Choosing the best striper fishing rod means matching the rod length, power, and action to the size of stripped bass you are targeting and how you will be fishing for them.
Striped bass varying in size greatly and the tackle required to catch smaller surface schooling fish will be much lighter than when surf casting, live lining or trolling for bigger fish.
The most versatile setup will be a 7 foot, medium power spinning rod with a fast action.
Not everyone will be fishing for smaller sized stripers in an inshore or freshwater location and they may need a much heavier rod and reel.
Below you will find some rod suggestions that will cover jig/casting very light lures all the way up to trolling with larger lures or using large live bait.
- Medium Power Spinning – 7 foot length, medium power with a fast action
- Heavy Spinning – 7 or 8 foot length, medium/heavy to heavy power with a moderate action
- Surf Casting – 8 or 9 foot length, medium/heavy with a fast action
- Light Conventional – 6’6″ foot in length, medium power with a fast action
- Heavy Conventional – 6’6″ foot in length, heavy power with moderate action.
Most anglers will not either need or afford all of these rods, so if you looking for a decent first time striper rod for a beginner then the medium power spinning rod is the best choice.
Best Striper Fishing Rods
1. Shimano Teramer Northeast Spinning
Shimano released the Teramer Northeast to specifically match striper fishing and the types of rigs used to target them by anglers along the Northeastern coast of the USA.
The blanks for their thickness are extremely strong and can take a serious beating.
Not only are they strong but they are quick sensitive and easy to cast all day long.
For those unfamiliar with rod blank materials Glass(S and T) is used for rods that need to be very strong, this strength usually comes at the expense of sensitivity.
Shimano achieve a thin but very durable rod blank by creating a T Glass and graphite blend.
Graphite is used to make really light and sensitive rods that allow a lot of feedback from the tip back into the handle, graphite is lighter and weaker than Glass.
Shimano have designed the Teramer with a dynamic core of T Glass material which they then over-wrap with a spiral pattern of high modulus graphite.
The result is the best of both worlds a light sensitive rod that can handle a lot of abuse.
The rods are then finished off with a split EVA handle, Fuji O Guides, and a Fuji Reel Seat.
They are designed for use Power Pro braid but also run monofilament extremely well too.
For small to medium early season striped bass a 7′ MH(medium/heavy) paired with a size 4000 or 5000 spinning reel is the choice to go for.
For heavy stripers a 7′ H(heavy) paired with a larger 6000 reel is the best bet.
If you are looking to throw lures a decent distance then a 7’6″ will give you the extra casting range to cover more water.
2. Ugly Stik Striper Rods
If you are looking for a rod that can take a serious beating at a very affordable price then chances are Ugly Stik have a rod for you in their line up.
You can bend an Ugly Stik right over on itself and they won’t break that’s just how durable the rod blanks are.
The blanks are built from a blend if graphite and fiberglass so they are both durable and still sensitive at the same time.
These rods are best suited to close in work whether that’s from a boat or a pier. In other words they will not be the best choice for surf casting or all day casting if you are sight fishing for schooling stripers early in the season.
They work best if you are looking for a slightly heavier spinning setup as there are definitely more sensitive rods out there that are better suited to lighter lure and jig work.
Like most Ugly Stik’s they come with Ugly Tuff™ one-piece stainless steel guides, Clear Tip® design for strength and sensitivity and a 7 year warranty.
3. St Croix Tidemaster
St Croix build some of the best performing rod blanks available and the Tidemaster series is designed specifically for saltwater use.
The Tidemasters are specifically built for targeting striped bass and can be used from lighter jigging work to heavier applications on a boat.
They are extremely sensitive and feel well balanced in the hand even after a long day of jigging or casting smaller lures.
When using a lighter setup sensitivity is key particularly if you are targeting smaller striped bass.
They offer a range of lengths from 6′ to 8′ with varying power rating from medium/light up to heavy. The majority of the models have a fast action, with a few having a moderate action.
The fast action is the one to go for especially when using smaller lures or looking to make pin point casts when sight fishing or working close in.
For smaller lures a medium power rating is spot on.
If you are looking for a heavier spinning setup then the 6’6″ medium/heavy with a fast action is the perfect blend of backbone and sensitivity for targeting larger stripers.
Unlike a lot of other heavier spinning rods the Tidemasters feel quite light in the hand and even this medium/heavy rated rod can be used with lighter lures making them a very versatile rod.
St Croix have a large range of premium freshwater rods on offer and with the Tidemaster series they have really upper the quality if the hardware so that it can withstand the harsh realities of constant saltwater use.
Batson Forecaste hard aluminum-oxide guides feature 316 stainless steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance, especially when compared to more regular 304 stainless steel frames.
The blanks also get two coats of slow-cure finish for added durability.
As ever they are backed by a 5 year St Croix warranty.
4. Penn Battalion Surf Spinning
Surf casting for striped bass is one of the more popular methods especially during the spring and fall seasons.
Getting your bait out beyond the crashing surf requires a long rod of at least 8′ feet in length at a minimum with 10′ rods not being uncommon.
Longer rods all things being equal will usually cast much further than a shorter rod.
The Penn Battalion series of surf casting rods are some of the best available and at a decent price point too.
Pair one of these with a size 4000 or 6000 size spinning reel and you have your self a pretty good surf casting outfit that can through heavy bait rigs with ease.
With surf fishing you’ll need a medium/heavy power rating and a more moderate action.
The moderate action allows more power to be put into the full length of the rod as you cast compared to a faster action one.
As an example the Tidemasters above would have too fast an action to be a really great surf caster so it is generally considered best to have a dedicated rod for surf casting.
The Battalion are built on a graphite composite blend of 30% fiberglass and 70% graphite, this type of mixed material rod blank gives you lots of power and strength from the addition of the fiberglass while still being light and responsive as graphite is known for.
With surf rods being so long you still need that added sensitivity so you can better judge what is going on in the water.
Purely fiberglass rod blanks although extremely strong do lack sensitivity and can often feel limp and heavy.
They come with Fuji® aluminum oxide guides for better casting performance for both monofilament and braided line.
5. Penn Squal II Star Drag Conventional Combo
When trolling big rigs or plugs you need a rod that can handle the constant pressure, a rod that is rated 6′-6’6″ in length 20-50# class should be capable of handling most striper trolling setups.
If it is your first time buying a trolling rod setup then I would strongly recommend a rod and reel combo as they are a great way to save money.
You can always up grade in two or three years if your fishing tactics require a more heavy duty setup.
Penn conventional rods and reels are some of the highest quality available and buying a boat rod as a combo is one of the best ways to save some money particularly if you are just starting out.
Striper Fishing Rods
Buying a striper fishing rod can be a daunting task particularly if you are new to fishing in general.
While choosing a reel is generally straight forward, rods are a different story as there are many different attributes that affect how the rod performs and what style of fishing it is best suited to.
The easiest way to choose a rod is to know how, where, and what weight the fish will be that you are targeting.
Smaller stripers caught inshore ca be caught on a smaller spinning setup, but larger fish caught on a boat or by surf casting do need more specialized rods.
There are three main types of rods used for striper fishing:
- Surf Casting
What Size Rod for Stripers
The size or length of rod is usually determined by where you will be fishing.
Longer rods can cast longer distances.
Surf casting rods for example are much longer than every other type of rod as the longer length helps to achieve greater casting distances.
Boat rods are shorter as a longer rod can be cumbersome to use on a boat and you will be targeting larger fish, a shorter rod is usually much stronger and can be used to pump a heavy fish up from the depths easier than a longer one.
Spinning in shallower waters uses a rod somewhere in between the two extremes, between 6 and 7 is usually best.
- Surf Casting – Usually between 8 and 10 feet in length
- Inshore Spinning – Between 7 and 8 feet in length
- Conventional Boat Rod – Between 6 and 6’6″ in length
Rod power describes how strong the rod blank is or what size line and weights it is rated for.
The lightest rods are rated “ultralight” and are only used for much smaller freshwater fish. The heaviest rods are rated “extra-heavy “or “mag-heavy” in saltwater fishing once you get above a certain size the rods are described in pounds(lbs) for example a 50lb or 70lb class rod.
For lighter spinning for stripped bass a medium power rod is good.
For surf casting a medium/heavy rod is best depending on how heavy the weights and rigs you are casting are.
Conventional rods for big stripes from a boat will have a heavy rating or be rated by different lb classes.
Rod action and power are often confused even by very experienced anglers.
Rod action describes where in the rod black that the natural bend in the rod starts to form when pressure is applied to it.
Fast action rods will start to bend in the top one third of the rod blank towards the tip.
A rod with a fast action will have a more sensitive tip and is best used when using lighter bait rigs, small jigs or lures.
Moderate action rods will start to bed more towards the middle or bottom one third of the rod blank.
A rod with a moderate action is better when you need to load up the rod blank when casting heavy weights a very long distance as you can put energy into the full length of the rod on the back cast.