Best Surf Fishing Rods for a Fun Day Out

Best Surf Fishing Rods for a Fun Day Out

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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 surf fishing experience a great load of fun and season your game, we’re going to enlist the best surf fishing rods on today’s market.

Larry Stark

Professional fisherman, who loves to review new fishing gadgets.

Top 3 Best Rods for Surf Fishing

Best Ultralight

Okuma Celilo Graphite

Okuma Celilo Graphite

Best Overall

PENN Fishing Battalion II

PENN Fishing Battalion II

Best Combo

Penn Battle III

Penn Battle III

7 Good Surf Fishing Rods

Table of Contents

Top Picks for Surf Fishing Rods: Our Expert Reviews

#1 Best Ultralight - Okuma Celilo Graphite

Okuma Celilo Graphite

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.

  • Material: Synthetic
  • Color: Brown Graphite
  • Fishing Technique: Casting, Spinning
  • Reel Seats: Stainless Steel Hooded
  • Rear Grip: Cork
  • Grip Type: Split
  • Item Weight: 3.2 ounces



BUYING ADVICE: There is a reason why this is one of the best ultralight fishing rods. We took some time testing this rod out in the open sea 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 it for long-distance casting or jigging; it’s quite sensitive and offers great strength. Crappies, bass, pikes, and panfish, are your sure catch. Moreover, if you’re going for small stream fishing, we suggest you also try a 4.5 ft or a 6.5 ft Okuma 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.

#2 Best Overall - PENN Fishing Battalion II

PENN Fishing Battalion II

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. The implemented Fuji components make this rod the next best thing in its category.

  • Material: Composite
  • Color: Black/Gold
  • Fishing Technique: Casting
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Reel Seat: Fuji Graphite
  • Guides: (8) Fuji Alconite



BUYING ADVICE: 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.

We could literally feel the bite of bigger fish which we had no problem pulling out on the beach. 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.

#3 Best Combo - Penn Battle III

Penn Battle III

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.

  • 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



BUYING ADVICE: The easy setup and breakdown are an absolute plus on this 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.

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.

Fiblink Surf 2-Piece Spinning

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 this rod 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



BUYING ADVICE: 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 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.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite

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



BUYING ADVICE: 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 a great combo that can easily catch fish between 9 and 20 lbs.

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.

#6 Best Lightweight - St Croix Triumph Spinning

St Croix Triumph Spinning

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



BUYING ADVICE: For starters, make sure that you match your line and drag with the 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.

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.

#7 Best Saltwater - Tica UGSA Series

Tica UGSA Series

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Tica UGSA series, with its extraordinary versatility and sturdiness, make one of the best saltwater surf fishing rods. The manufacturer thought of everything by enabling multiple weights and sizes to match every angler’s needs.

  • Rod Length: 8’0″, 9’0″, and 10’0″
  • Power: Medium, Medium-Heavy
  • Material: Composite
  • Fishing Technique: Surf
  • Reel Seat: Fuji DPS
  • Handle: Cork
  • Color: Multicolored



BUYING ADVICE: 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.

FEATURES: The excellent quality build of the Tica line of spinning rods 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.

#8 Best Budget - Daiwa Beefstick

Daiwa Beefstick

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.

  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Fishing Technique: Spinning, Casting, Surf, Boat Fishing
  • Color: Black
  • Guides: Stainless steel
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle: Stainless steel



BUYING ADVICE: 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.

#9 Best Premium - St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament

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.

  • Color: Tournament Blue Pearl
  • Fishing Technique: Casting
  • Material: Blended
  • Guides: Tangle-free Fuji K-series
  • Length: 7’9″
  • Power: Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 1
  • Handle: Cork
  • Grip Type: Split



BUYING ADVICE: 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 surf fishing lures and get good 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.

Selecting the Ideal Surf Fishing Rod for Your Needs

Rod Length

The casting distance is extremely important when going surf fishing. 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.

Rod Action

The rod action refers to the point when the rod bends under a certain amount of pressure. Surf rods are split into several categories according to the action they provide:

Slow: The bending is applied across the whole rod. These rods are the most flexible ones and excellent for catching small fish.

Moderate: The bending affects the top half area of the rod, which enables better control. You can use these to lure small and big fish.

Fast: Only one-third of the tops’ blank will feel the pressure point. Fast-action rods are perfect for catching a nice gamefish.

Extra fast: These provide the ultimate stiffness and enhanced sensitivity. You can use them when fishing large predators.

Rod Power

The rod’s strength is another crucial factor when picking out the best surf fishing 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, 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

The fishing line is your direct connection to the fish. Therefore, prior to choosing the right lure weight, you need a suitable line first.

In most cases, a monofilament/braided line between 20 and 30 pounds works excellent for various surf fishing occasions. Especially if you’re after striped bass, surfperch, and other small fish. But, if you want to catch a big predator like the tarpon, you better suit up with a 50 or 80-pound line.

Consequently, the braided line is suitable for casting lures because of its low stretchy thin diameter. On the other hand, a mono line works like a charm for fishing bait rigs. The reason for this must be mono’s ability to cover up the tension of the (live)bait.

However, we suggest you don’t bother too much about setting up a fluoro line. This is because saltwater fish has no problems triggering a bite.

Determining the Ideal Material for a Surf Fishing Rod


Graphite surf rods are all about fast action, good fight, and great sensitivity level. However, all these characteristics come with a price – and a high one at that! So, if fast action rods are what you’re missing in your rods collection, go for graphite rods. However, know that these poles can break much easier rather than those made of fiberglass material.


Fiberglass rods are the go-to choice if medium to slow action is what you’re looking for. Plus, these rods don’t fail to deliver durability and practicality to the table. But, this type of material lacks sensitivity, and it’s often in the low-powered category.

Nevertheless, fiberglass rods are ideal for novice surf anglers because of their low-tag price.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber rods offer high sensitivity and are excellent vibration transmitters. These features are of great help to anglers. The rods’ vibrations signal how far the fish is from the bait and whether it’s hooked or not.

These rods are a good substitution for fiberglass rods. Though, the carbon is much lighter and enables greater elasticity and sensitivity than the latter.


Composite rods present the perfect mash construction of graphite and fiberglass material. However, you can’t be certain of what kind of action you are getting. This is the case because the action of composite rods depends greatly on where one material starts/ends. Generally, these types of rods are labeled as medium or medium-fast action rods.

Techniques for Casting a Surf Fishing Rod: A Guide

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:


This technique doesn’t tolerate slacks in the line. To successfully avoid causing them, start the cast with your hands on the rod and the line. With a spinning rod, in most cases, slacks are the product of an angler who’s not adding enough tension to the line.

You can easily go around this by positioning 2 fingers on the front of the stem and another 2 at the back. Ultimately, the fingertip of your index finger should press the line on the stem, but it shouldn’t press the line itself.


This next technique requires synchronized body rotation and movements. To nail ‘the cast’, let your elbow lead the way, and your right arm has to follow the rotating of the body. Next, push the rod up using your right arm, and let the left one pull it down, thus accelerating the rod.

Once your right arm stretches for about 3/4, you’ll achieve full speed, followed by the snappy letting of the line at around eleven 0’clock. Let your weight fall on the ball, and straighten up your front leg – now cast!

Slingshot Stance

If you’re right-handed, put your left foot forward – this posture indicates your foot is directed toward the target. This means that the right foot must be looking nearly thirty degrees to the target’s right side.

Ensure a proper firm stand – your posture should match the width of your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly and don’t move your elbow; just slowly rotate the shoulders and hips.

Now put your wrist into action and halt the rod at the horizon (more or less, that’ll be 3:30 o’clock). Right now, the rod and the ear are at the same level, while your forearm is looking straight to one 0’clock. Transfer your weight to your back foot and cast!

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.