Best Surf Rods: Complete Reviews with Comparisons
Are you planning to do some surf fishing, some real saltwater beach fishing? If so, beware that you need the right kind of rod, a surf rod designed to deal with saltwater, big fish, and bigger waves. Right now, we are here to help you find the best surf rods of 2019!
Best Surf Rods Comparison Chart
Best Surf Rods: Reviews
St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod
Here we have quite a high quality surf rod to go with, one that comes in at a moderate price, maybe a bit on the expensive side of things, but it is a high quality option to keep in mind, one with tons of power and action ratings to choose from.
The St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod comes in a variety of power and action ratings, more than enough to provide you with exactly what you need. Here you can choose from medium, medium heavy, and heavy power ratings, and of course, the heavier the power, the bigger the fish you can go for.
Moreover, when it comes to the action, here you can choose from medium, medium fast, and fast. Slower action ratings tend to be better for large fish that you have to fight a lot, and faster actions are best for smaller fish, especially for ones that you need to hook really fast.
In terms of the material, the St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod is made out of premium SCII graphite, which means that it is fairly durable and can handle a lot of flexing. Moreover, this kind of graphite is fairly lightweight, which helps make this rod much easier to maneuver, to cast, and just to hold, especially without causing fatigue after just a short period of time.
What is also quire impressive about this rod, especially the faster action models, is that it is very sensitive. You should be able to feel most nibbles with ease when using this rod.
What you might also appreciate about the St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod is that it comes in 1 or 2 piece design. 1 piece rods tend to be a bit more durable, but 2 piece rods are best for portability.
The custom x-wrap handle featured here is about as durable and comfortable as can be, and even quite sensitive too. The extra light surf geared guides are also nice, mainly because they are super smooth, but also quite durable too.
What we like about the St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod is that it does come in so many different options, and what can be said here is that this is a super durable surf rod, one that works great for all sizes of fish, depending on the model you go with. It’s durable, lightweight, and quite sensitive too, all bigtime benefits.
Something we don’t like, not really about the rod per say, but it has been noted that people keep receiving the wrong product when ordering the St Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod. Also, the handle can become uncomfortable to hold after a few months of use.
- Very durable
- Lightweight and sensitive
- Many action and power options
- Great guides
- Good reel seat
- Handle becomes uncomfortable with prolonged use
SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod
If you are looking for a much more affordable rod to go with, then the SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod makes for a great choice. No, it’s not nearly as expensive as the other one we just looked at, but also not as fancy or powerful. We would say that this rod is better for beginners or for people who are not going to be doing hardcore fishing. It’s a light fishing rod.
Alright, so one of the highlights here that we really want to stress is that comparatively speaking, for the decent level of quality you get, this rod is actually very inexpensive, making it a great budget friendly fishing rod. Something else which is nice about the SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod is of course that it is a two piece rod. We find this convenient because when it’s time to pack up, just pull it apart. It’s convenient in terms of storage and transportation.
Something else which stands out about the SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod is that it does come in a few different length options, so you can match it to the type of fishing you are doing, although most of them are pretty short, so while you do get a good deal of accuracy out of it, you won’t get the furthest casting distance.
That said, due to being quite short, plus the material it is made out of, it is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. This rod is made of graphite, and although it’s not the highest quality or most durable graphite out there, it certainly is lightweight.
What is beneficial about this rod is that it is very sensitive. It’s designed so you can feel even the smallest of nibbles. Do keep in mind that this is a medium power rod, so it’s ideal for medium size and smaller fish, but not for the larger specimen. Also, this is a fast action rod, which is also good for smaller prey, especially when it comes to feeling those small nibbles and for really fast hook setting.
The SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod also comes with a decent reel seat and alright, guides, although nothing special, but pretty good considering the price.
The good part about the SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod is that you just get an all around decent fishing rod that works fine for saltwater, is lightweight and easy to maneuver, and great for smaller fish, all without costing a fortune.
What we don’t like about this rod is that technically it is not really a surf fishing rod, and although it can be used for such, it really is not ideal for long distance casting or for fighting larger ocean fish.
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- Good for casting accuracy
- Fast action for fast hooksets
- Very sensitive
- Portable and convenient
- Great price
- Not good for casting distance
- Not ideal for larger fish
Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Reel & Rod Combo
If you need a good surf fishing spinning reel and rod combination, a good all in one choice, all for a moderate price, then the Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Reel & Rod Combo might be a good option for you. It comes with everything you need to haul in some pretty big catches from the surf.
First off, let’s take a look at the reel which is included. Here you get a nice reel made with a full metal body and side plate, metal that has been treated to deal with saltwater, so right off the bat, you know that this thing should be quite durable. Moreover, the reel comes with a 5 + 1 stainless steel ball bearing design, which does allow for really smooth casting and fairly fast retrieval.
Speaking of retrieval, this thing comes with a 6.2:1 gear ratio, which is pretty high and allows for super fast line retrieval, which is great for many types of fishing, especially for a fast hookset and if you need to haul in a fish fast before it gets away, although this is not ideal for very large fish.
At any rate, this reel does come with a good drag system that should easily be able to deal with larger fish. We would also like to note that everything is properly sealed to ensure that no saltwater can get to the vital components.
Now, in terms of the rod, here you do get a lot of choice in terms of rod lengths, action ratings, and power ratings too. What you need to know is that all of the options here are medium, medium heavy, and heavy, with a couple of medium lights too.
The point here is that the rod itself is more geared towards larger fish than smaller ones, which is also true for the medium action it features. It’s a tubular glass rod which is fairly durable, although not the most durable out there, and yes, it’s also quite sensitive, which is a bonus. No, it’s not the number one best rod in the world, but it gets the job done just fine, especially when it comes to saltwater fishing.
What we like here is that you get an all in one surf fishing rod and reel combo for a decent price, one that is very user friendly, simple to get the hang of, decently durable, and effective for many different kinds of fish, all for a fairly low price.
Something we don’t like about the Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Reel & Rod Combo is that it seems to be a bit confused. Some of the features of the rod and reel seem to be conflicting in the sense that some are better for large fish and some for smaller fish.
- Good all in one combo
- For fresh and saltwater
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- Sensitive and quick hook setting
- Moderate price considering what you get
- Rod could be more durable
- Rod and reel don’t quite match up in terms of specs
Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod
Here we have a nice surf fishing rod, one that comes in at a pretty good price, lower than most others, and certainly lower than we would expect considering the high quality design of it. You get some size options to choose from here, it’s durable, yet also lightweight and maneuverable. Let’s take a closer look at it right now.
One thing to keep in mind about the Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is that it comes in a 9 foot and a 10 foot option, so you can match the length to your needs. If you are going for accurate and long distance casting, as well as maximum leverage over fish, you will probably want to go with the longer one.
Either way, this thing comes in a 2 piece design, which admittedly is not best for durability, but it definitely helps when it comes to portability, transportation, and storage. This thing does come with a decent reel seat and guides, with the guides being quite smooth, although not the most durable in the world.
Something that is important to note about the Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is that it is made out of IM-6 graphite, which we do like. The reason we like this is because graphite is strong enough for most fishing applications. However, although it is very strong, it also tends to be very lightweight, which is a bonus when it comes to fishing for hours on end. Something lightweight is always better because it causes minimal fatigue, plus it’s easy to maneuver too.
Another bonus you get with graphite rods is that they are very sensitive to nibbles, so you can feel what is going on at the end of the line. Do keep in mind that the Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is a heavier action rod, which means that it can take a lot of weight and pressure, so it is ideal for larger fish.
On that same note, the action of this rod is not too fast, about a medium, which is also good for ocean fishing, especially for larger fish. That said, the action is fast enough to get a decent hook set. The non-slip cork grips are pretty decent, certainly durable and long lasting, plus comfy too, although not overly sensitive.
What we like about the Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is that you just get an all around good saltwater fishing rod for the money. It’s not particularly expensive, and although it’s not the fanciest option in the world, it really is more than you can expect for this price.
Something that we are not particularly impressed by here is that the Okuma's Solaris Surf Fishing Rod is that the tip and the guides could be more durable. They are alright considering the price, but a big fish might cause problems.
- Great for saltwater
- Decent durability for the price
- Good price
- Decent cork handle
- Very lightweight and maneuverable
- Fairly sensitive
- Action and power good for larger fish
- Rod tip, guides, and reel seat could be more durable
Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod
Here we have another pretty nice surf fishing rod, one that comes in at a good price, just over $115, which is not too bad at all. Now, for this price, it’s actually a really good rod and works fine for beginners and intermediate fisherman, although maybe not for dedicated pros. Simply put, it’s an all around decent rod that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
The Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod does come in various length and power ratings, which is something we always appreciate. Here you can choose from a rod as short as 8 feet and as long as 12 feet.
Keep in mind that the shorter ones are better for maneuverability, fatigue, and close distance accuracy, but longer ones are best for heavier and larger fish, for getting good leverage, and for long distance casting. Personally, the option we would recommend going with here is the 12 foot heavy power rod.
The Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod, does come in various power ratings, although when it comes to serious surf fishing, we would go for the long and heavy rod. The heavier the power, the heavier of a line and lure you can use, the further you can cast, and the bigger the fish you can reel in with it.
Sure, you can go for a smaller option, but we wouldn’t recommend it. In terms of action, it’s a medium action rod, so it works alright for hook setting and sensitivity, but also has a good mix of power and strength to haul in larger fish.
The Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod is made of 2 piece composite graphite blank, so it has decent durability, although it’s definitely not the most durable option out there. What is nice is that it does have a decent amount of sensitivity, which is thanks to the graphite, although not being a fast action rod does take away from this a bit. The guides, inserts, reel seat, and the handle here are all alright, and good enough, especially considering the price, but nothing super special.
The good part about the Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod is that you get something fairly long, big, and heavy powered, great for long distance casting and for hauling in big fish against ocean currents, all for a reasonable price.
What’s not great about the Penn Battalion Surf Spinning Rod is that the real seat, the guides, and the handle all have somewhat limited durability. They aren’t horrible, but not fantastic either.
- Blanks have decent durability
- Pretty good sensitivity and hook setting
- Good for big fish
- Great for long distance casting
- Various length and power options
- Fairly lightweight and maneuverable
- Good price
- Some components could use improvement
- Grip is not all that comfortable
PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Here we have a nice spinning rod and reel combo, one that is technically not a surf fishing rod, but perfectly fine to be used for surf and saltwater fishing nonetheless. Considering that you get both a rod and reel here, it’s actually quite the affordable option, yet also brings some pretty high quality to the table.
One thing which stands out about the PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is that it does come in various length and power options, so you can match the rod to what you need. You can go as short as 6 foot 6 inches or as long as 10 feet. Personally, we would recommend the longest option possible for surf fishing.
You want something long to really launch that lure out into the deep and you want something that can provide you with good leverage for the big fish. In terms of power, we would recommend the 10 foot heavy power option. Sure, medium and other power ratings work fine for smaller fish and calmer waters. However, when it comes to waves, ocean currents, and big fish, a heavy power rod is what you want.
Yes, the shorter rods here do have somewhat faster action, but once again, it’s best to go for the big and heavy guy with medium action. Medium action rods may not be quite as sensitive, responsive, or best for hook setting as fast action rods are, but they are more durable, they can flex more, and they are better for fighting big fish in ocean currents.
All in all, the rod here is a pretty good one, a good graphite rod that has a decent level of durability. It doesn’t have the best reel seat, guides, or handle, but for the low price, you cannot complain.
In terms of the reel you get here, it’s pretty good, although again not anything overly fancy. It’s got a good ball bearing system for smooth retrieval, a medium-fast retrieval rate, which should be fine for most fish, it has a big time drag system to handle heavy fish, and the whole thing is made of metal, and sealed to ensure that it stands up to saltwater.
We like how for a decent price you get a reel and rod combo, one that will actually last for some time to come and has the ability to deal with some pretty decent size fish.
What we don’t like about the PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is that the reel seat, the guides, and the handle aren’t the best out there.
- Reel and rod combo for a fair price
- Decent level of durability overall
- Many power and length options
- Good action for saltwater fishing
- Fairly lightweight and maneuverable
- Good reel – good retrieval rate & solid design
- Reel may come loose at times
- Guides bend fairly easily
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod
Here we have one of the more affordable options on our list today. Now, it is only a rod, not a rod and reel combination, but it comes in at a more than fair price and is compatible with many different reels. This is a long and heavy power reel designed to haul in some pretty big catches in surf conditions. It’s one of the better ones out there considering the low price it comes in at.
One thing which stands out about the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is that it is made out of a combination of graphite and fiberglass.
We do like this quite a bit because it means that this rod brings the best of both worlds to the table. It has the toughness and durability of fiberglass, so it can take a lot of weight and deal with fighting fish, yet has all of the sensitivity of a graphite rod, not to mention that it is also very lightweight.
So, here you get a very durable, lightweight, and sensitive rod, one that it is easy to feel nibbles with, easy to maneuver, and still allows you to haul in some pretty big catches.
Do keep in mind that the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is a 12 foot long rod, so this does decrease maneuverability a little bit, but that being said, it is long enough to give you lots of loading power, so you can accurately cast very long distances. Moreover, this kind of length allows you to get good leverage over fighting fish.
In terms of power, this is a heavy power rod, so it’s designed for big line, big lures, and big fish. When it comes to action, it’s not a fast action rod, so it’s not overly responsive, which can make hook setting a problem, but on the other hand, it’s great for hauling in big fish that are going to fight you.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod comes complete with fairly lightweight EVA grips, ones which have a decent level of sensitivity to feel nibbles, although EVA is usually not the most durable option around. At any rate, this thing does come with top quality guides and a nice reel seat too.
The good part about the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is that it comes in at a very low price, lower than most others, yet is actually very durable, lightweight, and allows you to catch some big fish with relative easy. This is a big boy meant for big catches.
Something we do not like about the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is that it only comes in a single length, action, and power rating. There is no choice to choose from here.
- Very durable
- Somewhat sensitive
- Great for long distance casting
- Ideal for fighting big fish
- Ideal for saltwater conditions
- Good guide
- Not the best for fast hook setting
- EVA grips are a bit on the weak side
- No choice in terms of length, action, and power
Surf Rod Buyer’s Guide
Alright, so you don’t want to just go out and buy the first surf fishing rod you see. There are some important considerations to keep in mind, which we will talk about right here and now.
One thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to what kind of action the rod has, which refers to where along the blank the rod will bend. Fast action rods bend at the front, the front third, medium action rods bend in the middle, and slow action rods bend closer to the grip.
Fast action rods are great in terms of responsiveness, for fast action fishing techniques, for sensitivity so you can feel nibbles and for fast hook sets. On the other hand, slow action rods are best for big fighting fish that require the rod to flex a lot while you tire them out.
The next thing to pay attention to before making a purchase is what power rating the rod has. This can be ultra light, light, medium light, medium, medium heavy, heavy, and ultra heavy. Simply put, the heavier the power of a rod is, the more weight it can handle without bending or flexing. In other words, the lighter power the rod is, the smaller of a fish it can handle, so for surf fishing, you usually want something heavier.
Generally speaking, when it comes to rod material, the two options you have to work with are fiberglass and graphite. Now, fiberglass is decent as it is very durable, but when compared to graphite, most would agree that it is not as good.
Graphite may not be quite as durable as fiberglass, but a big benefit is that it is also very lightweight and sensitive too. That said, if you can find a composite rod made with both materials, you are on the right track.
Ok, so this might sound pretty obvious, but you do want to look for a durable fishing rod. We personally would rather spend a bit extra for a really good rod than to cheap out and get something that will snap the first time a fish is hooked. Simply put, read some reviews and a find a surf rod that can stand up to corrosion and big fish too.
Another important thing to pay attention to when buying one of these things is how well built the guides are. There are many materials that can be used for this, so something durable is key, but the really important aspect here is that the guides are smooth. They need to be smooth so line can pass through them freely without much or any friction.
6. Reel Seat
Yes, you do want a nice reel seat, and one made out of metal is always good, although most you find will be made of plastic. Simply put, something durable that opens and shuts easily is what you want to go for. Moreover, if you did not get a rod and reel combo, make sure that the reel you get is compatible with the sur rod in question.
Yet another thing to pay attention to is the handle. When it comes to surf fishing, so you can deal with the big fish, we would recommend a split handle design, so you can hold on for dear life. We would also recommend going with a cork handle, and although they are not overly sensitive, they are durable and comfy.
There are also EVA foam handles, which are more comfy and sensitive, but not as durable. Really whatever you find most comfortable for yourself is what we would recommend.
8. An Included Reel
Simply put, do you want to custom build your rod and reel setup, or do you want something ready to go? You will often find higher quality components when you buy them separately, but it’s usually more expensive too.
What should I look for in a surf rod?
The main things you should look for in a surf fishing rod are a decent length, fairly heavy power, medium action, saltwater resistance, and overall durability.
What is a good rod length for surf fishing?
Generally speaking, any rod that is 9 feet or longer will work well for surf fishing. You do want something longer, which is where you’ll find a lot of 12 footers out there.
Why do I want a long rod for surf fishing?
The longer the rod, the further you can cast your lure, well out into waves, plus with long rod, you can get good leverage over large fish.
What kind of power rating is good for surf fishing?
For a surf rod, you do want to go for something heavier, so it can handle pressure, flex well, and deal with large fish and strong waves.
What kind of action rating do I want for surf fishing?
You don’t want a super fast action rod for surf fishing, something with a medium-fast action rating at the most.
Can I use a freshwater rod for surf fishing?
No, because freshwater reels are not built to deal with saltwater and resist corrosion like saltwater reels are.
Related Content: How To Cast Surf Fishing Rods, have the right technique!
When it comes down to it, all seven of the options we looked at today are great, each in their own way. Personally, if you are just getting into it, we would recommend going for a rod and reel combo, so everything you need is all right there.