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Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod Review

Shakespeare has done it again with the introduction of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2.  The Ugly Stick by Shakespeare was first introduced in 1976 and has been used by almost all of us at one time or another.  As a kid growing up fishing for little pan fish on my favorite farm pond, to hiking the rocky mountains in search of trout, to today when I am stalking the inshore waters of SW Florida, the Ugly Stik has always been a dependable and durable rod.  One of the first things that come to mind for most experienced fisherman when they think of an Ugly Stik is durability and value.

In the summer of 2013, Shakespeare released the new generation of the Ugly Stik known as the GX2.  Just like the original Ugly Stik, the new GX2 is packed full of value and has some recent upgrades that are sure to get even the most experienced angler excited about adding one of these great rods to his or her arsenal.  What is nice is that starting for around $39.99, you can own one of these great rods and you do not have to feel guilty about your purchase, heck you can even brag to your spouse how much money you saved.

As you know, I focus on saltwater fishing applications, however it’s nice to know that the GX2 comes in a wide variety of configurations. There are 15 casting models, 20 spinning models, 3 pack rod options and even six models specifically for the ladies.  For the person that is just getting started, Shakespeare offers several Ugly Stix GX2 combo packages that only add a few dollars to your purchase price.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Very quickly you will see that the Ugly Stik still has some of its signature characteristics, such as the clear tip design which has always been known for its durability.  So you ask yourself what’s new with the GX2?  Well, I am pleased to report that there is plenty.  The new rod design incorporates graphite into the fiberglass which gives it a clean matte black finish which I prefer.  The guides have been completely redesigned into a single piece, stamped stainless steel which adds durability to the already rugged design.  Once I got one of these rods in my hands, I was able to tell right away that the balance point has been moved to the butt end of the rod.   I have to say the new rod feels much better in my hands and I think it is lighter and easier to cast, which is sure to mean that is the end of a long day on the water, that your forearm is not going to feel so worked.

Ugly Stik GX2 Features

Lets take a look at some the changes you will notice in the new Ugly Stik GX2.

Rod Blank – First off this new generation of technology is called Ugly Tech™ and features a new blank through reel seat design that is a combination of traditional fiberglass with the addition of a touch of graphite.   Due to the addition of the graphite, the glossy black finish has given way to what I find to be a more eye appealing matte black finish.  The rod is then highlighted with the classic diamond winding pattern in silver and red right above the grip.

Signature Clear Tip – The rod still has the signature clear tip that lets you know you have an Ugly Stik in your hands, or as is the case for some of us, it lets us pick the Stik out of the pile of rods we have stashed in the garage.  More importantly the clear tip delivers the sensitivity you need to feel the very light strike of the most stealthy fish to the durability that is needed to handle a large 50 lbs+ redfish or even a 100 lbs+ tarpon.

One-Piece Guides – Probably one of the the biggest changes that most people will notice is the new guide design.  Shakespeare has engineered a whole new single piece guide that they refer to as Ugly Tuff™.  The old guides were tough, but they featured the traditional pop-out ceramic insert that had the potential to get broken.  The guide is now a one-piece stamped stainless steel design that makes it extremely durable and one would almost say, near impossible to destroy.

Durable Grip – The new grip is made of an EVA material which feels very comfortable in your hands even after hours of casting and retrieving.  Something that is new, is the addition of the Ugly Stik logo in the butt end of the rod.  I am still a fan of cork personally but this is a very durable alternative.

7 Year Warranty – Shakespeare backs up the Ugly Stik GX2 with a 7 Year warranty.

 Features at a Glance

  • Ugly Tech & Ugly Tuff construction
  • Graphite & fiberglass rod blank
  • Single piece guide design
  • Durable Ugly Stik clear tip
  • Better balanced

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 comes in 15 casting and 20 spinning models plus the pack rods and the ladies configurations.  I have just highlighted a few of the more common models that I would recommend for most of your saltwater fishing needs.  I hope that this Ugly Stik GX2 comparison chart helps you find the right sized rod for you.  Personally I like the 1 piece 7′ Medium Model# USSP702M as a great everyday rod.

Learn more about How To Choose a Fishing Rod

LengthPowerActionPiecesLine WeightLure WeightModel#
6'LightFast24-10 lbs.1/8 - 1/2 oz.USSP602L
6'MediumFast16-15 lbs.1/8 - 5/8 oz.USSP602M

6'Medium HeavyFast18-20 lbs.1/4 - 3/4 oz.USSP601MH
6'HeavyFast18-20 lbs.3/8 - 1 oz.USSP601H
6'6"MediumFast16-15 lbs.1/8 - 5/8 oz.USSP662M

7'MediumFast16-15 lbs. 1/8 - 5/8 oz.USSP702M

7'Medium HeavyFast18-20 lbs.1/4 - 3/4 oz.USSP701MH
9'MediumFast14-20 lbs. 1/8 - 3/4 oz.USSP902M

Pros

  • Price to value ratio
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Lots of weights available

Cons

  • Foam vs. cork handle
  • 2 piece can come apart, get a 1 piece

Can He Break The Ugly Stik GX2

I found this video of a guy putting the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 to what I would have to call the ultimate challenge. He is determined to break this thing.  This is what I am talking about when I say this is a ridiculously durable rod.

Alternatives

When thinking of an entry-level rod it’s just nearly impossible to think of an alternative to the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 where you would get as much bang for your buck.

For someone who wants to spend a bit more money, I would certainly consider one of my favorite rods the Star Stellar Lite series, which has an awesome lifetime warranty and can be had starting at around $99.  Read the full review of the Star Stellar Lite series HERE.

Another alternative would be the G Loomis E6X which is an incredible rod made by one of the best rod builders in the industry, Gary Loomis.  You can purchase a G Loomis E6X starting around $179.  Read the full review of the G Loomis E6X HERE.

In Conclusion

Whether you are a beginner fisherman or an experienced angler, it is hard to go wrong with adding a few of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 models into your collection.  This is one of those rods that I have no problem lending to a friend as I know that he or she is not going to mess it up.  I keep a few extra GX2 rods on the boat for when I have company come from out of town.

The Ugly Stik GX2 consistently performs above many rods that costs 2 to 3 times as much and are not nearly as durable. What is consistently stunning about this rod is it’s price point. For less than a meal for two at your local Chili’s, you can grab one of these great rods as either your primary go to or simply as a backup or loaner for your friends.  For the very affordable price point of $39.99, this rod makes an excellent gift that anyone would love to get.

I know that I have made many great fishing memories over the years with an Ugly Stik in my hand and I am sure I will make many more.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod
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