5 Best Surf Fishing Rods [Beginner & Pro]

A surf fishing rod is much longer than a standard fishing rod. It can measure anywhere between 9 and 14 feet long. The ideal surf fishing rod will have enough power to help you cast far away past the breaking waves into calmer water. 

 Other than that, surf fishing rods need to be constructed out of strong materials, in order to handle big ocean fish. We looked at 38 different surf fishing rods, rated them based on comfort, construction, casting distance and of course price. 

Based on our research and testing, we determined that The best surf fishing rod is the Okuma Longitude Surf Fishing Rod due to its durable and comfortable nature. 

Best Surf Fishing Rods

RodMaterialPowerLengthAction
Okuma Longitude Surf Fishing RodSpun Graphite

Medium/Heavy
12Moderate Fast

Penn Squadron III Graphite Composite

Medium

9’Moderate Fast

Daiwa D-Wave Surf Fishing Rod - Best For Beginners
Fiberglass Blank

Medium

10’Fast
St. Croix Triumph Surf Fishing RodSCII Graphite Blank

Heavy10’6”Moderate Fast

Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Fishing RodGraphite Blank

Medium10’Fast

1.Okuma Longitude Surf Fishing Rod – Best Overall

You can ask anybody about what the best surf fishing rod is and they’ll tell you it’s the Okuma Longitude Surf Rods because they’re a reasonable price, ultra-durable, and effective for surf fishing. 

Casting Abilities

When surf fishing, you need a rod that’s going to allow you to cast medium-to-long distances. We found that the smaller 8-9 foot rods were ideal for casting jigs, plugs, and surf rigs that weighed between ½-6 ounces at mid-range to short distances. If you want to cast longer distances, the 10-12 foot rods have the capability to cast weights between 3-8 ounces at farther distances than the shorter rods. The long rods are best for shallow beaches with long breaks. 

Durability

The Okuma Longitude is made from spun graphite and resin that increases the sensitivity while remaining lightweight and durable. The performance we got from the double-footed guide frame design was unmatched and helped immensely with reeling in larger fish. Additionally, there are stainless steel reel seats that will aid in corrosion resistance from salt water. 

Comfort

If you’re fishing all day, you’re going to want a comfortable rod. We enjoyed working with this fishing rod because not only was it comfortable, but it was functional. The rods are wrapped in premium cork that gives you a non-slip fore and rear grip. You can cast all day long and not feel discomfort in your hands. 

What We Like

  • Comfortable grip
  • Durable material
  • Fantastic performance
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Pricier than comparable models

2.Penn Squadron III – Best Value

The Penn Squadron III was a very close second for best overall, but it just didn’t outperform the Okuma Longitude. We did enjoy this rod, though. It’s durable, affordable, and has some great features. 

Performance

We were blown away by how well this affordable rod performed. We were able to catch a wide variety of fish with it using various rigs and lures. The lightweight graphite composite construction gave us a moderate quick action which allowed for great hook sets and bite recognition. When fighting a large shark, which isn’t uncommon when surf fishing, you’ll want a rod like this that can withstand a heavy amount of force. 

Durability

This versatile two-piece rod was constructed to be virtually indestructible. We were impressed by the Dura-Guides that can withstand a great amount of force when fighting against various species. As we mentioned, the rod itself is made from composite graphite and withstand medium, medium-heavy, and heavy power. 

Comfort

Overall this was a comfortable rod to work with. The handle is made from a shrink tube and EVA grips that give you a reinforced feel. You won’t have the fear of the rod slipping from your hands as you’re reeling in your catch. It’s a rod that you can use all day long without hand fatigue. 

What We Like

  • Comes in various lengths
  • Sturdy material
  • Comfortable grip
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Good hook sets

What We Don’t Like

  • Pricey

3.Daiwa D-Wave Surf Fishing Rod – Best For Beginners

The Daiwa D-Wave is one of the best options for beginners who are just getting the hang of surf fishing. Daiwa is known for making some of the most durable fishing poles on the market and this rod is no different. 

Performance

We aren’t beginners, but we thought that this rod would be a great fit for those who are. It has a short length, so it’s a great option for those who are casting small lures and plugs from the shore. If the distance isn’t important, then you could certainly benefit from this rod for pier or bridge fishing. Additionally, you can choose between 7, 9, or 10-foot rods. 

Durability

We’re going to admit that the aluminum oxide guides on this rod aren’t as tough as other brands, but they will be able to tolerate most of your novice surf fishing needs. The fiberglass blank rod has the same quality as most of its other rods, so you’ll get the durability the professionals get with this brand. 

Comfort

The handle on this rod is made from EVA foam that can help you keep a firm grip while fighting your catch. This stays true even if your hands are wet. It was comfortable to use for long periods and we didn’t have to struggle with grip. 

What We Like

  • Comfortable to use
  • Great for novice surf fishermen
  • Durable rod
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Can withstand medium power

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as sturdy as other models

4.St. Croix Triumph Surf Fishing RodBest High-End Rod

This is a rod that’s perfect for high-end surf fishing and those who are looking for maximum performance but with a price. The St. Croix rod is no stranger to tournament fishing as well as casual, everyday fishing. 

Performance

You will find this rod in four different models and a few different sizes. The 10’ rod will be in two pieces and is rated for a 20 to 40 lb test line. The same goes for the 10’6” rod. These are lightweight rods with a performance that packs a punch. The material it’s composed of makes it durable and sensitive, which is what makes this rod so popular. 

Durability

This surf fishing rod is made from premium SCII graphite with mid-modulus graphite fiber. It has a higher strain rate than some of the more common fibers. The Fui DPS reel seat has a frosted silver hood that’s constructed of aluminum oxide and double-coated with a flex-coat slow cure to prevent corrosion and rust from salt water. This is a product that we highly recommend if you’re looking for durability as well as power. 

Comfort

We found this rod to be moderately comfortable. There is a premium-grade cork handle with a durable and sturdy rubber butt. This will ensure your grip stays solid while you’re fighting even the most intense battle of your angling career. 

What We Like

  • Comfortable
  • Attractive design
  • Durable construction
  • Moderately fast action
  • Excellent performance
  • 5-year warranty

What We Don’t Like

  • Pricey (may be worth it)

5.Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Fishing Rod – Most Affordable

If you’re a novice angler looking for something affordable to test the waters with, then the Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Fishing Rod may be a good option for you. It’s a tough and rugged pole with medium-to-heavy power. 

Performance

We found that this rod allowed us to feel even the most subtle bites from our targets. The Ugly Tuff guides allow for a smooth feel and performance that keeps your fishing line strong without added difficulty. Since it has one-piece guides without the ceramic inserts, we suggest you use monofilament fishing line as opposed to a braided line that may make the guide rough over time, which will fray and break the line 

Durability

This rod has amazing durability for being so affordable. This is due to its Ugly Tech blank construction. The blank is made from a mixture of graphite and fiberglass that allows for the extreme toughness other brands can’t match. When you combine its durability and performance, it certainly makes for a great value rod. 

Comfort

It’s important to have a comfortable rod when surf fishing, especially if you’re going to be out all day long. The rod has a comfortable EVA handle that gives you a good grip and a stable feel, even with wet hands. You don’t have to be concerned with the rod slipping from your hands while fighting the fish. 

What We Like

  • Great price
  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable grip
  • Medium-to-high power range
  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Stiff tip

Important Considerations To Make When Choosing A Surf Rod

Surf fishing rods come in many variations, so it’s important to ensure you choose the best one that works with what kind of fish you’re aiming for, the lures you’re using, and your comfort level. We know how overwhelming it can be, so we created this guide to help you. 

Power Rating 

Your target is one consideration to make when searching for a surf fishing rod. Different power rods will cast further than others depending on how much your lure weighs. One of the most important parts of surf fishing is casting. You need the ability to cast past the breaking waves into the calmer water. 

Most of the fishing rods you see on the market today will offer medium-to-heavy power ratings. This is due to the weight of the rigs and bait. They are much heavier than those of traditional fishing bait. So to get these heavier weights out into the water at a decent distance, the rod has to be stiff enough to offer a spring-like ability. 

Action Rating

You may see something called an “Action Rating” when comparing surf fishing rods. This relates to power. When you use heavier lures and baits, you’ll need a stiff rod that won’t bend easily to get the most out of your cast. So if you are using a heavier rig and bait, you will need a heavy power rod with moderately fast action. 

Construction

The material of your rod is another important consideration you have to make. If you want your rod to last while you’re fishing, you want to ensure the materials it’s made from can handle the strain and pressure. 

You may find that graphite or fiberglass rods are amongst the top choices with graphite being the best. A surf rod needs to be longer and thicker than other styles, so fiberglass may be too heavy to cast. 

Fiberglass vs Graphite

Fiberglass rods are best for slow-to-medium action because they bend at the length of the rod. Graphite rods, on the other hand, can be made with various degrees of stiffness, especially in rods that are 12 feet or more. The various degrees of stiffness is referred to as the modulus rating. Additionally, graphite is more sensitive than fiberglass, so you may feel a bite easier. 

Corrosion Resistance

Another part of durability is corrosion resistance. Since you’re going to be fishing in salty seawater, your rod is going to be exposed to the salt. In addition to that, the rough seafloor is going to put your rod into some tough situations. This is why you should ensure the rod you choose can withstand a beating. Surf rods are generally designed so that the vibrations are distributed to other areas of the rod to resist damage. Additionally, look for rods with coatings that will help resist saltwater. 

Casting Distance

As previously mentioned, casting distance is vital to a good catch. You need to get your bait or lure past the breaking waves. Getting your lure past those waves will ensure more catchable fish and it will be easier to work with your lure or bait in the calmer waters. So this means you need to cast long distances and maintain some sort of accuracy while doing so. To do this, you need to consider the rod length and power.

Rod Length

Since we already talked about rod power, we’ll fill you in on rod length and why it’s important. The longer the fishing pole, the better your casting distance will be. Most surf rods measure between 9 and 14 feet long. 

Sure, the longer rod guarantees a better casting distance, but shorter rods are easier to use and are more accurate. Slower actions increase your casting range because they bend further than those with faster actions. However, increased rod length with slower action reduces casting accuracy. 

Lure Weights

The weights you use are essential for surf fishing. There are a wide variety of weight styles that have their theyadvantages. 

Pyramid

Pyramid sinkers are the most common. They are designed to dig into the sand and keep your bait in place as opposed to floating around the water and taking damage from the surf. 

Hatteras

This design is meant to keep your bait in the same position because it should sink to the sandy bottom like a pyramid sinker. However, it should also be able to hold its place in muddy bottoms and sandy seafloors. 

Sputnik

This style sinker is unique in that it uses elongated wires to extend and dig into the seafloor, much like the Hatteras and Pyramid sinkers. 

Wedge

Wedge sinkers are great for larger bait. The concave mouth at the top keeps the sinker from being pulled out of the sand. 

Coin

Lastly, the coin sinker is popular amongst anglers who may be fishing for kingfish. When the coin is dragged across the bottom of the seafloor, it mimics the movement of a crab scurrying across the bottom. 

Comfort

Comfort is more important in surf fishing than you may think. Sure, your rod spends a lot of time stuck in the sand, but when you’re fighting for that whopper fish, you want the grip to be comfortable and non-slip. It should be comfortable even for just casting. If the grip doesn’t fit your hand, you won’t have a comfortable experience.

 A well-designed ergonomic grip helps alleviate the pressure that may be placed on your hand from casting and reeling in. We prefer the EVA material over the cork as it seems more durable and comfortable to hold. 

Rod Weight

If you’re going to fish for most of the day by hand and not by sticking the rod in the sand, the rod is going to seem to get heavier as time progresses. We found that the lighter the rod was, the more comfortable and manageable it was throughout the day. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be so light that it doesn’t feel like a rod. If you plan to cast with lures, a lighter rod will suffice as well. Heavier rods may become more difficult to cast the more you do it, but heavier rods may also be more durable. 

Ceramic Liners

You should consider a rod that has ceramic liners because they add to the safety and durability of the rod. These liners reduce the wear and tear on the lines. Seeing as how your rod is going to be exposed to tough situations, you want to ensure the whole rod is protected to maximum efficiency. Additionally, straight metal guides will suffice as it will prevent rod damage. 

Reel & Seats

Since you’re most likely going to have to purchase a reel separately, you should still consider how it’s going to impact the overall performance and feel of the rod. The reel should also fit your rod and function well. 

Additionally, the reel seat is a consideration you should make. The reel stays with your rod thanks to the reel seat, so you should ensure it doesn’t contain parts that are loose or will make the reel fall off. It should be constructed from a decent corrosion-resistant material for optimal performance and longevity. 

Fishing Line

Toughness and distance are two aspects of surf fishing. To accomplish this, you need the right line. Braided line is ideal for fishing in choppy conditions where the water is more difficult to work with. It won’t stretch against the waves and it’s more sensitive, allowing you to feel bites easier. 

On the other hand, a monofilament line is a good choice because it has better abrasion-resistant qualities and can handle rocks, logs, and other items that your line can get caught on. If you’re fishing for sharks or other large fish, you will want the stretching abilities of monofilament lines. 

Hook Size

The hook size depends on what you’re fishing for and the bait you plan to use. A #2 to 3/0 size hook is a great size for surf fishing. This gives you the ability to catch almost any type of fish you come across. The bait should also be able to tightly sit on the hook and not slide off as you cast. 

Surf Rod Benefits vs Normal Fishing Rods

You may not realize it, but there are benefits of purchasing a surf fishing rod as opposed to a regular fishing rod. Let’s talk about the differences. 

Longer Rods

Regular fishing rods won’t provide you with the casting distances you will get from a surf fishing rod. The surf fishing rods allow you to cast past the rough waters whereas regular fishing poles won’t. Additionally, they’re more durable in most cases. 

Better Experience

Sure, traditional fishing is relaxing, but it’s limited unless you have a boat. Surf fishing allows you to fish from the shore and still catch a wide variety of fish as opposed to fish that are known to only stay in shallow water. You can stand in the water with your feet in the sand that may mentally refresh you and help you focus. 

Optimal Corrosion Resistance

When surf fishing, you’re going to be exposed to salt water and other materials that may be harsh on your rod. Traditional fishing poles aren’t corrosion-resistant unless they’re specifically meant for saltwater. However, most surf fishing rods are corrosion-resistant and made from high-quality materials that help with it. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

We’re sure you have some questions regarding surf fishing, so we’re going to take some time to answer a few of them for you. 

How Do You Cast A Surf Fishing Rod?

Precision and distance are key. To achieve maximum distance, you will want to hold the line with your finger and flip the bail over as you would with a spinning reel. Line your sinker up with the bottom eye on the rod for optimal fulcrum. 

If you’re casting right-handed, place your left on the butt end of the rod and your right hand on the reel seat. The sinker should sit on the sand with no slack in your line as you begin to cast. Then, trust the rod over and downward with your front foot stepping forward for maximum propulsion. The cast should end with the tip of the rod pointed at the spot you wanted to cast to. 

What’s The Best Length?

Surf fishing rods are longer than traditional fishing poles. You can choose between a variety of lengths, but each one will have a certain purpose that surf fishermen are looking to achieve. You should take into account how tall you are as it will play a huge role in how long you can cast your line using a specific rod length. If you’re short, opt for a smaller rod.

Those who are taller than most anglers will have a huge advantage because they can easily cast their bait out at a longer distance. There really is no general “best rod length”, it honestly depends on how tall you are. 

How Far Can You Cast?

Again, this relates directly to the length of your rod and the force you can put into each casting motion. If you’re tall and in good physical condition, then you should be able to cast longer than the average person. If you’re using a 12’ rod or longer, you should be able to cast anywhere from 50 to 70 yards.

Anglers who use a variety of bait and weight combinations with heavier and longer rods may be able to cast a bit further than that distance, but your goal is past the breaking waves. 

What Types Of Fish Can You Catch?

The best part about surf fishing is that you can catch a better variety of fish as opposed to regular fishing. Most surf fishing anglers can catch snook, tarpon, sharks, bluefish, striped bass, and other species. The snook and tarpon grow to considerable sizes, so they can put up quite a fight, making them some of the most fun fish to catch. This goes for mackerel as well since they’re a fast-swimming fish. 

Additionally, speckled sea trout is one of the most common game fish you may catch while surf fishing, but they aren’t very large. Other common fish include skates and croakers that also don’t grow to be very large in size. 

What’s The Best Bait to Use?

Several types of bait can lure certain fish to your line. Let’s check those out. 

Squid

Squid is a beginner’s bait. It will stay on the hook better than any other bait and it will allow you to catch a wide variety of different species of fish. It’s a messy option, but you can use them any time of the year as opposed to other bait that may not be available 

Sand Fleas

One of the best baits that can be used for surf fishing is sand fleas. These are what the fish are after most of the time when they’re near the shoreline. Although they are well-known for burrowing in the sand making them hard to find, they are nutritious and appealing to just about any type of fish that are swimming near the coast. 

Cut Bait

Cut bait can be used to catch anything you’re surf fishing for. It’s a great option for larger species such as striped bass, cobia, and shark. They leave a good scent that attracts the fish better than others. 

Shrimp

Shrimp can attract many different species. Just about every species in the ocean will bite a shrimp if they can. Most often than not, they work better when using a slow retrieve because it mimics a fleeing shrimp. The only issue with shrimp is that they don’t like to stay on the hook as well as other types of bait and can be easily removed by smaller fish that may not be on your target list. 

What Pound Line Is Best?

Since there’s such a wide variety of fish in the ocean, you can expect to encounter just about anything. Most expert anglers recommend using between 20 and 50-pound test lines in order to allow larger species to be reeled in with ease. You may be able to reel in a large fish on a 20-pound test line. If you’re specifically targeting sharks, go for the 80 to 100-pound test line on a conventional reel. 

The Takeaway

You must choose your surf fishing rod wisely as it’s a more aggressive form of fishing for those looking for a real challenge. We believe that the Okuma Longitude Surf Rods because they’re reasonably priced, ultra-durable, comfortable, and effective for surf fishing.

Surf fishing is exciting and there is plenty of fish in the sea (no pun intended) that are waiting for your bait to be plopped just over the rough waters of the salty sea. With the best surf fishing rod, you can accomplish this feat with ease and reel in that trophy shark or fish. 

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