Everyone has their personal favorite fishing brands. Maybe you buy the same brands your granddaddy used. Or maybe you swear by what your local tackle shop has at hand.
Or maybe you just buy whatever is on special.
Here at Wild Hydro we are serious about only recommending the Best Fishing Brands in the world. You don’t want to the left stranded using gear that might look nice online, or might have the right price, but just doesn’t get the job done when you’re out on the water.
To be a top angler you have to use the top gear. It’s as simple as that.
Having fished all over the world, I know the best fishing brands in the world. So let me show you the brands that are a step above the rest.
Table of Contents
What are the Best Fishing Brands in the World?
These are the top fishing brands in the world based on my years of fishing:
- St. Croix Rods
- 13 Fishing
- Abu Garcia
- Penn Fishing
- Eagle Claw
St. Croix Rods
St. Croix Rods was founded by two brothers Bob and Bill Johnson in 1948. Their first product was a fairly simple creation, Bob & Bill invented the first multi-section bamboo fishing rod. But from simple beginnings a leading fishing brand was created.
In 1955 St. Croix was an early adopter of fiberglass and in that same year produced 24 different fishing rods using this new technology.
The very next year St. Croix invented travel rods. In those days it was quite tricky to get your rods down to the water, and the telescopic rod was a game changer for the fishing industry. So much so that St. Croix branded travel rods were used for the next 40 years without change.
Jumping forward to the 1980’s, St Croix pioneered the use of graphite in fishing rods. The Imperial Graphite rod was released in 1983 and was the first entry of the hundreds of graphite fishing rods now made by under the St. Croix brand.
More recently you might have got your hands on a Mojo Bass Rod. Released in 2008 this rod quickly became a best-seller for St. Croix and in 2015 the Mojo Bass Fly won “Best in Show” at ICAST, the world’s largest sport fishing show.
Continuing to innovate, St Croix has won Best Freshwater Rod awards for their Legend Glass series.
The endless innovation and sustained award winning fishing gear is what makes St. Croix the best fishing rod brand in the world.
In 1921 a Japanese man named Shozaburo Shimano famously stated:
I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.
And it’s fair to say that he has done just that.
Every angler in the world has heard of the Shimano brand and for good reason. They manufacture some of the best reels in the business.
The Fishing division of Shimano was launched in 1970 as a second business pillar for the brand, which was initially operating as an iron works. Shimano branched out into fishing with the goal of “promoting public health by encouraging outdoor activities” and it remains one of their core business activities.
In 1971 Shimano launched their first product the Dux Spinning reel. An improved version of this reel was released the very next year called the Dux Auto.
Later that decade Shimano introduced their Bantam Baitcasting reels. The Bantam 100/100EX was released in 1979 and was quickly a favorite of anglers everywhere. The impact of this reel was so significant that other manufacturers copied the revolutionary design for their own brands.
The Bantam series introduced a low-profile, non-circular design that remains standard in the industry today. In fact you can still purchase a Bantam, with the Bantam MGL being the current year Shimano Baitcasting reel.
Shimano makes the list for being the best fishing reel brand on the market.
Shakespeare has been in business since 1897, giving them more than 115 of operations. Every fisherman in the world has heard of their “Ugly Stik” brand of fishing rod (and there’s not many rod brands that can say that!)
The Ugly Stik was introduced in 1976 and was the first rod with a clear tip. It famously can bend right over on itself, making it an almost indestructible fishing rod.
In 2007 Shakespeare was bought out by Pure Fishing and combined they are the world’s largest tackle brand. The Shakespeare brand remains strong and is a family favorite, used by anglers of all levels of experience.
Shakespeare and their Ugly Stik are the best family friendly fishing brand out there.
A relative newcomer on the block compared to the more established fishing brands, 13 Fishing was started by Jim Coble in 2011 with a focus on Ice Fishing. Jim knew the passion that ice fisherman had for their sport and he knew they weren’t getting the attention they deserved from the larger brands.
Once established as a authentic Ice Fishing brand, 13 Fishing branched out into Bass and Saltwater fishing markets. They soon begin creating innovative rods and reels for every market which has led them to be the hottest fishing brand of the last decade.
In 2019, fishing giant Rapala bought out 49% of 13 Fishing and they remain a minority stakeholder to this day. The addition of Rapala to the business has allowed 13 Fishing to continue growing their market share outside of the USA, making the most of Rapala’s existing distribution networks overseas.
13 Fishing remains an independent operator within the USA, and their products remain some of the best on the market. Especially if you’re fishing ice!
13 Fishing takes a spot on the top 10 for being the best newcomer fishing brand to the market.
Famously a Swedish Fishing Brand, Abu Garcia was founded in 1921 in Svängsta by Carl August Borgström. Borgström was a master craftsman who had a talent for precision engineering after years working as a watchmaker.
Following WWII, Borgström turned his hand to precision fishing reels and he never looked back. He was soon awarded one of Sweden’s highest distinctions, being named “Purveyor To The Royal Swedish Court” which recognizes manufacturers who consistently exceed the highest standards of craftsmanship and quality.
And if you’ve ever had your hands on a Swedish made Abu Garcia branded reel you’ll know yourself for this to be true!
In 1955 the ABU 444 was launched as the first spinning reel from Abu Garcia but more recently the Revo brand of reels have been fan favorites. In 2006 the Revo baitcast reel was launched, followed by the Revo Premier spinning reel in 2010. The original Revo baitcaster underwent a full redesign in 2013 and is now more lighter and powerful than ever.
And if you’re ever in the area you can visit the Abu Garcia museum, which sits in the original Abu Garcia factory in the town of Svängsta, Sweden.
Abu Garcia take out the award for being the best European fishing brand money can buy.
The second Japanese brand to make it as one of the world’s top fishing brands, Daiwa was founded in 1958 and has a reputation as an innovator in the market.
In 1965, Daiwa introduced their new and unseen “Open-Faced Reel” design to the market, which revolutionized the leisure fishing industry.
The Open-Faced Reel allowed fisherman to wind more line onto the spool, spin faster and feel better in the hand than the Closed-Faced alternatives. This innovative fishing reel proved immediately popular with the public and helped establish Daiwa as one of the world’s leading fishing brands.
Daiwa continued to innovate and in 1979 was the first manufacturer to use graphite in both their rotors and reel bodies. Today graphite is a staple material in the fishing industry and Daiwa were first off the blocks to recognize it’s usefulness as a lightweight and strong material suited to fishing.
The latest innovation from Daiwa has been their line of Magsealed ball bearings launched in 2010. The ball bearings are incorporated into Daiwareels, is water and dust resistant and keeps your reel spinning like new.
More recently, 2021 Bassmaster of the year Seth Felder of New Market Minnesota won the Bassmaster title using Daiwa reels.
If they are good enough for the Bassmaster of the year, they should be good enough for you too!
We consider Daiwa to be the best fishing brand for professional anglers.
The PENN Fishing Tackle Company was founded in 1932 by Otto Henze. Originally German, Otto moved to the USA in the 1920’s and found work with Ocean City Reels. Otto had big ambitions, and took the knowledge he learnt at the reel factory to launch his own company.
The first PENN reels were launched by Otto in 1932 under the (not very inventive!) MOD F and MOD K brands. These reels were later rebranded as the Sea Hawk (MOD F), Bayside (MOD K without star drag) and Long Beach (MOD K with star drag) brands.
The famous “Senator” reel was introduced by PENN in 1936 and was capable of landing the biggest game fish you could find at the time.
In 1955 there were 5 new IGFA big game fish records set for catching:
- White Pointer Shark
- Black Drum
All 5 records were set using PENN reels and these big catches really put the PENN brand on the map as one of the world’ best.
Jump forward to 2004 and PENN reels were responsible for more than 1,400 IGFA record catches.
You can’t argue with results.
If you’re a big game fisher you need to be using the best fishing brands.
And PENN has been shown to be one of the most reliable brands for pulling in record breaking catches.
Eagle Claw fishing is a proudly “Made in the USA” fishing brand, famous for its line of fishhooks. One of the most recognizable names in fishing, Eagle Claw was launched in Denver in 1925 and remains a family owned fishing brand to this day.
Originally the brand focussed on high quality fishing ties, but drawing inspiration by the claws of a bird of prey (famously shown on the Eagle Claw logo!), Drew McGill reshaped the common fishhook and launched a legacy that continues to this day.
The TroKar brand of fishing hook remains superior to anything else that has ever been created. Trokar hooks use cold forged steel and higher carbon content to increase the hook strength so that even the toughest bites stay hooked.
Lazer Sharp is the premium brand of Eagle Claw and they make the only American made needlepoint hooks in the world. You will also find pre-tied rigs and other accessories selling under the Lazer Sharp brand.
Proudly “Made in the USA”, if you are serious about supporting family owned American businesses then you should be using Eagle Claw hooks.
There’s nothing better out there.
Eagle Claw takes out the award for the best family owned fishing brand.
Another company successfully following the American dream, Berkley was founded in Iowa in 1937 by 16 year old Berkley Beddell. Berkley took the money earned on his paper route to launch his own brand of hand-tied flies. He worked out of his bedroom to carefully craft flies focused on Bluegill and Bass, using hair from his dogs and feathers from his chickens for materials.
The business soon outgrew his bedroom and by 1939 Berkley was employing several local girls to assist with fly-tying and cable-leader manufacturing at the second floor of his local grocery store.
Berkley learned of the nylon product being produced exclusively by DuPont and got his hands on a license to manufacture with Nylon. He used this license to create the Nylon Monofilament fishing line branded as Trilene, the first breakthrough innovation from Berkley.
And you can still find Trilene at your local tackle shop today!
Berkley branched out into rods and soft plastic baits, and most of you will be familiar with the Gulp brand of soft plastics that can be found in every fishing store around the world.
Berkley specialize in the little things, but in fishing (and life) it’s the little things that count!
Berkley make our list as the best fishing brand for both fishing line and soft plastics.
Another recent startup to make the list, KastKing was founded in 2013 by a few college buddies from Syracuse University. A rags to riches story, each were on college scholarships but they didn’t let a lack of money hold back their ambition for launching what has grown to be a much-loved American fishing brand.
The founders used their fishing knowledge gained on the Finger Lakes in New York to launch fishing rods, reels and line under the KastKing brand. Separately, they launched their line of fishing lures, accessories, tools and electronics under the MadBite brand name.
In less than 2 years KastKing branded products were available in every state in the USA as well as in over 150 countries worldwide. In 2015, KastKing took home the ICAST Best in Show award for their innovative product designs.
KastKing takes home award award for the best American fishing brand.
The Last Cast
Whether you are chasing Trout in the streams of New England, hunting Catfish is the bayous of Louisiana or landing Marlin off the Florida Keys, every angler relies on the world’s best fishing brands to bring their catch home.
There’s no point in waiting hours for a bite only to lose your catch because your rod breaks, your line snaps or your hook gets thrown. We’ve all been there and there is nothing more frustrating.
You’ve got to rely on your gear and have confidence it will do the job.
And if you stick to the brands we’ve outlined above, you’ve taken one more step to making sure that everything goes to plan when you are out on the water.
Is there a brand you love that you think deserves a spot alongside the world’s best fishing brands?
Let me know in the comments below