Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Surf Fishing Rods Reviewed

Who doesn’t love beach fishing? Whether you enjoy fishing from the shoreline or a jetty, we have rated & reviewed the best surf rod models on the market.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Surf Fishing Rods Reviewed

Who doesn’t love beach fishing? Whether you enjoy fishing from the shoreline or a jetty, we have rated & reviewed the best surf rod models on the market.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Any time you fish from the beach, a jetty, or even wading out in the surf (hence the name), you are surf fishing. This sport is unique in the world of fishing, and because of that, it is especially important to have the right equipment.

That starts with selecting the right fishing rod. Surf fishing rods are built for the task at hand so they can cast farther and withstand the brutality of saltwater again and again. This review is for any angler looking for that perfect surfing rod that fits any budget and all surf fishing needs. 

Preview

Model

Rod Length

Rod Action/Power

Check Price

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods (Large,...

Okuma Longitude LC-C-1202H-1

12 Ft

Fast/Heavy

Penn Spinfisher V 6500 Fishing Rod and...

Penn Spinfisher

V & VI

10 ft

Fast/Heavy

BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Rod Graphite Surf...

BERRYPRO

9-13.3 ft

Fast/Medium-Heavy

Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing...

Okuma's Solaris SS-C-1102H-2

9, 10, 12 ft

Medium/Heavy

PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Carbon...

PLUSINNO

5.9 - 8.8 ft

Fast/Medium

Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod 4-Piece...

Fiblink

9-15 Ft

Fast/Medium-Heavy

Okuma Fishing Tackle CSX-S-1102MH Cedros Surf...

Okuma CSX-S-1102MH Cedros

11 Ft

Fast/Medium-Heavy

Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf Spin Fishing Rod...

Tsunami

Airwave Elite

11 Ft

Fast/Medium

Shimano Tiralejo Spinning...

Shimano

Tiralejo

12 Ft

Fast/Heavy

Why Surf Fishing Requires Specific Rods

When you are surf fishing, there are some unique obstacles you have to overcome to land a fish. The biggest challenges are distance and the force of crashing waves. Surf fishing rods have been designed to meet these barriers head-on.

These rods are often longer to allow for further casting, and they are also strong for throwing heavy terminal tackle that can overcome waves and land that big fish. Often, because of their size, these rods are meant to be stuck down into rod holders in the sand or run off of a fighting belt, so their butt end is built to accommodate that too.


Surf Fishing Rod Buyer’s Guide

Build/Frame Quality

The build and frame quality of a rod will determine how it performs. Most rods are made of either graphite, fiberglass, or a composite of the two. This is where it gets complicated though. Even a rod advertised as being made of just graphite requires more scrutiny.

For example, how many layers of graphite were used, and what is the quality of the build? When shopping, keep in mind that fiberglass rods are generally cheaper and more durable than graphite, but graphite rods are lighter, more sensitive, and have a faster action.   

Casting Distance

Casting distance is a product of rod length. Shorter rods in the 7-10 feet range won't cast as far, but they will be more accurate and provide greater leverage on big fish. Longer rods in the 11-15 feet range will cast further and keep your line out of the surf. These longer rods are heavier, though, and provide you with less leverage on a catch.

Target Species & Size

Your target species and size is the first thing you need to consider before buying a surf rod. The key question is, will you need a rod for big fish? If you don't have a particular fish size or species in mind, that is perfectly fine too. In that case, you might prefer a versatile middle of the road rod that can handle most fishing scenarios.

Preferred Baits or Lures

For surf fishing, you should use natural baits like squid, shrimp, or mullet. Keep these in a cooler or bait bucket until you're ready to use them. For lures, there are many options you can try, but what's most important is what you select for your terminal tackle.

You’ll want some sinkers that will hold in the sand, think 6-ounce pyramid sinkers. You’ll also need a range of circle hooks and a variety of extra leader material. When setting up your rigs, consider trying the fish finder rig, two-hook bottom rig, or the popping cork rig.  

Flexibility & Sensitivity

Flexibility and sensitivity are a product of the rod material and length. Good quality graphite rods are usually the most sensitive but also have a faster action, which means they are less flexible. Shorter rods also tend to be more sensitive yet less flexible. A fast action is often good for helping to quickly set a hook on the bite while longer, more flexible rods are great for longer casts.

Rod Length & Weight

As discussed, rod length primarily determines casting distance and accuracy. A longer rod will cast further but with less accuracy while a shorter rod will do the opposite. Length can also play a role in the sensitivity and action of the rod.

As far as weight is concerned, graphite rods are the lightest, but they are also less durable and more expensive. Balancing length and weight is a matter of preference and personal need. 

Rod Action & Power

A rod’s action refers to where the rod bends under pressure. This is known as the speed of the rod with fast rods bending close to the tip and quickly stopping the bend and slow rods bending all the way near the grip. Fast rods quickly set hooks and are more sensitive to bites. To check the action of a rod yourself, just secure the butt of the rod and bend the tip, you'll see where it starts to give.

The power of the rod, also known as its weight, refers to how much pressure the rod can take before it bends. You can have two fast action rods, but one is light and the other is heavy, meaning it will take a lot more force to bend the heavy rod in the same place as the light rod. A medium to medium-heavy rod is your best choice if you don't have a particular species in mind. Otherwise, you'll want to pick something appropriate for what you are fishing.

Other Features

There are other features you should consider, as well. Check that the reel seat is sturdy and well built, that the rod guides are strong and straight, and that the handle (probably either cork or EVA foam) is a size and material you'll be comfortable handling.

Also, check if the rod comes as one piece or two. Many rods are two pieces that you have to fit together, but not everyone is comfortable with the durability or reliability of that kind of construction. 

Price & Warranty

Once you know a rod has all the features you want and need, you can check its value for the money. Sometimes paying a little extra is worth it, and you'll regret not doing so down the road. The rule of thumb is to buy what suits your needs.

There are some excellent $40 fiberglass rods out there, and there is nothing wrong with going that route. You should also look into the warranty provided with whatever rod you are considering. Some companies offer excellent guarantees that make a higher price tag very worth it.


9 Best Surf Fishing Rods Reviewed

1. Okuma Longitude LC-C-1202H-1

Our Top Pick

Rod Length

12 Ft

Line Weight

20 - 40 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

The Okuma Longitude LC-C-1202H-1 is our top pick for the best surf fishing rod because it boasts excellent functionality and construction.

The rod itself is very sensitive to each bite because it is made of a graphite composite that transmits vibration and motion. The aluminum oxide guide inserts, double footed stainless steel guide frame, and stainless steel hooded reel seat all contribute to the strength and durability of the rod.

It is comfortable to handle too with a cork wrapped non-slip fore and rear grips and a Pac Bay rubber butt cap that prevents slippage. All of this comes together to make one solid, functional, and easy to handle rod that can land the fish your after.

This rod is a great value overall. As one angler puts it, “I have a lot of rods and I've spent a lot more money on some of them but this one catches the same fish on the same line in the same water. Anyone on a budget should be buying OKUMA surf rods.”

With a good price, a limited lifetime warranty, and a versatility and durability that far exceeds other rods, this rod was an easy choice for our top pick for best surf fishing rod.     

Pros
  • Great value
  • Well constructed
  • Sensitive graphite composite
Cons
  • Very stiff at the tip

2. Penn Spinfisher V & VI

Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combo

Rod Length

10 ft

Line Weight

20-50 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited One Year

The Penn Spinfisher isn't just a surf fishing rod; it is a combo that includes a great spinning reel as well. The rod itself is very good. It is ultrasensitive with a tubular glass blank construction and stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts.

The grips are EVA, so they are comfortable and easy to hold. The rod alone is worth the money, but this valuable kit includes a watertight spinning reel that holds up against saltwater and sand environments. The reel is durably constructed with a full metal body, side plate, and rotor with a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. It feels like for the money, you should get the rod or the reel, but not both.

The reel also has a sealed HT-100 Slammer drag system that offers a smooth and iron tight drag, while a friction trip ramp prevents premature bail trip when casting. Also, 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing make the retrieve an easy and fluid experience.

With one purchase, you can have the rod and reel that will see you through many surf fishing outings and land you many fish. Penn calls this rod and reel combination their "complete fish-catching package."

Pros
  • Rod and reel combo
  • Great casting
  • Solid drag on the reel
Cons
  • A little too heavy for some

3. BERRYPRO

Best Cheap Surf Fishing Rod

Rod Length

9-13.3 ft

Line Weight

12-40 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium-Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited One Year

The BERRYPRO Monster Surf Fishing Spinning Rod would be a great rod at three to four times the price, so the fact that you can get it so cheaply is almost a steal. It is the best surf fishing rod for anyone on a budget and not wanting to break the bank. 

The rod is constructed with IM7 X-Carbon technology blanks, which make it very sensitive and powerful. The guides are enhanced stainless steel with ceramic rings to make casting more smooth. The guides are also precisely aligned along the bottom of the spine of the blank to minimize friction between the line and the guide so any cast will transfer from your hand to the tackle seamlessly.

The rod is outfitted with a high-strength reel seat, high-density EVA grips, non-slip shrink tube design, textured carbon fiber rod surface, and an anti-wear rubber butt cap for comfort and stability. This is a rod that has been meticulously planned out and constructed so that you get maximum functionality out of it for the lowest price possible.

The manufacturers make a point to highlight that "Quality, durability, affordability" are what they are all about. That is their focus, and it shines through in this rod.

Pros
  • Great value for the money
  • Sensitive and powerful rod
  • Well-aligned guides
Cons
  • The rod is very stiff

4. Okuma's Solaris SS-C-1102H-2

Best Surf And Pier Fishing Rod

Rod Length

9, 10, 12 ft

Line Weight

20-40 lbs

Action

Medium

Power

Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

The Okuma Solaris SS-C-1102H-2 is a rod that performs well for surf fishing and especially pier fishing. Its IM-6 graphite blank construction makes it sensitive and powerful enough for most fish species, while the Fuji aluminum oxide guide inserts contribute to the overall durability of the construction. 

Stainless steel double footed guide frames bolster the aluminum oxide inserts for stable and true guides ensuring each cast flows smoothly and accurately. Finally, the cork wrapped non-slip fore and rear grips offer that traditional sure grip that many anglers are accustomed to. This is the second Okuma rod to warrant a spot on this list because Okuma is one of those tried and true brands that has become synonymous with quality.

The Solaris line of rods, in particular, are known for their strength sporting some of the most powerful actions in the Okuma surf rod lineup. Reviews speak for themselves with people saying this Okuma fishing rod has great backbone or loading up on those 3 to 5 ounces of weight that is being launched to the open surf, and the action and distance with this rod is fantastic. 

Pros
  • Strong rod
  • Straight and true guides
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Heavy compared to some newer models

5. PLUSINNO

Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel For The Money

Rod Length

5.9 - 8.8 ft

Line Weight

15-20 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium

Pieces

1

Warranty

Limited

The PLUSINNO surf fishing rod is almost like a piece of equipment from the future. As a rod and reel combination on its own, it is great for surf fishing, especially for beginners. However, this rod has a trick up its sleeve: it is fully telescopic.

Constructed as a single expanding and contracting unit, this rod can be condensed for transport and then telescoped out when you are ready to cast. The telescopic rod also comes equipped with a quality spinning reel. The rod itself is a high-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass making it sturdy and durable even with all its moving parts.

This powerful rod also comes with a stainless steel hooded reel seat that is anti-corrosive and an EVA foregrip for comfort. The included reel has instant anti-reverse with power drive gears equipped for high strength.  

The reel also has a thick coiled bail spring and an s-curve oscillation system for optimal line winding. This great value combination also comes with other equipment included when you buy it. You get a nice carrier bag, a spool of fishing line, and a small case with a selection of fishing lures. With just this kit alone, you could start surf fishing!

Pros
  • The telescopic pole is easily portable
  • Rod, reel, line, and lures all included
  • Instant anti-reverse in the reel
Cons
  • Crank on included reel feels a little weak

6. Fiblink

Best Travel Surf Fishing Rod

Rod Length

9-15 Ft

Line Weight

10-40 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium - Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited One Year

The Fiblink travel fishing rod is made from a sturdy solid carbon fiber construction that lends it the sensitivity and performance you need under pressure. Stainless steel and ceramic make up the guides so that lines flow smoothly with minimal friction for longer, more accurate casts.

This is helped by the fact that the guides are precisely aligned along the bottom of the spine of the blank. The non-slip rubber shrink tube handle with tapered rear grip provides a solid hold on the rod under any conditions, and the reel seat is built in stainless steel with tapered hood transitions above and below the reel seat protecting cap. 

This rods design philosophy is based on a robust and powerful performance. The Fiblink is made so that you can take it with you on the go. It is durable enough to withstand travel, a full day's fishing, more travel, and repeat. It is also made to handle many different fishing styles.

As Fiblink states, "These rods are designed for the best in fish fighting power and versatility."

Fiblink makes a powerful, fast action rod that holds up against tough fish in harsh environments. Borrowing again from Fiblink this cost-effective rod is all about “Powerful actions for big surf duty.”     

Pros
  • Powerful rod
  • Smooth casting
  • Well balanced
Cons
  • The rod tip is stiff

7. Okuma CSX-S-1102MH Cedros

Most Durable Rod Against Salt Water

Rod Length

11 Ft

Line Weight

30-50 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium - Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Here we are with another Okuma making the list. These rods just don't quit, and their quality speaks for itself. The Okuma CSX-S-1102MH Cedros is a tough rod and earned our spot as the most durable rod against saltwater. As any angler very well knows saltwater is pernicious and over time, it can eat away at your gear if you aren't careful.

This rod benefits from its 30-Ton carbon, ultra-sensitive and responsive blank construction and ALPS stainless steel double footed guide frames, which make it so durable. Other features like the non-slip rubber shrink tube handle with tapered rear grip and the ALPS blazing Zirconium guide inserts complete the rod. 

This rod was tested with extreme saltwater conditions in mind. The stainless steel used in the rod delivers incredible corrosion-resistance by having been tested over 1200 hours (50 days) of continuous salt spray and emerging completely corrosion-free. It is this level of attention and commitment to quality that makes Okuma rods so reliable.

Reviews for this rod are glowing with people saying, “This is one of the best rods I've found for surf fishing. It is lightweight yet has plenty of power. All components are top-notch quality. It is so lightweight I can cast all day compared to my big water ugly stick. Buy it, you will not be disappointed.”

Pros
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Very lightweight
  • Powerful rod
Cons
  • Guides are small and constructed specifically for braid

8. Tsunami Airwave Elite

High-end Surf Fishing Fly Rod

Rod Length

11 Ft

Line Weight

15-30 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited One Year

The Tsunami Airwave Elite surf fishing rod is aptly named because it is definitely elite. This is our pick for the top high-end surf fishing rod on the market.

This rod isn't like others, and it is built using unique high-pressure production techniques to create a high fiber-density blank with no excess weight. The high-density blank makes for a very sensitive and resilient rod that casts far and accurately.

You get your money's worth with this excellent rod. Additional features like the tough, smooth braid-ready guides, Fuji® graphite-and-stainless steel reel seat, and durable diamond-textured shrink-vinyl grips over a grade-A cork handle secure this rod’s elite status.

Anglers who buy this rod have nothing but good things to say about it. They comment that “Rods are very light. Guides are better than any others I have seen,” and that “I am blown away by how well this rod handles. Very lightweight, excellent components, and no problem with handling stripers from the surf. Casts very well!”

This elite rod holds up against all types of fish and all styles of fishing. It is a versatile and well-constructed rod that earns and maintains its status. If high-end fishing gear is your preference, then the Tsunami Airwave Elite is the way to go.

Pros
  • Excellent manufacturing
  • Very lightweight
  • Casts very well
Cons
  • Often stiffer than expected

9. Shimano Tiralejo

Long Casting Surf Rod

Rod Length

12 Ft

Line Weight

30 - 50 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Heavy

Pieces

2

Warranty

Limited One Year

The Shimano Tiralejo is a long casting rod through and through. Actually, that’s what tiralejo means in Spanish, to cast far. The rod was designed as part of Shimano’s Long Cast Concept. The actions and guide settings of the Tiralejo series were designed to match perfectly with the Shimano Ultegra XTD and Ultegra Ci4+ surf reels.

The rod itself takes advantage of Shimano's all-new C4S blank construction, which utilizes a high modulus blank and wraps four outer layers of 90-degree graphite. This technique increases the hoop strength for maximum pulling power while maintaining sensitivity.

The Tiralejo series has also been designed to use the PowerPro Line which has approximately 5 times the strength of a Monofilament line of the same diameter, while also lacking the stretching qualities. This all comes together to improve the experience of the fisherman.

The rod has a Fuji® reel seat with Fuji Alconite guides as well. It’s all these little features that come together and make anglers realize that this rod is a great choice. The rod easily adds 20-30 yards to your cast.

Pros
  • Very far casting
  • Powerful rod
  • Very well constructed
Cons
  • The handle can become uncomfortable fighting big fish

Surf Fishing Rod Setup

To set up your surf fishing rod, you'll want to start with a good quality saltwater spinning reel and some 20- to 25-pound-test monofilament line with a shock leader attached. A shock leader just helps absorb all that tension from the heavy tackle and long casts and is made from monofilament that doesn’t stretch much.

As part of your set up, you will also want a sand spike or fighting belt to mount the butt end of your rod in after the cast. If you are new to surf fishing, go with a sand spike, as seen in this excellent tutorial showing how to set yourself up.   


How To Use Surf Fishing Rods - Tips & Techniques

Your main goal when using a surf fishing rod is to land your bait or lure in or past the surf as best as possible. This is just like your regular casting style but with an emphasis on distance. A simple overhead cast using both arms is your best method for getting the best cast, and with time and practice, you'll achieve greater distances.

To do this, just open your bail, place a finger on the line to secure it, hold the rod in both hands, bend your arms to bring the rod tip slightly over your shoulders and then flick the pole forward quickly releasing your finger from the line as you do so.

This will send your bait or lure flying out towards the surf. Once it lands where you want, just flip the bail back over, and you are ready to reel in when you get a bite. Check out this great first-person tutorial if you want to see how it is done. 

Practice this a few times, and you will quickly become proficient. Remember, longer poles will get you longer casts, but so will practice. Also, keep in mind that wind conditions will affect the distance and accuracy of your cast. 


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does a longer rod cast further?

Yes, generally speaking, a longer rod will cast further than a shorter rod. Rod length isn't the only factor affecting casting distance, though. The weight of your terminal tackle can help or hinder your cast as can the strength and direction of the wind. Experience also plays a part in this because of the subtle nuances of body mechanics and casting technique coming into play.   

What are the best surf fishing rod holders? What about for trucks?

There are some excellent racks and assemblies for holding rods when you are not using them. For the beach and transport, though, there are quite a few options to consider. Some people swear by the tried and true method of building holders out of PVC or wood, and this is definitely a good option. Otherwise, rod racks such as this hitch-mounted rack or this rack with cooler holder combo are great options for a truck. For the beach, this sand spike has proven itself very worthy.     

What size reel should I get for surf fishing?

You can use a wide range of reel sizes for surf fishing so the answer, in short, is go with what you have. Generally, though many experienced anglers recommend around a 5000-6000 size reel for surf fishing because of the line capacity. You might not start out using its full potential, but with practice, you might. 

How should I cut bait for surf fishing?

For surf fishing, you can fish the bait whole, in chunks, or even as strips. You don't want the bait to be too small, though. Also, it is essential to keep the bait as fresh as possible before fishing it. Keep it stored in a cooler or bait bucket if you can just before cutting it up and using it. Cutting the bait is fairly easy as long as you have a sharp knife and a functional cutting surface. 

When is it best to choose surfcasting fishing rods over a spincast rod?

A spincast rod is basically a casting rod fitted with a spincast reel. This is a basic setup that is best suited for easy fishing. This is often what new kids and new anglers learn to fish with. It would not hold up to the long casting or harsh saltwater conditions of surf fishing. A surfcasting rod, on the other hand, is equipped for a spinning reel and is usually longer to assist in those long casts that are necessary to get over the surf.

Are there any special maintenance steps for keeping my rod in good condition?

The biggest enemy of all surf fishing equipment is salt water and sand. After every outing, make sure to wash down all of your gear with fresh water and then lightly oil any moving parts. Occasionally check the guides as well to make sure that none are bent or twisted. This can eventually lead to them breaking or snagging your line. 

How do I clean and store my surf fishing rod?

For short term storage, you only need to do regular maintenance by cleaning your gear with fresh water and lightly oiling any moving parts. For longer-term storage, you should remove the reel and disassemble the rod if possible. Rods often come in two parts, and these two sections should be placed in a bag or case. The reel can be more fully serviced once it is removed from the rod, so you should take this time to give it a deep clean.

Who makes the best surf fishing rods, and where can I buy them?

Some of the best surf fishing rod manufacturers are featured in this review, like Okuma, for instance, who took our number one spot as well as a couple of other positions on this list. The best place to buy these brand's products is through Amazon. You can easily check reviews and see what other experienced anglers think about the equipment.    


Conclusion

There are several excellent options out there for surf fishing rods with Okuma’s Longitude LC-C-1202H-1 leading the pack. The value and quality of construction are unmatched, and, as we have covered, Okuma simply makes excellent fishing gear.

In a close second to Okuma, the Penn Spinfisher V & VI is a great option for a rod and reel combination that will get you started right out the gate. These rods have the durability and versatility to help you land that surf dwelling fish you want.    

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