BlogAugust 2022

Selecting the Best Rod and Reel for Surf Fishing

Selecting the Best Rod and Reel for Surf Fishing

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 29, 2022

Tips for selecting the best rod and reel for surf fishing. Consider these variables to make the process of selecting the best fishing rod and reel easier

Choosing the best rod and reel for surf fishing might seem a little confusing at first due to the number of options, but don’t let that deter you. If you consider just a few important variables, it can make the process of selecting the best fishing rod and reel for surf fishing much easier. You’ll need to think about the saltwater fish species you plan to target, how far you need to cast to reach the breaker zone (region of breaking waves), and what sized weights you will be casting.

Once you’ve considered these variables, you can make a good decision about the best rod and reel setup for surf fishing given your individual use.

Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners

The best surf fishing rod and reel combo for beginners in general is a 10–12-foot medium heavy rod with medium or moderate action that is paired with a saltwater spinning reel in the 4500 to 6500 size range. This type of rod and reel combo will work well when targeting saltwater species like striped bass, mackerel, flounder, snook, black drum, bluefish, pompano, and corbina with live or natural baits.

Surf Fishing Rod Length

Surf rod length is one of the key factors that contributes to casting distance (longer rods help you get more distance on your casts). While surf fishing rods can be anywhere between 9 and 14 feet long, longer rods can be challenging for beginners to use and aren’t practical unless you need to make very long casts. Rods between 10 and 12 feet are good general purpose surf rods.

Surf Fishing Rod Weight

A medium heavy rod is a good option when using rigs like the Carolina Rig or Fish Finder Rig. These two types of surf rigs often require you to cast weights in the 2 to 6-ounce range in order get your baits out into the breaker zone and hold them in the current. The best fishing rod and reel for surf fishing is made for casting and retrieving these types of heavy rigs.

Always follow the line and lure weight ratings for any rod you use (these ratings are usually printed right on the blank of the rod). Never cast a heavier weight or lure than recommended because your rod can crack under the additional pressure.

Surf Fishing Reel Features

Since saltwater spray and sand are always part of the equation when surf fishing, make sure any reel you choose is waterproof and fully sealed to protect against saltwater damage. A surf fishing reel should also have a high-quality triple disc drag system that will help you land your catches smoothly and quickly.

Now that you know how to select the best surf fishing rod and reel for beginners, use the Places to Fish & Boat Map to find a good beach spot and make a few casts with your new surf rod.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.