Lew’s Custom Lite Rod Review

The product recommendations on our site are independently chosen by our editors. When you click through our links, we may earn a commission. 

I’ve been testing two Lew’s Custom Lite casting rods for a couple months. I’ve probably owned three dozen or more Lew’s baitcast reels over the last 15 years. The Lew’s LFS Speed Spool and their Super Duty Speed Spool have been staples in my boat for over a decade. 

However, I tried a couple Lew’s rods years ago and wasn’t impressed. The rods were a bit bulky, stiff and awkward. Due to this, I kind of wrote Lew’s rods off and have considered them to be more of a reel company. That is, until I got hold of the Custom Lites. Color me impressed and consider me corrected—Lew’s makes great rods. Here’s why. 

Buy at Bass Pro

Buy at Tackle Warehouse


When I first grabbed one of the Custom Lites, I knew I was experiencing a new era in Lew’s rods. I was sent a 7-foot, 3-inch medium heavy power rod with a fast action and a 7-foot, 4-inch medium power rod with a moderate action. Both of these rods are super light (surprise, surprise since “Lite” is in the name). The question is: are they lighter than others? 

I weighed the 7’ 3” medium heavy rod on a food scale and compared the weight of it to another leading brand’s 7’ 3” medium heavy rod. I consider the other rod to be light itself but the Custom Lite was noticeably lighter. On the scale, the Lew’s rod came in about 9% lighter which confirmed what I could tell just from picking the two rods up.

I also really liked the look of the rod right away. There are lots of rods that are green and orange and white and every other color in the rainbow now. Those are fine, especially if you’re into it, however I just like a classic looking, no nonsense rod—a good looking fishing rod. That’s what you get with the Custom Lite. Looks and lightness don’t always translate to quality though so let’s talk about the testing. 


These rods came in right at the perfect time back in mid-March. The pre-spawn bite was full-blown so I rigged up a Nichols Catalyst Spinnerbait on the 7’ 3”rod and a Berkley PowerBait CullShad on the 7’ 4” rod. These two baits were rigged up on these two rods for the majority of the spring. The 7’ 3” made a great spinnerbait rod for fishing around heavy wooded cover with braided line. The 7’ 4” medium rod worked well with the CullShad, long enough to lob the bait but also short enough to still allow roll casts and skips. Additionally, the rod loaded up well on the hookset with the CullShad to drive the treble hook in but not tear it loose or bend it. 

For the final leg of testing, I took the 7’ 3” medium heavy rod, rigged it up with a Berkley Swamp Lord Popping Frog and set out for one of my favorite hidey-hole ponds that’s loaded with big ones. I always like to test rods, reels and lines there in particular because I can put them through a workout in a single day that would normally take months to accomplish on public water. The 7’ 3” made for a great frog rod too, it quickly put a few 3-pound-plus fish in the boat. I boat flipped several of the fish that day, and would feel confident doing so with a 7′ 3” medium heavy rod on a fish up to about 5-pounds. 


What goes into the Custom Lite to make it both light and strong? The HM85 graphite used in the construction of the blank surely contributes to it. As does the Winn Dri-Tac ProWeave split grip handle and EVA foam foregrip and butt. The guides are as light as they come as well, made of stainless steel with titanium oxide inserts. Weight was cut everywhere it could be without jeopardizing the integrity of the overall build. I would guess this is about as light as a rod can be without sacrificing strength. 

The Lew’s Full Contact reel seats allow the angler direct contact with the rod blank as well, creating maximum sensitivity for detecting bites and deciphering bottom composition. I also like the open-ended lure keeper, capable of accommodating treble hooked baits, open hooked baits and Texas rigged baits. 


The most impressive thing about the Custom Lite lineup is the breadth of this series of rods. There are 28 models of the Custom Lite rods in total: 16 casting rods, 4 cranking rods and 8 spinning rods. This may sound intimidating at first, like there are too many options to narrow down which rod is right for you. However, Lew’s has each of these rods linked to a specific technique, to help you pick the perfect rod for any presentation. 

It is worth noting that you may prefer a different model rod than what they have listed. For instance, the 7’ 3” medium heavy rod that I used for my big spinnerbait around heavy wood is actually listed as a “worm/jig” rod. I do feel like it would work well for that too though. The 7’ 4” medium rod is designed for “medium to deep crankbaits”. Again, a good suggestion, but this rod doubled well for the CullShad too. 


The Custom Lite lineup of rods is impressive. I really liked the two models I tested out, and these rods in particular changed my entire outdated view of Lew’s rods as a whole. For the price point of $149.99 to $179.99, there’s little on the market that can outpace what Lew’s has done here with the Custom Lite. From the lightness to the quality to the strength to the expansive lineup, these rods can hang with any other (comparably priced) rods made by any other brand.

Buy at Bass Pro

Buy at Tackle Warehouse