The best surf fishing rod isn't always the longest one that casts the greatest distance.
There is a lot of different models to choose from these days and you are not stuck with the same type of rod from different manufacturers as it was ten to fifteen years ago.
Things are a lot more specialized these days and there are purpose built rods for every type of saltwater fishing with surf fishing being no exception.
Below is a list of surf rods for the majority of fishermen.
Each have their strengths and weaknesses but one thing is for certain they are well built and able to handle the rigors of saltwater action.
Spin or cast
Traditionally surf rods were big long fiberglass affairs that were used to fling big heavy weights as far as possible. The times they are a changing and so to is the technology and materials used to build the better rods.
Recently what has be traditionally known as surf fishing has changed, no longer are beach casters obsessed with maximum casting distance.
Now manufacturers offer both a surf spinning and a surf casting variation in the same model so it can become confusing when you come to order one.
Generally you will find that the item codes will either have "c" for casting or an "s" for spinning so it's best to be very careful when making your selection.
There is a lot more variety available these days and we have included both surf spinning rods and surf casting rods in our reviews below.
Made from two piece graphite composite blanks it also makes for a great rod to have as a spare in trunk although a little too long to be a travel rod.
The blanks are protected by a woven shield of carbon fiber know as Carbon Shield technology from Penn. This added protection helps fortify the blanks and the guide mounts.
If you are looking for an all in one surf fishing rod then the Prevail is a great choice as it bridges the gap between surf casting/spinning.
- Available in 8 - 12 foot models
- Graphite composite blank - two piece
- Graphite reel seat
- Stainless steel guides - aluminum oxide inserts
The SCII graphite makes this rod feel deceptively light for it's size and power. It is nicely balanced and has a very smooth casting feel when throwing plugs from the shore. It can easily handle fish up to the 20-30 pound range anything over that and it might start to feel a little light.
- SCII graphite premium quality blanks
- Zirconium guide ring inserts for greater casting performance
- Sloped frame guides
- Available in 10 foot 6 inches and 11 foot models
- MHMF2 is Medium/Heavy
- HMF2 is Heavy
3. Daiwa BFSF1202HRB Beefstick
If you are looking for a big sturdy rod that can take a beating then the Beefstick is the one for you.
It's fiberglass blank is built tough and although it won't be as light weight as the other surf fishing rods in this review it is certainly more durable.
With eight ceramic guides it makes for a smooth casting experience. Saying that it is probably aimed at a non-beginner surf fisher as it has quite a heavy action. That bullet proof build should be able to handle most fish up to about 50 lbs due to the heavy rating.
If you are looking for a rod for surf fishing that will last many seasons of abuse on the beach and even from a boat then the Daiwa Beefstick is the perfect choice.
- Fibreglass blank
- Ceramic guides
- Composite reel seat with stainless hood
- Heavy action
A great rod for light weight plugging yet still usable for throwing bigger weights out far if needs be. The Shimano is priced quite high but for the money you are getting one very sensitive surf rod.
If your aim is to have the most subtle presentation possible from a beach spinning rod then the Tiralego is it. Note, this is by no means a surf rod for a beginner and is definitely suited to a very experienced caster.
- Power is medium
- Action is Moderate/Fast
5. Okuma Longitude Surf
The Okuma for it's price point is one of the most powerful surf rods available. Built tough from Okuma's acclaimed graphite composite it is capable of handling big specimens that lesser built rods may break under.
Available in either a spinning or surf casting pole variation with lengths of 9 to 12 feet on offer depending on your needs.
As with some other brands Okuma have decided to designate a "c" for casting and an "s" for spinning so be careful as you order one. All the models come with a very durable build quality. The blanks have enough backbone in them to handle most large species of fish without sacrificing casting performance.
- Graphite composite blanks
- Double footed guide frames
- Aluminum Oxide guide inserts
- LC-C-1202H-1 is 12 foot heavy with fast action casting rod
- LC-C902H-1 is 9 foot heavy with medium/fast action casting rod
- LC-S models are all spinning variations
6. Penn Battalion Surf Casting Rod
The Penn Battalion is a real workhorse of a surf fishing rod.
It has all of the necessary subtly at the tip to handle smaller fish and cast out lighter weights in the 3-5 ounce range.
Yet in the bigger models it is certainly capable of throwing the heavier setups well out beyond the rolling surf.
- Graphite composite blank
- Fuji reel seat
- Available in 10, 11, 12, 12 feet models
- Aluminum oxide guides
Surf Fishing Rods
Rod Length for Surf Fishing
The majority of surf fishing rods fall within the 9-14 foot range. The length of a surf rod is one of the most important attributes to consider when making a choice.
Generally the longer the rod the bigger the casting range you can accomplish.
It you are small framed or have any kind of an injury that might restrict your movement in any way then it is best to stick to a smaller sized rod. Beach casting with a 14 foot rod is not easy especially if there is considerable weight attached to the line.
Ultimately the best rod length for surf fishing is dependent on your experience and what kind of fishing you are doing.
Surf Rod Power
Most rods are rated by there power from light to heavy. For most beach fishing applications a medium to heavy rod is sufficient. Make sure that you pair the rod with a suitable line as specified on the rod. The details about the rod are usually printed on the blank some where above or below the reel seat and should tell what line strength to match the rod to.
When choosing a rod you should always try to purchase one with a graphite reel seat. A metal one may corrode overtime especially as it is exposed to saltwater.
Like the majority of rods you can get a rod for surf fishing with either a cork or a foam handle. There is no real advantage to either. One point of interest to note is that the rod handle on a surf rod is much longer than a freshwater spinning rod.
The bigger for handle is required as the best casting technique for beach casting is using two hands to whip the rod tip around before the line is released. This is the opposite to lightweight spinning setups where one hand does all the casting.
Types of Surf Rods
- Surf Casting - Surf casting rods are generally quite long and are built with the aim of throwing a large weight and bait out past the crashing surf. They tend to have a medium to fast action and a heavy rating.
- Surf Spinning - Surf spinning rods are generally a little shorter than surf casting rods. They can be used for more light weight fishing setups on the beach or rocky inlets. Surf spinning rods tend to have a medium to fast action and a medium to heavy rating.
How to choose a surf rod?
Surf rods are generally longer and built on fairly light blanks relative to their length. They tend to have a medium to high power rating and fairly fast action. These qualities combined allows for heavy weights to be thrown far out past the surf.
Medium Action Surf Rod
A medium action surf rod will bend more from the middle of the rod blank. Because more of the rod will bend it generally requires less force to get a decent cast.
You can still throw a bait a long distance with a medium action surf rod, however it won't be as far as a fast action rod for surf fishing.
- Bends toward the middle of the blank
- Best suited to more delicate baits such as eels
- Can be used by people that are not that physically strong
Fast Action Surf Rod
A fast action rod for surf fishing will ted to bend more from the upper section of the rod blank. They are generally considered to cast the furthest. Require more power to get the rod tip to bend as it is usually much stiffer than a medium action.
- Better for maximum distance
- Requires a lot of force to load the rod tip
- Not suitable for delicate baits
Surf fishing rods are generally split into two different types:
- Surf casting rod
- Surf spinning rod
Although you can get away with choosing one type or the other a lot of fishermen will maintain a separate setup for each type of rod.
If you are a beginner usually a spinning setup is considered easier to master. Once you progress and become more competent you can also add a casting rod to you collection.
Surf casting rods are generally longer and require the use of a baitcasting reel. For surf casting the rod has to be capable of throwing heavy weights a long distance.
The hardware on the rod is slightly different when compared to a spinning rod. The line guides are not as large and they usually sit a lot closer to the rod blank.
The reel seat is also different and it is usually placed in a slightly different position than on a spinning rod.
Spinning rods for surf fishing tend to be shorter than a casting rod. They are also setup so that you can get the maximum cast from a spinning reel possible(a baitcaster will still outperform a spinning reel when heavy weights are used.)
The line guides on a spinning rod are much wider and tend to be larger closest to the reel, they reduce in size as you get closer to the rod tip.
This is because the line comes of the spinning reel spool in a wide circular pattern whereas on a baitcaster the line is fed in an almost straight line.
The two types of line that the majority of fishermen use for surf fishing is mono and braid.
Super slim braid can be a bit of an issue on baitcasting reels if you are casting very long distances. The slimmer braid can tend to bed in to the layers of line underneath. This can result in the line stopping suddenly mid cast and sometimes lead to lines snapping.
Best to go with mono for a baitcasting rod setup and you won't encounter the above scenario as you may with braid.
For a spinning setup you can choose either braid or mono. As the line spool is a lot larger on a good saltwater spinning reel it can handle braid a lot better.