Choosing the best surf fishing rod does not always mean picking the longest most expensive rod that you can afford.
While some anglers are obsessed with casting distance and using as large as rod as they can handle, that does not mean that you need to…..
A longer rod does not always mean better.
If you are just starting out then I would suggest that you match your rod to the breaking strain of line and the weight of you sinkers or surf rigs that you will be using at your local beach.
Not sure of what type of rigs to use?
Ask the regular anglers that you see on the beach or at your local tackle and bait shop, as local knowledge is crucial to fishing that stretch of water.
What Size Rod for Surf Fishing?
The good size rod for surf fishing will be in the range of 8ft to 10ft, longer 12ft plus rods are usually used for very long distance casting setups.
- 12 ft – Long distance surf rods
- 10 ft – Great all rounder
- 8 ft – Close in work for smaller species
You’ll need to pair your rod will a suitably sized reel, the most popular size would be a 5000 or 6000 spinning reel.
Best Surf Fishing Rods
Penn have a long history in the surf fishing world for producing not only high quality reels but also some very good rods at a really attractive price point.
The Prevail surf spinning line of rods offer a great mix of power and sensitivity in a very attractive looking package.
Built on a two-piece graphite composite blank you get all of the sensitivity of modern graphite rods combined with the durability and pulling power of more traditional fiberglass rod.
Penn’s Carbon Shield technology protects the blanks with a braided shield of carbon fiber. This additional protection strengthens the blanks and guide wraps.
The finish on these rods is what you would normally expect to find on a rod three times the price.
Moving to the guides Penn use stainless steel frames with aluminum oxide inserts, aluminum oxide is a very hard and smooth material which is great for both monofilament and braided lines.
For to the handles they use rubber shrink tube grips, this material is very durable very strong and it gets wet it doesn’t want to slip out of your hands it’s all-around great material for being around the water.
A DPS reel seat with stainless steel hoods keeps your reel locked in tight.
When it comes to techniques and species these rods are great for throwing doing artificial lures, plugging, soaking dead bait in the surf for striped bass, blues, big redfish, drums you name it these rods cover at all.
A 10 ft medium/heavy is a great surf rod for a beginner which also doubles as a decent pier or jetty rod.
If you are looking for a lighter surf rod that you can comfortably make a lot casts with all day without tiring your arm then the Emcast series from Daiwa are a great choice.
The rod blanks are made from a super light weight graphite design that gives a super sensitive tip yet still retains enough backbone to handle larger species.
If you are throwing bait rigs for smaller species and need a tip that gives a lot of feedback some heavier surf rods may well miss the more subtle bites.
The lighter blank and tip on the Emcast is sensitive enough to allow a lot of feedback back through your line and into the rod blank.
They also work great as a surf rod for throwing plugs, larger pencils and big poppers although the 11ft model may be better suited to all day lure fishing.
If you need a budget, lightweight surf rod that can handle several different surf setups the Emcast make a for a very versatile rod choice.
If you are looking to throw larger bait rigs a good distance then a conventional rod is better suited than a spinning setup.
The Penn Battalion II conventional surf rod is a real work horse at a very attractive price point.
These rods are a little stiffer than some of the lighter spinning rods featured above and are a perfect match for fishing in larger surf and crashing waves.
The Battalion II graphite composite blanks are built using a novel SLC2 structure that includes inner spiral carbon wraps and outside layers of longitudinal carbon fibers to create a robust, well-balanced rod.
With graphite composite blank construction, Fuji Alconite guides, Fuji reel seats, and durable, easy-to-grip rubber shrink tube-wrapped grips, PENN’s Battalion II surf rods offer outstanding strength, performance, and style.
Paired with a PENN Squall or Fathom casting reel and you have your self a very high quality surf casting setup, and they have the actions and durability that big surf casters need.
A step up in performance and quality from the Penn Prevail line as seen above.
The St Croix Mojo range has a massive offering of technique specific rods that that feel very light and crisp in the hand.
With the Mojo Surf St Croix have gone for a two piece rod with a 70/30 split, which they refer to as an offset ferrule.
This split helps give a two piece rod an almost one piece feel and performance but still allows it to be transported inside you car or truck.
Specialized, weight-saving surf guides with zirconium rings and black frames are accompanied with a Fuji reel seat. A custom “X-Wrap” handle provides comfort, durability and style, all of which are covered by a 5-year manufacturer guarantee.
Because of the light weight SCII graphite, this rod feels surprisingly light for its size and power. When throwing smaller lures or rigs from the beach, it is well-balanced and has a very smooth casting feel. It can readily handle fish weighing 20 to 30 pounds; anything more and it may feel a bit light.
While Tica might not be one of the big brands in the fishing tackle world have have built a well deserved following with anglers in the know.
By word of mouth they have grown from an obscure brand to one of the go to choices for high quality, affordable rods.
They have a solid range targeting striped bass, steelhead, inshore and surf fishing technique specific rods.
The Tica Dolphin UGSA series make a perfect surf fishing rod for beginners especially those that are reluctant to spend big money from some of the more established brands.
These rods, made of high modulus TC3 graphite, can throw hard baits such as topwaters and spoons across great distances. Super low weight and smaller diameter blanks make this a great rod for traversing long lengths of beach without tiring especially when casting all day long.
There is a decent range to choose from and they are available in both one and two piece configurations.
Surf Fishing Rods
Surf fishing rods are designed to cast bait rigs and lures out beyond the breaking surf to where the fish are most likely to be found.
Casting distance is always the number one attribute that gets mentioned when discussing surf rods.
But it is not the most important thing to look at when buying a new rod.
Matching your pole to the types of rigs and the species that you will be targeting is far more important than which rod can cast the longest distance.
- Rod Length – Longer rods will generally cast longer distances, shorter rods will have more control and feedback.
- Rod Action – Fast action rods have a more sensitive tip, moderate action rods have more power through the full length of the rod.
- Rod Power – Rod power describes the lure/line rating and how big a species you can target with it.
What is the Best Length for a Surf Fishing Rod?
The optimal length will be between 8 and 10 feet or more importantly one that matches your setup and the distance that you will be casting, 12 foot for longer distances and 8 foot for closer in work for smaller species.
You don’t need a massive rod if you are casting just beyond a break that is close in to the shore line.
How or where the surf breaks and where the fish are found at the beach that you are fishing at should determine your casting distance.
It’s no use casting out beyond where the fish are holding, this is why local knowledge is so important.
14 ft Surf Rods
Some surf rods are as long as 14 feet, these rods have the potential to cast the furthest distances but only if you know how to cast them and if you match the rest of your surf tackle and terminal rig correctly to them.
In the wrong hands they will be too cumbersome and may well perform worse than a shorter rod.
They will almost always be conventional rods rather than spinning rods as larger conventional reels will perform better with heavier lines when casting greater distances.
12 ft Surf Rods
12ft is considered more than adequate for long distance surf casting and paired with the right reel and line should throw out past 100 yards easily.
The higher the rod the more easily it will be to keep your line up and out of the crashing surf once it is put into its rod rest or sand spike.
8 to 10 ft Surf Rods
If your are buying your first surf rod then something in the 8 to 10 foot range is ideal. Paired with a high quality surf fishing reel such as a 5000 spinning reel and either 30 lbs braid or 20 lb monofilament line you should have a great rod to get acquainted with surf fishing.
Most big brands have several saltwater spinning reels on offer and these reels are purpose built for the harsh salt water environment. Regardless of how well sealed a reel is always rinse it in fresh water after use.
Surf Rod Action
Rod action describes how high up the natural bend in the rod will start to form when pressure is applied to it.
A fast action rod will have the bend start to form in the top one third of the rod blank. This generally means a more sensitive tip and better feedback down through the rod.
A slow or a moderate action will start to bend in the lower or middle part of the rod blank.
Moderate actions rods will be less sensitive. They are often used for casting long distances as you can load up the full length of the rod as you cast giving a much higher speed to you weight as it is thrown forward.
For most anglers a fast action rod is standard as it will give you the more sensitive tip action.
You can still cast well out beyond the break with all but the heaviest of surf rigs.
A faster action will also perform better on shorter cast when the surf is breaking quite close to the shore line.
Surf Rod Power
Rod power describes the weight or lure rating that a rod blank has been designed for, it also details what breaking stain line that will work best on that rod, usually this rating will be in a range from a lower weight to a upper limit.
It is generally a good idea to stay within this range as per the manufacturers recommendations.
A medium to medium/heavy is most likely what will be required.