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Surf rods, compared to other fishing rods, differ in more than just a few characteristics. Therefore, to make the best of your beach fishing, you need the right rod with a suitable rod length to enable long-distance casting.
And this is where we step in. To make your surfcasting experience a great load of fun and season your game, we’re going to enlist the best surf fishing rods on today’s market. We’ve also prepared a list of top performing surf fishing lures to try.
Top 3 Best Surf Fishing Rods
Best Surf Fishing Rod Overall
St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament
Surf Fishing Rod Runner-Up
Okuma Celilo Graphite
Best Surf Fishing Rod Combo
Penn Battle III
Table of Contents
- 9 Best Surf Fishing Rods
- St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament
- Okuma Celilo Graphite Spinning Rod
- Penn Battle III Spinning Rod
- Fiblink Surf 2-Piece Spinning Rod
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
- St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
- Tica UGSA Series Surf Fishing Rod
- Daiwa Beefstick Surf Fishing Rod
- PENN Fishing Battalion II Casting Rod
- Buying Guide
- Rod Length
- What weight rod is best for surf fishing?
9 Best Surf Fishing Rods
- Okuma Celilo Graphite – best surf fishing rod (ultralight)
- PENN Fishing Battalion II – best surf fishing rod overall
- Penn Battle III – best surf fishing rod combo
- Fiblink Surf 2-Piece Spinning – travel rod for surf fishing
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite – most popular surf rods
- St Croix Triumph Spinning – lightweight surf fishing rods
- Tica UGSA Series – best surf fishing rod
- Daiwa Beefstick – best surf fishing rod on a budget
- St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament – best surf fishing rod (premium)
Best Overall Surf Fishing Rods
St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament
WHY WE LIKE IT: This must be the lightest premium casting rod on the fishing market. To make this rod even more attractive, Croix decorates it with three of its best technologies which improve the overall fishing experience. We also have a separate guide for the saltwater fishing lures that you could try to even more enhance your experience.
OVERVIEW: The first time we tested this rod, we were taken aback by how light it was. This means even more since it offers an enjoyable long casting complemented by a new palm grip. With a good cast and a comfy palm grip, you can easily go for 10 hours of surf fishing. What’s more, you can pair this rod with some of the best surf casting reels and get decent action.
FEATURES: The Croix Legend surf series excels much of its competition by including advanced groundbreaking technology components into its built and reel.
Take, for instance, the exotic carbon fiber for undeniable power and strength or the tooling technology, which increases the rods’ sensitivity and smoothness. One of the best additions to this exact model is also the Fuji K-series, alconite rings, and the Kigan hook.
Best Ultralight Surf Fishing Rod
Okuma Celilo Graphite Spinning Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Okuma graphite rod is an excellent ultralight model that represents perfect balance and just the right power. Its sensitive blank construction contributes to its great durability, whereas the stainless steel-hooded reel seats provide you with a smooth action.
OVERVIEW: There is a reason why this is one of the top ultralight fishing rods. We took some time testing this rod out in the open ocean and on some lakes too. We found it quite light but still precise. On the first cast, we hit the jackpot, and in less than ten minutes, we were pulling back a chain pike.
You can use these surf spinning rods for long-distance casting or jigging; it’s quite sensitive and offers great strength. Crappies, bass, pikes, and panfish, are your sure catch with this high-quality rod. Moreover, if you’re going for small stream fishing, we suggest you also try a 4.5 ft or a 6.5 ft Okuma surf fishing rod.
FEATURES: The Okuma offers multiple lengths (4-1/2-feet to 7-1/2-feet) to best fit your needs. Its ultralight design makes it perfect for catching sporting fish like trout or perch, and the inserts made of aluminum oxide enable smooth line guiding.
Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Penn Battle III Spinning Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Penn Battle III combo is a definite step up from Penn II in every aspect. The sturdy metal body and enhanced reeling power enhanced with CNC gear technology vouch for durability. The brand-new edition of the HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers helps you maintain full control of the stick and the prey and makes it best rod for surf fishing tackle.
- Size: 14 available, including 2000 Reel Size – 6’6″ – Medium Light – 1pc and 4000 Reel Size – 7′ – Medium – 1pc
- Color: Black/Gold
- Material: Composite
- Fishing Technique: Spinning
- Ball Bearings System: 5+1 sealed stainless steel
- Technology: CNC Gear Technology
- Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
- Handle: EVA
OVERVIEW: The easy setup and breakdown are an absolute plus on this saltwater spinning rod. To see what it could do, we went sea fishing and put it to the test by aiming towards the big fellows of the depths. For this, we spooled the rod with a braid line (80 lb) and a 5+ ounces rig, which we could throw a nice cast for about fifty yards or so.
FEATURES: This is the best surf fishing rod and reel combo that’s a must-have, no matter whether you’re out on pier fishing, boat fishing, or inshore fishing. The graphite composite blank guarantees that it’ll serve you well for a long time to come. If you want to buy a separate reel for saltwater fishing, than we have this guide that might interest you: The Best Saltwater Spinning Reels of 2023.
Plus, the stainless steel 5+1 ball bearing and the HT-100 carbon fiber drag features ensure your line guides operate smoothly and let you take control over any gamefish.
Best Travel Rod for Surf Fishing
Fiblink Surf 2-Piece Spinning Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Fiblink Surf 2-piece makes an excellent budget spinning rod that is easy to break down and take it traveling. Furthermore, the carbon fiber blank gives these surf casting rods outstanding sensitivity and is lightweight, making it perfect for extra-long casting.
- Size: 10 ft, 11 ft, 12 ft, and 15 ft
- Style: 9 available, including 4-piece 12 Feet-spinning and 2-piece 11 Feet-casting
- Pieces: 2 and 4
- Color: Black
- Spinning/Casting guides: Stainless steel guides + ceramic inserts
- Handle: Cork
- Fishing Technique: Spinning, Surf
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Power: Heavy/Medium-Heavy
OVERVIEW: As one of the best travel fishing rods, we took the 12 ft Fiblink spinning fishing rod for a test ride while doing inshore fishing. Our main concern at the beginning was its heavy weight because it felt like it was going to brake during the cast.
To our surprise, it didn’t. Moreover, the casting was perfect, even with a heavy sinker (eight ounces) on it. This way, we managed to reel two big ones, but the rod proved excellent flexibility and sensitivity.
FEATURES: This is a surf spinning rod that brings much more to the table than what you bargained for. Its carbon fiber design is excellent and aids anglers in more accurately tuned action. This is especially important for those into boat fishing.
It excels in long surf casting or extra-long casting. The best part is that it comes in 2 or 4 pieces, meaning that you can dismantle it and prepare it for your longer fishing trip with ease.
Most Popular Surf Fishing Rods
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite is the most popular model among the Ugly Stik fishing rods. The blend of graphite and fiberglass this rod has makes it perfect to handle big water fishing like a pro.
- Rod length: 5′, 6′, 6’6″, 7′
- Pieces: 1 and 2
- Power: Ultralight, Medium/Medium Light, and Medium Heavy
- Material: Blend
- Fishing Technique: Spinning
- Color: Multicolored
- Handle: Cork
- Reel Seat: Blank Style
- Grip Type: Split
OVERVIEW: To try something different, we set off with kayaks and went to see what this rod could do. For the purpose of the test, we decided on a 7 ft medium light rod to match the flexibility kayak fishing requires. And we found out that a light weighted rod isn’t a good combination with a 1/4 oz lure.
However, when we added a split shot (extra weight) to the line, we got what we were looking for – a long cast and target accuracy. Overall, this is best surf rod for fishing from kayak.
FEATURES: Unlike other casting rods, this one has 35 percent more graphite composure. This means that anglers get more strength and a pretty good feel. The excellent build is complemented by a clear tip design that puts the accent on responsiveness and toughness. To make the most of its features and enjoy long hours of fishing, the stick has a cork handle to comfort your hand/grip and makes it top fishing rods.
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The ST Croix Triumph is an excellent choice among the line of lighter rods the market offers. Moreover, the slim build and light weight make it easily adjustable for different hand sizes.
- Size: 5’0″, 5’5″, 6’0″, 6’6″, 7’0″, 7’6″
- Pieces: 1, 2, and 4
- Style: Light, Ultralight, Medium/Medium Light, Medium Fast/Heavy
- Color: Deep Run Blue
- Fishing Technique: Spinning
- Handle: Cork
- Reel Seat: Sea Guide XDPS
- Grip Type: Split
OVERVIEW: For starters, make sure that you match your line and drag with the best surf fishing rod. Since we used a 5 ft 6 inch ultralight St Croix, we set a line of 4 lb and 2 lb drag to get the best of our fishing trip. And it worked since we managed to take home a nice tilapia, thanks to the excellent performance of the surf fishing rod.
FEATURES: The strength and extended durability of the pole come from the premium SCIII carbon material of the body. This is additionally backed up with a fortified resin system. However, this moderately fast action rod excels over its competition by implementing other valuable features too.
Tica UGSA Series Surf Fishing Rod
OVERVIEW: This 2-piece medium-heavy surf rod works great if you’re headed for a light surf. Moreover, you can take it pretty much anywhere since it’s easy to transport.
We experimented a bit with this rod and paired it with a Daiwa 3000 BG, which turned out as a perfect combo. We were able to cast a 1 oz swimbait quite far, and you can do this all day long because of the extremely light setup. We found the non-slippery cork handle to be quite a pro, resting your hands and helping you fish out anything with ease. If you’re interested to try premade combos, than we have this surf fishing rod and reel combo guide.
FEATURES: The excellent quality build of the Tica line of surf spinning rod comes from the TC3 graphite material. It is further complemented by an alconite Fuji tip guide and hardloy rings. There are various weights (medium to heavy) and sizes (8 ft to 10 ft) to choose from, which enhances its versatility.
Best Budget Surf Fishing Rod
Daiwa Beefstick Surf Fishing Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Daiwa Beefstick easily separates itself from other conventional rods. Even though it’s classified as a budget rod, you can rely on it if sturdiness and great casting are what you need.
OVERVIEW: This is a fast-action conventional rod that has no problem fishing out a large fighting fish. The stainless steel reel hooks really contribute by smoothing the whole process. As a matter of fact, with a 9- or 10-ft sturdy rod like this, you’ll have a blast pulling out large predators – we sure did!
FEATURES: The Daiwa Beefstick is simple yet impressive in build, especially since its body encompasses extremely tough carbon fiberglass blanks. The seat hoods and guides are made of stainless steel, which guarantees longevity and great stability and control while fishing. Taking all these into consideration, it’s no wonder that this rod sticks out from the plenty of options on the market.
PENN Fishing Battalion II Casting Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: The PENN Battalion fishing rod introduces the best of both worlds – fiberglass and graphite composite. Moreover, it comes in a mid-range price which makes it a good value for money for the functionality and durability it offers as the best rod for surf fishing. The implemented Fuji components make this rod the next best thing in its category.
OVERVIEW: To see its true colors, we went saltwater fishing with this conventional rod. In no time, we were convinced of its strength and durability. It casts perfectly, and the graphite composite is an excellent addition to the stick.
Penn specializes in saltwater fishing tackle, including the best surf fishing rod. We could literally feel the bite of bigger fish which we had no problem pulling out on the beach using this top-notch rod. The stick is sturdy and a bit stiff, but a real fighter against large-size fish.
FEATURES: The PENN II offers a fishing rod and reel to the saltwater angler that can deliver results with every casting. The Fuji reel/guide components have perfect strength and deliver just the right smoothness, which pairs with any fishing line. Plus, the fiberglass/graphite combo brings out the best in this gentle mighty rod.
Choosing best surf rods should accountant these factors: length, action, power, weight and more.
The casting distance is extremely important when going surfcasting. Generally, surf fishing rods vary between 4 and 14 ft. We can easily classify these into two categories: short rods (8-10 ft) and long rods (11-14 ft).
Shorter rods enable surf anglers to have higher casting precision and are easier to handle. However, they lack in casting distance.
Long surf rods increase the casting distance to the maximum and keep the line out of the surf’s way. These are heavy rods that require certain stamina and strength.
For example, a rod ranging between 10-12 ft makes a great surf fishing rod for most anglers. Though, novice surf fishermen like to start with a 7 ft long rod. And bass fishermen always reach for a 6 or 9 ft surf rod.
- Slow: Bends across the whole rod, great for catching small fish.
- Moderate: Bends the top half, offering better control for luring both small and big fish.
- Fast: Bends in only one-third of the top blank, ideal for catching gamefish.
- Extra fast: Ultimate stiffness and sensitivity, perfect for fishing large predators.
The rod’s strength is another crucial factor when picking out the best surf rod. This element signifies the amount of pressure needed to cause the rod’s action. For a better understanding of power, let us split it into the following:
- Light – These don’t make good surf rods since they can’t live up to the surf fishing needs.
- Medium – Excellent for smaller fish that like lighter bites like the fluke, pompano, speckled trout, redfish, flounder, steelhead, salmon, sheepshead, etc.
- Medium Heavy – These can fight with almost any specie of various sizes. Though, they are best used for fishing bluefish, stripers, etc.
- Heavy – You’ll need a heavy power rod if you’re shore fishing after big fish.
- Extra Heavy – These rods are used when casting/jigging heavy-weight lures. Plus, they help you fish out a tuna or halibut effortlessly.
Line and Lure Weights
As a professional angler, your fishing line is crucial for connecting with the fish. For surfcasting, opt for a monofilament or braided line between 20 and 30 pounds, perfect for catching small fish like striped bass and surfperch. However, when targeting larger predators such as tarpon, use a stronger 50 or 80-pound line.
Braided line is excellent for casting lures due to its low stretch and thin diameter, while mono works best for fishing bait rigs, concealing the tension of live bait. As for fluorocarbon line, it’s not essential for saltwater fishing, as the fish will still bite without it. Prioritize choosing the right fishing line to enhance your surf fishing success
Determining the Ideal Material for a Surf Fishing Rod
Graphite surf rods offer fast action, good fight, and high sensitivity but come at a higher price and are more prone to breaking.
Fiberglass rods are durable and practical with medium to slow action but lack sensitivity and power.
Carbon fiber rods provide high sensitivity and excellent vibration transmission, making them ideal for anglers.
Composite rods combine graphite and fiberglass, offering a mix of features and varying action levels.
Techniques for Casting a Surf Fishing Rod
Surf fishing requires time, practice, experience, overall great preparation, and the right fishing gear. To ease your transition into the surf fishing world, we’ve prepared several casting techniques:
Hold the surf fishing rod firmly to avoid line slacks. Place two fingers at the front and two at the back, with the index finger pressing lightly against the stem.
Perfect your cast with surf fishing rods through body rotation. Let your elbow lead, right arm pushing up, left arm pulling down to accelerate the rod. Release the line at eleven o’clock for optimal distance.
Slingshot Stance: For right-handed anglers, left foot forward, firm stance, rotate shoulders and hips. Halt the surf fishing rod at 3:30 o’clock, transfer weight, and cast. Enhance your surf fishing rod performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Medium-powered rods make excellent surf fishing rods if your main target is lighter bites. However, most anglers will agree that medium-heavy surf rods make the best choice. This is so because they’re able to fish out different size species.
You can take any rod for surf fishing, but not all are suitable. Surf fishing rods require a specific length for long-distance casting and the right action to drive a fish home. Therefore, we recommend you take a 9-12 ft long rod that provides moderate or medium action.
You can’t go wrong with a surf fishing rod that’s between 10-12 feet long.