Choosing a surf fishing rod can be difficult at the best of times – you want to get the best bang for your buck while also investing in something high quality that will serve you well on the water and stand the test of time. A tough ask.
We’ve stress-tested 5 of the best surf fishing rods and produced this comprehensive review to help you make a confident decision when you eventually decide to buy your next rod – whether online or in store. So let’s get to it, here’s our top 5 surf fishing rods:
- St. Croix: Triumph Surf Spinning Rod
- Okuma: Solaris Surf IM6
- Tica: UGSA Series
- Shakespeare: Ugly Stik
- Daiwa: Beefstick Surf Rod
We’ll review each of these in much more detail, but if you want to jump straight to our favorite, you can’t look beyond the St. Croix Triumph Surf Spinning Rod. Yes, you’ll pay a little more compared to the other rods in our review but that money is well spent and as the saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’.
So let’s dive right into the reviews, starting with our champ.
St. Croix: Triumph Surf Spinning Rod
The St. Croix Triumph is comfortably amoungst the best surf rods money can buy, offering durability over time with plenty of use out on the water, power and speed that seem to come ever so naturally while also remaining one of the most sensitive surf rods you’ll lay your hands on.
Durability: We tested the latest version of the St. Croix Triumph rod for over 6 months and not once has it shown signs of snapping, breaking or needing any additional maintenance.
We’ve had older models of this surf rod too and frankly, they weren’t quite ready to be replaced with the newer version. Sometimes it’s nice to have the latest model though.
Take comfort in the fact that the St. Croix Triumph will last you a long time.
Sensitivity: When it comes to choosing the best surf rod on the market as an expert, sensitivity can be one of the factors that causes a rod to lose marks. But in the case of the St. Croix Triumph it’s quite the opposite. Offering wonderful balance and feeling in the hands, the sensitivity of the rod from cast through to reeling in is one of this surf rods’ best features.
Power: Made of SCII graphite, the St. Croix Triumph also gives its’ handler the power they want from a surf rod. The graphite element also lends nicely to the durability of the rod but you’ll really feel its benefit when you need to reel in and rely on a solid foundation. This element is yet another standout for this rod and why it has been selected as our top pick.
Sizes: The St. Croix Triumph comes in the following sizes: 7’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 10’6
Okuma Solaris Surf IM6
Scoring a very solid 9 out of 10 in our review of the best surf fishing rods is the Okuma Solaris Surf rod. Offering sensational value for money, the Solaris Surf is our favorite as the best of the affordable options. And you’d be forgiven for thinking it should be priced higher – with a great coat, made of strong graphite and a very easy-to-use feel to it, the Solaris Surf has a lot going for it and should last you a long time too. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Durability: As mentioned, made with what feels like a good quality graphite the Solaris Surf is not light but it is good quality. You’ll feel that the instant you have it in your hands. It seems as though this rod is targeted at beginners as a great entry into surf fishing but it’s a really attractive option for all levels and, if you buy it as a beginner it will likely last you until you consider yourself at least intermediate.
Sensitivity: All anglers that we’ve spoken to as well as our panel of experts agree that the Solaris Surf is probably the easiest of all surf rods to pick up and use immediately. That’s what makes it such an appealing option for beginners. It really is ready to go once you put it together and this feeling is invaluable, especially for those new to the sport and wanting to dive right in. Okuma got this part right and their rod scored well here.
Power: Strength, yes. Weight, a little too much. This is where the Solaris Surf gives ground on the others a little. And that can be forgiven too. They’ve clearly made the rod on a budget for people on a budget and something had to give. For the Solaris Surf, it’s in the weight category. But at least that doesn’t mean you’ll be short on power.
Sizes: The Solaris Surf comes in the following sizes: 7 feet, 10.6 feet, and 12 feet
Tica UGSA Series
Another 9/10, another strong surf rod entry with the Tica UGSA Series Surf Spinning Rod. For those that don’t know, Tica is a well-known brand in the surf rod space and one that can be trusted based on their reputation and reliability to date. A good start then.
Fans of Tica will be pleased to know that the UGSA series is a wonderful addition to their existing legacy. If you have an affinity to the brand then nothing should stop you going out to pick up this version of their surf rod.
Durability: Maybe, just maybe, durability is the weak spot on the Tica UGSA surf rod. You see it’s a super lightweight rod made of graphite and in the lightness there may be questions over its durability. Usually a lighter weight means that you have less power and the rod doesn’t last as long. We’ve heard anecdotally of these rods not lasting quite as long as expected but from our own tests we have absolutely no complaints and can speak positively to how well the rod has lasted so far. Definitely worthy of it’s place in our best surf rods review.
Sensitivity: All hail the king of sensitivity. Tica rods have always had an excellent grasp on sensitivity and how important that can be for a lot of anglers. The difference between this rod and others is noticeable in the water. Get an understanding with this rod and it can quickly become a favorite – it’s no surprise that Tica has such a strong brand reputation and they have repeated it with another sensitive classic.
Power: As we already alluded to, you’ll give away a little power with the UGSA series rod. Why? It’s super lightweight, easy to carry and easy to hold. But you will struggle a little for organic power on the reel-in. Nothing dramatic and this is still one of the best surf rods around, but we’re talking in small details here and something we felt we should note.
Sizes: The Tica UGSA series comes in the following sizes:7’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 10’6, 11’, 12’
Shakespeare Ugly Stik
Can confirm, this is not an ugly surf rod. So the team at Shakespeare clearly have a sense of humor but let’s see what else they’ve got with this rod.
Like with Tica, Shakespeare is a long-standing well-trusted brand name in the surf rod industry and their Ugly Stik is the latest release to an already stellar cast of surf rods. Time to dive into the details and explain how and why the Ugly Stik got an 8/10.
Durability: The Ugly Stik is a tough customer, meaning that this thing will last a long time. With an exterior made of fiberglass and an inner that is graphite – the Ugly Stik is made to stand the test of time. We’ve are happy to report no problems with it in the short time we’ve been able to test on the water and it feels like this thing could last us a good few years. A solid addition to the Shakespeare stable, pardon the pun.
Sensitivity: Despite that durability and tough customer talk, this surf rod is a beautifully sensitive one in the water. And to get that balance requires brilliant design and expert craftsmanship. Enter the Ugly Stik. You’ll feel most things with the rod in the water and you’re unlikely to make a mistake due to a lack of sensitivity – a great sign from any surf rod.
Power: You’ll get all the power you need in the Ugly Stik, another area where it doesn’t come up short. You feel an instant strength and confidence with it between your hands. That said, the foam grip can cause some slipping – not due to a lack of power but more down to the slippery nature of those foam grips.
Sizes: The Shakespeare Ugly Stik comes only in the following size: 12’
Daiwa Beefstick Surf Rod
And last but not least in our best surf rods review is the Daiwa Beefstick. This rod is a favorite of many a surf angler and once we’ve gone through the detailed review I think you’ll understand why. It has serious power – hence the Beefstick name – but also has plenty to offer in the ease-of-use category too meaning it’s something of an everyman’s surf rod.
Durability: No issues with the Beefstick in terms of durability. It’s another rod that’s made with some of the best materials – this time carbon fiberglass is the material of choice – a hardy offering which allows anglers to confidently work the waves.
Sensitivity: A middle of the road feeling from our expert panel when it comes to sensitivity. Yes, you get a certain feel for the rod in the water and it’s definitely reliable in that sense but there are better options on the market – some of which are already listed in our review – if you’re looking for a super sensitive surf rod.
Power: The Beefstick comes into it’s own here with almost unmatched power and strength in the water. Coupled with a wonderfully easy to use system this rod is really quite an adaptable beast and has something of a split personality. In short, if you’re looking for power in the water then you won’t go far wrong with the Beefstick Surf Rod.
Sizes: The Beefstick Surf Rod comes only in the following size: 12’
The Best Kayak Fishing Rod Brands
There are some great brands that have been around for years (some that we’ve already listed above and produce our favorite rods) and offer amazing quality.
Here are some of the top kayak fishing rod brands to consider:
- Shakespeare: Shakespeare is one of the oldest and most well-known companies in the world when it comes to fishing equipment. Their rods feature advanced materials with excellent craftsmanship and great balance between strength and flexibility.
- St Croix: St Croix Rods has a long history of producing top-of-the-line rods specifically designed for saltwater kayak anglers. Their rods are made with cutting edge technology such as high modulus graphite blanks that provide extreme strength without sacrificing sensitivity.
- Shimano: Shimano is another leader in the industry featuring superior construction using lightweight yet powerful components – many of their trolling rods have been favorites among serious fisherman thanks to their combination of comfort and performance capabilities.
- Penn Fishing Tackle: Penn Fishing Tackle prides itself on being able to design a variety of spinning, casting and jigging rods that appeal to all skill levels from beginners to professionals. Their selection includes durable materials with reliable hardware optimized for easy use even under rough conditions.
- Daiwa: Daiwa is renowned for its innovative designs that focus on power, aesthetics, ergonomics and control – their surf rods feature graphite construction combined with specialized guides and handles designed to get maximum distance while giving you complete control over your catch!
These five brands represent the highest quality equipment on the market today. With this list as a starting point, finding your perfect rod should be easier than ever before.
How to Choose a Kayak Fishing Rod
The first thing you need to consider when selecting a rod is what type of fish you’re after. If you’re targeting smaller species such as panfish or bass then an ultralight rod with a soft tip is ideal since it offers better sensitivity and precision in such tight quarters. On the other hand if you’re looking to target larger species such as musky or steelhead then a medium action trolling rod with more backbone will give better hook-sets and heftier more substantial catches.
Another important factor is how much weight it can handle – this affects both casting distance and also how comfortably you can fight larger fish that may strike at any point during your session. Most rods today are rated from Ultralight (2–6 lb), Light (4–8lb) ,Medium (6–12lb) up Heavy (10–30 lb). Depending on where exactly you plan on fishing – these numbers should always take into account both the surrounding conditions and type of species targeted.
Lastly, don’t neglect other features such as handle length/materials which play an important role in reducing fatigue during longer sessions and helping achieve accurate casts with minimal effort — most modern handles feature ergonomic designs that cushion hands while still allowing consistent gripping power without slipping off.
With all these considerations taken into account, finding the right fit shouldn’t be too hard. Whether you’re just starting out or have been fishing for years, the right kayak fishing rod should offer enough performance without compromising comfort. Explore what works best for your situation and never be afraid of trying something new.