Best Surf Fishing Rods
There’s no better way to fish than directly from the shore, and having the right setup can make the experience more pleasant. However, choosing a rod for surf fishing can be an overwhelming process, as the market is flooded with prospective options and poles are often labeled with complex technical descriptions.
With, purchasing a new fishing pole doesn’t have to be difficult. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down a list of the top five rods for surf fishing for the money of 2018 and paired it up with a comprehensive buying guide. Whether you’re fishing for bluefish off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard or honing in on surf perch from the rocks of Santa Cruz, we’ll help you select the best gear for your particular circumstance and drastically increase your rate of success.
Read along to learn all there is to know about surf casting rods and find a great selection of gear for specific applications. The following gear guide will let you know which surf casting rods are breaking waves in the fishing tackle market.
Here is our comparison table of the top rods.
Shimano Tiralejo TRS120MHA surf spinning rod
Shimano’s Tiralejo is a midrange surf spinning rod with a tremendous casting capability. In fact, it’s a solid setup for both beginners and seasoned saltwater anglers because of the high weight capacity and generous pulling potential.
Shimano is a well-known Japanese manufacturer that has been delivering expertly engineered fishing and cycling gear to the world for over 80 years. It is and has been a staple for both East and West coast anglers because of its fatigue reduction, clean line relay, and premium guides.
The Tiralejo is constructed from a high-modulus blank that is wrapped with four layers of 90-degree Graphite. Tiralejo’s trademark construction style, the C4S, helps reinforce the rod while maintaining an ultra-sensitive bite detection. The grips are made from black shrink tubes, which tends to weigh less and last far longer than traditional cork tape.
The Fuji stainless steel guides are reinforced with alconite inserts that are designed to withstand harsh braided lines. The Fuji guide system is the unique feature of this pole. The first guide is set extremely high to allow for maximum reel oscillation. This maximizes the rods casting potential, sending lines 60 to 80 feet in the distance with minimal effort. For this reason, this rod is great for children and beginner anglers.
According to the manufacturer, the Shimano has a line weight capacity of 30 to 50 pounds. What’s more, it can handle two to six-ounce lures and works well with 30 to 50-pound lines. On top of that, the rod has a medium, heavy power with a moderately fast action that will help you overcome a powerful surf while hitting competitive distances.
If you’re not ready for the 12-foot rod, you may want to opt for either the 9-foot-6, 10-foot, 10-foot-6, or 11-foot models. From shortest to longest, these models have medium to heavy power and moderately fast to fast actions. All have seven guides and five to 6-inch foregrips.
Shimano is a safe bet in a world of erratic manufacturers. Not only will this rod hold up to turbulent surf, it will give you a far-reaching trajectory, solid vibrations, and a slip-free grip. This rod has been redesigned to make up for shortcomings in earlier models.
Recently, Shimano has faced scrutiny for discontinuing their lifetime over-the-counter warranty. However, the company has vocalized that the guarantee was never limitless. What’s more, the current one-year warranty covers manufacturing defects while taking heat off of retailers for covering questionable claims.
- Japanese C4S layered graphite rod construction
- High modulus blank is lightweight yet stiff
- Shrink wrap handle lasts longer than traditional cork
- Available in two-pieces only
Who is this Product For?
This is an excellent choice for beginner surf anglers. However, this 12-footer is more suitable for intermediate and advanced fishermen. Four layers of carbon give this rod a precise bite feel while helping anglers avoid dreaded blank twists and snaps.
Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf Spin Fishing Rod 15-30 Lb TSAWESS-1102M
Airwave Elite’s Tsunami Elite is a midrange travel that is great for both beginner and intermediate surf anglers looking to get their feet wet. With a choice between easy two and four-piece breakdowns, you’ll have no trouble packing this rod for your next beach getaway. Meanwhile, it’s a sturdy pole that is capable of daily plug hurling too.
The Tsunami is rightfully named for its ability to take the abuse of heavy beachside surf. It features a dense fiberglass blank with sturdy Fuji reel seats and braid-proof stainless-steel Fuji Concept K guides, which give you the feel of a concept rig. The grips are made from diamond-patterned vinyl shrink wrap. Plus, the manufacturer offers the choice between 70/30 or 50/50 split ferrule rods.
Pulling up those back-breaking catches, such as bass and sharks, is a breeze with the 20 to 50-pound line capacity. Plus, the lightweight fiberglass construction makes a long day of casting even easier. We couldn’t be more pleased with the recovery rate, which is guided along smoothly thanks to the reinforced guides.
With just under nine feet of rod, this is an inexpensive and reliable pole to learn on. It also performs fairly alongside custom rods but costs a fraction of the price. The rod comes in nine and 10-foot varieties. It’s incredibly sensitive, casts far, and has durable components.
The rod comes in a greyish olive color. While we highly recommend the two-piece, 11-foot option for a versatile surf rig, there are plenty of other options to choose from. The 8-foot-8 model is great for kids, while the 12-foot extra, extra heavy is a great choice for surfside shark fishing. Whatever you choose, we recommend a great reel, such as Penn Spinfisher or Shimano Socorro for a saltwater rig that is second to none.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sturdier, more reliable rod in the same price range. You can take this thing to the bay or pitch it into harsh current without having to deal with any inconsistencies. Plus, it’s a real rocket launcher when it comes to chucking out hunky lures and bait.
We’ve noticed a decline in the quality and control of a few Airwave products. However, we didn’t experience any issues when testing out the Tsunami.
- Sensative fiberglass construction
- Ready for braided line
- Increases weight consideration for reel
- Some rods have factory-issued paint inperfections
Who is this product for?
Because of the price and ease of handling, we’d recommend this rod for everyone from beginners to experts. If you’re on a tight budget or looking for an excellent travel pole, the Tsunami offers incomparable strength and sensitivity while still being easy to disassemble and store. Pick one of these up to store in the back of your car and pass it along to a young angler so they can plug at the surf with the utmost confidence.
Okuma Fishing Tackle CSX-S-1102MH Cedros Surf CSX Graphite Saltwater Rod
Okuma’s Cedros Surf CSX Graphite Saltwater Rod is a solid bargain-rate pole with immense saltwater potential. Plus, this 11-footer offers a long casting potential blended with a moderately fast action, which comes in handy when you’re trolling for a heavy species.
The rod features 30-ton carbon-coated blanks that give you incredible pulling power. It also has ALPS stainless steel double footed guides and a rubber shrink wrap coated handle. Corrosion-resistant zirconium guide inserts are there to ensure that the pole is compatible with braided super lines. The rod is part of a super lightweight series that offers varying choices in power. Meanwhile, machined aluminum Pac Bay reel seats open the door to a wide variety of spinning reel options for the perfect surf combo.
This series features a wide variety of weights and powers so that you can guarantee you have the correct configuration for specific applications. All models are easy to handle and reduce fatigue when wrestling with a big fish. The manufacturer also offers a limited lifetime warranty.
You’ve got your choice between medium, heavy to heavy actions and a moderately fast power for the ultimate spinning setup. Overall, the two-piece construction of this rod and sightly cobalt, blue finish make this a sight for sore eyes. Plus, thanks to the shrink-wrapped handles and EVA foam butt pads, you’ll never get fatigued again. Well, in the least, you’ll be able to cast line farther more accurately.
This rod is inexpensive and offers a light, yet rigid feel that is comparable to costly alternatives. Plus, the low-profile butt cap and diamond-etched shrink wrap handle coating give it an attractive modern look that will prevent your hand from slipping or getting too cold. What’s more, it is incredibly lightweight given its strength. Plus, it is one of the few rods in this category that come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Mono diehards aren’t going to like the small diameter reel guides. Just as well, such a light rod is probably more suited for braid.
- Rigged for braid thanks to ALPS zirconium guides
- Great with lightweight lures
- 20 to 50-pound line capacity
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Not suitable for mono
Who is this Product For?
This rod is ideal for fledging surf anglers who are looking for a practical but modern rod. With that being said, the 9-footer is an excellent choice for beginner anglers who aren’t qualified to handle a lengthy rod.
Okuma’s Solaris Surf Fishing Rods-SS-C-1102H-2
Okuma’s Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is a value rod with high-end features. Not only does it boast Okuma’s most powerful action, it also features the timeless combination of a responsive aluminum-oxide blank with swanky cork handle.
Okuma has long been a mainstay in the surfcasting community, and we can see why. These poles can send a line well over the breakers with barely any thrust, keeping anglers in the game longer while upping their take away. If you want a single rod for chucking bait and plugging for the big boys, the 11-foot Solaris offers extensive utility.
The Solaris is a premium spinner designed for the whip of the saltwater surf. Starting with the highly desired IM6 graphite composite blanks, the Solaris offers an astounding responsiveness without jeopardizing its durability. What’s more 10-footer offers a generous line weight of 15 to 40 pounds. Meanwhile, the 11-footer is the perfect middle ground, as it is capable of reeling in everything from bait to stripers.
What’s more, the rod also breaks down into two pieces for easy transportation and storage. Plus, the double-footed guides are lined with aluminum-oxide for heavy duty braided lines. Meanwhile, the rod features lower and upper cork wrapped grips and a rubber butt cap for the utmost comfort and heat retention during daylong fishing excursions. The rod also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
We found that the Solaris was capable of casting 60 to 80 feet with a variety of lugs. Plus, it is stiff enough to wrestle with the big boys while providing a quick enough action to set a hook. Just pair it with your favorite spinning reel and a solid 30-pound line and you’ll be towing in dinner in no time.
It’s safe to say this rod can handle some heavyweight thrashers. Whether you’re casting into the open ocean or just dropping a line into the bay, you’ll have no trouble sensing bites thanks to the ultra-responsive graphite blanks. Not only that, but the solid backbone makes this rod an excellent choice for striped bass and bluefish.
While we hope you never have to use it, the limited lifetime warranty offers a convenient insurance plan for worst-case scenarios. Nevertheless, some consumers report having to pay for shipping and handling costs when receiving their replacement rods.
- Traditional cork handle wrap
- Durable graphite blank
- Limited Lifetime warranty
- Potential warranty expenses
Who is this Product For?
The Solaris is a great rod for experienced saltwater anglers who are looking for something to pull in those beefy catches, such as shark and bluefish. The cork wrap and natural look of this pole make it a great option for those who want a high-end vintage look with a modern capacity.
Ugly Stik Inshore Select Spinning Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik’s Inshore Select Spinning Fishing Rod is a bargain-rate pole with a sophisticated finish. If you’re looking to trim back your budget so that you finally purchase that new reel, this budget-friendly rod has a solid backbone and won’t set you back more than $70.
The Ugly Stik has a super light, thin graphite blank with durable upper and lower cork grips or a full grip cork handle with laser-etched logos. It features a conventional reel seat with stainless steel cushion hoods as well as stainless steel one-piece guides for flawless accessorizing. The reel seat screws down for a snug fit with ample hand space. It also features a balanced action that helps account for accurate casts with both live bait and artificial lures.
Keep in mind that it is a medium, heavy rod, with a 10 to 25-pound line capacity. What’s more, compatible lures need to be between 1/8 and 3/4-ounces. Besides that, braids are not a problem. The one-piece guides are great for beginners but are incredibly small for a spinner. Considering this and the short length, this pole is more in the lines of a bait caster than a spinner. Still, pair this with a solid reel and line and you can use this rig to reel in anything from reds to stripers.
Choose between 7-foot and 7-foot-6 varieties. Then opt between the medium, medium/light, and medium, heavy power options. All poles have a graphite finish with natural cork handles and diamond-patterned black and red grips. While performance trumps aesthetics any day, it certainly doesn’t hurt to acknowledge the color scheme when choosing a reel to pair it with.
This bargain-rate rod (it’s not even $70) competes with expensive alternatives because of its reliable thin graphite construction, durable cork handles, and single-piece guides. It’s short, but an excellent option for kids and newbies alike.
There are no outright issues with this rod, just remember it isn’t invincible. With the long casting potential, you are prone to snag a few fish that are a bit on the heavy side. When the time comes, don’t be afraid to cut the line. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting on an expensive pile of graphite kindling.
- Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel guide
- Cork grip with an engraved logo
- Graphite construction
- Low weight capacity
Who is this Product For?
This product is great for both beginner and professional inshore anglers. Overall, it has a reliable backbone. Plus, it’s easy to transport and well-balanced. Pair it with your favorite saltwater reel. You’ll find yourself in possession of one of the most reliable, practical rods on the market.
If you’ve already begun a search for a new rod for fishing the turf, you already know that the sheer number of poles on the market serves as an overwhelming deterrent when making a purchase. Have no fear; we’re here to break down the basic buying considerations to make before adding a new number to your arsenal.
What to Consider
Rods for surf fishing are designed to be cast directly from a rocky shoreline or beach. In this sense, they need to be capable of long-distance casts and quick, powerful returns. Apart from having a solid backbone, they also need to provide a smooth guided track for a line of your preference. Finally, they should be designed for easy handling, with a waterproof and slip-resistant grip.
In addition to being stronger and more resilient than your typical freshwater pole, these type of rods are some of the longest options on the market, with the average pole being 12-feet or longer. There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, a longer rod provides anglers with a greater potential for landing long-distance casts. This is particularly important when casting offshore, as bait and lures that land in the breakers are as good as gone from the moment they hit the water. What’s more, a longer pole helps elevate the line, keeping it from being tangled up or dragged back to shore.
Even as a micro category, rods for surf fishing have an exhausting number of specifications. Therefore, each angler needs to carefully consider their own fishing preferences and expectations before honing in on a specific product. For starters, keep in mind the size and strength of the catch you have in mind. Secondly, think about the turbulence of the waves in the waters you plan to fish in. Thirdly, be mindful of the size, weight, and type of lure you prefer to hunt with. All these factors will help you determine the beefiness, length, and other qualities of the new addition to your fishing arsenal.
Length and Cast
Most rods for surf fishing are between eight and 14 feet long. While beginner anglers may find shorter poles easier to handle (especially for full-day excursions), longer poles have more casting potential. They are also capable of handling heavier baits and lures and reduce the amount of drag on the line. Of course, short poles have their perks too. They’re great for reeling in strong, heavy catches. Plus, they take up less cargo space. Considering all that, 11 to 13-foot rods are a popular option for the vast majority of surf anglers. So remember to keep rod lengths and casting distance in mind when purchasing your next fishing pole for top surf fishing experience.
Check out this brief video from Surf Caster Journal for further information on the importance of rod length, action, and power.
The action describes where and how a rod bends when a fish is snagged. Rods are typically labeled as having either an extra fast, fast, moderate, or slow action. Occasionally, they will be described as heavy, medium, heavy, moderate, and light. A rod with an extra fast action will quickly bend at the top before transferring the power back to the stiff portion of the rod. Alternatively, a rod with a slow action forms an arc with the top two-thirds of the blank before shifting the control back to the base.
The action comes into play in nearly every part of making a catch, including casting, detecting a bite, and setting a hook. Faster actions demand heavier, more dynamic rigs, while slower actions are better suited for lighter or multi-hooked lures.
Aside from the action, a rod’s power also helps determine the speed and angle at which a rod bends. Like the action, the power is labeled from heavy to light. Most offshore fishermen utilize the medium to heavy powered rods. This specification is a great option for anglers who can’t or don’t wish to invest in multiple poles.
Bait and Lures
Each rod has a lure weight capacity. Whether you plan to use live bait or artificial lures, make sure your tackle is an appropriate fit for the pole and fish of your choosing. Keep in mind that most anglers have a couple different rigs in their arsenal. A good variety of poles ensures you’re prepared to hunt more than one species, can handle varying water conditions, and always have a backup on hand.
Bait choice is also a determinant when choosing between spinning and casting rods. Spinning rods feature a fixed spool reel with large guides. Meanwhile, casting rods feature a baitcasting reel that sits on the top of the pole, small guides, and, usually, a trigger grip. When it comes to bait, casting rods can handle much larger live bait. Meanwhile, spinners are more equipt for small, lightweight artificial lures. Overall, medium, heavy and heavy rods provide a suitable backbone for both setups.
Reel Seat and Grips
While often overlooked, a rod’s grips are a pivotal part of its construction. Variants include cork-wraps, EVA foam, and rubber shrink wrap. There are also several different layouts to choose from, including split grips, full grips, and trigger grips. Each style boasts its own set of pros and cons, but the decision is ultimately up to each individual angler and should be dependent on the comfort and control of their hands. Keep in mind that bigger grips allow you to handle the rod with two hands, which is great for unruly catches and heavy bait. Then again, grips made of less material help to lighten the weight of a rod and give it a more dynamic detection.
When it comes to selecting a reel seat, its all about finding the right feel. Almost all commercially sold fishing rods feature up or down-locking reel seats. However, slight variations in spacing can alter an angler’s perception of a bite. When it comes to saltwater fishing, what is most important is to choose a reel seat that is lightweight, durable, and corrosion resistant. Materials such as aluminum and steel are preferred.
When searching for the best surf fishing rods or casting reel for hunting fish, it’s important to keep your target species in mind. When fishing in coastal waters, you can come across everything from heavyweights to bait. Limiting your target can help you better prepare you for a successful excursion and ensure you get the best use out of a rod of your choosing.
While Californians can enjoy year-round shore fishing for striped bass, halibut, and surf smell, New Englanders are lucky to pull in some late summer stripers and midsummer bluefish. Before selecting a rig for the job, think about the strength, size, and activity of the fish you’re after. Note the line capacity, power, and action of each individual pole and select one that meets your personal needs.
Not all anglers are capable of investing in a diverse arsenal of rigs. In such cases, a versatile midsized (between 11 and 12 feet) pole with a medium to medium, heavy action will be adaptable to the widest range of fish. Of course, a longer more powerful rod is best for reeling in the big boys, and a shorter, lightweight rod makes an easier to handle bait caster. Still, if you aren’t rolling in green and don’t want to commit to a loan to satiate your fishing habit, there are plenty of middle-of-the-road factory-issued rods that will keep you competing with the big dogs and maybe even land you a free dinner.
A super long rod with a fast action is going to give you unmatched casting capabilities if you’re a professional surf angler, but the same rig is going to be incredibly tiring and inefficient for a child or small-statured adult. When it comes to choosing a rod for surf plugging, you often have to rule out one positive for another. Oftentimes, this means eliminating a few feet of casting potential to ensure you’re going to be able to lob your bait of choice numerous times without feeling fatigued. While newbies are often convinced that more advanced gear will level the playing field, this is like graduating from a tricycle to a racing bike without experimenting with anything in the middle.
There is no shortage of rods variants on the market, so selecting the right one can sometimes be an overwhelming feat. Nevertheless, understanding the basic components and variations of saltwater rigs can help you make a more informed decision. You can get a decent surf cast rod at decent price. Some great rods that are great for saltwater fishing include beefstick surf, penn battalion, st croix triumph surf travel, tsunami trophy, 405g saltiga ballistic surf rod. Some more types are the shakespeare ugly, daiwa, lamiglas surf king series, daiwa beefstick, penn battalion surf, okuma longitude tactical series, st croix mojo, penn prevail surf rod, and lamiglas surf king series. Whew that’s a lot of fishing gear to filter through and research, but you don’t have to worry. We have done the research and come up with list above, so you can get the best rod on the market for you in this thorough buyers guide.
All of the rods mentioned above will fair well during coastal fishing excursions and be a valuable asset to any angler’s rig arsenal. After all, these rods have been carefully vetted and outranked thousands of other choices due to their expert construction and proven reliability. You know that have seen our best surf fishing rods reviewed, you can move to getting other fishing gear, such as bait or lures, rod holders, travel rod, fishing line, baitcasting rods, fishing reels, fish finder, fly reels.
Have you recently purchased one of the rods mentioned above or have a rod you can’t live without? Do you have a favorite line, rod and reel combo or any surf fishing gear you recommend?
Here is our Table once again to help you narrow down your decision: