Pros: Best fishing rod for the money.
Cons: The rod sometimes has a habit of separating in the middle.
In my fishing rod arsenal, I have top-flight graphite and flexible glass rods, a few cost over $150. Yet, I still use my Ugly Stik on the pounding Atlantic Ocean surf, mostly as a second fishing pole when I'm out on the Long Island beaches fishing for Striped Bass.
I brought my 11-foot Ugly Stik for about $60, and I never once regretted it. It's heavier than a St. Croix 10-footer, and I get a little less distance on a cast, but for the price tag it's worth every penny.
This fishing pole combines power and flexibility. It's not the most powerful pole or the most flexible pole on the market, but it still has those two desirable traits for surfcasters.
On the beach, of course, there are always fishermen snobs. They buy the $200 flexible glass rods and scorn those who have less expensive equipment. This snobbery hit a high a few years ago, when a fisherman caught a 59 pound Striped Bass from the surf off of Fire Island. The hot shot snobs were outraged when they heard that the fisherman caught his watery beast on an Ugly Stik. "He caught it on an Ugly Stik," repeated an old-timer on the beach. Of course, he emphasized the last two works.
Knowing better, I just shrugged at his comment. I returned to fishing and kept an eye out on my two poles, one being, of course, an Ugly Stik.
I always feel confident I could land a big fish with this pole. It is sturdy from top to bottom with the top having flexibility. The weight could be cumbersome, but once one develops a routine and technique for casting, the extra ounces really has no effect.
Nevertheless there are also faults with this fishing rod. An Ugly Stik has a tendency to loosen up where the top part of the rod is implanted into the bottom part. Also if one fails to clean off the salt water several times during the season, the middle part usually ends up cracking.
Yet, Shakespeare is excellent about replacing rod parts for free, not including the shipping charge. I have twice sent back parts of two rods, an 8-footer and a 11-footer, and they have always sent me back a brand new fishing pole. That's service.
Even though I have lost the top part of the rod twice, I still enjoy using Ugly Stiks. It feels comfortable. I am used to it.
I, however, only use my 11-foot ugly for bait fishing. It's too heavy for lures. Even the 10-footer is too heavy. I'll use an 8-footer for lures when I fish for cocktail blues in the two to three pound range. The Ugly Stik provides plenty of action for fighting these predatory fish. It is flexible enough to feel the fight, and tough enough to tire the fish.
As an extra bonus, the stick also has Fuji guides. These guides never fray the line and are strongly taped in.
I still use my Ugly Stik regardless of having more expensive fishing rods. I pay no mind to those who think a Striped Bass prefer to bite on an expensive rod. As long as I catch and land fish, I'll never complain.