Best Inshore Spinning Rods Reviewed

Inshore anglers are often faced with difficult weather, long, bumpy rides, and large, mean fish. The right inshore rod choice can make the difference between a successful catch and a disappointment.

A good inshore rod can be used for everything from sight-casting to reds, to throwing live bait specks and flounder in a channel.

We have the perfect inshore spinning rod for you. You’ll find detailed reviews and a buying guide below.

Take a quick look at our top picks:

  • St. Croix Mojo Inshore – Best Inshore Spinning Rod
  • Hurricane Calico Jack
  • St. Croix Tidemaster
  • Penn Battalion
  • Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite – The Best Inshore Spinning Rod for Budget

Best Inshore Spinning Rods

St. Croix Mojo Inshore – Best Inshore Spinning Rod

St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod

Length 7’6″

Power/ActionMedium/fast

Materialgraphite

Line weight:8-17 lbs.

Weight of lure: 3/8 – 3/4 oz.

GuidesFuji 8+1

The Rod Weight 5.6 oz

Handle: Split cork

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The legends of St. Croix’s rods can be found in the Mojo Inshore, which is no exception to their dedication to quality.

The 7’6″ Mojo medium is an excellent inshore rod. It’s my first choice for redfish and speckled trout as well as striped bass and any other similar-sized fish. It’s too big for flounder. There are better options for smaller fish like the St. Croix Tidemaster.

The Mojo Inshore is a strong, medium-power blank that has a sensitive tip. It is ideal for sensing the contours and texture of the bottom and detecting light strikes. You’ll find the real strength of this rod about a quarter of its length from the tip, and when you do reach it, it’s confidence-inspiring.

Premium Fuji guides protect your line even in the most difficult fights. This rod comes with 17-pound mono and a properly dialed-in drag so you can control big reds, stripers, and specks.

For a firm grip, expect a long, split cork handle that has plenty of territories.

Pros

  • High-quality components are used throughout
  • Extremely sensitive tip
  • Excellent blank
  • Amazing guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • Graphite isn’t the most durable of materials.

Hurricane Calico Jack

Hurricane Calico Jack Inshore Spinning Rod, 7'6' - Medium

Length 7’6″

Power/ActionMedium

MaterialIM7 graphite

Line weight:8-17 lbs.

Weight of lure: 3/8 – 3/4 oz.

GuidesFuji

The Rod Weight 5.6 oz

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces 1

Hurricane has built a loyal following of anglers who can spot quality. Their Calico Jack line is a great value for money and offers a lot of fishing gear.

The 7’6″ Calico Jack will deliver a rod that is comparable to the Redbones, which are truly outstanding rods. The graphite blank allows you to feel every hit and bump, regardless of how soft. This makes it a great rod for all types of fishing, from reds to specks.

This rod is built with amazing Fuji guides. I would trust it in a serious fight. However, the graphite blank, like all other graphite blanks, is sensitive to abuse. You can cause a micro-fracture in the rod by hitting it against a boat or a pier.

This is something to be aware of, and Hurricane seems to have more trouble than St. Croix and Penn.

This medium power rod can be used to wrestle real beasts.

The casting is great, and this rod is very long.

This rod has a long cork handle that I love. It’s also very affordable. It’s big enough for even the largest hands and long enough to give leverage when you tie into large ones.

This rod is not able to deliver a durable, strong graphite blank within a budget.

Pros

  • Graphite at a great price
  • Blanket extremely sensitive
  • Excellent guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well
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Cons

  • They are not as durable as graphite rods that cost more.

St. Croix Tidemaster

St. Croix Rods TIS70LM Tidemaster Graphite Inshore Spinning Fishing Rod with Cork Handle, 7-feet, Black

Length7’6″

Power/ActionModerate/light

Materialgraphite

Line weight:6-12 lbs.

Weight of lure: 1/8 – 3/8 oz.

GuidesFuji 8+1

The Rod Weight 3.6 oz

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces1

Like the Mojo Inshore and the Tidemaster, this rod is for those who are looking for a premium quality tackle.

The light 7’6″ model is the best flounder rod money can buy. It’s long enough to cast into any zip code. However, it is sensitive and strong. The “steel” will not be found in this blank until a third of the rod bends. But when it does, you’ll know that you have what it takes to get a massive flatfish into your boat.

This rod is also great for smaller species such as bluefish or croaker.

St. Croix is a quality company that delivers as you would expect–Fuji throughout.

The Tidemaster handle is made of continuous, high-quality cork and has enough space to accommodate even the largest hands.

Pros

  • High-quality components are used throughout
  • Sensitive tip
  • Excellent blank
  • Fantastic guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • Graphite isn’t the most durable of materials.

Penn Battalion


Length 7

Power/Action Extra-fast/medium speed

Material graphite

Line weight:10-17 lbs.

Weight of lure: 1/4 -1 oz.

GuidesFuji 8+1

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces 1

Penn is a well-known name in saltwater fishing, and I often see their reels and rods on the water. This is a testimony to the loyal following Penn has built over the years by delivering the goods every year.

The 7′ Battalion inshore rod is a great choice. It can also be used if you like continuous cork, as I do, which makes it a strong competitor to the St. Croix Mojo Inshore.

It’s so good!

This model features a medium-power blank with extra-fast speed. It combines amazing sensitivity with the ability to turn a bull in a circle. This rod’s true strength will be apparent quickly and it will make you smile. This rod is my choice for the salt flats south of Cocodrie. Please let me know if you find a better one!

It is built for tough fights and mean fish and features premium Fuji guides. A long handle with lots of grip space and a long handle.

Pros

  • High-quality components are used throughout
  • Sensitive tip
  • Excellent blank
  • Excellent guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • Graphite isn’t the most durable of materials.

Penn Battalion

Length7

Power/ActionExtra-fast/light

Materialgraphite

Line weight:6-12 lb

Weight of lure: 1/16- 5/8 oz.

Guides7+1 Fuji

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces1

My top choice for a flounder rod is Penn’s light power Battalion. This rod is great for flatfish fishing. It has a strong reel and a fine-tuned drag.

You will feel extremely sensitive at the tip. When you fight, you will know that you are in control. You’ll be able to hit the rod’s “steel”, as you would expect, quickly. There’s enough muscle for fish below 15 pounds.

This rod casts beautifully, and I am impressed.

Hard fights will be covered by premium Fuji guides and a continuous, long-lasting cork handle.

Pros

  • High-quality components are used throughout
  • Extremely sensitive tip
  • Excellent blank
  • Exceptional guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • Graphite is not the most durable material.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite – The Best Inshore Spinning Rod for Budget

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc

Length 7’6″

Power/Action Medium/Medium-Fast

Material Composite graphite/fiberglass

Line weight:8-17 lbs.

Weight of lure: 1/4 – 3/4 oz.

Guides8+1 stainless steel

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces1

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stiks are known for their bomb-proof reputation and toughness. If you have ever had a graphite rod break on your body, you will know that durability is not something you can dismiss.

I have a few Elite models and I am very happy with their performance.

The 7’6″ medium-powered rod can be a great choice for budget-minded anglers.

The Elite is made with a composite blank that combines the best of graphite and fiberglass. A composite blank is stronger and heavier than pure graphite. However, a few slaps against the gunnel won’t ruin a fishing afternoon. This rod is strong, but it’s also very sensitive.

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Let’s say that I was pushing an inshore rod beyond its limits in a fight. This is the rod I would choose. The backbone is amazing and I don’t think the blank will snap.

This rugged strength requires sensitivity and feel. The high-modulus graphite blanks used on the Penn and St. Croix are certainly more sensitive and high-end.

However, I have put Shakespear’s stainless steel guides to the test and they do perform. It won’t be your fault if your line loses a fight.

The long cork handle of the Stik is also more luxurious than you would expect for the price.

Pros

  • A rod that is more durable at any price will be hard to find
  • Sensitive tip
  • Blanket very strong
  • Excellent guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • It won’t have the same premium feel as St. Croix or Penn.

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik Elite

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc

Length 7’6″

Power/Action medium-light/medium-fast

MaterialComposite graphite/fiberglass

Line weight:6-12 lbs.

Weight of lure: 1/8 – 5/8 oz.

Guides8+1 stainless steel

Handle: continuous cork

Pieces1

The Ugly Skit Elite 7’6″ in medium-light power, is a great, no-nonsense flounder rod.

It’s built as tough as the medium I mentioned above and is simply a reliable workhorse. It’s sensitive enough to feel the soft bite from a flounder but it is not as competitive as the St. Croix and Penn. It is still half the price (or less!) It is half the price and you will not break it even if you catch bigger fish than you are qualified to.

This rod is great for floundering. It can also be used to catch blues and other specks.

Like its older brother, you can expect rock-solid guide quality as well as a handle that is more pleasant than you would expect.

Pros

  • A rod that is more durable at any price will be hard to find
  • Sensitive tip
  • Blanket very strong
  • Excellent guides
  • Long handle
  • Cast well

Cons

  • It won’t have the same premium feel as St. Croix or Penn.

How to Select an Inshore Spinning rod

Your rod should be prepared for the demands of inshore fishing. However, too much power can be detrimental to you. You need to find the right balance between being strong enough to win the battle and being sensitive enough to feel the lightest strike.

A medium-power rod will suffice for most species, including redfish, speckled trout, and striped bass. For smaller species such as bluefish and flounder, however, a medium rod may be too heavy. Lighter or medium-light rods are better.

Similar: Best Saltwater Fishing Rods, Saltwater Rod and Reel Combo

Take Action

The rod’s action is the point along which its length will bend under load. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are stiff for most of their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel the seat, and curve over a greater portion of their length.

A rod with a rapid action will generally offer more sensitivity at the tip. This allows you to detect strikes easier. A rod with a slower action will generally provide more cushion at the hookset.

If you are fishing with a single hook, it is better to fish faster. If you have to wait for the fish’s attention or if you are throwing a treble-hooked lure it is better to go slower.

Description power and action

Power

The force required to bend a rod is called power. A rod’s power, together with its action, tells you a lot about its performance. A stiffer blank will allow you to last longer and increase your hookset’s power.

Ultralight explains everything: The blank’s power, which is extremely light, means that it can bend under small loads. A two-pound fish will bend your rod into an arc, even with quick action.

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You might think ultralight is “weak”. This gentleman’s bass proves that.

Ultralight and light don’t mean weak. However, heavy can be used to refer to very, very strong.

You can increase the power by moving the rod up from light to medium to heavy. This increases the stiffness of the blank. You should use a heavier rod for bigger fish. However, as with action, the rod should match your fishing style.

Heavy power rods can be used to catch the biggest, most dangerous fish: shark, lake trout, giant pike, muskies, and so on. Medium power rods, on the other hand, have a strong backbone that allows for great hooksets and is very effective with species such as redfish, striper, and specks.

However, if you are after flounder, they can be just too expensive!

Most of the time, the answer to the question “What species am I after?” will reveal which power you should choose.

Length

The rod’s length will determine how far you can cast, but it will also affect how precise your casts are. While shorter rods can be deadly precise, casting distance will be affected by them being less accurate.

The rods used for inshore fishing are longer than those used for freshwater.

7’6″ to 7’6” rods are excellent all-rounders for inshore anglers and will be found in the hands of most fishermen you’ll meet.

Line and lure weight

Near the reel seat, a rod will almost always include a designated line and lure weight. These limits can be exceeded, but performance will suffer.

These weights are indicative of the rod’s power, action, and casting ability.

Guides

A good rod has a great guide. Bad guides can cost you more fish than dull hooks or cheap lines.

The guides divide the strain you experience fighting fish with your line by the number of their numbers (roughly). The friction between your line and the guide material can become intense. If they aren’t made of high-quality materials and designed to perform, guides will wear your braids.

This video demonstrates how to best test guide quality. Try sawing the line against a large guide. If the line breaks fast, it’s time to give the rod a pass.

Video showing how fragile a line is and how quality guides are tested

As a general rule, more is better. An increase in the guide count means that each one takes less strain and creates less friction.

One guide per foot is a good rule of thumb.

Material

Modern fishing rods are made of a variety of materials including graphite and carbon fiber. Some fishing rods feature composite construction that uses more than one material as their backbone.

  • graphite is strong, stiff, and light. It’s a great choice as a rod material because of its stiffness. Graphite can be fragile, especially when it has been exposed to knocks and bumps.
  • fiberglass is usually more expensive than graphite, but it is heavier. Although it isn’t as sensitive nor as stiff as graphite, it can still be extremely strong and deserves a place in your arsenal of angling tools. A bit of fiberglass in your blank is welcome, especially if you are fighting over the weight of your rod.
  • Carbon fiber is the strongest, strongest, lightest, and most expensive material for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched, but so too is its cost!

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may not be right for you. There are generally two main handle materials: EVA foam and cork.

  • work is more appealing and warmer, but it is less forgiving of rough treatment.
  • EVA foam’s softer to the touch and more flexible than other materials.

Last Thoughts

We hope these reviews helped you choose your next inshore spinning reel. And we are confident that every rod on this list will bring a smile to your face.

We’d love to hear if we helped you make your decision!

Leave a comment below

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.