Best Surf Fishing Rods: 5 Top Saltwater Rod Picks of 2024

The best surf fishing rods for saltwater fishing reviewed by professional anglers

Surf fishing requires a fishing rod that can handle the rigors of surf fishing and needs to be exceptionally durable and reliable.

Best Long Distance Casting
Tsunami Airwave Elite
9.4

This rod was specifically designed with one major thing in mind and this is the long-distance performance with minimal physical effort.

The rod has a High density and high-fiber blank construction which offers lightweight, increased sensitivity, and faster shock recovery when setting the hook on fish.

Best Surf Fishing Rod
Shimano Tiralejo
9.7

The Shimano Tiralejo combines top-quality graphite blank with excellent marine-grade fittings such as Fuji K frame alconite guides and a Fuji reel seat. It’s a rod that can cast a mile and won’t let you down while still retaining enough sensitivity to detect bites.

Best Value Surf Fishing Rod
Okuma Solaris
9.5

The Solaris was designed for hardcore surf fishermen using the popular IM6 graphite blanks to give an exceptional performance on all levels. Other great features of this rod are the awesome Fuji cushioned reel seat and the great-value price.

In this article, we will give you our pick of the best surf fishing rods on the market today and the reasons why they are so great at the task of fishing the surf.

Shimano Tiralejo
Shimano Tiralejo
Shimano Tiralejo
Our Score

The Shimano Tirelejo was designed to match up perfectly with the Shimano Ultegra XTD and Ultegra CI4+ surf reels and also pair well with Shimanos Tranx and Torium reels as well.

Shimano refers to these reels and the Tiralejo and the “long cast concept” but you can still use any reel you prefer, but with the meticulous placement of the guides along with precise action these reels will really make this rod an amazing tool for surf cast anglers.

The rod blank was built using C4S technology, which utilizes a high modulus blank while wrapping the blank with 4 layers of 90-degree graphite.

This method greatly increases the angler’s maximum pull power and strength of the rod while maintaining excellent sensitivity.

Other features of the rod are Fuji K frame alconite guides and Fuji reel seat.

St. Croix Mojo Surf
St. Croix Mojo Surf
St. Croix Mojo Surf
Our Score

If you have dove into other articles on the blog that talks about the best rods, you will notice that there are always one or two St. Croix rods listed, that’s because St. Croix is in my humble opinion one of the best fishing rod companies out there for a variety of reasons, and has some of the best quality control and customer service in the industry.

Like many other St. Croix offerings, the rod blank feature premium quality SCII graphite, offering incredible rod blank performance, along with the 2 coats of slow cure flex-coat for added protection over the rod blank and goes beyond the single coating of most rod brands.

 Other great features of the St.Croix Mojo Surf rods are, a Fuji DPS reel seat with black hoods, Specialized weight-saving surf guides with zirconium rings and black frames, and off-set ferrules on two-piece models providing one-piece performance.

One really cool-looking but the very functional feature is the X wraps on the handle and reel butt, providing a combination of style, comfort, and durability.

And as with all St. Croix rods, you get a 5-year warranty in the rare event of rod failure or imperfections.

  • SCII graphite
  • X wrap handles
  • 5-year warranty
TICA UGSA Series
TICA UGSA Series
TICA UGSA Series
Our Score

The USGA series has a blank that is constructed of high-modulus TC3 graphite, giving the rod a fast reaction under loads, flexibility, and sensitivity.

The rod is very lightweight for its size and was designed to be able to be carried all day up and down beaches in pursuit of fish without tiring or fatiguing the angler.

Other features of this awesome and old-school looking surf cast rod are, Fuji alconite tip top guide and Fuji hardloy ring guides to help dissipate heat when your drag is screaming and line is peeling out due to large fish, Custom TICA sliding and foldable hook keeper, nonslip cork hand and rod butt, and custom diamond rod black wraps.

There are also a huge variety of rod lengths, actions, and powers to choose from to suit any species you can catch from the beach.

Okuma Solaris
Okuma Solaris
Okuma Solaris
Our Score

The Solaris was designed with the hardcore surf fisherman in mind. Using the ever-popular IM6 graphite blanks found throughout the fishing rod industry to give an exceptional performance on all levels.

Other great features of this hardcore surf rod are Fuji’s awesome cushioned reel seats, something you don't see featured on a lot of rods, non-slip cork wrap butt, and fore grips for exceptional grip in adverse weather conditions.

The rod sections near the reel seat are made from EVA foam at the points where your hand rests for exceptional comfort for all-day casting and when fighting large fish, Fuji stainless steel double-footed guide frames with aluminum oxide inserts, Diamond butt section thread wraps, and the reel seats also have stainless steel hoods.

 

Tsunami Airwave Elite
Tsunami Airwave Elite
Tsunami Airwave Elite
Our Score

The Airwave Elite nails the long casting distance game, which is imperative in the world of surf fishing.

This rod was specifically designed with one major thing in mind and this is the long-distance performance with minimal physical effort.

The rod has a High density and high-fiber blank construction which offers lightweight, increased sensitivity, and faster shock recovery when setting the hook on fish.

Other features of the rod are Fuji reel seats and concept K series guides designed for braided lines, Light and durable diamond textured shrink vinyl grips for ultimate grip in all weather conditions or while standing in the waves.

The rods come in several variants including 70/30 ferrule designs that feature the same performance of a 1 piece design, and several 2-piece designs to choose from.

best suft fishing rods

Important Fishing Rod Information

Let’s take a look at specific parts of a rod’s design, such as power and action, as well as other features and components that are important.

Action

The Action of a rod determines the amount of flex in the rod when it’s under a load of weight like a fish; action can give hard and fast hooksets to softer hooksets with the same power rod depending on that action.

Take into consideration things like species and fishing areas, and try to factor in all requirements you can think of to dial in the best rod options for you.

●  Fast action – bends mostly in the top 1/3rd of the rod or less with a strong backbone in the other 2/3rds of the rod, great for powerful hooksets.

●  Moderate/Medium action – bends in the top half of the rod and is in the middle of the road between fast and slow actions.

●  Slow action – bends evenly throughout the rod to the handle and is typically used in crankbait rods or rods where heavy and hard shock hooksets aren’t necessary or detrimental.

Important Fishing Rod Information

Rod Power

There are many different powers to choose from when it comes to a fishing rod, and the powers typically go from ultra-light for things like panfish and trout to XX heavy for fish like musky or saltwater species.

There are many power-rated rods between these two and different species, and lure presentations work better with certain power rods.

For surf fishing, go with a long rod with a decent power rating and pair it with a quality saltwater reel.

Rod Materials

Most rods are made from two different types of materials: Fiberglass, or the most commonly used material today and Graphite.

Both types are great at doing different things; Fiberglass has much more bend and give and can almost be described as “whippy.” They are generally used for crankbait fishing or in situations where a lighter hookset is valued.

Graphite is incredibly strong, sensitive, and durable while still maintaining good action characteristics. It really shines with rod actions such as the fast or moderate action, while fiberglass is more suited to slow action rods due to its characteristics.

Both will work great but are definitely preferred in different situations, ideally. Most surf fishing rods today are graphite.

Graphite gives anglers the perfect blend of strength and flexibility, covering a wide range of species because you never know what you might hook into on the surf.

Line Guides

Line Guides are also Incredibly important and can be found in a wide variety of materials. Some are suited better for braided lines, while all are suited well for monofilament or fluorocarbon lines.

Materials like alconite, stainless steel, aluminum, and others are all great choices and provide great casting distance and smooth retrieval.

Line guides in regards to surf fishing rods are extremely important due to surf fishermen and women requiring the best in long-distance casting to present their lures effectively.

Conclusion

Surf fishing rods are tailored specifically for the purpose of surf fishing and are considerably different in many ways from standard fishing rods.

This article is our pick for some of the best out there today and represents rods with various features that suit anglers with varying personal preferences, price points, needs, and wants.

We are sure you will find a rod on this list that suits your needs when it comes to the surf and catching fish.

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AUTHOR
Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.