Best Surf Rod Reviews

These rods are unmatched in the fishing market and offer the longest casts, unimpeachable strength and tough durability that surf anglers require.

What is the difference between the best and the rest? Are you looking for a great rod at an affordable price? Continue reading!

Reviews of the Best Surf Fishing Rods

Okuma Cedros CSX Surf – Our Choice for the Best Lightweight Surfrod!

Specifications

Length11′
MaterialCarbon fiber
Action/Power: medium-heavy/moderately fast
Guides: 7 + 1 ALPS stainless Steel with Zirconium Inserts
HandleContinuous rubber shrink tubing
Line Weight: 30-50 lbs.
Lure Weight: 2-5 oz.
Pieces2

Pros

  • Amazingly light
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Excellent durability
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides and reel seats
  • Good casting

Cons

  • Okuma uses a tiny stripper guide. Casting may be a little less than the Penn.

Summary

Okuma was all in on the Cedros CSX series of surf boards, and they are certainly rods to beat for their competition.

Cedros CSX’s 11-foot length is provided with a carbon fiber blank that provides an incredible combination of light weight and great strength. It would be interesting to see how Okuma produces this blank at such a low price.

This rod has unrivaled tip sensibility. The rod can bend to about 1/3 of its length. You can throw anything at the Cedros CSX: bull reds sharks and massive stripers. It has the power to handle big fish and has been proven bomb-proof in real life.

The Okuma is tough, strong, and featherweight.

Okuma took a different route with his guides for this rod. Instead of the usual large stripper guides, these guides look more like they were taken from a bass rod. It is normal for casting to be affected by line slap. However, the stripper guide can be set a little further down the rod and it seems to work.

Although I would prefer a larger guide, the rod casts well. You won’t be disappointed, I think. But I would give the nod here to Penn.

The eight ALPS stainless steel frames have ultra-hard Zirconium inserts. These frames are tough enough to braid season after season. They’re comparable to the Fuji Ks Penn Carnage II runs.

Cedros CSX has a rubber shrink tube handle with a long length that provides all the space you need for fighting and casting. You can expect the reel seat to grip like a vise.

Overall, this is an ideal rod for anglers who care a lot about weight. The Cedros CSX is the best choice if you cast a lot or prefer to hold your rod than using a rod holder.

Penn Carnage II Casting Surf Rod – Our Choice for the Best

 

PENN Carnage II Surf Spinning

 

Specifications

Length: 11′
MaterialGraphite/fiberglass composite
Take Action/Power: medium-heavy/moderately fast
Guides: 8 + 1 Fuji K With Alconite Inserts
HandleContinuous rubber shrink tube
Line Weight: 20-50 lb.
Lure Weight: 2-6 oz.
Pieces: 2

Pros

  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Excellent durability
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides and reel seats
  • Casting is great

Cons

  • Not as light as graphite-rods like the Okuma

Summary

Penn is a specialist in saltwater fishing tackle. If you are an inshore, offshore or beach angler you will know that Penn is trustworthy. The Carnage II series of surf rods is a great choice, as they are built to fight, cast, and last.

Let’s begin with the blank. Penn has equipped the Carnage II’s Carnage II with a combination of graphite-fiberglass that combines the rigidity and sensitivity with the durability and flexibility of the latter. Comparable to the Ugly Stik Bigwater, which is only 1/4 the price of this rod, you get a lot more rod. And the dollars you spend here really do matter.

The tip is very sensitive and you will be able to sense the movement of the line from the action of a crankbait to nibbles. The blank bends easily for the first 40% or so, before hitting the real backbone this rod offers, which is confidence-inspiringly stiff.

Are you looking for a rod that will allow you to muscle a 6-foot or larger shark?

It’s there!

As you would expect from Fuji K components, the guide quality is exceptional. Alconite inserts are lightweight, durable, and slick. Quality control is excellent. The price has risen from Okuma, Berrypro and Fiblink. It would be quite surprising if an insert is lost or the guide’s durability is compromised.

The rod has a lot to offer. Despite having a few additional guides, the Fuji Ks are able to do their job well. They allow for great casting and equally distribute the load across the blank. This makes the rod very tough. I would place it next to the Ugly Stik.

This is a huge accomplishment!

It has a long rubber shrink tube handle that I love about the Carnage II. It gives you the ability to cast far and manage big fish.

Fuji is also the reel seat, and it will do its job admirably every day, season after season.

Overall, Penn’s Carnage II is a great surf casting rod.

Berrypro Graphite Surf Spinning Rod

BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Rod Graphite Surf Fishing Rod (9'/10'/10'6''/11'/12'/13'3'') (12'-2pc)

 

Specifications

Length: 11′
MaterialGraphite
Action = Power: heavy/fast
Guides6 + 1 stainless with ceramic inserts
HandleContinuous rubber shrink tube
Line Weight: 15-40 lbs.
Lure Weight: 2-4 oz.
Pieces: 2

Pros

  • Very light
  • Very sensitive!
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank
  • Excellent handle

Cons

  • Guide quality is not great, and quality control is sometimes a problem. However, customer support is exceptional.
  • Composite and fiberglass alternatives are not as strong as the ones made of fiberglass.

Summary

Berrypro’s surf rods offer a cost-effective option to more expensive options. However, I am not convinced that they can compete with the Ugly Stik Bigwater for the same price. The Berrypro is a competent rod, but that’s not to suggest it isn’t!

Berrypro uses a IM7 graphite blank for this rod. It is extremely strong and stiff, yet very lightweight. This might be the right option for you if you find fishing with a large rod tiring or can’t manage most 11-footers using one hand.

The rod is strong enough to catch most fish. It also has a fast action so you will feel every strike. You’ll notice any nibble, from blues to bait fish!

The down side?

This rod, despite the guide (almost certainly a nod towards the graphite blank), can be fragile. This is simply graphite’s nature. It’s also a compromise that has been made to increase sensitivity and decrease weight. This means you can easily lose the tip and snap the rod closer to the center without any warning.

Good guide quality. You can expect stainless steel with ceramic inserts. However, quality control can be poor and inserts may pop out. I would give the thumbs up to the better rods here, including the similar priced Ugly Stik. However, the customer service is excellent and they will quickly resolve any problem.

The rod casts well but fiberglass could be added flexibility to improve performance.

This rod has a very nice handle. The long, continuous rubber shrink tubing is very useful and will give you plenty of space for casting or fighting. The reel seat is the same: it’s very secure, well-constructed and tight.

The ferrule quality is excellent and the rod locks up like an vault.

This rod is sensitive and light, which makes it ideal for those who don’t like the weight of composite or fiberglass.

Fiblink Surf Spinning

Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod 2-Piece Carbon Travel Fishing Rod (Length: 10')

 

Specifications

Length: 12′
MaterialGraphite
Action is the best power: heavy/moderate-fast
Guides: 5 + 1 stainless with ceramic inserts
HandleContinuous rubber shrink tube
Line Weight: 20-40 lbs.
Lure Weight: 4-8 oz.
Pieces: 2

Pros

  • Very light
  • Very sensitive!
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank
  • Excellent handle

Cons

  • Guide quality is not great, and quality control is sometimes a problem. However, customer support is exceptional.
  • Composite and fiberglass alternatives are not as strong as the ones made of fiberglass.

Summary

Fiblink’s surfrods set a new standard in quality and many anglers have been impressed by the fact that these inexpensive options can compete with much more expensive alternatives.

The 12-foot rod’s heart is a high-modulus graphite plain. This makes it a great choice for composite and fiberglass users who are concerned about their weight. As I mentioned above, weight reduction often comes with a compromise in durability.

It seems that the Fiblink factory does not follow the laws of physics. The rod is lightweight, as you would expect, but it is extremely durable. Graphite is very strong so I was expecting this rod to withstand a lot of weight. But what I didn’t expect was that it would be able to do this without cracking. This rod is strong enough to withstand anything, from sharks to large, angry stripers, to huge rays.

You can count me impressed!

However, some anglers have experienced problems with broken tips due to user error. A graphite blank must be babied.

The real strength of the blank will be evident at the 1/3rd mark. At that point, it’s almost like iron. You will feel the tip’s sensitiveness and be able to sense ripples in sand with your sinker.

The guide quality is great, but the inserts can sometimes come loose. This is where I have to give the thumbs up to the Ugly Stik Bigwater. Single-unit construction seems to work well for surf rods. The “stripper guide”, located closest to the reel, is another problem. Casting suffers because it’s not quite right-sized.

Casting is good but not exceptional. The culprit is most likely the small stripping guide.

The Fiblink’s handle is superb. Expect continuous rubber shrink tubing, plenty of space to cast and fight.

Ferrules and reel seats are excellent; you will have no problems with either.

This is a great lightweight rod for those who find the Ugly Stik Bigwater to heavy.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod , 12' - Heavy - 2pc

 

Specifications

Length: 11′
MaterialGraphite/fiberglass composite
Action/Power: heavy/fast
Guides: 5 + 1 stainless (Ugly Tuff).
Handle: EVA foam split
Line Weight: 20-40 lb.
Lure Weight: 3-8 oz.
Pieces: 2

Pros

  • Excellent quality at a great price
  • Extremely difficult.
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank.
  • Sensitive tip
  • Cast well
  • Excellent guide quality
  • Great handle

Cons

  • A split handle design may not appeal to everyone
  • Heavy

Summary

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik is known for its bomb-proof toughness. This may not matter to the average angler but it is important for surf casting.

This might be the best option for you if your casting rods are breaking or you’re just fed up with them.

The Bigwater series comes in many surf lengths, including 8, 9, 10, 11, 11 and 15 feet. My recommendation is the 11. This rod is made from a composite blank of graphite/fiberglass and has the ability to load on casts and to pull a large shark onto the sand.

The rod has the same clear tip as an Ugly Stik. It is sensitive enough to fish flounder, skate, and croaker. However, it only shines when it hooks something bigger like a redfish or striper. The full power of this blank will be felt in your hands about a third from the tip.

It’s enough to say that this rod was put up against some real brutes. But, by the end, the weight of the rod will be obvious in your arms and hands.

This blank’s line and lure weight ratings are outstanding, so you can throw anything from lures to heavy sinkers to live bait. Flexible fiberglass and rigid graphite combine to make casting easier across all ranges. The handle of EVA foam is long and comfortable, further enhancing this advantage.

Although I didn’t expect much for the money, I was pleasantly surprised by the guides. They are tough, tough and tough. There are no worries about them hitting something hard in the parking lot. These guides are also made of polished stainless steel and have a very smooth finish. They were completely unaffected when I sawed with mono-weighing 6 pounds.

The reel seat is made of graphite and, while it may not be visually appealing, it is both secure and tight. No wiggle, no trouble.

The Ugly Stik Bigwater comes with a split EVA foam handle that is generously long. While I can live with this, I prefer rubber shrink tubing and continuous designs. There’s ample space for fighting and casting. There aren’t many things to be unhappy about the foam.

Shakespeare’s ferrules are great and the rod pieces will stay in place when assembled correctly. Although a rod with a high-powered motor is not expected to have flexibility at the joint, I find that the handle has a lot of sensitivity.

The Ugly Stik is a great deal if you are looking for a long-lasting surf casting rod.

St. Croix Avid Surf

St. Croix Avid Surf 12ft HMF 2pc Spinning Rod

 

Specifications

Length: 11′
MaterialCarbon fiber
Action/Power: medium-heavy/fast
Guides9 + 1 Fuji K stainless Steel with Alconite Inserts
Handle: continuous cork tape
Line Weight: 15-40 lbs.
Lure Weight: 3-8 oz.
Pieces2

Pros

  • Amazingly light
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Excellent durability
  • You can fight and muscle large fish with a strong blank
  • Amazing guides and reel seats
  • Excellent casting

Cons

  • It’s expensive!
  • The handle of cork tape isn’t very long-lasting

Summary

St. Croix is a legend rod company and the Avid Surf lives to that reputation for unparalleled quality–if it’s possible to pay for it!

It’s important to note that this rod is a single-handed operation.The price is approximately three times as highThe next-most expensive option on our wish list. Its real question is, does it perform three times as well?

St. Croix is a huge fan of mine, but I have to say no.

The Avid is a great blank. It’s made from carbon fiber which is strong, light, and sensitive. This allows it to tell you everything about your ride while turning a 30-pound striper. It’s strong, light, and has everything you need in a surf rod.

This St. Croix is the ideal light rod for anglers looking for a lightweight rod. It delivers top-quality performance in a featherweight package.

The Avid has 10 Fuji K guides. This distributes weight much better than other surf rods. It’s almost certain that the carbon fiber content makes it more durable than other rods with fewer guides.

Casting doesn’t suffer, however. The large stripper guide and Alconite inserts make it possible to throw light lures further than you might expect. Even the heavy stuff seems to travel for ever.

The cork tape handle is the only thing that bothers me about this rod. It’s comfortable, grippy and smooth for what it is. It doesn’t hold up to the real world as well as rubber shrink tubing, which I would prefer by a country mile.

The reel seat is just as amazing as you would expect from St. Croix.

I think the Avid is a great surf rod. However, this is to be expected given the price. The question is whether it’s worth three Okuma Cedros.

Despite this being the better rod, I have to say no. Dollar for dollar and foot for foot, you will get more bang for the buck if you buy from lower-priced rivals.

Our Picks – The Okuma Cedros CSX Surf, and the Penn Carnage II

It was tough competition and there are many great options for surf casting rods. My assessment ended in a dead heat with Penn and Okuma battling each other so closely it was impossible to choose a winner.

The Okuma is ultra-lightweight, with excellent components all around. It also has the strength, sensitivity and durability that you need in a surf rod. Only problem? The only problem? The Okuma is a great value for money, and the price is right.

The Penn, however, is a combination of graphite, fiberglass, and edging Okuma in toughness. The Penn is heavier but casting is better for most anglers. The Okuma is slightly more expensive, but the component quality is great.

The most important factor in deciding which rod is right is weight versus distance. It’s a great rod if you are able to take the Penn’s weight. If you intend to fish with your rod in hand all day, the Okuma is the best choice.

Surf casting rod basics

These rods can be used for casting surf, and not just as a spinning tool. They’re made to be extremely strong and long-lasting. They can be used to hunt bluefish, throw for specks or try for sharks.

Let’s start by breaking down the basic components of a surf casting reel to better understand their differences.

Take Action

The rod’s action is the location on the blank where it will bend under load. The quicker the action, you will feel the rod’s true strength closer to the tip.

A fast action rod, for example, will stay stiff throughout its length and bend about a fifth to a quarter of the way from the end. A slow action rod, on the other hand, will bend along its length and form a long arc starting very close to the handle.

Power

The measure of power is how much force is required to bend a rod. Action tells you how much force it takes to bend a rod. Where It will bend, power tells it

How much?

It will bend under any load.

Action and power together are what describe the behavior of a blank. Heavy rods with a fast action will bend easily, but most of their length will stay straight. A medium-action, heavy rod, on the other hand, will be the same weight but bend closer to the handle. Combining power and action terms can be done repeatedly. In each case you will have a good idea of how a rod that has those descriptions will perform.

This is important for how the rod will perform in a fight, as well as how it will load or cast.

Most surf casting rods are medium-power and heavy, but action can vary quite a bit.

Lewis
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.