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Best Surf Fishing Rods

Last Updated: September 27, 2020
Nancy Reagan
Product Review by Nancy Reagan

If you are a seasoned fisherman, you have probably heard of, or participated in surf fishing at some point. It has been around since biblical times and is a very popular way to catch fish close to the oceans. Surf fishing is the practice of standing on the shore and fishing in shallow water to catch a variety of fish.

This type of fishing is popular among those who might get seasick or just love fishing on land. Despite popular belief, there are actually quite a few species of fish that you can catch right off the shore. All it takes is a bit of knowledge, patience, and of course, the best surf fishing rods in the industry wouldn’t hurt either.

If you are looking for the best surf fishing rods and some information about what makes these rods so distinct from one another, then you are in the right place. We’re going to be covering all that and more, in our complete guide to help you find your next surf fishing rod.

Our Reviews
1

Tica UGSA Series Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

This surf fishing rod by Tica is a beacon of versatility, affordability, and quality. It’s more than suitable for the beginner who wants something high-quality without the price tag.

It comes in many different sizes and action amounts, so you can normally find a rod that fits your exact needs easily. Two different options are available, 1-piece and 2-piece.

The rod is constructed of a high modulus TC3 graphite material, which is very suitable for saltwater fishing and is not nearly as prone to corrosion as other materials. The premium material construction doesn’t stop with the main body of the rod. It also features a high-quality Fuji Alconite tip and Fuji Hardloy ring guides. The Fuji DPS reel seat is not prone to corrosion and provides the perfect space for which to mount your reel.

We feel comfortable recommending this rod to almost any level of surf fisher because of how many options and sizes this rod comes in. Whether you are an experienced fisherman looking for something very particular, or a beginner looking for a jumping off point, this rod should have an option that suits your needs.

Pros

  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Affordable price for the quality
  • Made with quality materials that won’t corrode

Cons

  • Heavier than many surf rods out there
2

G.Loomis Saltwater IMX Surf Series

If you’ve been surf fishing for a while and are ready to make the next step when it comes to the quality of your equipment, this might be an interesting option for you. This G.Loomis rod isn’t the most affordable rod in the world, but it delivers function and value that is proportional to the price that it comes in at.

Known for being an extremely powerful and lightweight rod, the G.Loomis surf rod is designed specifically for the long casting distances and accuracy needed to surf fish successfully. While some rods claim multi-use functionality and try to accommodate multiple styles of fishing, this rod is not shy about the fact that it is designed for surf fishing and for that reason it is superior to most ‘surf fishing rods’.

This model comes in sizes ranging from 8 feet to 11 feet, which is pretty standard and should allow you to get a length that is suitable for you. The models also range in line-ratings from 12 pounds to 40 pounds.

A unique feature of this model is the Sure-Grip Technology that is utilized in the handle. This feature should allow you to easily and comfortably grip the handle for hours on end as you fish in the surf. Additionally, there is a micro-adjust reel seat that allows you maximum flexibility when adjusting the position of your reel. This includes 5 full inches of adjustment range.

The guide system on this reel is also premium and prides itself on being tangle-proof. This is done through providing a leaning guide on the rod to allow the line to pass through freely and efficiently.

The G.Loomis saltwater IMX surf rod is clearly one of the better options on the market, but it doesn’t come at a rock-bottom price. So we’d probably only recommend this rod for the surf fisherman that already have a good idea of what they need and can fully take advantage of the customization features that this rod has to offer.

Pros

  • Extra customization features
  • Premium features like Tangle-Free technology
  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • High powered and lightweight

Cons

  • Might not best option for beginners
3

Tsunami Airwave 8 Surf Fishing Rod

This surf fishing rod by Tsunami is an excellent choice for someone who prefers a very lightweight surf rod. Coming in at 8 feet, it is a little bit shorter than your typical surf fishing rod, but it would work just fine for your average-sized fisherman.

Though the frame of this rod is meant to be lightweight, it does not lack for power. It is crafted using high-pressure production techniques that helps make it into a strong and powerful, but lightweight and easy to use rod. In the case of surf fishing, the lightweight design is a huge benefit because it allows you to perform more casts without becoming fatigued.

In addition to being lightweight and powerful, this rod is also great value because of the modest price point. All of these factors make it a good choice for the beginner surf fisherman who doesn’t want to invest hundreds in a rod but also wants something more than the bare minimum.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to cast
  • Fuji Concept Alconite line guides
  • Suitable for larger fish

Cons

  • Not as many sizes available as some rods
4

Penn Prevail Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

The Penn Prevail surf spinning rod is the most affordable option on our entire list and is great value for those looking for a serviceable rod that doesn’t cost all that much.

While it doesn’t have the premium features and world-class construction of a higher-priced rod, we think this rod does well in terms of functionality and delivers pretty good value.

This versatile surf fishing rod comes in 2 pieces for all sizes and ranges from 8 feet to 12 feet. The graphite composition delivers sensitivity and strength that makes you feel like you’re using a higher class rod and the stainless steel guides are suitable for both monofilament and braided lines.

The Penn Prevail is not the most durable out there, especially for heavy or professional use. But it should be more than sufficient for the beginner surf fisherman who may just be starting out.

Pros

  • Budget pick
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Collapsible for storage
  • Some premium materials

Cons

  • Lower quality construction due to low cost
  • Limited adjustability and functionality
5

Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf Spinning Rod

This simple but quality rod by Tsunami is yet another example of the versatility of the brand.

It comes in at a length of 9 feet, 6 inches, which is right in the slot for most fishermen. If you are average height and want something with enough power to cast a long distance, this is a great candidate to be your next surf fishing rod.

This rod comes in two pieces, which we wouldn’t normally be thrilled about, just because it gives you less power. However, it is more convenient to transport this way. It also comes with a line weight ranging from 15 to 30 pounds and a lure weight of ¾ ounces to 3 ounces, which is less than most others on our list but will be sufficient for the majority of fishermen.

One of the things that we don’t like about this rod is the diameter of the grip. Many users have stated that it feels off and a little bit thinner than they are used to. This is mostly a matter of preference, but you want to be comfortable holding it in your hand when you are fishing. For the money, this rod is a pretty solid offering.

Pros

  • Reputable brand
  • Ideal length
  • Collapsible for easy transportation

Cons

  • Collapsible break is 70/30, which is not to everyone's liking
  • The grip is thin for some

What Is Surf Fishing?

Though we’ve touched on the basics of surf fishing, it’s important to understand this style of fishing in-depth before you go out and buy a surf fishing rod.

Not every rod is the same, and when it comes to a style of fishing as specific as surf fishing, you really need to examine each feature of the rod and make sure that you have everything you need to fish effectively.

A surf fishing rod can actually be used to catch a wide variety of species of fish. This potential to catch multiple kinds of fish means that you will need a rod that is as versatile, as it is strong.

Surf fishermen or women generally stand on the shore of the water they are fishing. They use precise casts or an offshore weighted rig to catch fish that dwell along the shoreline.

If you’ve never been surf fishing before, don’t be intimidated. It can be a difficult style to learn at first, but if you love fishing and catch on to fishing related concepts relatively quickly, you should be able to get the hang of it.

About Surf Casting

To know what kind of rod you’re going to need, you have to be familiar with what factors are important when surf casting. Surf casting isn’t that different from regular casting, but you will need to put an emphasis on some features that you wouldn’t for regular fishing.

When you are selecting a rod for surf fishing, you should prioritize features that allow you to cast for distance and accuracy. Having success with surfcasting is largely based on the ability to put your lure or bait in the right area. A surf cast is very much similar to a regular cast, with the motion being a basic overhand cast straight out from your body.

To achieve this with a surf fishing rod, you want to find a rod that has good balance and comfort. You’ll also want to make sure that you feel comfortable using it, which means a balanced reel, the right kind of bait, and your preferred type of line. The key is to use a combination of gear that lets you shine as a fisherman and be as accurate as possible with your casts.

How to Choose the Best Surf Fishing Rods

When it comes to selecting a surf fishing rod, there are a few specifications that you should pay attention to in order to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success. These specifications mostly have to do with the dimensions and composition of the surf fishing rod that you select.

Length

The length of your rod is definitely an important factor in your selection process. Most surf fishing rods are between the length of 9 and 14 feet long, which means you have a lot of options. Getting the right length for your surf fishing rod is an important factor in how effectively and accurately you can cast.

In most cases, the length of the surf fishing rod that you select should correlate to your height.

For instance:

  • If you are shorter than average, you’re going to want to get a shorter fishing rod. It will be easier for you to handle and cast accurately.
  • If you are taller, you can get a longer fishing rod and still be able to control it effectively.

The main reason that surf fishing rod length is an important factor to consider is that it will play a large part in determining your casting distance. The distance that you can cast is important, as you want to be able to cast long enough to get your bait or lure past the breaking waves. This is the best way to present your lure to a fish when surf fishing.

When selecting a rod length, you should choose the longest rod that you can within reason. You shouldn’t pick a longer rod than you can comfortably handle, but you should push the upper limit and get the longest rod that you can operate effectively. For most fishermen, this is going to mean a surf fishing rod between 10 and 12 feet in length.

Remember though, what works well for one person may not work best for the next. This is all personal preference and not necessarily set in stone. Fishermen can be just as successful in their catch with a short rod, as with a longer rod.

Because of the strength of the rods, you can have super short rods that can catch mammoth fish. The length of the rod and the flexibility of the rod give the angler an easier battle.

Power

The next factor that you’ll want to keep in mind is power. This should be considered the second most important specification when choosing a fishing rod for surf fishing. This could also be called the strength of the rod or lifting power as well. Generally, the power of a fishing rod ranges from light to heavy.

For most fishermen, the best selection for power is going to be around the exact middle of those two ends of the spectrum. This would be called “medium-heavy.” The reason that fishers often settle at medium-heavy is that it affords them a wide range of capabilities and versatility as opposed to what you would get if your rod power could be found at one end of the spectrum.

Once you’ve selected your ideal rod power, make sure that you also get a suitable line for that rod. If you have a heavier weighted rod, make sure you get the right test and pound strength fishing line. If you go too light with the line, you risk breaking the line and losing fish.

Action

The third most important factor in your selection of surf fishing rods is the action. Action will be a familiar term for seasoned fishermen, but for beginners, it might seem like a foreign concept. Action refers to the amount of bend that the rod will have, especially with a fish on the other end of the line.

Action on a fishing rod typically ranges from fast to slow. A fishing rod that is defined as having fast action will bend more near the end of the rod while a rod with slow action has a tendency to bend more near the middle part of the rod.

This might seem like a minor factor, but it actually has a lot to do with your casting difference and in turn, your accuracy. For surf fishing, it is recommended that you get a fast action rod in most cases. However, a slow action fishing rod can be suitable when using a treble hook, since they don’t require as much setting power.

When selecting an action amount, make sure to consider your fishing style and what equipment you’re going to be using. This will be important in determining how much action is right for you.

Material

When choosing a fishing rod, regardless of the type of fishing that you’re doing, it’s very important to ensure that the construction of the rod and reel is suitable for what you require of it. In the case of surf fishing, you’ll be exposing your equipment to a lot of harsh conditions, including saltwater. Saltwater is known to be the enemy of having a healthy, clean, and efficient rod, so choosing your rod construction carefully is vitally important.

First, start with the reel seat, this is the part of your rod upon which your reel is mounted. You should seek out a rod that has a reel seat that is made from a non-corrosive material, an excellent example of this would be graphite.

Metal reel seats are generally seen as adequate, but they will corrode over time. Graphite is considered to be a premium material in this regard and will often come on higher-priced and more professionally-graded rods.

Handles are an important consideration, but most are the same. Generally, the handles of surf fishing rods are made from a cork material that is comfortable, lightweight, buoyant, and oblivious to most corrosion.

We don’t have a problem recommending a cork handle, though you may find that a foam handle is more comfortable for you. When it comes to handles, it’s really a matter of comfort and won’t have much impact on your performance while fishing.

Choosing a Rod for Live Bait

Many fishermen prefer to fish with live bait in different situations, but some don’t know if they need to be looking for various features in their rod to help them fish more effectively with their live bait. If you are trying to find a surf fishing rod for your live bait fishing activities, it’s best to choose one with a medium to fast action and sturdy tip.

These features are useful for live bait because of the weight of your bait. This kind of action, paired with the sturdiness of the tip, allows for more control over your bait. If you’re going to be fishing with live bait frequently, it’s best to avoid surf rods that have very flexible tips because they bend too much under the weight of the bait. This can lead to reduced casting distance and worse results when trying to set hooks.

Choosing a Rod for Lures

Lures are an incredibly popular bait to use when fishing, but what should you be looking for in a surf fishing rod when you want to use lures?

When it comes to the action of your rod, you want something that is going to have a medium to fast action. This level of action is best for lures because it provides a better whipping motion that gives you the power to launch your smaller lures over greater distances, which allows you to be more versatile and accurate.

What Other Gear Will I Need?

One of the best things that a fisherman can do to help increase their chances of success is to be extremely prepared. That means carrying the right gear, but many new surf fishers don’t quite know what gear is necessary to bring, since surf fishing is a unique type of fishing and doesn’t necessarily require all the same equipment that you would need to bring if you were fishing from a boat for instance.

Here’s a brief list of all the gear you should have on hand if you are going surf fishing:

  • Fishing License
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tape Measure
  • Pliers
  • Spare Line
  • Tackle/Bait
  • Cast Net
  • Saltwater-Friendly
  • Rod and Reel
  • Surf Fishing Rigs
  • Knife
  • Bait Bucket
  • Air Pump
  • Rain Gear
  • Sunscreen and
  • Sunglasses
  • Rod Holder
  • Waders
  • Weights

If you bring along these basics, you’ll be prepared for almost any situation and also ensure your own safety while surf fishing.

How to Improve Surf Fishing Performance

For those looking for some pointers to follow when it comes to surf fishing, we’ve compiled a brief list of advice that you should follow if you are planning to take the world of surf fishing by storm. These basic steps will set you up for success and give you a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a competent surf fisherman.

Master Your Cast

This is the most essential thing that you can do to ensure your success. Surf fishing is reliant mainly on your ability to control your casts with preciseness and discipline and drop your bait in an optimized area. If you can present your lure to the fish in an attractive way, you’re going to have a lot more success.

There’s really only one way to do this, and that is to practice your cast over and over. You should get a feel for how much power you need to use under a variety of weather and surf conditions. The goal here is to know exactly where your lure is going to end up on each cast. By improving your accuracy rate, you can cut down on the number of times that you have to recast and save you time and increase efficiency.

The #1 most important thing that you can do to improve your surf fishing performance is to master your casting motion, distance, and strategy completely.

Preparation

The first thing that comes to mind before any fishing trip is preparation. You should make sure that you have all the right gear ready to go when you go surf fishing. For a list of the gear that we recommend to any surf fisher, you can see above.

The second area that you need to be prepared in is your knowledge of the area that you’re fishing in. Knowing the topography of the area and having a general knowledge of what’s below the water can be hugely beneficial to the process of planning and optimizing your casts. If you don’t know what you’re up against, you can’t plan accordingly.

Obviously, if you’re fishing in a brand new area, this isn’t always possible. For that situation, we recommend that you take notes following each trip out and track what you learned about the spot so that you can either avoid specific actions or repeat them in the future.

Recap

There you have it, an in-depth guide and round-up review to some of the best surf fishing rods available today.

By comparing each product carefully and reading through our comprehensive guide, hopefully it has made the decision of what surf fishing rod to buy that little bit easier.

Now for what we’ve all been waiting for, the big reveal…What rod comes out on top, out of all the surf fishing rods that we’ve featured in our round-up review?

We’re happy to name the G.Loomis rod as the best overall rod in our list!

The G.Loomis rod delivered a lot of premium functionality at one of the best prices, and for that reason, we think it has a tremendous amount of value. Though it might not be the easiest rod for a beginner to use, we feel that the majority of surf fishers would be pleased with this rod and everything it has to offer.

Remember though, your personal preference plays into the equation when selecting a surf fishing rod, and you should be sure that you are comfortable using whichever rod you choose.

Analyze each important category and feature that we identified, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a surf fishing rod that meets all your requirements.

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