Best Surf Fishing Rods In 2024 Tested And Reviewed

Best Surf Fishing Rods

Written By John VanDerLaan

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Are you looking for the best surf fishing rods?

Well you have come to the right place!

Our team of surf fishing experts share their top picks for best surf rod for catching all of the different surf fishing species.

From striped bass and bluefish, to snook, redfish and everything in between. We have the rod for you complete with in-depth reviews and what we like and don't like about each rod.

These are the exact rods that we use to target our favorite surf species, whether we are in Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, Maryland or the beaches of the Jersey shore, Montauk, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the Cape.

Our Top Picks After Extensive Testing

Best Overall

St. Croix Triumph Surf Spinning Rod

St. croix triumph

Best For The Money

Penn Battalion Surf Rod

penn battalion II

Best Budget

Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Spinning Rod

ugly stik bigwater

Best Surf Fishing Rods At A Glance

How We Tested The Best Surf Fishing Rods

Striped Bass Caught Surf Fishing

We tested each of these surf fishing rods and compared them to each other on a number of different criteria.

Here was the process:

We gathered information from our staff members on their favorite surf rods and why. We then reached out to our readers and our surf fishing friends across the country and got their input.

Next we gathered all of the recommended surf fishing rods and tested and rated them on the following criteria:

  • Casting Ability - We compared the rods and their ability to cast weighted bait rigs and lures of different sizes and weights.
  • Sensitivity - We compared the rods sensitivity and how easy it was to detect light bites.
  • Power to handle large fish - We compared the backbone of the various surf fishing rods and their ability to handle big, powerful fish in the surf.
  • A Comfortable grip - We compared the comfort of each of the grips after a long surf fishoing session with casting and retrieving lures of various sizes and weights.
  • Value - We compared the various surf fishing rods looking for ones that offered the high end features of quality surf fishing rods without breaking the bank.

You can see the results of our testing in the reviews below.

Best Surf Fishing Rod Reviews

Editor’s Choice: St. Croix Triumph Surf Fishing Rod

St. Croix Triumph Surf Fishing Rod

The St. Croix Triumph and other fishing rod lines by the company come with a bit of history. St. Croix has been making hand-crafted rods for more than 70 years. Founder, Gordon Schluter began reviving his fishing rod business in 1977 in Park Falls, Wisconsin where the company is still based today.

These days, St. Croix is run by Gordon's three sons, David, Jeff, and Paul. St. Croix has a loyal following of anglers dating back decades. Their attention to detail in rod building is legendary. They boast 32 pairs of hands build each rod!


  • Material: SCII carbon fiber
  • Guides: Sea Guide Atlas – lightweight, hard aluminum-oxide
  • Reel Seat: Fuji DPS with frosted silver hoods
  • Handle: Custom cork with 70/30 split grip design
  • Power: Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Moderate-Fast
  • Length: 10 feet 6 inches
  • Line Weight: 10-25 lb
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Place of Manufacture: Park Falls, Wisconsin

What We Like

  • St. Croix Triumph premium surf rods are focused on long-distance casting necessary for casting your bait or lure out there as far as you can get it.
  • Even though it is lightweight, it still has plenty of hook setting power.
  • You cannot beat the durability of these rods. I have several that are over 5 years old and still perform flawlessly
  • Nice range of available sizes and strengths.
  • We love the 5 year warranty and St. Croix's excellent customer service.
  • We love that these rods are made in the USA.

What We Don't Like

  • The rods are pricey, but well worth it.

Buying good surf fishing rods is like anything, you have to spend the money to get something that will last a lifetime. Or, you can buy cheaper rods and buy them over and over as something fails. St. Croix is a well-known brand that has been serving customers for many years and from the looks of things, will be around for many more.

The Triumph line of rods has a nice selection on the shorter end for surf rods. If the fish aren't farther than 80 yards, then there's really no point in getting a big 12 or 14-foot rod. The 7-8 ft rods are great all-around inshore fishing rods that won't disappoint. The 10-foot rods will get you out over the surf zone in most scenarios.

Note – St. Croix rods run a little heavy on power. The Medium power rating is probably slightly stronger than you're used to.

RELATED: Best Surf Fishing Reels

Best Surf Fishing Rod for the Money: PENN Battalion II Surf Spinning Rod

Penn Battalion Surf Rod

We've made no secret of the fact that we've loved PENN rods and reels for ages. What's nice is that while they are perhaps known for their high-end expensive reels and rods, they also make some of the best surf fishing rods for the money as well, such as the PENN Battalion II.


  • Material: Graphite-fiberglass composite blank
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Reel Seat: Fuji graphite
  • Handle: Shrunk rubber, grippy handle
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight: 15-30 lb
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Rod Weight: 16.5 oz
  • Warranty: 1 year

What We Like

  • Ideal for PENN Battle III and Spinfisher VI spinning reels. Two reels we love a lot.
  • Nice full range of surf rods in this line.
  • The price is perfect! The Battalion II combines affordability with durability and functionality.
  • The rubber handle is super-grippy when casting and when we have wet or sweaty hands.

What We Don't Like

  • The 1-year warranty is shorter than what it should be.

PENN fishing reels and rods have always been a good choice for us and the type of fishing we do. From freshwater to surf fishing, we use PENN for a good percentage of our fishing. The Battalion II is a welcomed upgrade to an already popular line of rods that have proven themselves over time.

St. Croix Seage Surf Spinning Rod

St. Croix's Seage surf spinning rods come with 7 to 12-foot rods made for enduring the harsh surf you may encounter anywhere in the world. The Seage are built with ART and Veil reinforcement tech to increase toughness and to take falls better. Offset ferrules on 2-piece rods create a one-piece feel and responsiveness.

The model that we tested is the 10.5 foot Seage.


  • Material: SCII carbon fiber - stronger and lighter
  • Guides: Sea Guide Hero Hi-Grade guides + slim aluminum oxide rings
  • Reel Seat: Sea Guide NPS reel seat with black hoods
  • Handle: X-Flock covered slim diameter handles and Winn comfort-focused foregrip
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Moderate-Fast 
  • Length: 10 feet 6 inches
  • Line Weight: 15-40 lb
  • Lure Weight: 3/4-4 oz
  • Warranty: 15 years
  • Place of Manufacture: Designed in Park Falls, WI. Hand made in Fresnillo, Mexico

What We Like

  • Extensive choices of rod length, power, and some action settings.
  • The largest 12 ft size rod can throw a pound of weight. If you're strong, you can sail heavy rigs out there to deeper water. We know from experience!
  • We love the 15 year warranty!

What We Don't Like

  • They are pricey, but you get what you pay for.

If you're looking for a premium rod that will outlast your premium reels, these St. Croix Seage surf spinning rods are the ones you're looking for. We treasure ours!

Best Conventional Surf Fishing Rod: PENN Battalion II Surf Conventional Casting Rod

PENN 10’ Battalion II Surf Conventional Casting Rod

Here is our favorite conventional surf fishing rod, the 11ft long PENN Battalion II conventional surf casting rod. We pair this surf rod with one of our top picks for best conventional surf fishing reel for unmatched casting distance on the beach.

The PENN Battalion conventional rods come in 3 sizes (10, 11, 12 ft). We tested the 11 foot model.


  • Material: Graphite-fiberglass composite blank
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Reel Seat: Fuji graphite
  • Handle: Shrunk rubber, grippy handle
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Action: Moderate fast
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight: 15-30 lb
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Rod Weight: 15.7 oz
  • Warranty: 1 year.

What We Like

  • Tough Rods – The Battalion II are battle-tested rods at a great price.
  • The Grippy handles are a bonus, it makes the rod feel great while using it.
  • We've never broken a PENN Battalion rod.

What We Don't Like

  • Again, the 1-year warranty doesn't inspire confidence, but these are tough rods.

We don't tend to mix and match rods and reels. So, we pair our PENN conventional reels with PENN rods, and usually, it's the Battalion II for all of our conventional surf fishing reels.

Best Casting Surf Rod: PENN Carnage III 

PENN Carnage III Surf Fishing Rod

The Penn Carnage III surf casting rods are world-class. These are strong, reliable rods that use spiral carbon wraps under a longitudinal carbon-fiber layer which makes a very strong rod. Spec'd out with high-tech features and a good solid PENN rod feel, this one is an exceptional addition to your surf fishing cart.

We tested the 11 foot model.


  • Material: SLC2 carbon fiber.
  • Guides: Fuji K-series guides with SiC inserts.
  • Reel Seat: Sea-Guide aluminum DAPS and graphite TCS reel seats on some models.
  • Handle: Hypalon non-slip handle.
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Moderrate fast
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight: 20-40 lb
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Warranty: 1 year

What We Like

  • High-tech components including carbon fiber blanks.
  • Good range of Power and Action options.
  • Very strong rods that cast a mile.

What We Don't Like

  • 1-year warranty on a premium rod like this doesn't seem right.

If you do much surf fishing with a baitcasting reel, this is an ideal rod in many different configurations to choose from.

RELATED: Baitcasting Reel vs Spinning Reel

Best Budget Surf Fishing Rod: Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Spinning Rod

Finally, we arrive at my favorite budget surf fishing rod. I've used my Ugly Stiks for everything from perch, crappy, and bass in the freshwater lakes of Florida all the way to catching monster jacks in the middle of Tampa Bay on my Perception fishing kayak.

The Bigwater Ugly Stik is for long casting with big, heavy surf fishing lures. Their graphite-fiberglass blend increases strength, sensitivity, and durability to give you a rod that just won't quit. The Clear Tip design gives extra sensitivity where you need it, in the rod tip, and you definitely notice it versus surf fishing rods without it.

The Bigwater series spans a massive length range at 6 ft 6 in all the way to 15 ft! They don't mess around!

We tested the 11 foot surf fishing model.


  • Material: Ugly Tech graphite and fiberglass construction
  • Guides: Ugly Tuff. One-piece stainless steel guides without inserts
  • Reel Seat: Graphite
  • Handle: Eva grips
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight: 20-40 lb
  • Lure Weight: 3-8 oz
  • Warranty: 7 years.
  • Place of Manufacture: U.S. made blanks with various parts made in Asia

What We Like

  • The Ugly Stik line of rods is known all over the fishing world, it has been in existence for at least 30 years. I used them as a young man and I'm still using them today!
  • This line of Bigwater rods has a massive selection of rods to choose from. They're so affordable that I generally have 3-4 different sizes and a couple of rods in each size with varying power levels.
  • We love the 7 year warranty, although I have 15 year old Ugly Stiks that are still going strong.

What We Don't Like

  • I'm trying hard to come up with something, but I just can't. I've been so happy over the years with mine that I don't have anything to complain about. I broke one in a truck door once, but that was entirely my fault!

Stripers, blues, jacks, permit, reds, snook, kings, tarpon, Spanish Mackerel?  The 11 foot heavy action rod has the power to handle even the biggest fish in the surf.

RELATED: Are Ugly Stik Rods Good?

St. Croix Avid Series Surf Fishing Rod

The Avid series by St. Croix is the best surf casting rod we own that is made by them. Sure, it's pricey, all the St. Croix rods are more expensive because of the time and attention to detail invested in each rod.

The Avid series has 3 rods: VSC100MF2 (10 ft), VSC110MHF2 (11 ft), and the VSC120HMF2 (12 ft).

We test3e th3 11 foot model.


  • Material: Blanks made of premium high-modulus SCIII carbon fiber
  • Guides: Fuji K-series KW tangle-free guides with Alconite rings and Corrosion Control
  • Reel Seat: Fuji DPS Deluxe reel seat with Back Stop lock nut
  • Handle: 70/30 split grips with custom cork and machined trim
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight: 15-40 lb
  • Lure Weight: 3-8 oz
  • Warranty: 15 years.
  • Place of Manufacture: Designed in Park Falls, WI. Hand made in China.

What We Like

  • High-tech carbon fiber blanks.
  • Exceptional, long casting surf rods!
  • 15-year warranty is transferable to new owners.

What We Don't Like

  • The price is higher than we would like!

If you have the money and you can't see yourself fishing with anything but the best, there aren't many that can contend with the Avid series surf rod by St. Croix.

Shimano Tiralejo 2-Piece Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

The actions and guide settings of the Tiralejo series are matched carefully with the Shimano Ultegra XTD and Ultegra CI4+ surf reels and go well with the Shimano Tranx and Torium reels. Paired together, the casting distances with these rods and reels reach new unexplored territory!

The Tiralejo line of 2-piece surf spinning rods are available in sizes range from 9 ft 6 in to 12 ft.

We tested the 11 foot model.


  • Material: C4S High-modulus carbon fiber in a 4-layer process
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Reel Seat: Fuji
  • Handle: Shrink tube rubber 70/30
  • Power: Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 11 feet
  • Line Weight (braid): 30-65 lb
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Warranty: 1 year.

What We Like

  • High-tech carbon fiber.
  • Made for braided lines, and can handle heavy line.
  • The Shimano brand has a high degree of authority in the space. Some of us on the team have used their gear for 45 years!

What We Don't Like

  • Weak 1-year warranty.

Shimano has been making great reels and rods for a very long time. You can't go wrong with their best-ever surf fishing rod with top tech and components.

Best Surf Fishing Travel Rod: Okuma Voyager Signature Surf Travel Rod

Okuma Voyager Signature Surf Travel Rod

A lot of us travel to fish and it can be trying times when attempting to figure out if your rod is going to make the trip with you. With this Okuma Voyager Signature surf travel rod, you can be sure it will make it because it breaks down into 4 equal-sized pieces. It fits in a standard TSA tube, and if you follow the link to see it online you'll get a free travel tube with your purchase.

These Okuma rods are built for long casts from the shore. The 10 ft rod breaks down to just 2.5 ft long. You can fit that in your suitcase or in the supplied travel tube.

There are 3 rods in 2 sizes in this signature series: VSS-S-904M (9 ft), VSS-S-1004H (10 ft), and VSS-S-1004MH (10 ft).

We tested the 10 foot medium heavy action rod.


  • Material: 24-ton carbon blank
  • Guides: Fuji tangle-free guides with FazLite inserts
  • Reel Seat: Fuji DPS
  • Handle: Non-slip rubber shrink tube and EVA for fore and rear grips
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: All rods are Moderate fast
  • Line Weight: 15-30 lb
  • Lure Weight: 1-4 oz
  • Rod Weight: 12.1 oz
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan

What We Like

  • An ultra-portable rod that turns into a great surf rod when assembled.
  • The best thing about this surf rod is that it feels like a 1-piece rod.
  • A free travel tube for airline flights.
  • Good components.

What We Don't Like

  • Short warranty.

There aren't very many surf fishing rods that break down into 4 pieces. This Okuma Voyager is a good quality rod that will allow you to be much more mobile in planning fishing trips away from your usual fishing spots. We haven't found a better portable surf rod than this one.

Best Surf Fishing Rod Under $100: Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rod

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rod

This is Okuma's best affordable composite graphite-fiberglass surf fishing rod. It features stainless steel double-footed guides and aluminum oxide inserts. Okuma prides itself on delivering durable and highly functional rods at a very affordable price. These are spinning rods in lengths from 9 to 12 ft. Cork tape grips with EVA foam cushions above and below the reel seat make this a comfortable rod in all conditions.

We tested the 11 foot model.


  • Material: Sensitive graphite composite blanks
  • Guides: Aluminum oxide guide inserts and double-footed guide frames
  • Reel Seat: Stainless steel hooded
  • Handle: Cork-wrapped handles and soft EVA material cushions above and below the handle
  • Power: Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 20-40 lb
  • Lure Weight: 3-8 oz
  • Rod Weight: 26.8 oz
  • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan

What We Like

  • Great value for the money!
  • Nearly unbreakable rods.
  • Good variety of sizes and leaning toward the heavier fish.

What We Don't Like

  • Short warranty.

If you're looking for a reliable better than entry-level rod, this Okuma Longitude could be the surf fishing rod you're looking for. We haven't broken ours and no, we're not that great at taking care of rods when the fish is on and we gotta do anything possible to land it. If you have been looking at rods in or near this price range, just grab one of these and be done with it. You'll be glad you did.

RELATED: Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combo

Things to Consider When Buying a Surf Fishing Rod

Surf Fisherman On a New Jersey Beach

Rod Length

The length of your surf fishing rod is important to take into consideration because it affects your casting distance, control of your line, and the amount of power you can use to fight the fish. We'll cover each of these below.

Casting Distance – When you have a longer rod, you can cast farther out into the surf. This can be important when the fish are not close by, or when you're not fishing from a pier or other spot where you can easily reach deeper water.

RELATED: Surf Fishing Tips And Techniques

The length of a longer rod gives you extra leverage to really swing the rod and send your rigs sailing far out there away from shore. Surf fishing rods of 9 to 12 feet are common, but even bigger 14 and 15-foot rods are used by some surf fishing anglers who know they really need to get the maximum distance on their casts.

The accuracy of your casts is also improved by a longer rod. Even if you can cast almost as far with a smaller rod, it will be easier to place your rig where you want it with a longer surf fishing rod.

Line Control – Another reason a long fishing rod is better when fishing in the surf is that you can use it to manage your line and the angle of your pulling on the fish when you're fighting it.

Surf fishing requires a tight line with little to no slack. This is more easily accomplished when the rod is long and you're able to quickly take up the slack just by raising the rod tip up and over waves. Long rods help you keep in close contact with your lure or bait and help you maneuver the fish around obstacles or even away from sharks chasing your hooked fish!

Fighting Power – Longer rods are far preferable when fighting bigger fish because you can use the leverage against the fish to tire it out and bring it in quicker. You can stop fish from running into rocks or around a dock or pier pilings and other underwater hazards.

When surf fishing, you never know how big of a fish you're going to land. If you suddenly have a big permit, cobia, redfish or black drum on the line, you're going to be much better off with a big powerful rod to help you land that fish.

Of course, the length of your surf fishing rod depends a lot on your personal preference, the species of fish you are targeting, and the conditions you are fishing in. Longer rods are almost always better at the beach for casting, line control, and extra power in fighting fish.

If you are fishing from a dock where there are lots of things you can bang into with your long rod, it may become a liability too. Keep all of this in mind when purchasing a surf fishing rod!

Rod Power

Rod power is an important factor in choosing a surf fishing rod because it dictates how much weight the rod can handle easily. Here's why rod power matters when surf fishing:

Lure and Bait (Rig) Weight – The power of a rod refers to its ability to handle the weight of the rig and bait you're using. A rod with not enough power won't be able to handle the weight of larger lures or bait, which can result in poor casting and a weaker hook set than you need.

Fighting Power – The rod's power affects how well it can help you fight fish. A rod with more power can handle larger fish and help you reel them in more quickly. This is really important in the surf where you're battling waves, currents, and maybe sharks pursuing your catch!

Sensitivity – Rod sensitivity is important for detecting bites. A less powerful rod is more sensitive and allows you to feel even the slightest bite, while a heavier power rod will be less sensitive but more powerful in reeling in the trophy fish.

Line Weight – A heavier power rod will be matched with a heavier line weight, which can affect casting distance and accuracy.

RELATED: What Size Reel For Surf Fishing?

Rod Action

Rod action is an important factor to consider when choosing a surf rod for fishing because it determines how the rod flexes and how it responds. Here are some reasons why rod action matters in surf fishing:

Casting Distance – The rod's action affects how far it can cast. A fast action rod flexes near the top and a slower action rod flexes more toward the middle of it. To get a good distance, most surf rods are in the moderate-fast category.

Sensitivity – The action of a rod also affects its sensitivity, which is important for detecting bites. A fast-action rod will be less sensitive but more powerful, while a slower-action rod will be more sensitive but less powerful.

Fighting Power – The rod's action affects how it handles fish and how much power it can provide. A fast action rod will have more backbone and be better for fighting big fish.

Fishing Technique – Different fishing techniques are better depending on the rod's action. For example, a fast-action rod is better for jigging or casting lures, while a slower-action rod is better for bait fishing.

RELATED: Best Time Of Day To Surf Fish

Number of Pieces (portability)

If you're not traveling by your own vehicle to go fishing across the state or country and you need to fly, this presents certain logistical problems. How do you take all of your gear and transport it without breaking anything or having it scatter throughout your suitcase?

Tackle boxes with individual trays wrapped in saran wrap can help to keep hooks and other small things in the tray where they're supposed to stay, even when upside down.

If you're bringing a surf rod on your trip, you would have a lot less trouble if you bought a rod that is collapsible into sections. Three sections at least, but four sections are ideal. With your 10 ft rod broken down into 4 pieces, you're looking at just 2.5 ft in length. There are TSA-approved containers that are made for that size rod.

We cover one of these fishing rods on this page that many people (us included) use for some trips where we need to fly. The Okuma Voyager rod we talk about above is a great example of a portable rod with excellent components. The price may be just out of your range until you consider the benefit of having a large rod you can take anywhere with you.

Handle Material

Closeup of a surf rod cork handle

The material used in the handle of a surf fishing rod can have a significant impact on its use, durability, castability, grip, and other important factors. Handle materials often used in construction are cork, EVA foam, rubber, and synthetic material like plastic.

Cork Handles – Cork is ultra-lightweight and provides a slipless grip when dry or wet. Many anglers prefer cork and get it for all of their fishing rods. I like cork for my freshwater rods because I'm not usually fishing for big fish in that environment. To me, cork degrades, chips, and comes unglued more often than foam or rubber.

Cork is a natural material that provides a soft and warm feel in the hand. Cork is fairly durable and long-lasting but it can be more expensive than other materials and is not as resistant to wear and tear with heavy use.

EVA Foam – This is the best handle material to put on a surf rod or any rod for that matter. It is soft and comfortable, lightweight, and highly resistant to damage during hard use. It's an ideal material for anglers who fish often.

EVA foam is also highly customizable, allowing manufacturers to create handles with a range of different textures and shapes.

Rubber – Real rubber that is combined with other materials to shrink-wrap it to the handle is also a great material to use on surf rod handles. It is very grippy and water doesn't affect it. The comfort level of this style handle is variable with the thicker rubber handles being much more comfortable.

Synthetics – Materials like plastic are also used in fishing rod handles, often in tandem with cork or EVA foam. These materials are also highly durable and resistant to damage, making them a good choice for anglers who fish in rugged environments or are hard on their gear.

Synthetic materials are also highly customizable, allowing manufacturers to create handles with a wide range of textures and shapes. However, these materials may not provide the same level of comfort or grip as real rubber or EVA foam.

Other Factors – The shape, texture, and length of the handle can also affect the functionality and feel of the rod. Handles with a thicker diameter can provide a more comfortable grip for larger hands, while handles with a thinner diameter can be easier to grasp for smaller hands. Textured handles can provide better grip and control in wet or slippery conditions, while smooth handles may be more comfortable for long periods of use.

Rod Material

Best Surf Rod

The material used in the rod blank plays a crucial role in surf fishing as it can directly impact your casting distance, accuracy, sensitivity, and overall fishing experience. The 4 main materials used in surf fishing rods are graphite, fiberglass, composites, and carbon fiber.

When selecting a surf fishing rod, it's important to consider the type of fishing you'll be doing, as well as your own skill level and personal preferences. If you're just starting out or targeting larger fish, a fiberglass rod may be the best choice. If you're an experienced angler and want the best sensitivity and casting distance, a graphite rod may be the way to go. If you want a balance of both, a composite or carbon fiber rod may be the ideal choice.


Graphite rods are known for being sensitive, lightweight, and having fast action. They are great for casting long distances and detecting even the lightest bites. Graphite is also highly durable and resistant to damage from saltwater and UV rays, making it a popular choice among serious anglers.

One drawback of pure graphite rods is that they are more expensive. They are also not as forgiving when fighting larger fish.


Fiberglass rods are more flexible and forgiving than graphite, which makes them a good choice for beginners or anglers targeting larger fish species. They can absorb shock and pressure better, which means you're less likely to lose your catch due to a sudden tug on the line.

Fiberglass rods are also more affordable than graphite, making them a great option for anglers on a budget. However, they tend to be heavier and less sensitive than graphite, which can make casting and detecting bites a bit more difficult.


Composite rods are a blend of graphite and fiberglass, combining the best features of both materials. They offer excellent sensitivity and casting distance while still providing the flexibility and durability of fiberglass.

Composite rods tend to be more affordable than pure graphite rods but may still be slightly more expensive than fiberglass. They are a great option for anglers who want a balance between sensitivity and strength. Many surf rods use both materials in their construction.

Carbon Fiber

Some high-end rods are made with carbon fiber. Rods like the Carnage III use carbon fiber. The material is super strong, flexible, responsive, and very lightweight. The only drawback is the high cost.


Budget is always a consideration, even if you have the money, isn't it? The benefits of a rod have to outweigh, or at least come equal to the cost of it.

In choosing a rod and all of your other gear the best way to go about it is to list things that you need it to do. Some things are going to be required, and others are options. The type of handle on your surf rod might be an option for you. For me, it's a requirement. I need rubber or hard foam. I don't prefer cork at all.

List your requirements and things you'd like to have but that aren't entirely necessary. See whether you can afford rods with those features. If so, you're set. If not, scale down a bit and reevaluate what you really need.

Surf rods over $100 or so are better than rods less than $100 but by how much? One of the best budget rods you can buy is the Ugly Stik. I've seen more of them on the water than anything. That could be a function of their excellent marketing campaign, but it's also because the things just don't break. They have a wide variety of options to choose from and it fits what many surf anglers need in a rod.

Any of the rods on this page will serve you well. Choose from these, or the brands that make these rods and you should get what you pay for.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best rod length for surf fishing?

The best rod length for surf fishing depends on what fish you hope to catch. The optimal size surf rod is a 10-foot rod in most cases. With it, you can reach fish in and beyond the surf zone and closer fish that are not so far out.

Most surf fishing rods range from 9 to 14 feet in length. Most anglers choose a rod between 10-12 feet long because it gives them a little of the best of both worlds. They can fish close and far with it. This is key for surf fishing when you may need to cast farther out to a school of fish, but most of your fishing is closer to shore.

Shorter surf fishing rods are great for casts under 50 yards. Longer surf rods can give you much more distance to reach fish in deeper water or beyond the surf break.

The best rod length for surf fishing depends on what type of fish you are targeting and where in the water they are located. It can be really helpful to ask other anglers in your area and local tackle shop staff to get an idea of what length rod can be best for areas you are unfamiliar with. Or, just use the internet to get surf reports for the areas you're interested in fishing.

Can I use a 7-foot rod for surf fishing?

Yes, it is possible to use a 7-foot rod for surf fishing, I did this for years. However, it may not be the best overall choice if you're surf fishing. Here are some things to consider when choosing the length of your surf fishing rod:

Casting Distance – A 7-foot rod cannot cast as far as a 10 to 15-foot rod. If you need the extra distance, a longer rod will be better because you can always also reach shorter distances with it.

Fighting Power – A longer rod gives you more leverage and power when fighting big fish. If you are routinely catching larger fish you're going to want a longer rod to make it easier on you. A shorter rod just doesn't have the same ability to control a strong fish in the surf.

Targeted Species – If you're fishing for smaller species like pompano, trout, snapper, or flounder, a 7-foot rod may be a perfect size. If going for bigger fish, a bigger rod is a better choice.

A 7-foot surf rod can be ideal for holding for long periods of time and casting short distances and catching smaller fish. If you're targeting bigger fish and deeper water, especially out past the surf zone where waves are breaking, you should opt for a longer surf rod at least 10 ft long.

What's the difference between a surf rod and beach rod?

Surf fishing rods and beach rods are two different types of fishing rods that are often used for saltwater fishing from shore. While there is some overlap in their use, there are also some key differences between them.

Intended use is what best defines a surf rod vs a beach rod. Surf fishing rods are designed specifically for fishing in and past the surf zone where the waves break. Beach rods can be used for everything closer to shore.

Surf fishing rods are designed specifically for fishing in and past the surf zone, where waves and currents can be strong and the water can be deeper. Surf rods are usually longer and more powerful than other types of fishing rods, and can range in length from 9 to 15 feet (or more). Surf fishing rods are designed to be able to cast long distances and to handle heavy lines and lures, making them well-suited for targeting larger species like permit and sharks.

Beach rods, on the other hand, are a more general-purpose rod for fishing in a variety of beach and shoreline environments. They are typically shorter and more versatile than surf fishing rods, with lengths ranging from 7 to 10 feet. Beach rods are designed to be able to cast a variety of lures and baits, and to handle a range of line weights. They are well-suited for targeting smaller species like pompano, flounder, and whiting, as well as for surf fishing in less challenging conditions.

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How heavy should a surf rod be?

The choice of a surf rod will depend on a few factors, including rod power, line weight, lure weight, the type of fish you're targeting, and any preference you may have.

A good rule of thumb is to choose a surf rod with a power rating that matches the line weight and lure size you are using and to choose a rod length to match the conditions you will be fishing in.

These factors are worth considering when choosing the right weight for your surf rod:

Rod Power – The power of the rod means its ability to handle different lines and lure weights. Heavier surf rods are typically rated as medium-heavy or heavy power. This means they are capable of handling heavier lines and larger lures. The power of the rod determines the maximum weight it can handle comfortably. Note, you can go outside the recommended limits slightly, they are not set in stone.

Line Weight – The weight of the line you use depends on what size fish you want to catch and the conditions you're fishing in. Line weight between 20-50 lb. for your main line is great for surf fishing.

Lure Weight – The weight of the lure you use is also related to the size of the fish you are targeting and the conditions. Surf rods can handle lure weights from 1 to 16 ounces on average.

The surf rod you choose needs to be heavy enough to handle the line weight and lure size you will be using, and the fish you will be catching.

Should I get a medium-heavy or heavy surf rod?

The choice between buying a medium heavy or heavy surf rod will depend on a few factors, including the size of the fish you are targeting, the conditions you are fishing in, and your personal preference.

Getting a medium-heavy surf rod will serve you better in more situations than a heavy surf rod will. Meaning, your fishing experience while catching smaller fish will be better with a medium-heavy rod. Your experience with a heavy surf rod will be better only if you hook into massive size fish or sharks. So, it depends on what you're targeting.

For me, I tend to get a less powerful rod over a more powerful one because I think it increases my options for catching smaller fish. That, and I don't surf fish for huge fish or sharks very often at all. Sharks are usually just a nuisance to me really because I just don't need to catch them to have a good surf fishing trip.

Fish Size – When targeting larger species of fish such as striped bass, permit, or sharks, a heavy surf rod would be a better choice as it can handle the weight of heavier lines and larger lures needed to catch them. but for smaller species like reds or black drum, a medium-heavy or even medium surf rod will be fine.

Conditions – If you are fishing in rough conditions with strong currents or high winds, a heavy surf rod can provide more power and control to help you land your fish. A medium-heavy surf rod can be better for calmer conditions where lighter lures and lines are used.

Personal Preference – Your personal preference and experience also come into play when choosing between a medium-heavy and heavy surf rod. If you prefer a more powerful rod and enjoy the challenge of fighting larger fish like sharks, a heavy surf rod is probably a better choice for you. If you prefer a more sensitive and lighter rod, a medium-heavy (or lighter) surf rod may be more suitable.

In short, let the activity dictate what the better rod and reel, bait, line, and rig are appropriate for the fishing you're doing.

How far should you be able to cast a surf rod?

The distance you can cast a surf rod depends mostly on your casting technique, but there are some other factors at play as well. Your strength and body type play a role as do the length and power of the rod, the fishing line you're using (braid is best), and the weight of the rig you're throwing (heavier the better). When all of these are optimized, you can throw a bait way out there in the surf, even over 100 yards!

Most experienced surf fishermen can cast their rigs between 50 and 150 yards, depending on the factors just mentioned. Remember, casting as far as you can is not always the most important factor for a successful outing on the water. In many cases you won't need to cast far at all, fish can be in very shallow water and in areas where the currents of the water are bringing bait close to shore. A simple toss may get you there!

If you are new to surf fishing it's a good idea to practice your casting technique and work on developing your accuracy and consistency before worrying too much about the distance you can cast out. Shorter and more accurate casts can be much more effective than a long and inaccurate one. It's important to choose the right length reel for the conditions you will be fishing in.

Your maximum casting distance will increase over time as you perfect your technique.

Final Thoughts

When people begin fishing from the beach, they don't really consider all of the factors involved and for that reason, a lot of them don't have such a great experience. If you take the time to read about surf fishing rods above and about surf fishing reels and how to catch fish here on Fisherman's Authority, you'll be way ahead of everyone else.

Catching fish is not all that difficult once you understand the basics. Get a good surf fishing rod and reel and get out there and do it for a few days a month and you'll see how quickly your knowledge increases. You may quickly become an expert on the spots you fish most often.

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Being able to cast very long distances and short distances accurately is an important set of skills that will serve you well and definitely catch you more fish! Spend some time on education and choosing the right surf fishing gear for the ultimate experience! Let us know how you do in the comments below!

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John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the founder and lead editor at Fisherman's Authority. John is a passionate fisherman whose travels have taken him all over the country in search of different species of gamefish. He has won bass fishing tournaments, including the 1987 Candlewood Classic. He also chases winter steelhead in upstate New York, summer stripers in New England and spends a lot of time fishing the waters of Florida Keys. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association Of America.

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