Review & Buyer’s Guide to The Best Surf Fishing Rod in 2020

Choosing the best surfcasting rod is difficult when there is so much gear on the market today that a trip into the fishing rod aisle at the local outdoor store is like a walk through some strange bamboo forest. All the name brands from the past are there along with many new varieties, all competing for attention with flashy colors and design features that were undreamed of a few years ago.

It is important to be discriminating when looking for a surfcasting rod, because the classic version of this type of fishing is one of the most demanding on a rod, in terms of the strength and power needed to throw the heavy weights and baits and the constant exposure to the abuse of sand and saltwater.

In this article, we will look at some of the best rods for use in traditional surf fishing, where the fisherman uses a long surfcasting rod to cast far out over the breaking waves into the water that holds the fish.

8 Best Surf Fishing Rod Comparisons

  • Primary Material: Graphite
  • Length: 11 Feet
Excellent combination of strength and sensitivity
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  • Primary Material: SCII Graphite
  • Length: 9/10 Feet
High quality in a travel rod
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  • Primary Material: Aluminum
  • Length: 10 Feet
Good price for a full package
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  • Primary Material: IM-6 Graphite
  • Length: 10 Feet
Good price for an all-graphite rod
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  • Primary Material: Aluminum
  • Length: 8/10 Feet
Nice set of features at a value price
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  • Primary Material: Graphite
  • Length: 12 Feet
Super strong and durable
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  • Primary Material: Graphite
  • Length: 11/12 Feet
Good value for the price
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  • Primary Material: Ceramic
  • Length: 12 Feet
Nice set of features at the lowest price point
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Best Surf Fishing Rod in 2020 - Reviews

Like all fishing tackle, surfcasting rods can range in price from sell your house to break the kid’s piggy bank open, so we will cover a selection of price points and a variety of rod types.

Lamiglas Super Surf 2G Series Rod SSS11MHS

Lamiglass, a builder of high-end American-made fishing rods that has been designing and producing performance rods for over 65 years.

They still work out of a small facility in Washington, and hand-build some of the best gear on the beach. The LamiglassSupersurf 2G series are some of the best rods in the sub-$1000 range, and they combine great looks and obvious quality detailing with unbelievable distance casting power.

The Supersurf SSS11MHS is a two-piece, 11 foot rod built on a graphite composite blank that gives a light rod with a fast action and the sensitivity needed to feel the strikes along with the kind of stiffness and strength needed to fling weights up to 6 ounces over 100 yards. Touches like the stainless steel Fuji reel seats, lightweight K-frame guides and the aqua blue finish set the Lamiglass rod apart on the beach as the top-shelf American product it is.

Black shrink tape grips give the rod a modern look and cut the weight further, and the rod feels so light in your hand that it seems impossible that it can turn a 50 lb fish to shore in pounding surf, but it certainly can.

This Lamiglass is an expensive beauty, but it has the versatility to let you avoid buying multiple rods because the stiffness and responsive action provided by the graphite construction lets you throw lures and plugs off the jetty when you are not chucking bait out over the sandbar. The Lamiglass Supersurf gets our vote as one of the best surf casting rods on the market.

What we liked

  • Excellent combination of strength and sensitivity
  • One-hundred yard plus casts
  • Beautiful finish
  • American made with old-school pride and quality

What we didn't like

  • Sometimes hard to find in stock
  • Explaining the price to the wife
St. Croix Triumph Surf Travel Spinning Rod, TSRS90M4

We took a look at another St. Croix rod in the interest of including a specialty rod in our review. The St. Croix Triumph Surf Travel Spinning Rod comes in 9- and 10-foot lengths, and we chose the 10-footer because our theme here is traditional surf fishing and long casting.

Actually, the main difference between the 10-foot St. Croix surf casting and surf spinning rods is a few inches of handle length because the power and action profiles are identical. Anyway, if you want to take a 10-foot surf casting rod with you to Hawaii or Costa Rica, there are not many options. We heartily recommend the St.

Croix Triumph Surf Travel Spinning Rod because its Advanced Reinforcing Technology high-strength exotic carbon fiber construction gives the extra durability needed for a multi-piece rod. This rod breaks down into a manageable 4 pieces and comes with a nylon covered rod case.

Like all other St. Croix rods, the Triumph features a premium-quality SCII graphite blank engineered for long-distance casting and protected by two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish, lightweight hard aluminum-oxide surf guides, a Fuji DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods, and a custom cork tape handle.

When you have a multi-section rod like this, the offset ferrule technology developed by St. Croix really comes into its own to make it feel like a one-piece. Best of all, the 5-year warranty lets you buy a 4-piece fishing rod with confidence.

What we liked

  • High quality in a travel rod
  • Light weight in a travel rod
  • Plenty of power for long casts
  • A 5-year warranty

What we didn't like

  • Guide spacing seems too wide in the first section of the rod
  • A hard travel case will be needed for a rod this nice
Penn Spinfisher V 6500 Surf Rod and Reel Combo

Sometimes it is nice to be able to just pick up a surfcasting rod and reel set without having to worry about a lot of investigation and shopping.

Maybe you just want to try a little surf fishing, or get your kid started, or have a spare set up around in case a neophyte friend wants to come fishing with you. The Penn Spinfisher surf rod and reel combo is ideal for situations like these.

The package comes with a 10-foot heavy surf rod built on a 2-piece composite blank and fitted with stainless steel guides protected by aluminum oxide inserts. For the price, the rod had a decent action and was certainly strong enough for the job. The V 6500 reel is built with Penn’s new watertight casing that supposedly can be dunked in the surf without harm.

A 5-bearing crank and instant anti-reverse couples with the HT-100 Slammer drag system to produce a reel with high-performance qualities in a value price range. As an added feature, this reel has a rubber backing gasket that lets you wind the new braided superlines on it without a monofilament backer.

The rod action was a little on the soft side, and we had the impression that it would not handle weights much over the 4-5 ounce range, but it could throw those pretty far. Heavy-pulling fish like rays and sharks put some strain on the drag, but with a few extra cranks it will stop them. As the only combo set chosen for our review, the Penn Spinfisher worked out well, and you should give it some consideration if it meets your needs.

What we liked

  • Good price for a full package
  • Strong, light composite rod
  • Respected Penn quality

What we didn't like

  • Drag did not feel smooth under hard pulls
  • Rod action was on the soft side
  • Waterproofing on the reel was not 100% effective
Okuma Solaris SS-C-1102H-2 $105

The Okuma Solaris SS-C-1102H-2 is a value-priced 10-foot rod built on a two-piece IM6 graphite blank that delivers power and precision on long casts.

Okuma is a global leader in performance fishing gear, and attention to quality is evident in this rod. Stainless steel double-footed guides are lined with Fuji aluminum oxide inserts to prevent cutting and rusting, and though they look good and work well, we would like to see less flexibility on the guide legs.

The Fuji cushion hood reel seats look good while providing the strength needed to hold big saltwater spinning reels firmly in place. The traditional cork grip has a slim profile to save weight and fit the hand well, and EVA foam padding around the reel seats offers protection during extended fights.

 We found this rod to have a nice balanced feel and more sensitivity than we expected from a budget-priced rod. In capable hands, the length of this rod combined with inherent stiffness of the graphite construction supply enough power to easily send a 5 ounce lure out to 100 yards.

The tip has enough feel to detect the slightest bumps of the bait, yet keeps the strength needed to stay in one piece while the rod loads up on the cast. When balanced with the proper reel selection, the Okuma Solaris will cast and fish with rods that cost many times as much. This is a good surfcasting rod for the beginner or the budget conscious fisherman.

What we liked

  • Good price for an all-graphite rod
  • Two-piece portability and convenience
  • Stiff and lively feel
  • Long casts come easy

What we didn't like

  • Cork on the rod handle chips easily
  • Guide legs need to be stiffer
Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod

We looked at the Penn Battalion 2-piece 11 foot rod and were not surprised to see that the venerable Penn quality was evident even at what could be considered an entry price level for a surf casting rod.

The rod is built on a graphite composite blank and the finish looks excellent. Fuji aluminum oxide twin-foot guides are secured by smooth epoxy moldings and Fuji reel seats are mounted above a slick shrink-tube wrapped handle section that provides a tacky gripping surface whether wet or dry.

The rod will handle lures from 2-6 ounces and line weights between 15 and 30 lbs in monofilament. With braided line you can go up to 50 lbs. The rod has plenty of backbone and it casts well once you get the feel of it. Some fishermen may think it loads too much toward the tip, but that is a call you need to make based on your casting style. The rod has a good balance to it, and it is surprisingly strong in the fight.

It can easily turn big fish and in fact careful use of the drag is required to keep from pulling loose on some of the softer-mouthed species like snook. The overall performance and features make the Penn Battalion a nice surfcasting rod for the money, and it is cheap enough to pick up two in different lengths.

What we liked

  • Nice set of features at a value price
  • Stiff and light
  • Plenty of power on the cast and in the fights
  • Respected Penn quality

What we didn't like

  • Tends to load toward the tip depending on the weight used
  • Guide spacing is too wide toward the tip
Shakespeare Two-Piece Ugly StikBigwater Surf Spinning Rod

An icon among fishermen since 1976, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik has a reputation for toughness combined with a sensitive feel that lets you catch more fish.

Now updated with graphite composite construction and newly-designed one-piece guides that put an end to the problem of popped inserts, the Ugly Stik is a long-wearing, hard-fighting rod, and for surfcasting there are few better choices in this price range.

We looked at the two-piece Bigwater Surf Spinning rod in a 12-foot length and found that the unique qualities of the Ugly Stik design carried through on this big rod. The rod has the overall softer feel common to the Ugly Stik series, but the fiber-glass wrapped graphite core design gives it exceptional hoop strength and the classic clear tip puts some stiffness and feel where you need it to feel the strike.

The rod has 7 guides as compared to the more common 6, and they are sturdy two-legged stainless steel construction. The handle is well-designed for the style of fighting used in surf fishing, with an expanded butt section and EVA pads above and below the reel seat. The upper pad where you do most of the gipping is extended up the rod farther than what you see on most surf casting rods.

The graphite Fuji reel seat has stainless steel hoods and clamps down tight, but we would have liked to see the lower nut wider to give a better grip when tightening it. The rod can handle a 12 ounce weight, and although it does lack the super-stiff feel of some other surfcasting rods, the incredible bending strength lets you drag in big fish over long stretches of sand or up to a pier with ease. The amount of service an Ugly Stik will give you for the money puts it in a class of its own, and it is a great buy.

What we liked

  • Super strong and durable
  • Comfortable handle design
  • Clear tip gives good sensitivity for a long rod
  • Value pricing

What we didn't like

  • Soft feel takes some getting used to
  • Bare blank section in the handle can be slippery when wet
Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods

The Okuma Longitude series offers a great way to get into an 11- or 12-foot 2-piece graphite composite surf casting rod at a bargain price.

Made with the same attention to quality and detail as the higher-priced rods in the Okuma line, Longitude surf rods get some of the highest ratings for value and performance at this price point.

The 70/30 fiberglass-graphite blanks offer strength and stiffness coupled with a sensitive feel, and when making long casts with the 11-footer, we were hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and rods that cost hundreds more. The rod components are well-crafted, with aluminum oxide inserts to prevent cutting and lower friction on the double-footed guides and a stainless steel hooded reel seat.

The rod has a traditional-style long, cork-gripped handle, with EVA cushions above and below the reel seat and a durable rubber butt cap to absorb the wear and tear of a rod holder. These are heavy action rods made for throwing weight far out in the surf, and both 11- and 12-foot rods can handle up to 8 ounces.

Don’t expect them to work well at the lower 3 ounce end of the weight range because they are stiff and need some force to load up properly. However, for fighting big fish, strong winds, and heavy surf, the Okuma Longitude will do the job for you and at a very nice price. 

What we liked

  • Good value for the price
  • Light yet strong
  • Nice attention to detail on the construction
  • Heavy action for working with big baits and fish

What we didn't like

  • Heavy action reduces versatility
  • Guide foot placement allows excessive flex
Daiwa Beefstick Surf Casting Rod BFSF1202HRB

Diawa is highly a respected name in fishing and they have produced some of the best-selling rods in America for many years.

The beginning surf fisherman or the weekend warrior who is looking to add a surfcasting rod to the quiver without breaking the bank cannot go wrong with a DiawaBeefstick. We checked out the two-piece 12 foot heavy rod and were quite impressed by the value for the money offered here. This is an old-school rod built on a tough solid fiberglass blank, so it does not feel as light as the graphite composites.

However, it is very stiff and strong, as it has to be to throw its rated limit of 10 ounces of weight and bait on 40 lb test line. This is a serious long distance casting machine with an extended rubber-capped butt that gives the leverage needed to load up the rod for those big distance throws.

The reel sits high up on the non-slip EVA grip in a composite reel seat with stainless steel hoods. Heavy-framed stainless steel guides are lined with cut-proof ceramic inserts that also make for lower friction on the cast and retrieve. When you set the hook on something big, the power of this beast of a rod comes to life. Paired with the correct reel, the DiawaBeefstick is an unstoppable surf casting rod, and for the price it is an unbelievable value.

What we liked

  • Nice set of features at the lowest price point
  • Stiff and light
  • Plenty of power on the cast and in the fights
  • Respected Penn quality

What we didn't like

  • Tends to load toward the tip depending on the weight used
  • Guide spacing is too wide toward the tip


Any rod in this series will provide many hours of great fishing, and the range of performance. The features will let most fishermen find an ideal match for their particular style and fishing conditions. If you find it hard to decide on one rod, go ahead and get two, and good luck on the beach!

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David Valle

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!