8 Best Surf Fishing Rods Of 2023

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8 Best Surf Fishing Rods Of 2023

Surf Fishing is one of the most popular ways to fish. All you need is a comfortable location for your legs and a sturdy fishing rod to help you catch even the largest fish that rarely venture above the waterline.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the best surf rods on the market. All of these rods are high-quality and 100% affordable. You can use them to catch saltwater and freshwater fish.

 

What are surf fishing rods?

Surf fishing rods are designated for fishing in the surf zone. It is a very popular way to fish due to its simplicity and large availability of water in which you can fish. 

To use a surf rod, simply place your feet on stable rocks or a stable area near the shoreline and cast out your line at an angle using a baitcasting tool. Surf fishing rods are typically longer to compensate for the long casting distance necessary when you’re trying to reach fish that are in deeper waters.

Most experts recommend that you purchase a rod with a medium-heavy power and action. These characteristics will help you cast farther and resist buckling while playing large fish. 

However, if you’re just starting out we recommend that you purchase a rod with medium power and action. These characteristics will help you catch smaller fish without too much of a struggle.

Okuma Classic Pro GLT Surf Rod

1) Okuma Classic Pro GLT Surf Fishing Rod

Okuma is one of the best companies on the market for surf rods. The Okuma Classic Pro GLT Surf Rod can claim to be the best surf fishing rod. It comes equipped with a durable graphite blank for increased strength and sensitivity. 

The rod’s guides are made of stainless steel, which makes them great because they’re resistant to corrosion and also help keep your line intact. The handle features EVA foam for maximum grip while fighting fish.

Surf Rod Type: Spinning

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 11lbs

Action: Medium Heavy Power: 3.5/5

This rod has a medium-heavy power and action, making it suitable for catching both smaller and larger fish without too much trouble. 

The graphite blank is durable and sensitive, which is perfect for detecting the bite of smaller fish. The stainless steel guides are resistant to corrosion and increase handling comfort while you’re out on the water. 

Although the rod is suitable for use in surf fishing, there are some durability issues that have been noted by customers. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent product considering its affordable price range.

PENN Carnage II Surf Rod

Penn is another well-known company when it comes to fishing rods. They’ve given us the Carnage II Surf Rod. It features a slim, lightweight design that’s easy to use for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The rod is constructed with 30-ton graphite blanks for durability and sensitivity. It comes with stainless steel guides that are resistant to corrosion.

Surf Rod Type: Spinning

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 12lbs

Action: Heavy Power: 4.5/5

This rod is longer than many of the others on this list, with a length of 12′. This gives it extra casting distance to help reach fish that are deeper in the water. 

The 30-ton graphite blanks are durable and sensitive, which makes them perfect for catching smaller fish. The stainless steel guides are resistant to corrosion, making them last longer than many other options on the market without compromising your fishing experience. This rod also comes at an affordable price range that won’t break the bank.

Ugly Stik Elite Surf Rod

3) Ugly Stik Elite Surf Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik has been known as one of the best companies for fishing rods and other fishing equipment. They’ve given us the Ugly Stik Elite Surf Rod, which is made with durable graphite blank and fiberglass guides. The handle features EVA foam, so it’s easy to grip while you’re out on the water.

Surf Rod Type: Baitcaster

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 15lbs

Action: Medium Power: 3/5

The Ugly Stik Elite Surf Rod is made for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It’s also long enough to cast out a line from a stable position further into the sea. It features a medium power that makes it suitable for catching both smaller and larger fish. 

The graphite blank is durable, allowing you to use the rod time after time without having to worry about breakage. While this product has been known to be one of Ugly Stik’s best rods, there have been some durability issues with the tip of the rod.

Ugly Stik GX2 Surf Fishing Rod

4) Ugly Stik GX2 Surf Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik has given us another excellent product with the Ugly Stik GX2 Surf Rod. It features a fiberglass blank that’s durable and sensitive, allowing you to bring in small fish while staying safe. The guides are made of stainless steel, which makes them strong while also keeping your line intact while fishing.

Surf Rod Type: Baitcaster

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 15lbs

Action: Medium Light Power: 3/5

This rod is perfect for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. It’s one of Ugly Stik’s lighter rods, which gives you better control while fighting fish. This is also a long rod, coming in at 12′. The length makes it easy to cast out a line without moving too close to the water. 

For one of Ugly Stik’s lighter rods, it has a medium-light power that makes it suitable for catching both smaller and larger fish. There have been some durability issues noted with this product, but many customers have given it high praise considering its affordability.

Shakespeare 8ft Surf Fishing Rod

5) Shakespeare 8ft Surf Fishing Rod

Shakespeare is another company that specializes in fishing rods while still maintaining affordable prices. They’ve given us the Shakespeare 8ft Surf Rod. It’s constructed with a fiberglass blank that’s known for its durability and sensitivity. The guides are made of stainless steel, which helps protect your line while you’re out on the water.

Surf Rod Type: Spinning

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 12lbs

Action: Extra Heavy Power: 3/5

This 8′ rod is perfect for those who want to stay away from the water while fishing. The length makes it easier to cast out a line from a safe position without having to move too close. 

As with many of Shakespeare’s rods, this one has some durability issues noted by customers. However, the quality stainless steel guides have been praised by some customers for their durability and resistance to corrosion.

Shimano Scimitar 9'/Heavy SMS90H2B Surf Fishing Rod

Shimano is a well-known company in the fishing rod industry. They’ve provided us with their Scimitar 9′ Surf Rod, which features stainless steel guides that are saltwater resistant and durable to protect your line while you’re out on the water. The graphite blank is sensitive and strong, allowing for various types of fish to be caught.

Surf Rod Type: Baitcaster

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 27lbs

Action: Heavy Power: 3/5

This rod is perfect for inshore fishing in saltwater when you’ll be dealing with big fish like red drum, trout, and flounder. It’s one of Shimano’s stronger rods, which is great for handling large fish. It has a heavy power that gives it better control over the fish you’re trying to catch. 

This product has been known to have durability issues due to its thin graphite blanks, but the stainless steel guides are praised by many customers for their quality and resistance to corrosion.

Sougayilang Fishing Rod Reel Combo Surf Fishing Rod

7) Sougayilang Fishing Rod Reel Combo Surf Fishing Rod

Sougayilang has combined two products into one to give you the Sougayilang Fishing Rod Reel Combo. It comes with a high-quality surf rod that’s perfect for inshore fishing in saltwater, as well as a spinning reel that has sufficient space for up to 100 yards of an 18-pound test line. The rod is 7′ long, which makes it easier to cast out a line from a safe distance without moving too close to the water.

Surf Rod Type: Spinning

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 13lbs

Action: Medium Power: 3/5

There have been some durability issues noted with this product, but most customers have given it high praise considering its affordability. The rod is sensitive and strong enough to fish for various types of fish, including red drum, trout, and flounder. 

It’s one of the strongest rods on this list with a medium power that gives you better control over where the fish goes once it’s hooked.

Sougayilang Catfish Rod 2-Pieces Surf Fishing Rod

8) Sougayilang Catfish Rod 2-Pieces Surf Fishing Rod

Another product from Sougayilang, this fishing rod is one of the most affordable and best-rated rods on this list. It’s a 2-piece, 7′ long rod that comes with its own reel and line. The rod features stainless steel guides while the reel has 2 ball bearing systems to help you smoothly retrieve your line when needed.

Surf Rod Type: Spinning

Casting Distance: 100-120ft

Maximum Drag Pressure: 14lbs

Action: Medium Power: 3/5

This rod is perfect for inshore saltwater fishing when you’ll be dealing with big fish like red drum, trout, and flounder. It’s one of Sougayilang’s strongest rods, which is great for handling larger fish. The medium power gives it better control over the fish you’re trying to catch. 

The rod has been known to have durability issues due to its thin graphite blanks, but the stainless steel guides are praised by many customers for their quality and resistance to corrosion.

What is the best length for a surf fishing rod?

The parameter for best rod length is customer preference. While there are certain factors that should be considered, such as what species of fish you will be fishing for and where you will be surfing, the final decision rests with the individual.

The average surf rod ranges from 9ft to 11ft long, however many people prefer to use a 7-8ft rod. If you desire a more responsive action and increased sensitivity, you might prefer shorter rods.

If you prefer to reach for the horizon when casting, longer rods will come in handy. These will also help with fighting bigger fish as they give you some room for error when striking and landing larger species of fish such as mahi-mahi, amberjack, and tuna.

For most people, an average length of 9ft is the best choice. 

This site gives you easy maneuverability in choppy surf conditions yet offers enough reach to cast without having to step too far into the surf zone.

What lengths are needed for different species?

Different species require different lengths depending on how they are caught. For instance, you might choose the standard 9ft rod for casting poppers into the surf zone. However, if you are fishing under pier structures then you might need a shorter rod of around 7-8 feet long to be able to cast underneath the structures and reach your target more efficiently.

Fish that live on top of the water can be caught using spinning reels tied to 9ft or 11ft surf rods. The longer rods are good for reaching out, while short rods give you fast action when fighting them once they crash onto your bait.

Fish that require deep drop shots, such as marlin and tuna, usually require 12ft-13ft surf fishing rods. These rods offer backbone when fighting such powerful fish and also reach the depths they inhabit when required.

Fish like redfish, trout, whiting, and flounder can be caught on standard 7ft to 9ft surf fishing rods with a spinning reel. They require less backbone in your rod when dropped back into the water after being pulled up.

The main thing is to match the rod with the fish you are after, regardless of whether it is one that lives on top or on the bottom of the water.

What type of surf rod should I use? Which gives me more distance, longer rods or shorter rods?

Longer surf rods give you the more casting distance when compared to their shorter counterparts. They also have more power behind them when fighting larger species of fish due to the greater length of rod that can be used for leverage. This does not mean that short rods are bad by any means!

When you need a longer casting distance, long surf rods will give you just that without having to step too far into the surf zone. The drawback of this is that some conditions might not be suited to long casts due to choppy or windy weather conditions.

One advantage short rods have is that they give you extra maneuverability in tight spaces where longer rods cannot reach. This can give you an advantage when fishing around rocks, reefs, and other structures found in shallow water.

What kind of rod components are best for saltwater conditions?

There are many features that can make your surf fishing rod better suited to handle more challenging weather and surfing conditions. One of the most important is the type of guides used on the rod. The most common types are either single foot guides or double foot guides.

Double foot guide rods are mainly used for heavy surf fishing. They are very strong and can handle the wear and tear of consistent use in harsh conditions. Single foot guides are more suited to casting lighter lures which will give you up to four times the number of casts before wearing out your reel’s line.

Both single foot and double foot guides require a strong blank to be able to handle the force of being pulled from big surf zone fish. The best rod blanks are made from fiberglass or graphite, which is lighter and stronger than regular bamboo or aluminum alloy rods.

When choosing a rod, always keep in mind just how much abuse your equipment will have to go through when being used in the surf zone. The more you spend on your rod, the more it will be able to resist corrosion from saltwater and handle casting topwater lures without snapping under the pressure.

What is the best surf fishing reel?

Choosing a good quality level wind spinning reel for use in the surf zone is another important aspect of having success while fishing such areas. Saltwater and sand will corrode any reel which is not made from high-quality materials.

We have a comprehensive best surf fishing reels review you can find useful!

 

FAQs

Is a 10-foot rod good for surf fishing?

A 9 to 12-foot rod is generally adequate and ideal for catching most fish that hold nearshore effectively, with the exception of large predators (such as sharks).

Is a 7-foot rod good for surf fishing?

The rod you have is the best one to surf fish with :). While you may not be able to throw a heavier lure or cast your bait as far, a 6 to the 7-foot rod can catch fish from the water’s surface.

Can I surf fish with an 8-foot rod?

A surf rod that is 8 feet long will work well in water that is calm; otherwise, choose a length of at least 10 feet. The power and action of a surf rod are two other important features. This will be an excellent all-around fishing pole that may also be used to throw heavy sinkers.

Why are surf rods so long?

Longer rods provide you with a longer casting distance. The length can also give you extra leverage when fighting large species of fish, resulting in less tiring out on the angler’s part.

Short rods do not necessarily mean they are bad! Shorter rods allow for an increased level of maneuverability which can help you better navigate through areas. For example, it can help you sneak around rocks and other structures to better position yourself for another cast.

The length of a rod is something to look at when purchasing a surf rod because the average length needed will depend on the water conditions you are going up against. Longer surf rods give you a longer casting distance but also require more effort from you to maneuver.

Short rods are more suited for fishing around rocks, reefs, and other structures found in shallow water.

 

What is beach fishing?

Beach fishing is a type of fishing that takes place on the shore of a body of water, such as a lake, river, or ocean. It can be done from the beach itself, or from a pier, jetty, or other structure that extends into the water.

 

What is light tackle surf fishing?

Light tackle surf fishing is a type of fishing that uses light tackle, or small and lightweight fishing gear, to fish in the surf. This type of fishing can be done from the shore, from a pier, or from a boat. Light tackle surf fishing is a great way to catch fish like striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and weakfish. It is also a great way to get started in saltwater fishing.

 

Surf fishing glossary

Basic Terms

Beach: where the waves break.

Blank: a surf fishing rod with no line or reel attached.

Braid: braided fishing line. Used for its strength and sensitivity.

Break: where the waves begin to form. Also called the point, Surfline, or outside. It can also refer to a section of the beach where waves tend to break consistently in the same place.

Breakwater: a man-made structure built from shore to protect against wind and waves. It can also refer to any natural feature that offers protection from the elements, such as a jetty or reef.

Cast: to throw the line and bait out into the water.

Channel: a deep section of the ocean where water flows between two land masses. Channels are often good places to fish because they concentrate fish in a small area.

Drop-off: a sudden change in depth, often found near channels and reefs.

Dry sand: the part of the beach where the waves never reach.

Float: a bobber used to keep the bait at a specific depth.

Hook: a metal device with a sharp point used to catch fish. The hook is attached to the line and baited with live or artificial bait.

Leader: a length of fishing line attached to the main line. The leader helps to keep the bait away from the fish, making it more likely to take the bait.

Line: fishing line that is used to catch fish. It can be made of different materials, such as nylon, fluorocarbon, or braid.

Live bait: bait that is still alive when cast into the water. Live bait is often more effective than artificial bait because it smells and tastes like food to fish.

Pier: a structure that extends out over the water, typically used for fishing, swimming, or walking.

Reef: a rocky area just offshore where waves break. Reefs can be natural or man-made.

Rod: a long, thin pole used to cast the line and bait into the water. Rods are made of different materials, such as fiberglass, graphite, or bamboo.

Sandbar: a ridge of sand that forms just offshore. Sandbars can be good places to fish because they concentrate fish in a small area.

Set: the act of setting the hook when a fish bites.

Sinkers: weights attached to the line to help sink the bait to the desired depth.

Surf: waves that break on the shore.

Tackle: all the gear used for fishing, such as rods, reels, line, and bait.

Tide: the rise and fall of the ocean’s water level. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.

Waders: waterproof clothing worn to keep dry while fishing in the surf. Waders can be made of different materials, such as rubber, neoprene, or PVC.

Wet sand: the part of the beach where the waves reach.

Wharf: a structure built out over the water, typically used for loading and unloading ships.

If you are looking for surf fishing reels, we have 20 Best Surf Fishing Reels Review for you