Top 7 Best Surf Fishing Rods (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

Surf fishing is one of the most interesting types of fishing. You never quite know what might take your bait.

It could be anything from a shark to a permit or a tarpon. Surfcasting fishing is also extremely tough on your fishing gear.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

The rocks, sand, swell, and constant salt spray makes life tough for surf fishing rods, not to mention having to cast way past the waves and win battles against some very large fish. 

The best surf fishing rods are built to handle this harsh salty life.

Not only do they stand up well to corrosion and big fish, but they also help you to get your bait in the right zone. 

Surf Casting Rods & Spinning Rods, What’s The Difference?

If you’ve fished before, the chances are you used a spinning rod. Spinning rods are where most of us began our fishing careers, and it’s where most of our fishing grew from.

Rods for surf fishing are just a different form of a spinning rod.

They are much longer and tougher to help you cast further with heavy weights and lures, and have the strength to handle big fish.

Spinning Rod
Close up Photo of a Reel of a Casting Rod
Casting Rod

Spinning Rods 

Choosing between a surf casting rod and a surf spinning rod all depends on the reel you’re going to use.

Spinning rods match with a spinning reel and are much simpler and easier to use.

The eyes of the rod face down when you’re fishing and the reel sits on the underside of the rod. 

Casting Rods

Casting rods use a baitcasting reel, and if you haven’t tried it out, it’s much harder than spinning.

Mastering it is quite an art.

A surf-casting rod will have the eyes facing up, and the reel sits on the top side of the rod. 

If you’re already a baitcasting champion, then using a casting surf rod will give you a longer casting distance and more accuracy.

But, if you’re used to spinning or new to fishing, it’s best to stick with spinning. It’s far easier and you’ll have a lot more fun and less frustration on the water. 

Which Reel Handle Setup Is Best For You?

We have just discussed the different reels that can be used for surf rods, now the question is which side of the reel should your handle be on. 

This is quite a different question in surf fishing, mainly due to the size of the gear and the possible size of the fish you might have to fight.

Preference

The real thing to think about is where do you need most of your strength, is it to lift the rod or to wind the reel? 

It comes down to personal preference a bit, but some valued common sense is needed too. I am right-handed, and I wind with my left hand while my strong arm does the heavy lifting.

I have a lot of friends who say I do it wrong, and a lot who think I’m right. 

Where Should Your Strong Hand Be? 

Using your strong hand on the rod means you have the lifting power, but this is also assisted by your body leaning with the rod, which is why my technique is thought of as inefficient.

Surely your weak hand should have help from your body with the rod, not your strong hand. 

Using your weak hand to wind also means you won’t gain line as quickly, and therefore aren’t putting as much pressure on the fish as you could.

But, if I fish the other way around, my technique goes out the window.

I’ve fished that way my whole life and changing now makes fishing less fun. 

NOTE

Overall it’s up to you! You can always experiment too if your reel allows you to swap the handle from left to right, which most spinning reels do. 

How To Choose The Best Surf Fishing Rod

Surf Fishing on a Rocky Shore

In order to buy your ideal surf rod, you’re going to need to know a few tricks of the trade.

Here I’ll outline everything you need to know so that you can find the best surfing fishing rod for you. 

Price v’s Quality

Does spending more money on a surf spinning rod always guarantee high quality? In a word, yes, but there is a balance to be found.

Surf fishing rods can range in price from $50 to over $400, and it’s common sense that a $50 rod won’t have the same features as one that’s a lot more expensive.

But, the differences between a $150 rod and a $300 rod aren’t too noticeable, and this is where the balance of quality and price come into play.

Middle Ground

My advice is to stick to the middle ground.

You’ll get the long-lasting quality and performance you need from a surf rod while not spending too much.

But, if you’re a pro and looking for something technical, or targeting very large species, then spending the extra money might be worthwhile. 

Surf Fishing Rod Length 

Surf rods range in length from 9 feet to 14 feet, which is quite a variety of lengths to choose from.

The right length surf rod for you depends on quite a few things, the first of which is your physical ability.

If you’re a little short or have any kind of disability, then long surf rods are going to be hard to manage and use effectively.

RECOMMENDATION

I’d recommend staying on the short side and picking a surf-casting rod or spinning rod that’s around 9 ft long. 

Length Vs Casting Distance

The surf-casting rod length you choose will have a large effect on your casting distance.

Casting distance is one of the most important factors when surf fishing, as you’ll need to be able to cast past the breaking waves to be successful.

TIP

The best surf-casting rod will be long enough to get your bait into the zone, and the general rule is, the longer your surf fishing rod the further it’ll cast.

Length Vs Species 

Rod length is also worth thinking about in terms of the fish you plan on catching while surf fishing, especially if they are going to be very large.

Although casting distance is key, the rod also needs to assist you in landing these monsters that lurk at a distance just behind the waves.

The longer the rod, the more leverage and therefore lifting power you’ll have to manage monsters with. 

Most people choose a surf-casting rod that is between 10-12 ft long, allowing them to handle most scenarios.

TIP

The best plan is to pick the longest rod you can handle and fish with well. You can always get a longer rod later on once you improve your surf fishing a bit. 

Surf Fishing Rod Power

People Fishing at a Beach

Rod power defines the thickness, toughness, and therefore lifting power of surf fishing rods.

Power ranges from light to heavy and the best choice for most surf fishing rods will be in the middle at medium-heavy power; this is due to their versatility.

You will be able to fish for different fish each day, use different fishing techniques but still have the strength to catch some sizable fish too.

Fishing Line

You should also balance the rod power with the right line.

The heavier the power, the heavier the line should be.

This will help you from breaking any fish off, as the power of the rod will snap the line if they are not balanced.

Fish Size

If you’re fishing for huge fish, then a heavy rod might be better.

And the same goes for fishing for small fish, a light rod will be better.

Medium-heavy is about right for general purposes but it is up to you. 

Surf Fishing Rod Action 

Now we need to look at the action of the surf rod.

The action of a rod tells you where along the rod it will bend.

Slow Action

A slow action rod bends near the reel seat while a fast action rod bends near the surf rod’s tip. 

The action of your rod affects your casting distance and hook setting power.

Fast Action

A fast rod will help you cast further, and give you more power on the hook set.

They are ideal when fishing with single hooks and lures.

Medium Action

Medium action rods are best for treble hooks as they don’t need to be set as hard to hook up to a fish properly.

Two Men Fishing at the Beach
Two Men Fishing at the Beach

Reel Seat & Handle

We have already discussed how corrosive the life of a surf spinning rod is, this also plays a large role when looking at a reel seat.

The best reel seat on a surf spinning rod will be made of graphite, as this won’t corrode.

Metal alloy reel seats on a surf spinning rod, like stainless steel or brass, will resist corrosion for a while but will eventually begin to go. 

The handle on a surf spinning rod is long, and this is to assist you with your casting distance. The handles are usually made of either foam or cork, neither is particularly better than the other, so it’s a personal choice as to which is best for you. 

The Best From The Review

Top Pick

Okuma Longitude

The Longitude Surf Spinning Rod is an ideal mix of quality with affordability. It’s more expensive than any of the budget surf fishing rods; however, it finds a nice balance of quality performance while still being in the middle ground when it comes to price.

Okuma Longitude

In my opinion, the best all-around surf rod is the Okuma Longitude.

This rod has it all and more for quite a reasonable price. Whether it’s spinning, baitcasting, live bait, or lures, this pole has your back.

It casts like a dream and is all out one of the best around in terms of strength and durability.

Best Value

Fiblink Moonsniper

The Moonsnifer series surf rods give you great casting distance, sensitivity, and the power you need for a good hook set.

Fiblink Moonsniper

In my mind, the best value surf rod is, without doubt, the Fiblink Moonsniper.

Tough, durable, and with the power to handle big fish and life in the surf, there is not much more you could ask for, especially at the amazing price. 

Editor’s Choice

Shimano Tiralejo

This surf rod is designed to help you cast further than ever, accessing areas and fish where your bait might not have reached before.

Shimano Tiralejo

My personal favorite is the Shimano Tiralejo. I’m a sucker for thought out designs, and this one fits the bill.

How can you resist a pole that’s made to get you to cast further than you ever have before? I simply can’t. The extra thought that goes into it just inspires confidence and hopefully some big fish too. 

Our Best Surf Fishing Rods

Daiwa Beefstick Surf Rod

The surf fishing rods blank is made from high-quality fiberglass, which isn’t often seen in surf fishing rods. The quality that comes with the price is pretty amazing, and if you’re on a budget, this is a great surf rod to look at.

Daiwa Beefstick Surf Rod

Daiwa are no stranger to making great surf rods that are affordable. The Daiwa Beefstick is one of their best surf rods around.

The quality that comes with the price is pretty amazing, and if you’re on a budget, this is a great surf rod to look at. 

Build

The surf fishing rods blank is made from high-quality fiberglass, which isn’t often seen in surf fishing rods.

This is how they managed to reduce the price, as other materials would be more expensive. 

Action

The surf rod model below is rated to have a medium action with medium-heavy power, an ideal set up for live bait fishing or using treble hooks.

Unfortunately, they don’t offer any fast action rods in the range, and this is because the fiberglass will never be stiff enough to handle it.

If you’re a lure fisherman, you might want to stay away from this surf rod, as both your casting distance and hook set need fast action. 

The reel seat is made from composite for anti-corrosion but the stainless steel hood may rust over time if you don’t look after it. And the guide inserts seem to be a little fragile and can snap or pop out with ease.

Specs

  • Model: BFSF1002MHRS
  • Power: Medium-Heavy
  • Length: 10’
  • Line: 14-40 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 1-6 oz
  • Action: Medium

Pros

  • A very affordable range of rods for any budget
  • Excellent quality for the price
  • A solid range of different lengths, types, power, and action across the series
  • The composite seat is ideal for resisting corrosion

Cons

  • The tip could be a little sturdier
  • The guide inserts can break/pop out easily
  • The stainless steel hood may corrode over time
  • The lack of fast action makes it inappropriate for surf fishing with lures and single hooks

Fiblink Moonsniper Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

The Moonsnifer series surf rods give you great casting distance, sensitivity, and the power you need for a good hook set.

Fiblink Moonsniper Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

Fiblink is another surf rod manufacturer that has mastered the art of creating high-quality rods at affordable prices and their Moonsniper series surf rod is no different.

Build

Their surf rods are made with quality components and blanks to ensure you get some of the best surf fishing around for a low price. 

This surf fishing rod is made from a carbon fiber blank, one of the best materials when compared to graphite composite, fiberglass, or graphite rods.

The carbon makes the rod stiff, powerful and allows it to have quick action.

This means the Moonsnifer series surf rods give you great casting distance, sensitivity, and the power you need for a good hook set. 

Versatile

The model of surf rod below is an ideal all-round surf fishing rod.

The medium-heavy power, combined with the medium-quick action makes it ideal for both lure fishing and bait fishing, with whichever hooks you like.

Handle & Reel Seat

The handle is non-slip rubber shrink giving you excellent grip and comfort when fishing.

One thing you’ll love when fighting a big fish is the non-slip.

The seat for the reel is graphite composite and comes with stainless steel hoods, ideal for surviving corrosion.

Just be sure to rinse the stainless steel after every outing. 

There are some issues with these surf fishing rods, the main ones being how stiff and how heavy the rods are.

A heavy surf rod may take it out of your casting arm, and possibly cut your fishing time short. In addition, the stiffness makes it unforgiving to cast with.

Specs

  • Model: MO-S1002
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Length: 10’
  • Line: 15-30 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 1-5/2-6 oz
  • Action: Medium-fast

Pros

  • Ideal set up for an all-round surf spinning or casting rod
  • The rod is available in a range of pieces, from a two-piece to three and four-piece
  • Made from quality, durable carbon fiber
  • This surf fishing rod will give you excellent casting distance once you’re used to it
  • An ideal range of lengths, action, and power available

Cons

  • It’s very stiff and can be tricky to get used to
  • The extra weight adds strength but is heavy to fish with all day

Top Pick

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods

The Longitude Surf Spinning Rod is an ideal mix of quality with affordability. It’s more expensive than any of the budget surf fishing rods; however, it finds a nice balance of quality performance while still being in the middle ground when it comes to price.

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods

Okuma are a longstanding fishing manufacturer we have all come to trust.

Their Longitude surf spinning rod is an ideal mix of quality with affordability.

It’s more expensive than any of the budget surf fishing rods; however, it finds a nice balance of quality performance while still being in the middle ground when it comes to price. 

Build

The blank of this surf fishing rod is made from graphite composite.

This makes it quite a stiff and powerful rod that’s tough enough for big species and can manage any casting distance you can manage.

The composite construction is ideal as it brings the weight down, giving you a surf fishing rod that’s powerful but light enough for all-day casting adventures. 

Guides

The stainless steel guides use aluminum oxide inserts and are braid ready.

When surf fishing, you’ll be using braid at sone point, if not all the time and guides like this will assist with both distance and reducing tangles. 

This fishing rod comes with a non-slip cork handle.

This is great as it provides comfort and also ensures you don’t drop your rod when fighting a huge fish you’re planning on catching. 

This fishing rod is a bit stiff for some, but most will get used to it.

This rod also only comes as a spinning rod for a spinning reel, not a baitcasting reel.

The spinning rod will break down into a two-piece for traveling with but the top eye is really large and won’t fit in some travel cases, which can be a bit of a pain.

Specs

  • Model: LC-S-1002H-1
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 10’
  • Line: 20-40 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 3-8 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • Relatively light for the quality of the surf spinning rod, helping you cast all day long
  • Great quality blanks that help with casting distance
  • Comes as a two-piece rod for good portability
  • A solid range of choice to find the ideal setup you need

Cons

  • The rod is a little stiff for some
  • The top eye is pretty large and may not fit in some travel cases
  • Some fishermen may not like that the reel seat is pretty far from the butt, but it does give extra leverage
  • Only comes as a surf spinning rod and not a surf-casting rod

Penn Battle II Spinning Combo

Made from composite graphite, it’s stiff, cast well, and you can still have some of the best surf fishing experiences with it.

Penn Battle II Spinning Combo

Penn are in a class of their own when it comes to making fishing gear, and surf fishing gear in particular.

They are known more for their reels than their rods, and unfortunately in most combos, one is better than the other, and in this case, it’s sadly the reel that wins.

That’s not to say the rod isn’t good though.

Build

Made from composite graphite, it’s stiff, cast well, and you can still have some of the best surf fishing experiences with it.

It’s actually quite nice to fish with thanks to the sensitivity. Every fish bite will be felt, and there is enough backbone in the rod to get a good hook set on a lure in the surf. 

Guides

The guides are made from aluminum oxide inserts with a stainless steel wrap. They are great for getting your casts way out into the surf with, but the stainless does end up corroding, so be sure to rinse them off every day.

The inserts can also pop out. 

It’s quite expensive when you look at the surf combo’s total price, but you are getting an awesome reel with it. Overall a solid two-piece rod combo for surf fishing.

Specs

  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 10’
  • Line: 20-40 lbs
  • Action: Medium-fast

Pros

  • Comes with an excellent spinning reel so you don’t need to buy one
  • One great combo for surf fishing that’s nicely balanced
  • Great value for such a quality surf rod and reel
  • The surf rod casts nicely and it’s great for hooking up fish with

Cons

  • The guide inserts can pop out after a while
  • The guides can begin to rust, so be sure to clean them
  • The reel is a lot better than the surf spinning rod

Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rod

This surf rod is designed to help you cast further than ever, accessing areas and fish where your bait might not have reached before.

Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rod

Shimano, where would the fishing world be without them!

Certainly, one of the best manufacturers around, making rods and reels that take the technical side of fishing to another level.

The Tiralejo surf fishing rods are made for the more advanced surf fishermen around who don’t mind spending a bit more.

Better Casting

This surf rod is designed to help you cast further than ever, accessing areas and fish where your bait might not have reached before.

This surf rod is made for braid, the best material in terms of distance and sensitivity, and is one of a few that is designed in this way. 

Build

The rod is made from a special C4S-HM blank that has a 4 layer graphite wrap, giving you both power, sensitivity, strength, and amazing casting. 

Guides

The eyes on the rod use Fuji stainless K frames with an Alconite insert.

These guides don’t fail like others and stay put no matter what.

They also assist with reduced friction for casting when surf fishing. 

The only downsides to maybe one of the best surf rods in the lineup is that it might be a little tricky for a beginner to cast with; however, after a time they would get the hang of it. 

Specs

  • Model: TRS110HA
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 11
  • Line: 30-50lbs
  • Lure Weight: 1-3.5 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • Designed to help you cast further than ever
  • Excellent rod to fish with thanks to the build, sensitivity, and power
  • Specifically made surf fishing rod for use with braid
  • Very durable for use in the surf, everything fro the guides to the seat is top quality

Cons

  • It’s pretty expensive compared to the rest
  • Beginners may find it hard to cast with this rod
  • No casting version available

St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod

The St Croix Mojo Surf rods are made from graphite blanks, but utilize some weight-saving tactics to bring the weight down. This makes the rod powerful, durable, great to cast with, and lighter than most.

St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod

St Croix are a favorite amongst rod owners the world over.

They have created a lot of loyalty, thanks to their excellent fishing rods.

They sit in the higher-end of the fishing world with prices that feel like more of an investment.

You might only want to buy one if you’re sure you love fishing. 

Quality Rods

The St Croix Mojo Surf rods are some of the best around, and you’ll probably see a few St Croix Mojo Surf rods when walking up and down the beach.

They are awesome rods to fish with. 

Build

The St Croix Mojo Surf rods are made from graphite blanks, but utilize some weight-saving tactics to bring the weight down.

This makes the rod powerful, durable, great to cast with, and lighter than most.

This means you can fish and fish for hours on end, and the rod’s weight won’t tire you out. 

All-Rounder

The St Croix Mojo Surf covers all the angles in terms of length, power, setup, and action.

The model below is an ideal all arounder being medium-heavy and medium-fast.

You can fish any type of bait from lures to live bait. 

There are some downsides to the St Croix Mojo Surf; the seat for the reel is a little sharp and can cut you, so be aware of this.

The paint also seems to chip off quite easily. Other than that, a top-quality surf fishing rod that you won’t regret owning. 

Specs

  • Model: 106MHMF2
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Length: 10’6
  • Line: 12-25 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Action: Mod-fast

Pros

  • Light for easy all-day casting
  • Great series of rods to cover all your surf fishing needs
  • The model chosen is an ideal allrounder for any type of surf fishing
  • Durable, strong and very well made
  • Excellent to cast with
  • Has the power to handle some big fish

Cons

  • Paint can come off quite easily
  • Pretty expensive, there are similar rods for less money
  • The reel seat is sharp

Ugly Stik Bigwater Casting Rod

It’s pretty hard to break one of these as they are known for their long-lasting durability as well as their ability to stop fish in their tracks. If you’re looking for a rod for life that’s affordable, this might be it.

Ugly Stik Bigwater Casting Rod

The Ugly Stik is world-renowned as the most powerful rod out there.

It’s pretty hard to break one of these as they are known for their long-lasting durability as well as their ability to stop fish in their tracks.

Thank god they made a version for surf fishing! 

Build

The rod is made from graphite combined with fiberglass, which is what gives it such strength.

It can bend a lot thanks to the fiberglass but is still stiff enough for casting and setting the hook right.

If you’re looking for a rod for life that’s affordable, this might be it. 

Guides

The guides and inserts are all made tough to match the strength of the rod and are excellent at dealing with corrosion too.

The handle is made from EVA foam, is comfortable, and great at lasting years of the surf’s wear and tear. 

The only downside is that it’s really stiff making it hard for beginners to cast with, and rules out using it for live baiting or with treble hooks.

Specs

  • Model: USBWBSF3060C102
  • Power: Extra heavy
  • Length: 10’
  • Line: 30-60 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 6-12 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • An almost unbreakable rod that will outlast most others
  • Has the power to handle big fish in the surf
  • Excellent at casting long and accurately
  • Ideal for a single hook or lure fishing
  • Durable, and affordable

Cons

  • Very stiff and hard for beginners to cast with
  • Too stiff for live bait fishing, or using treble hooks

Top Pick

If you’re looking for the all-round pole that’s going to help you develop your surf experience into any area you choose, then the Okuma Longitude is the choice for you.

Durable, powerful, and affordable, it’s the right choice to step into every direction of surf fishing. 

Best Value

If budget is your main concern, the Fiblink Moonsniper is the place to start.

It has everything you need from a good surf pole to fish effectively and enjoy every day on the water. 

Editor’s Choice

If it was me, I’d have to go for the Shimano Tiralejo.

It’s technical design and abilities outweigh all the others and if you want to take your surf fishing to the max, this is the pole for the job.

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on print

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print