a look at both the spinning and casting series of the Gx2 in depth, and discuss in what fishing applications the Gx2 shines.

In case you are looking for some other options besides the Gx2 line, we’ve also got some alternative options in the bottom of this article.

Click here to view on Amazon.

Gx2 Key Features

Ugly Tech Construction

In the Gx2 series of fishing rods, Ugly Stik uses a blend of fiberglass and high modulus graphite.

While this blend has been used in previous models of Ugly Stik rods, the Gx2 uses an increase in graphite.

What this has done is provided you with an Ugly Stik rod that offers more than just durability, but also an increase in sensitivity for more finesse fishing applications.

It still hasn’t lost its original purpose of being a high strength, stiff fishing rod.

Ugly Tuff Guides

On most fishing rods the guides are made up of several pieces of material that have been constructed and then inserted into the rods blanks.

Ugly Stik’s Ugly tuff guides are stainless steel that have been crafted as a single piece for maximum strength.

They have also been designed to be compatible with monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines. These are smooth running guides and allow line to run smoothly without greatly effecting casting distance.

Ugly Stik Clear Tip

While the Gx2 features a lot of new technology it did not forget about what made it such a great brand to begin with.

The Ugly Stik Clear tip gives any rod model an extremely strong and sensitive fiberglass tip that will result in clean hook sets time after time.


There are a range of handle styles that are used on both the spinning and casting series of the Ugly Stik Gx2. All handles feature dual EVA handle grips that are lightweight and extremely durable.

These grips have superior handling ability in wet conditions and are also very easy to keep clean.

The graphite reel seats come in two designs depending on the model of rod your purchase and are a conventional locking or twist locking design. Both designs will keep your reel locked up securely when fighting and landing fish.


Do not let the name fool you, this Ugly Stik series has really stepped up the aesthetics for the Gx2.

This is a sleek looking rod with a black matte finish with red trims. The tapering of the rod is uniform and balanced and loses the traditional stocky look of Ugly Stik rods.

For traditionalists, you will immediately recognize the diamond pattern that runs along the blank immediately above the grip.


What has always been a standard of Ugly Stix rod series is the wide selection of rods that are available to fit with any fishing application you have in mind.

Each model at different power and length settings are usually available in a single or multiple piece set. One-piece sets generally have more consistent performance properties while multi piece sets are generally easier to transport.

Gx2 Spinning Rods


There are 23 different models of the Gx2 spinning rod that are available that vary in their lengths, weights, blank numbers, and power ratings.

With so many possibilities it is important that you go in with a particular range of fishing applications in mind to narrow down your options. Hopefully, by reading the following reviews, you can have a better idea of what you need.


The power ratings for these rods includes:

  • Ultra light (5 models) – great for small fish, finesse fishing where you need extreme sensitivity for setting the hook.
  • Light (4 models) – great for trout and panfish where you need some extra lifting power throughout the rod length but still maintain high sensitivity.
  • Medium (9 models) and medium heavy (3 models) – these models bring you up to the majority of fresh water species.
  • Heavy power (2 models) – can cover large pike, salmon, and some saltwater specie

Along with fish species the rods can handle, power also dictates the size of lures and line test the rods are best at utilizing.

As the power of the rods increase the larger lures they are able to cast effectively. The smallest models top out at 1/4oz lures while the heavy models can easily utilize lures 1oz and slightly above.


For each power setting, there are several length rods available:

  • Ultra light models are available in models between 4’6” and 7’ rods.
  • The light power models come in lengths ranging between 5’6” and 6’6”.
  • The medium power models range from 5’6” to 9’ and the medium heavy from 6-7’.
  • The heavy power rods are available in a 4’9” and 6’ model.

If you have narrowed down your rod of choice to a particular power rating, you can then think about the length.

In general, longer rods provide more distance for your casts, but the longer the rod the less accurate it becomes.


For spin fishing applications, a lot of finesse fishing techniques are often used.

We really like the longer length models when finesse fishing and the sensitivity of the clear tip allow you to use a lot of retrieval techniques and feel every bump and take.

With the shorter, heavier models you lose a lot of sensitivity, but these rods work wonders when landing a huge rolling cat or big stripper running deep that requires a lot of lifting power.

IF you have the correct model for the right fishing application these rods really exceed expectations.


The casting performance of each spinning model really relies a lot on the use of proper sized lures, line test, and a good reel.

If we take all of this into the equation and look strictly at how the rod performs, it goes well beyond previous Ugly Stik models.

These rods range between medium and fast action though this information is not listed by the manufacturer.

Gx2 Casting Rods


For the casting series of the Gx2, there are 15 different models that will pair well with your baitcaster.

These models range in power settings, lengths, blank pieces, and handle designs.

Handle Styles

There are three different grips that are available on for the casting series of rods and will depend on the model.

There is a simple dual EVA foam grip as well as a dual EVA pistol style grip that provides a little more comfort and maneuverability. There is also an extended handle used with the longer length models and allow you to put in a little extra power behind your cast.

All the handles utilize a trig style reel seat that gives you a lot more maneuverability with the rod for casting and retrieving lures.


Because baitcasters are designed to throw heavier lures at increased distances the power settings are more limited than the spinning reel models.

Power ratings range from medium light (2 models), medium (8 models) and medium heavy (4 models) to heavy power (1 model).

These rods are designed to handle larger fish species and can really lay down some power when working aggressive fish.


There are several different length models for each power settings.

  • The medium light models are available in a 7’ and 7’6” rod type that are great for chasing finicky bass that require a little more sensitive techniques.
  • The medium power rods are available in lengths ranging from 5”6”to 7’ models and cover a wide range of versatility in terms of casting performance.
  • The medium heavy models are available in lengths ranging from 6’ to 7’.
  • The heavy power model is 6’6” in length and is capable of landing the biggest bass in the lake or smaller inshore saltwater species that require distance and big lures to entice.


We are really impressed with the handling of these casting reels and think that you will be as well. Even with the longer length models you can really cast accurately at increased distances.

We also love the sensitivity in the 6 and 6’6” rods. These lengths really hit the sweet spot between power and finesse and make excellent bass fishing rods.


While not stated by the manufacturer, the Gx2 casting rods perform like a medium-fast action rod.

Depending on the power, these rods can load up and haul heavy lures at extended distances.

The guides allow a lot of line to shoot out with minimal resistance. You will have no problem throwing large lures from ¼ to over 1oz lures 50+ft.

Click here to view on Amazon.

Is Gx2 for you?

With the amount of models available for both the spinning and casting Gx2 series, there is a rod designed for just about every fishing application that you can picture yourself chasing in.

Each model is not limited to one specific type of fishing either and can work in a range of fishing situations. It really is one of the beautiful aspects of the Gx2 series of fishing rods.

As for who should use a Gx2 series fishing rod, the answer is clearly anyone.

Yes, it is a great fishing rod for a beginner to its all around performance abilities as well as its ruggedness and affordability.

The Gx2 offers a lot more than traditional Ugly Stiks and shouldn’t be avoided by even the most experienced of anglers.

This is a new breed of Ugly Stik and it has the ability to perform as well or better than your primary fishing rods.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Alternatives

Hurricane Calico Jack Spinning Rod

[amazon fields=”B00C8TK6NW ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]

Hurricane’s Calico Jack has been praised often for its great casting capabilities and durability. It’s a rod for those who mean business!

This inshore spinning rod features Fuji components and high-quality IM7 graphite blanks. Combining that with the ultra-responsive tip guarantees you’ll get the best rod for the price!

Click here to view on Amazon.

Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod

[amazon fields=”B011LV48FO” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]

Abu Garcia is a legend among spinning rods. The rod is lightweight yet durable thanks to graphite construction while high-quality EVA handles ensure the rod will be nice and comfy even when using it longer. Sensitivity and fast action only make it better!

The cherry on top is the price tag which makes this rod a true bargain. If you value quality and want to find a rod that lasts for years, check out Abu Garcia.

Click here to view on Amazon.

Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod

[amazon fields=”B00P9QPUS2″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]

Fenwick Eagle is a name that doesn’t need a big introduction – all fishing enthusiasts are aware of Fenwick’s durability and amazing performance. Good example is Fenwick AETOS fly rod which scored high points in our review as well.

The Eagle Series is one of the most popular ones thanks to classic features that have been improved even further. The rods feature strong sensitive graphite blanks, B2 cork and stainless steel guides which are corrosion resistant. If you value traditions and classic design, this is the rod for you!

Click here to view on Amazon.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Author Rating