Surf fishing can involve a variety of techniques and provide a lot of different options for us. So the best surf rods to use can also be varied to meet the specific requirements.
Surf rods are generally longer in length, you will find this range starts at around 9 feet and goes all the way up to 15 feet.
Some are designed for spinning, and others more for long casting bait.
|Best Surf Spinning Rods 2020||Best Surf Casting Rods 2020|
|PENN Carnage II Surf Spinning Rod||PENN Carnage II Surf Casting Rod|
|Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rod||St. Croix Avid Surf Casting Rod|
|Shimano SpeedMaster Surf Spinning Rod||Offshore Angler Ocean Master Surf Casting Rod|
|St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod||Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Casting Rod|
|Offshore Angler Power Stick Surf Spinning Rod||PENN Prevail II Surf Casting Rod|
- Best Surf Spinning Rods
- Best Surf Casting Rods
- 1. PENN Carnage II Surf Casting Rod (best overall surf casting)
- 2. St. Croix Avid Surf Casting Rod (best for casting distance)
- 3. Offshore Angler Ocean Master Surf Casting Rod (best for casting heavier weights)
- 4. Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Casting Rod
- 5. PENN Prevail II Surf Casting Rod (best budget option)
In this article I have put together some of the best surf rods currently available so you can see what options there are, and what fits your specific requirements the best. I have broken them down into two categories, surf spinning rods and surf casting rods.
Best Surf Spinning Rods
1. PENN Carnage II Surf Spinning Rod (best overall surf spinning)
#1 Choice for the surf spinning rods category
PENN Carnage 2 Surf Spinning Rod
- Extremely light and powerful rod
- SLS3 composite rod blank construction
- Very sensitive
- Casts well
- Fuji K guides with Alconite inserts
- Fuji reel seat
- Non-slip fore grip
- Good range of sizes
Winner of the best surf spinning rods 2020 category
The PENN Carnage 2 range offers an excellent variety of surf spinning (and casting) rods that are well constructed and offer performance equivalent to rods that are priced much higher than this.
As soon as I saw this rod I was impressed by the attention to detail and the quality in the design.
From the comfortable grip through to the high-performance Fuji K guides, it seems every inch of the rod has been carefully thought out.
The PENN Carnage 2 spinning rod is very light to handle, and this makes throwing lures around the surf a much easier task. Casting lures with this rod is easy, you don’t need to break your back to get some good distance on your lure.
There are many things that I really like about this rod, one of them being just how sensitive the rod is to bites. You can feel the slightest touch, and this is so important if you want to get the maximum hook-up rates.
Overall, I think the PENN Carnage II surf spinning rod is an absolute workhorse of a rod! It has the right combination of brute force for the big fights, and finesse for the improved hook-ups. It is also very reasonably priced; you are getting a lot of quality for your money here.
Match the Carnage II rod up with a PENN spinning reel, and you will have an excellent combination at your disposal.
Rods available in the range:
2. Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rod
Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rod
- Custom long cast concept guide spacing
- Fuji guides with stainless steel frame and Alconite inserts
- High-modulus blank reinforced with 4 outer layers of 90° graphite
- Black shrink tube grip for extra comfort
- Fuji DPS reel seat
- Strong and powerful rod designed to maximize casting distance
The Shimano Tiralejo surf spinning rod has been built to optimize its surf spinning capabilities, and by this, I mean it has been built to be extremely lightweight, full of power and able to cast long distances.
No expense has been spared on the components for the Tiralejo surf rod range, and this is reflected in the price, so it’s not going to be the right choice for everyone because of the price-point.
But for those who are willing to spend a bit more of a surf spinning rod, then the Shimano Tiralejo does provide quality in abundance and delivers the performance you would expect.
When you first handle this rod you immediately appreciate just how light it is, and also the balance when a reel is in place, it just feels perfect to cast some long bombs out past the surf.
Then, when you start casting and retrieving a lure with it, and fight your first fish on it, you can start to appreciate the power this rod provides. It gives you confidence to do battle with the harder fighting fish that lurk in the surf.
But I don’t want it to sound like the Shimano Tiralejo is all about brute force, as it certainly isn’t. The rod itself is pretty thin which I personally love, the thinner the better for me as long as it doesn’t compromise strength and power.
It is also extremely sensitive, you can feel the slightest of knocks of your lure as you retrieve, and should help you to improve hook-up rates.
If you pair the Shimano Tiralejo rod up with a really good spinning reel, then you will have a lethal combination in your hands, and you’ll be keen to hit the surf to see just what you can achieve with it. Yes, it does have a more premium-end price, but it certainly delivers a premium performance.
Rods available in the Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning range:
3. Shimano SpeedMaster Surf Spinning Rod
Shimano SpeedMaster Surf Spinning Rod
- Made for long-distance casting and lure control
- 24ton carbon composite blank
- Precision taper and action
- Black Fuji K-Frame guides with Alconite rings
- Fuji DPS reel seat
- Custom Long Cast Concept Guide Spacing
- Saltwater-impervious shrink-tube grips
- Exceptional value for money
If you need a surf spinning rod that has the ability to launch your lures way beyond the surf, then the Shimano SpeedMaster surf spinning rod is one for the job.
This rod is designed for long distance casting, and Shimano has done an excellent job of making it a real powerhouse for lure fishing in the surf.
The 24ton carbon composite blank used on the Shimano SpeedMaster is where the power is generated from. It has just the right action to encourage the longer casts, and makes doing so quite an effortless task.
Shimano has used Fuji K-Frame guides with Alconite rings on the SpeedMaster rod, and their long cast concept guide spacing allows the line to flow through the guides with minimal resistance to help achieve the long casting distances.
This rod is extremely light and handles well. I like the feel of the rod, and the feedback when pulling lures through the surf is excellent. It is well suited for a wide variety of lures, from surface to bottom.
Overall, the Shimano SpeedMaster is a very good surf fishing rod, that has had a lot of thought put into the design. If you want a rod that you know can launch your lures a long way, then this is one to strongly consider.
Also, if you had been considering the Shimano Tiralejo (a superb surf spinning rod), but didn’t want to spend that much then the SpeedMaster is a very worthy substitute.
Models available in the Shimano SpeedMaster surf spinning range:
4. St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod
St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rod
- Built from premium SC2 graphite
- Specialized lightweight guides with zirconium rings
- 2-piece rods with 1-piece feel
- Fuji DPS reel seat with black hoods
- Very versatile range that covers all types of surf lure fishing
- Custom X-Wrap handle provides comfort, durability and style
- Lightweight rod with great power
What I like about St. Croix rods in general, is that they always look great and tend to deliver in performance too. The St. Croix Mojo surf spinning range is no exception.
The St. Croix Mojo range offers a wide variety of rods, from 7 ft in length all the way up to 12 ft, so plenty of options to cover your specific type of surf lure fishing.
You quickly gain a lot of confidence in these rods due to the very strong backbone it has. It is light as well, so throwing lures around all day doesn’t become an overly laborious task.
The rod does look and feel quite thin, but don’t let this fool you into thinking it is not up to the task. It is a very well-built rod, that provides a great deal of strength and power, this is apparent as soon as you start using it.
The custom X-Wrap handle is very comfortable and allows for sure handling of the rod at all times, I really liked the feel of it.
One thing that should be mentioned about the St. Croix Mojo surf spinning rods is that the 2-piece rods in the range don’t have a 50/50 divide, the split is more like a 70/30. But the reason they have done this is to make the 2-piece rods feel more like a 1-piece.
Also, the 7 ft and 8ft rods come as a 1-piece. While this won’t worry some people, others will prefer the 2-piece just for ease of transport and storage.
Models available in the St. Croix Mojo surf spinning rod range:
5. Offshore Angler Power Stick Surf Spinning Rod – (best budget choice)
Offshore Angler Power Stick Surf Spinning Rod
- Great quality at an affordable price
- Lightweight rod that has a lot of power
- Two-piece, RT2 graphite blank
- Fuji aluminum oxide guides
- Graphite reel seat
- Stainless steel cushioned hoods
- X-wrap rubber over EVA handles
The Offshore Angler Power Stick surf spinning rod offers a lower cost option, without going too low where you start to compromise quality for price.
This rod made the list of best surf spinning rods as it provides a lot of quality, and at an affordable price.
One of the first things I noticed when I looked over the Offshore Angler Power Stick was just how well made it was. It seemed that every aspect of the rod’s design had been well thought out, and this was also apparent in its performance too.
The casting ability of this rod is very impressive. It feels strong, and this gives you the confidence to really put some force into the cast, and when you do the results are comparable to rods that are double the price of this one.
The grip on the Offshore Angler Power Stick has a non-slip X-wrap rubber design over the EVA handles. This is an effective design and helps when casting and retrieving.
Although this rod is not the most sensitive surf spinning rods out of the lot, it is actually very responsive, and it was easy to feel knocks and set hooks early. It is also light to handle, so you can comfortably throw lures for long periods without feeling your arms are going to fall off!
The Offshore Angler Power Stick is a robust rod, the components and material used to build it have been complied to withstand harsh conditions, so you should be able to get years of regular usage from it.
There is a good amount of variety in the Offshore Angler Power Stick surf spinning rod range, with rods from 8 ft all the way up to 12 ft in length.
Overall, I was very impressed by the Offshore Angler Power Stick rod. I feel you are getting value for your money and a rod the really delivers on performance.
Models available in the Offshore Angler Power Stick rod range:
Best Surf Casting Rods
Now we are going to take a look at the best surf casting rods, to help you get an idea of what is available and what we think are the best models at the varying price points.
1. PENN Carnage II Surf Casting Rod (best overall surf casting)
#1 Choice for the surf casting rods category
PENN Carnage 2 Surf Casting Rod
- Strong and sturdy design
- Lightweight and thin, easy to handle
- Superb casting distance
- SLS3 blank construction
- Fuji K guides with Alconite inserts
- Non slip foregrip
- Fuji reel seat
Winner of the best surf casting rods 2020 category
Yes, I love the Carnage 2 range by PENN, both for their surf spinning and surf casting rods.
What I loved about this PENN Carnage 2 surf casting rod, is that it provides the quality and performance that matches much more expensive rods in this category.
The Carnage 2 looks great, it feels great, it casts great, and it fights fish just great as well. Hard to find fault with this, and while not the cheapest rod in this category, it surpasses many other rods that are superior in price.
Long distance casts are pretty easy with this rod. The balance feels good and you get a lot of whip from the top of the rod and the sturdy blank providing the stability to generate the force.
The SLS3 blank construction provides you with the strong backbone you need to cast long and do hard battle with the bigger fish.
But one of the things I love about the Carnage 2 is the fact that it is not just about brute force. This rod offers a lot of finesse too, you can see and feel slightest bites that a lot of rods would just miss.
The rod tip clearly indicates those little taps, and is the rod is really responsive when setting the hook.
The PENN Carnage 2 is very light, and handling it is very comfortable. The grips give you confidence in dry and wet weather, and the diameter of the handle makes for sure handling.
Overall, the PENN Carnage 2 surf casting rod is a great all-round option, and just provides a really good surf fishing experience.
Models available in the PENN Carnage 2 surf casting rod range:
2. St. Croix Avid Surf Casting Rod (best for casting distance)
St. Croix Avid Surf Casting Rod
- Incredible combination of feel and power
- Huge casting distance
- Very light and easy to handle
- Fights hard, a real force
- High-modulus SCIII carbon
- Fuji K-Series KW tangle-free guides with alconite rings and corrosion control
- Fuji DPS deluxe reel seat with Back Stop lock nut and matte grey hoods
- Custom cork tape handle with machined trim pieces
- Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
- 15-year transferable warranty backed by unmatched St. Croix service
- Handcrafted in the U.S.A
Let me start out by saying, that the St. Croix Avid surf casting rod is not going to be an option for everyone because of the price point. It’s pretty expensive, and not everyone can justify spending so much on a rod.
But for those that do want to splash out, well, I think you will be pleased with the quality and performance this rod delivers.
This rod has won an award for it’s overall quality, the ‘ICAST 2019 Best Saltwater Rod Winner!’
Hand-crafted in the USA, the St. Croix Avid surf casting rod oozes quality from top to bottom. And St. Croix has backed this rod with their 15-year transferable warranty, which shows the confidence they have in their product and craftsmanship.
Let’s start by looking at the design and components used on this rod.
The High-modulus SCIII blank has integrated IPC (Integrated Poly Curve) technology, and what this essentially does is allow the rod to have the feel and performance of a 1-piece rod.
The woven graphite used in the blank design provides optimal strength and power, and really lets you put your back into both casting and fighting a fish.
One thing you really do need when surf fishing is a strong and secure reel seat. Nothing worse than a reel seat that works loose, you lose all confidence in your fishing ability when this happens.
The St. Croix Avid has a Fuji DPS Deluxe reel seat and uses a back-stop lock nut to ensure the hoods stay firmly in place and your reel doesn’t budge a millimeter. It sounds technical, but it works extremely well.
The Fuji K-series KW guides are designed to reduce tangles and minimize resistance to enable optimal casting distance. They come with alconite rings that use St. Croix’s Corrosion Control™ matte grey frames to improve durability.
The custom cork grip handle used on the St. Croix Avid surf casting rod does offer supreme grip, although personally I’m not that much of a fan of the look of it.
As expected, the St. Croix Avid surf casting rod performs exceptionally well.
This rod is light, and it feels very well balanced. Of course, it matters what type of surf reel you match it with, but the rod feels powerful when both casting and retrieving.
The casting distance that this rod is able to effortlessly achieve is seriously impressive. The design elements all come into play here, and merge together to generate this casting force that can add significant distance to your casts.
The grip is very comfortable to handle, and it is just the right diameter to allow for both comfort and control in dry and wet conditions.
Overall, the St. Croix Avid is a very impressive surf casting rod. It looks just as good as it performs, and if you are willing to spend a bit more for added quality and performance then your money will be well spent on this rod.
Models available in the St. Croix Avid surf casting rod range:
3. Offshore Angler Ocean Master Surf Casting Rod (best for casting heavier weights)
Offshore Angler Ocean Master Surf Casting Rod
- Throws heavier weights longer distances
- Extremely strong and powerful rod
- Lightweight and easy to cast
- Robust blank construction
- Double-wrapped Fuji K-frame, tangle-free aluminum oxide guides
- Fuji heavy-duty reel seat with cushioned hood
- X-wrap, rubber over EVA handles
Offshore Angler has really impressed me with their surf rods, and this Ocean Master surf casting rod offers quality throughout.
If you need a rod that can throw heavier weights and baits out long distances, then the Offshore Angler Ocean Master surf casting rod is an absolute beast for this.
But that is not its only quality, it offers a lot more than just heavy casting ability.
The rod has been made with good quality components, and the weight of the rod was obviously well considered in the planning stage, as it is a very light rod that is easy to handle.
The blank has been constructed using Carbon Coil technology, which is extremely strong and provides that solid backbone for those bomber casts. It also allows you to really put your back into those hard battles with the bigger fish that lurk around the surf breaks.
The Fuji guides on this rod are very good quality, and they have been designed to last. Strong enough to handle braided line, and durable enough to withstand harsher conditions.
Although this rod has been built for brute force, don’t think that it lacks in feel. While it may not have the finesse of some of the more expensive surf casting rods, it does have a surprisingly good amount of sensitivity to it.
The Fuji reel seat on the Ocean Master is very strong, and holds the reel firmly in place. This will give you more confidence when casting.
The X-wrap grips are sufficiently ‘grippy’ and are comfortable enough to hold as well.
Overall, I love this Offshore Angler Ocean Master surf casting rod, as you really do get a rod that delivers in all departments. But if you need a rod that is capable of hurling heavier weights out beyond the breaks, then this is a no-brainer.
Models available in the Offshore Angler Ocean Master surf casting rod range:
4. Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Casting Rod
Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Casting Rod
- Lightweight rod with good design features
- A good blend of sensitivity and power
- Solid casting distance
- Great balance
- Constructed with a high fiber density blank
- Fuji Hardloy guides that have a smooth finish and braid-proof
- Fuji graphite reel seat
- Lightweight Diamond textured vinyl and EVA grips
- Fuji butt cap
The Tsunami Airwave Series surf casting rod feels really balanced. It was designed to be a lightweight rod, and Tsunami has done a great job of this without compromising any strength or power.
Casting distance is impressive with this rod too. The strong high fiber density blank provides a really strong backbone to help launch long distance casts. It also helps to haul in the bigger, harder fighting fish.
The Fuji Hardloy guides have a smooth finish, and are designed with be able to withstand the abrasive nature of braided line, which will cut through some lesser guides than these.
I really like how sensitive this rod is, you can feel the fish biting clearly, and this gives you a much better chance of hooking into those fish that might be a bit shy and tentative on the bite.
The textured vinyl grips on the Tsunami Airwave Series rod work fairly well and provide adequate grip for both casting and fighting a fish. Not the best grips I have seen, but not the worst either.
Overall, the Tsunami Airwave Series surf casting rod provides a lot of quality at a very decent price.
Models available in the Tsunami Airwave Series Surf Casting Rod range:
5. PENN Prevail II Surf Casting Rod (best budget option)
PENN Prevail II Surf Casting Rod
- Great quality surf casting rod at an affordable price
- Very powerful rod
- 2-piece graphite composite blank
- Graphite reel seat
- Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts
- Rubber shrink tube handles
Good quality fishing equipment at an affordable price is what PENN is known for. The PENN Prevail 2 surf casting rod is no exception to this.
This rod is a real powerhouse. You can lean back into those big fish and really give it some heave and have the confidence that the rod will do the grunt of the work for you.
This power also bodes well for casting, and it is very capable of launching your bait out a very long way. Don’t be afraid to pendulum cast with this rod, it can take it, and the results are impressive!
The ergonomic Winn grips add to the stylish look of the PENN Prevail II rod, but they also provide exceptional grip in both dry and wet weather. The crisscross pattern is apparent both above and below the reel seat.
The stainless-steel guides on the rod have been well positioned to optimize casting distance. But this is the one area I feel that PENN has tried to cut costs on, as the guides are not the same quality as some other rods that are not that much more expensive than this.
I love the styling of this rod too, it certainly looks the part. Match this rod up with a decent reel and you have an excellent surf casting combination in your hands, that can certainly do a very good job for you.
Models available in the PENN Prevail II Surf Casting Rod range:
Whichever surf fishing rod you decide to get, I hope you have a lot of success using it. I would love to hear your surf fishing stories in the comments below, and any comments you have about any of these surf fishing rods mentioned, or any you may use that I haven’t mentioned in this article.