Home Fishing Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod Review for 2019

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod Review for 2019

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Review

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly: unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance.

The Ugly Stik: Anything but!

Despite the questionable name, the Ugly Stik range by Shakespeare is widely popular among the country's most avid fishermen.

Perhaps it's because of their underlying motto: Building America’s Strongest, Most Sensitive Rod, which has been the goal for the Shakespeare-Ugly Stik brand and can be seen in the structure of the GX2.

The GX2 Spinning Rod, and specifically the USSP701MH model, has largely lived up to its Ugly Stik predecessors with its affordability and durability.

Before reviewing the USSP701MH Ugly Stik GX2 model, here are some questions that potential customers may wish to know about the product.

What has Ugly Stik done differently in its latest range of GX2 spinning rods?

To state in a few words: a more streamlined design. Perhaps for some, the GX2 is visually less “ugly” than its predecessors. Including more advanced reeling technology, stainless steel guides, and a smooth mat finish, the GX2 is certainly easier on the eyes as well as being more durable than previous Ugly Stik models.

What type of fishing is the Ugly Stik GX2 suitable for?

You can use the GX2 for a variety of fishing including pike, bass and catfishing, as well as bank and bridge fishing. The high versatility of the GX2 makes it easy to fish comfortably in many different environments and easy to comfortably catch fish over 10 lbs.

How many models of the GX2 are there?

The best thing about Ugly Stik’s low-cost business model is their ability to almost tailor-make the GX2 based on the specific requirements of the consumer. Available on the Ugly Stik website are 23 different models of the GX2, varying in rod length from 4'6" to 7' as well as differences in rod power, number of pieces and lure rating. There is something for everyone within the GX2 range.

Do I have to shop around to get a fair price for a GX2 Ugly Stik?

Having scanned multiple outlets online, the Ugly Stik is consistently priced regarding the cost of the model. What may differ however are the shipping costs, so it's always useful for you to do some research on shipping costs before purchasing an Ugly Stik GX2 model to reduce the chances of paying too much.

I prefer baitcasting, are there Ugly Stik GX2 casting rods available to buy?

Yes. Ugly Stik has also created 15 different models of the GX2 casting rod. They all differ in length, rod power, pieces and lure rating.  

YouTube Reviews

There are currently no YouTube videos that specifically review the USSP701MH model that will be reviewed here. There are, however, a ton of videos that discuss the Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rods which are certainly worth taking a look at.


Mike Thrussell discusses the 12-20lbs, 20-30lbs and the 30-50lbs GX2 spinning rods, comparing and contrasting the different models and their uses. It's worth watching if you are unsure about which GX2 model you should purchase.​​​


The reviewer discusses the differences between the GX2 model and the older classic Ugly Stik. The reviewer doesn't discuss the performance of the two rods but speaks in good depth about the difference in specification between the GX2 and the classic Ugly Stik. It is a useful watch if you are a classic Ugly Stik loyalist but want to know the design differences of the GX2.

Key West Kayak Fishing

Ever wanted to see the durability potential of a GX2 rod? In this video, the reviewer tests the GX2 against big sharks. Many potential users may find this video useful in seeing the capability of the GX2 in catching large fish. This video certainly highlights the vast "bendability" of the GX2 rod.

USSP701MH Ugly Stick GX2 Spinning Rod Review


The USSP701MH has the following design specifications:

  • 7-foot rod length
  • Medium-heavy rod power
  • 8-20 lbs line rating
  • ¼ to ¾ ounces lure rating (the ideal weight for loading the rod on the cast, more info online and lure ratings here)
  • EVA Handle type
  • Ugly Tech™ Construction
  • Six guides including the tip

One of the main construction differences between the GX2 spinning rod and the classic ugly sticks is that the stainless-steel guides differ from the titanium of the classic models. This adds strength and durability to the rod. By being 7-feet-long and having medium-heavy power, the USSP701MH ensures that the user can handle large fish while still maintaining good rod action.

The most noticeable difference in construction of the GX2 is the greatly improved cosmetics compared to the classic. Small additions of the Ugly Stik branding near the handle and a rounded finish to the butt of the rod make the GX2 less ugly and instead, modern and chic.


The Ugly Tech™ Construction of the rod is a combination of graphite and fiberglass, which forms to make a considerably lighter rod compared to the classic. While handling the GX2, you'll feel the difference. Therefore, despite the USSP701MH model having a medium-heavy rod power, it still has a notable lightness to it and added enjoyment that the GX2 model provides for anglers.  


Many loyalist, Ugly Stik users, feared that after 37 years of very little innovation in the construction of the classic rod, that the GX2 range would lack the durability that became so famous with Ugly Stik's famous early creation. Thankfully, there was nothing to fear.

The lighter feel of the rod has not negatively affected its durability, actually—quite the contrary. The addition of stainless steel guides combined with the graphite fiberglass construction has enhanced the durability.

The famous bend of the Ugly Stik remains intact.

Like with all Ugly Stiks and other rods out there, there are natural limitations.

However, do not confuse durability with indestructibility.

It is a fishing rod and if tested beyond the recommended line rating (8-20lbs for the USSP701MH model)—it will break. Furthermore, through purchasing an affordably priced Ugly Stik GX2, don’t expect it to be so long-lasting that it’s an investment for life. (Even though you sometimes wish it was!)

Many enthusiasts go through a number of Ugly Stiks in their angling life cycle. Even though it has Impressive durability, it still has to be put into perspective within a respectable physical and time boundary.


The Wirecutter concluded after expert consultation and practical testing that the GX2 Ugly Stik was the best all-around fishing rod for both beginners and experienced fishers at an affordable price.

This was partly due to the very comfortable experience while using the Spinning Rod. Comfort, as all anglers know, is found in the handle. On the GX2 Ugly Stik, the foam grips on the butt of the rod provide a smooth and ergonomic handling experience. These grips, combined with the lightweight feel, ensure GX2 users have a comfortable experience in a variety of waters.


Since Shakespeare used graphite as a material in the construction of the GX2 Ugly Stik, they ensured that the rod maintains a high level of sensitivity—which is extremely important while fishing to feel even the smallest nibble.

As a Lamiglas blog mentions, graphite is the so-called ‘king of sensitivity' because of the ability to transfer vibrations through the rod to the hand. Even though the introduction of fiberglass to the fishing world has reduced the weight of the rod making it a lighter hold, this new material could negatively impact the sensitivity as lighter materials tend to be less sensitive.

When it comes to the GX2 Spinning rode, sticking with graphite was one of the best decisions they could make.


The USSP701MH model comes as one piece which may make this particular model slightly less portable than its fellow and past GX2 models. The rod comes in a strong plastic case which should protect it when hitting the road to get to the best fishing spot.

The GX2 models normally have a reputation of impressive portability, however, this most recent model doesn't show this upgraded amount of portability. Some of the other models are even able to carry in a tent bag. This degree of portability is not evident with the USSP701MH model. Depending on the purchaser, this may or may not be an important issue.

Potential issues

Although the reputation and buzz around the Ugly Stik GX2 USSP701MH model are positive, the majority of negative feels appear to center around one and only one issue: the state of the rod on arrival after being delivered.

Examples of issues that customers have faced include:

  • The stainless-steel guides being bent on arrival
  • Missing rod tips
  • A bent rod
  • Missing a section of the rod pole

Although annoying, these issues are somewhat detached from the actual fishing experience.

Don't turn down the possibility of ordering your next best fishing rod because of a few negative comments. Either way, Ugly Stik has gained a reputation of having ‘outstanding customer service’ in returning any broken shipments.

Therefore if you do order an Ugly Stik GX2, feel reassured that if your rod has been harmed in the delivery process, Ugly Stik will do their best to send a new rod as soon as possible.


On balance, it appears that the Ugly Stik GX2 has provided a very positive experience for anglers of all levels and in many different environments. Even though some issues regarding the long-term durability and the shipping of the product does exist and frustrate some, the overwhelmingly positive user experience is clear to see.

From improved cosmetics to a lighter feel, to increased sensitivity and affordability, Ugly Stik has considered the needs of the consumer at the forefront of their product design.

The USSP701MH model will comfortably tackle pike, catfish and trout and for best use, it is recommended that you use a small spinning reel for extra control and handling in the water. You'll be astounded by the surprising sensitivity and comfort of this particular model.

As previously mentioned, there are a considerable variety of GX2 rods available. Therefore, no matter which model you ultimately choose to buy, as a user, you can expect a high performing spinning (or casting) rod from Ugly Stik that will feel light, be remarkably sensitive and durable.

In some cases, the GX2 models are also incredibly practical, which is perfect for the fisherman on-the-go, ensuring that no added thought is necessary when needing to transport your GX2 to the water.   

We don't know yet whether any more innovations will come from Ugly Stik.

In the meantime, the GX2 range has bridged the gap between modernity and affordability. It has done the impossible, making ugly very beautiful.


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