Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

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It can be confusing when picking the right surf rod and reel if you’re new to the game.

The best surf fishing rod and reel combo will be determined by your target fish and how you like your setup once you’ve tried a few out. Here’s our guide to help you find the one that’s right for you (everything from the Ugly Stik GX2 to something more advanced).

8 Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combos For 2023

1. Penn Battle III Combo

Best Combo for Beginners 

The fishing rod and spinning fishing reel combo from Penn are great for facing the saltwater gamefish when surf fishing. It features and ensures exceptional durability with its high-quality materials.

The Penn Battle III has a full metal body, side plate, and rotor. It also has a machined and anodized Superline spool made of aluminum, allowing you to tie directly to the spool without backing.

With its HT-100 drag system, even heavy loads get a smooth drag.

The Battle surf fishing rod and the reel seat are made from graphite composite with aluminum oxide guides. It has a 4-10 lb line capacity rating and 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings.

Adding the surf fishing rod and reel combo to your surf fishing gear setup works to get you your target gamefish.

If you’re interested, also check out our Penn Battle 2 review.

2. Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo

Best Budget Surf Casting Rod and Reel Combo

This 10-foot rod and reel fishing combo by Okuma is made with highly durable material to withstand surf fishing with big fish. It features a multi-disc drag system that is oiled-felt.

Plus, it boasts a durable glass fiber rod blank construction that will suit your surf fishing needs. The Okuma combo’s graphite spool is corrosion-resistant, and its ceramic guide inserts offer long-lasting quality. This rod also allows fairly long casts with minimal effort for beginning anglers.

Its EVA foam fore and rear grips ensure comfort during surf fishing. 

3. Shimano Symetre Spinning Combos

The high-quality spinning combo from Shimano features a graphite blank and stainless aluminum oxide guides.

Surf anglers love this rod and reel combo as it is versatile and lightweight, with its graphite G-Free body enhancing its balance. It has an advanced propulsion line management system to increase your accuracy and casting distance.

4. Daiwa BG Surf Combo

The spinning combo of Daiwa BG can haul you the catch of your trip. Heavy-duty fishing is possible as Daiwa features durable graphite composite blanks lined with cut-proof aluminum oxide guides.

Its cork grips give you firm handling, and the EVA foam grip for comfort. The spinning reel has six stainless steel ball bearings and an ABS aluminum spool.

5. Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo

The Ugly Stik spinning rod and reel combo will benefit anyone new to the surf fishing scene. It features a lightweight and durable material with stellar sensitivity.

Its material is graphite and fiberglass construction with an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system for power without sacrificing smoothness.

Comfort is from the lightweight EVA foam grips catering to smaller hands. A smooth operation is ensured with the machined aluminum spool plus one ball bearing. 

6. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

This Surf Fishing Combo features a hard and durable fishing pole of high-density Carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass. When saltwater fishing, you need the best corrosion-resistant fishing gear you can afford.

Plusinno offers a stainless steel hooded anti-corrosion reel seat. This rod and reel combo provides comfort with its EVA fore grip and convenience with its telescopic fishing rod and closed-length design.

The power drive of this fishing reel has high-strength components with an instant anti-reverse bearing. Plus, it has a short body with a large spool and large line capacity—one of the best gifts to give to almost anyone interested in surf fishing.

Best Surf Fishing Combo Options

Over the years, we have gone surf fishing to many beaches, cliffs, and surf areas, using different combos to get that monster catch.

Here are a few of the best combos of rods and reels from different brands that other gear experts recommend you use on your next surf visit.

1. St. Croix Mojo Surf Fishing Rod + Penn Spinfisher VI Reel

This combo provides a lightweight and versatile rod and reel set up to target gamefish like the corbina and other monster catches.

The St. Croix Mojo Surf fishing rod suits anglers who love and prefer a high-performance rod that doesn’t cost a fortune.

It has mid-modulus graphite fiber makes the rod lightweight and durable, offering a sensitive and firm grip.

The Penn reels are a few of the best reels in the market. The Spinfisher Vi has an excellent seal against water or sand, plus stellar drag power. Many surf anglers recommend this to beginners and veterans, as it’s worth it.

2. Star Paraflex + Shimano Baitrunner

The Star-Shimano combo is a heavier setup for a heavier catch.

The Star Paraflex provides a heavier and sturdier backbone to tackle larger sharks, rays, and other big game fishes.

The bait running feature of the Shimano reel is a useful tackle when you plan on deadsticking baits to your shark. Plus, it allows free spooling of the bait for a more natural effect.

3. Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf Spinning Rod + Shimano Baitrunner

Most Powerful and Smooth Combo

Tsunami thickens the rod’s walls for a stronger yet lighter weight. Plus, a tangle-free casting is a feature with its Fuji K-frame guides made for braid.

The baitrunning switch engages the spool spin in a controlled free spool with the closed bail. The Shimano baitrunner has power and smoothness in reeling in your big catch.

If you want to customize your combo and choose your gear separately, check out our guides so you can make a well-informed decision.

But before you buy a bunch of gear, it could be helpful to start with some predetermined rigs. Then you can mix and match as you progress into surf fishing.

The first set of recommendations is for fishing rod combo options that’ll get you up and running quickly. The second set of recommendations is for the more adventurous types.

Listen to more surf fishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

How Do I Choose a Rod and Reel Combo?

When choosing a rod and a reel or even a combo, you need to make sure it covers the kind of surf fishing you will do. The little details will come into play in choosing the best combo for your adventure.

best surf fishing rod and reel combos
The feel of the sand and the reel of the catch. Source: ajax15

It would help to consider the casting distance, which should affect your rod of choice in length and action. Your target fish, like bass, and its size matter in choosing between heavier, medium, and lighter sticks.

Also, your preferred or favorite lures or bait to use affects your choice as you want them to perform well with your rod.

Lightweight plugs or small spoons can pair with light rods, and the heavier baits can also pair with heavier sticks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best saltwater rod and reel combo?

We’re fans of the Breakaway LDX or HDX paired with a Daiwa BG.

What is the best size rod for surf fishing?

7-10 feet is great for fishing close to shore. 12-15 feet is great for long-distance casting.

What is the best rod for striper fishing?

Striper fishing requires an ability to cast far beyond the breakers. Try a 12-15 foot rod like the Breakaway LDX or HDX.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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