The Best Surf Fishing Rod (for Every Budget) in 2021

The are almost as many surf rods as there are fish in the sea. How do you know which is the best surf fishing rod for you? Don’t worry – we’ll answer that question for you.

Choosing the right rod is important, so be sure to read carefully.

But, if you’re really in a hurry, here are our picks for the best surf fishing rods.

  1. PENN Squadron III Surf Conventional Rod < Best value!
  2. Okuma’s Solaris Surf Fishing Rod
  3. Tica UKGA Surf Spinning Rod
  4. Berkley Big Game Spinning Rod < Best for on a budget!
  5. Tica UMGA Surf Spinning Rod
  6. PENN Battalion Surf Spinning Rod

It’s important to understand the different features of a surf fishing rod, so let’s start there.

Length

Surf fishing rods are longer than other types of rods. Longer rods are better for casting heavier weights and reeling in bigger fish.

Most surf fishing rods are between 8 – 12 ft. Shorter rods in that range are easier to control, especially for beginners. Longer rods are usually better for casting greater distances. If you’re just starting out, look for a rod in the 8-10 ft range.

Number of Pieces

Most surf fishing rods are either one or two pieces. There are some traditionalists who say a one-piece rod is better because it is more sensitive. In reality, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between a one-piece rod and a two-piece rod. We prefer the two-piece option rod, since it’s much easier to transport and store.

Material

Most modern day rods are made of some form of graphite composite. Some of the more “budget friendly” rods might be made out of fiberglass. There’s no doubt that graphite composite is better than fiberglass, but a fiberglass rod works fine for the causal angler on a budget.

Rod Action

Action describes how much of the rod is designed to bend. Rod actions range from slow to extra fast. Surf casting rods are generally either fast or moderate fast.

A rod with a slow action will allow it to bend through its entire length. This style of rod is often found in the shorter 8′ to 11’ lengths and is more forgiving than a fast action rod. This means that this style of rod is a good choice for beginners to surfcasting and anglers that don’t need to cast a great distance to find the feeding fish.

Surf fishing rods are usually fast or moderate fast action.

Rod Power

Power refer to the stiffness of a rid, which can thought about as how much the rod will bend under weight. Most surf fishing rods are in the medium to medium heavy range.

Lure Rating

The lure rating tells you the what weight lure (or bait) the rod will cast the best. It’s a range that you’ll normally see printed on the rod itself. Lower end lure rating ratings will be around 1-4 ounces. Higher ranges, like the Okuma Solaris, will be around 4-8 ounces.

Keep in mind that these are recommendations by the manufacturers. In reality a rod that casts 4 ounces really well won’t also cast 8 ounces just as well. The “sweet spot” is somewhere in that range.

Line Rating

Line rating gives a recommendation on what to pair with a rod. So a rod with a 15-30lb works best with line with a test weight in that range. It doesn’t mean you can’t use line above or below that range, but you’ll want to stay pretty close.

Spinning vs Conventional Rods

The main difference between spinning and conventional rods, is the type of reel that used and where the reel is positioned. Although there’s not much of a difference in the rods themselves, you’ll need to decide what kind of reel you’ll be sing before purchasing the rod.

As you can see in the image, a spinning reel hangs below the rod and the casting rod sits on top of the rod. There are a few other differences as well. Unlike the spinning reel, the line on a casting rod spools parallel to the rod. Casting reels also have smaller guides, which are the eyelets the line runs through.

There’s no better type of rod/reel for surf fishing. Most people agree spinning rod are easier to use for beginners. Use whatever you’re comfortable with.

Our picks for the best surf rods:

PENN Squadron III Surf Conventional Rod

The perfect starter rod

Penn probably has the best reputation of any rod on this list, and for good reason. Even the entry-level models (like the squadron) are composed of high quality graphite composite. There’s no going wrong with a PENN rod. Just keep in mind this is a conventional (aka casting) rod, so you’ll need to pair with a conventional reel.

Length10′
Pieces2
Rod MateralGraphite composite
ColorTitanium/Red/Gold
Rod ActionModerate fast
Rod PowerMedium
Handle MaterialRubber shrink tube
Line Rating15-30lb
Lure Rating2-6oz
Pros
  • Best value on this list
  • Versatile rod from trusted brand
Cons
  • Lower quality guides compared to higher-end models

Okuma’s Solaris Surf Fishing Rod

Best ‘under the radar’ rod to impress your fishing buddies

Not as popular as Penn and some other brands, but one of our favorites. Not to mention, this rod just looks cool.

Length10′
Pieces2
Rod MateralGraphite
ColorBlack
Rod ActionFast
Rod PowerHeavy
Handle MaterialCork
Line Rating20-40b
Lure Rating3-8oz
Pros
  • Super comfy grip
  • Well balanced
Cons
  • No major complaints here

Tica UKGA Surf Spinning Rod

The “do everything” rod

A lot of people aren’t familiar with Tica rods, but we think that’s going to change. The 9ft version is the sweet spot of the UKGA series. The moderate-fast action makes this a very versatile rod. Not our first choice for targeting the real big fish, but overall a solid spinning rod.

Length9′
Pieces2
Rod MateralGraphite TC1
ColorRed/Black
Rod ActionModerate fast
Rod PowerMedium
Handle MaterialRubber
Line Rating12-25lb
Lure Rating1/2-3oz
Pros
  • Titanium oxide guides won’t fray your line
  • Smooth casts
Cons
  • Wouldn’t recommend for line weight over 20lbs

Berkley Big Game Spinning Rod

The best budget surf fishing rod

Seriously, check the price on this thing. But don’t be fooled be thinking low price mean low quality. Berkley makes more than just great bait, and this rod is a perfect example. If you’re on a budget, or you’re looking for a backup surf rod, this one is for you.

Length8′
Pieces2
Rod MateralFiberglass
ColorWhite/Black
Rod ActionModerate fast
Rod PowerMedium heavy
Handle MaterialEVA
Line Rating12-30b
Lure Rating1-4oz
Pros
  • Price can’t be beat
Cons
  • Fiberglass

Tica UMGA Surf Spinning Rod

Your go-to rod for jetty or pier fishing

With a higher quality 24t graphite composite blank, the UMGA is stronger than you need. And since it’s one-piece, it’s much more sensitive than you’d expect.

Length8′
Pieces1
Rod MateralGraphite 24T
ColorGrey/Black
Rod ActionModerate fast
Rod PowerMedium
Handle MaterialCork
Line Rating10-25lb
Lure Rating3/4-3oz
Pros
  • Durable zirconia guides
  • Cork tape handle
Cons
  • Higher price might exceed some budgets

PENN Battalion Surf Spinning Rod

When you need a BIG cast

Step 1. Buy this rod.

Step 2. Learn how to surfcast like a pro.

Step 3. Impress everyone on the beach.

Length10′
Pieces2
Rod MateralGraphite composite
ColorBlack/Gold
Rod ActionModerate fast
Rod PowerMedium heavy
Handle MaterialRubber shrink tube
Line Rating15-30b
Lure Rating1-5oz
Pros
  • Durable zirconia guides
Cons
  • Higher price (but who cares!)
Check out our Beginner's Guide to Surf Fishing

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