Best River Fishing Rods

Best River Fishing Rods (7 Top Rods For 2024)

If you are searching for the best river fishing rods for UK rivers then you have come to the right place.

This article details 7 top rods that cater for different fishing circumstances and budgets. River fishing float and feeder rods are both included as well as an option that is more suitable for children or travelling.

River Feeder Rods

The best river fishing rods for feeder fishing need to have certain attributes on them.

Firstly they have to be strong and robust

River fish, more often than not, fight harder than Stillwater fish. This is simply because they have learnt to use the current of the river to their advantage.

A hooked Barbel can torpedo its way half a mile down current in a matter of seconds. 

If your rod isn’t strong enough then you will really struggle to gain control of the fish.

At the same time, when feeder fishing you need a degree of sensitivity, especially in the tip, for easy bite indication.

For this reason, the best river rods for feeder fishing are strong, yet subtle with a length ranging from 10 to 13 feet.

Here are 3 options that are perfect river feeder rods:

Most Popular – Best River Fishing Rod

#1. Daiwa Ninja X Feeder Rod

Most popular river fishing rod

Daiwa has always produced quality fishing rods and this is absolutely no exception.

The Daiwa Ninja X feeder rod is a very popular rod amongst anglers for a number of reasons.

Firstly the rod offers good strength in the bottom section allowing for enough power to cast heavy feeders as well as play hard fighting fish.

The carbon blank is thin on this rod and I really like the full cork handle which looks classy and feels great, (even with wet hands).

The rod eyes are titanium and allow for easy, low friction casting which is important for accuracy. The guides are also larger than average on the tips which is a well-thought-out feature by Daiwa as it allows for shock leaders to pass through easily.

The rods come with 3 tips in the package with two being carbon fibre and one glass fibre.

The Daiwa Ninja X has a nice finish to it and comes with a handy transportation bag. If I had a preference I would go for the 13 foot (3.9m) 120g version as this provides enough power to tackle larger rivers if needed.

In summary, like many anglers, I absolutely adore this rod as it’s strong, sensitive, and adaptable making it a perfect river fishing rod for feeder fishing. It also comes at a very respectable price point.

Features & Specifications

  • HMC+® carbon fibre blank
  • Cork handle
  • Titanium oxide guides
  • Transportation holdall

#2. Daiwa N’Zon Z Feeder Rod

Best River Fishing Feeder Rod

Yes, another offering from Daiwa cements the fact that their rods are superb. The N’zon feeder rods are actually a range of rods that cover all types of feeder fishing you are likely to encounter.

For river fishing, I prefer the 13 foot, 120g version as it’s beautifully smooth on the cast and packs a punch also.

The power in this rod allows for the use of heavy feeders which are important to use if fishing faster-flowing rivers.

Despite the ‘beefed-up’ appearance on this rod, it does also contain a sensitive edge to it allowing it to be subtle enough to enjoy river fishing for smaller, silverfish.

Like the Daiwa Ninja X, the eyes on the quiver tip sections are larger than usual to allow for the effective use of shock leaders.

The blank is slim, sleek-looking and houses a solid, Fuji style reel seat.

Best feeder rod for river fishing
The Fuji Style Reel Seat On The Daiwa N’Zon Z

The rod boasts V-joints which add strength and rigidity to the weaker parts of the rod and adds to the longevity nature of the N’zon range. These V-joints give this rod a real advantage over its competition.

The biggest disadvantage to the N’zon Z feeder rod is that it sits at the higher end of the market in terms of price. If price is an issue, then you can always consider the slightly cheaper N’zon S version which is also a great river fishing feeder rod.

I would also have preferred the tip on the rod to have more of a high vis section to it as bite indication is important to me when feeder fishing on rivers. This however is just down to personal preference.

That said, the N’zon range of feeder rods are superb and offer strength, subtlety and versatility in one classy package.

Check out the following video that showcases some of the products in the N’zon feeder fishing range.

Features & Specifications

  • HVF Nanoplus
  • V-Joints & spigots
  • SEAGUIDE ONE Guides with LS Rings
  • Fuji K-DPS Downlocking Reel Seat with EVA Fore Grip
  • Cork/EVA Armlock Handle
  • Supplied with 3 Quivers

#3. Fox EOS Barbel Specialist Rod

Best River Fishing Feeder Rod

We all know that the brand Fox makes quality fishing gear, especially in the carp fishing world.

At 12 feet and with a 1.75lb test curve, this fantastic offering is absolutely perfect for river fishing for all species.

Now, it’s not the most heavy-duty of rods on my list but it still holds enough of the required features to make it a great option for river fishing at close to medium range.

One of the main features I love about this rod is how light it is. This lightweight nature alongside the Fox ‘Slik’ guides makes casting feel effortless.

The tip is white and highly visible making bite indication easy on the eye.

Bet River Feeder Fishing Rods
The tip and guides on the FOX EOS

The handle is made of high-grade cork and offers an easy grip even with wet hands.

Finally, I love the look of this rod. With a matt black finish with gunsmoke cappings, what’s not to love especially as you can get all of this at a very affordable price.

Check out this video that demonstrates the Fox EOS Barbel Rods in action…

Features & Specifications

  • Lightweight low resin carbon construction
  • Fox Slik guides throughout
  • Top-quality 17mm reel seat
  • High-grade cork handle
  • Understated graphics
  • Matt black finish with gunsmoke cappings

River Float Fishing Rods

When choosing the best river fishing rods for float fishing, a similar consideration has to be applied as for those with feeder fishing.

A certain degree of strength is required as fish of all sizes in rivers will seek to use the current to their advantage.

What’s also an important trait in a river fishing float rod compared to a more standard float fishing rod is the need to be able to effectively control a stick or waggler float, particular on rivers with strong currents.

To do this the rod must be paired with a suitable float fishing reel that is spooled with a suitable float fishing line to create a well-balanced float fishing setup that is suitable for river fishing.

Ideally, a suitable river fishing float rod needs to be between 11 and 13 feet in length and have the ability to cast medium to heavily weighted floats and play hard-fighting river fish.

The following three float fishing rods offer the balance required to be effective when fishing rivers of all shapes and sizes.

#4. M.A.P Parabolix Black Edition Float Rod

Best River Fishing Rod

M.A.P specialises in match fishing products which require a certain degree of quality to them to be used in match fishing situations.

The Parabolix range of float rods absolutely exudes the qualities needed in a decent match fishing rod.

For river fishing, I really like the 12-foot version in the Parabolix range.

This is because it offers real power in the lower section to be able to handle large rivers and medium to large fish.

The strong nature to this rod though doesn’t mean that it has the finesse of a broomstick when fishing with it. In fact, the contrary is true with the rod boasting a beautiful play-action to it that allows you to really feel and enjoy the fight of the fish.

The reel seat is absolutely solid and is in the fuji style. The handle is different to the more traditional river fishing rod handles which contain a mix of cork and rubber for optimal grip.

Best River Fishing Rods
The unique handle on the Parabolix rods

The eyes on the Parabolix float rods are larger than the more conventional type float rods that allow the additional power in the lower sections of the rod as well as silky smooth casting.

My one criticism of the rod would be its price as it’s certainly not the cheapest on the market but you do get a real quality river fishing rod for the money though.

Check out the following video that showcases the M.A.P Parabolix range of rods:

Features & Specifications

  • Ultra-high modulus carbon
  • Parabolix through action
  • Unique anti-slip handle design
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Oversized guides
  • Hook keeper ring
  • Supplied in a padded bag with 2 x neoprene rod wraps

#5. Shakespeare Sigma Supra Match Rod

Best River Fishing Float Rods

Shakespeare is a long-standing name in the fishing tackle industry and for a reason. That reason is that they provide decent fishing tackle at good, honest prices.

This Sigma Supra match rod is another example of where they have just got things right.

This particular rod is more of a pellet wagger rod but is equally adept for river fishing. Pellet waggler rods tend to be a bit stronger than conventional float rods which makes it a perfect rod for hard fight species such as Tench or Barbel.

This is simply because the rod is strong, robust and can handle pretty much everything you can throw it from a river float fishing perspective.

The carbon blank is slim yet very strong for a float rod and it features titanium oxide insert guides throughout.

The handle is made from traditional cork, however, they have boosted the high touch areas with durable EVA foam which helps the rod’s longevity.

I have found that the line pickup is fantastic on this rod thanks to its very ‘tippy’ action to it.

The reel seat is a screw-down type and will keep your reel solid throughout the whole session. The rod also comes in a quality cloth bag.

In summary, the Sigma Supra is a very popular, solid rod that will cater to the majority of your river fishing needs for a very long time.

Check out the following video that shows some of the features of the Sigma Supra:

Features & Specifications

  • Slim and strong 24-ton carbon blank
  • Titanium Oxide insert guides throughout
  • Screw down EVA Reel seat
  • Quality Cork / EVA handle
  • Modern progressive actions
  • Supplied in quality cloth rod bag

#6. Korum 12 Foot Power Glide Float Rod

Best River Fishing Float Rod

Korum is expanding rapidly within the angling niche and for good reason. They produce fantastic products!

Their power glide float rod range offers a light yet strong and robust float fishing rod that is perfect for river fishing.

The lightweight feel to the rod is perfect for trotting thanks to the lightweight parabolic carbon blank.

When float fishing on rivers, I often fish with the float rod in my hand. The cork handle makes this a comfortable task whether it’s in warm or colder conditions thanks to the heat retaining properties of the cork material.

I have used this rod both with a fixed spool reel and a centrepin and found that the rod balanced with both very nicely indeed.

The power glide is available in 13 foot and 12 – 14 foot (extendable) versions making it a perfect river fishing rod for wagglers and stick floats alike.

Features & Specifications

  • Lightweight parabolic carbon blanks
  • Full cork handle
  • Line rating 4lb-12lb
  • Available in: 13ft &12-14ft

#7. E.F.T 9 Foot Telescopic Fishing Rod

Best Telescopic Fishing Rod UK

I featured this rod in my article on the 5 best telescopic fishing rods in the UK. I have used it as a spare rod on many fishing trips and have never been let down by it.

It is a simple rod with no bells and whistles attached to it but it performs really well as a great all-round telescopic fishing rod.

This top performance includes river fishing and with the exception of really large rivers, it is more than adequate to fish effectively on the majority of rivers in the UK.

The rod slides up to a length of 2.7 metres (9 feet) and slides down to just 62cm. The eyes are large and provide low friction casting.

best river fishing travel rod
The eyes on the E.F.T telescopic fishing rod

This is perfect when travelling or if you just want a day’s session roaming a river with light gear.

This rod is the lightest on my list at just 213g in total weight. This weight makes it a perfect river fishing rod for children with my kids enjoying many a session using this rod.

The tip section is a highly visible fluorescent yellow and is easy to detect bites even in the dullest of conditions.

But do you want to know the best feature of this rod?

Its price!

Its unbelievable value for money for its versatility, and is cheap enough just to have it stored in the back of your car just in case you fancy an impromptu visit down to your local river.

Features & Specifications

  • Slides up to 2.7m (9ft) in length
  • Slides Down to just 62cm in length
  • Highly visible tip for easy bite indication
  • Made from quality fibreglass
  • Compact & Lightweight – Weighs just 213g
  • Can be used for float, ledgering, feeder fishing or spinning as well as for stalking in tight spaces
  • A great rod for travelling and holidays
  • Comes supplied in a waterproof carry bag

River Fishing Rod FAQs

If you still have some burning questions about the best river fishing rods available in the UK then please check out the following most frequently asked question I get on the subject:

What Length Rod Do I Need To Fish UK Rivers?

The ideal rod length for river fishing in the UK is between 9 and 13 feet depending on what fishing method you use.

What Type Of Fishing Rod Can Be Used To Fish UK Rivers?

Float, feeder, ledger or telescopic rods can all be used as suitable rods to fish on rivers in the UK.

What Test Curve Rod Is Best For UK Rivers?

The ideal test curve rod for river fishing in the UK will vary between 1.5lb and 2.25lb depending on what method you use.

Final Thoughts

The best river fishing rods in the UK need to be strong, subtle and capable of handling the current of the river,  and the action of hard-fighting fish.

They may need to also offer the control and finesse required for methods such as trotting and stick float fishing if you deploy this tactic.

Hopefully, this article has offered some guidance on what to look for in the best river fishing rods and the options suggested may suit your specific angling circumstances.

Thanks for reading.

Tight Lines!

All of the fishing tackle featured in this article can be found at one of the following online shops…

Total Fishing Tackle