7 Best surf fishing rod and reel combos – my perspective

Top pick overall – Penn Spinfisher VI

In a hurry? You can’t go wrong with the Penn Spinfisher VI surf combo.

It’s tough, sealed, and super powerful to help you hook up more prize fish every time you go.

Tired of browsing all the many separate surf rods and reels out there?

Trying to pair the right reel with the right rod?

Are you looking to make an easy choice for which is the best surf fishing rod and reel combo? 

Well, I’ve got you covered because in this article we’ve made the decision really simple for you. 

Here’s the list, if you want to skim:

How I test and research the rod and reel combos

I’ve used multiple surf rod and reel combos over the 20 years I’ve been surf fishing.

And have lots of experience testing, using, and sometimes even breaking saltwater rod and reel combos. 

I’ve compiled my experience handling, testing, and researching a range of the best surf fishing rod and reel combos for different types of surfcasting and beach fishing. 

The aim is to help you navigate the decision easily and pick a rod and reel combo that helps land some prize surf fishing species.

7 Best surf fishing rod and reel combo

I’ve compiled this list of the top surf rod and reel combos. 

After months of testing some of these products and hours of extensively researching the rest.

My aim is always to make the decision as easy as possible for you.

To cut through the complexity of choosing a rod and reel – I know I have struggled in the past, so I hope you find this list useful.  

1. Penn Spinfisher VI Combo – best overall

Why the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo made the top list

I bought this combo almost a year back and it’s been one of the best combo purchases I’ve made. 

The Spinfisher VI combo is incredibly versatile.

I use it for surf fishing with lures chasing blues, off the rocks going after drum, or on my kayak jigging for snapper. 

It’s a super durable rod and reel and I like its casting abilities.

The Spinfisher VI is a decent upgrade from the previous models. And in my opinion they just keep getting better, especially for the price range. 

The reel is IPX-5 waterproof rated which gives you confidence taking it into surf and saltwater conditions.

The rod has a decent backbone to it and I have the fast action. Which helps present lures in the right way to trigger more bites.

Penn has done a decent job pairing the reel to its graphite composite counterpart rod. The combo feels balanced and sturdy in your hand.

And you can really work it and give it abuse without the combo feeling unstable or the reel loose in its seat. 

This is thanks to Penn’s technology that is packed into the reel and components of the rod.

Such as the chunky CNC cut gears in the reel and HT_100 drag system that help you land monster fish. 

And the strong, powerful composite rod blank and Penn’s Duraguides that disperse the strain of battling a big fish.

Giving you more control over landing those prize fish and being the envy of your fishing buddies. 

The best surf fishing rod and reel combo - the Penn Spinfisher VI

The Penn Spinfisher VI Combo at a glance

Penn Spinfisher VI reel:

  • Best for: If you plan on getting your gear wet, or are at risk of exposure to saltwater. The SPinfisher VI is designed to hold up in tough surf conditions.
  • Sizes: 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 7500, 8500, 9500, 10500
  • Drag: From 15lbs to 50lbs!
  • Line capacity: A massive 320yds of 20lb braided line capacity on the 4500 size
  • Weight: 12.5oz on the 4500 size
  • Bearings: 6
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 6.2:1 on the 4500 size, 40in retrieval
  • Handle side: Interchangeable right-left

Penn Spinfisher VI rod:

  • Lengths available: 6ft 6in-10ft
  • Pieces: 1-piece otherwise 2-pieces on the 8-10ft.
  • Power range: Medium-light to Heavy
  • Action range: Moderate Fast to Extra Fast
  • Guides: Penn Duraguides
  • Blank material: Graphite composite

Check out the full Penn Spinfisher VI Combo Review here.

The Penn Spinfisher VI Combo Pros

Huge line capacity: for a reel that is surprisingly compact, it holds a huge amount of line.

This makes it great for surf fishing, where you know you’ll have enough to cast to reach the big fish.

And also have enough when you hit on to a screaming run from a channel bass or striper.

Fast line retrieval: having a very speedy line retrieval of 40in per turn makes this rod so effective for casting lures out into the surf, and triggering bites from fast, hard-fighting fish.

Perfect for spoons and poppers to make lots of fast, rushing movement in the water to trigger big strikes for lots of fun.

Solid HT-100 drag system and CNC gearing: have confidence that your reel is not going to bust or move on you in a big fight with a fish.

With Penn’s sturdy CNC gearing to lock the gear teeth perfectly together when retrieving a fish.

And the capable HT-100 drag to balance the pull and runs of larger reds, stripes or blues, you’ll be able to target bigger and bigger fish without worrying for your gear. 

Powerful rod with great action for lures and bait options too: the rod is a great match to the reel and provides versatility through the different models in the range.

I use a stiffer, faster rod for lure fishing but there are Live-liner options as well to get live bait out there to target massive fish dwelling in or just beyond the surf. 

A close up of the best surf fishing rod and reel combo - the Penn Spinfisher VI

Penn Spinfisher VI Combo Cons

Not submergible: while IPX-5 rated, the reel is not submersible.

You’ll hear reports from other anglers saying that you can submerge – and even wind it – underwater, but I would avoid that if I were you.

The technical rating is heavy splash proof really and perhaps a light accidental dunk and quick retrieve, but not more.

Not the smoothest reel: compared to other brands like Shimano, for example, the Penn Spinfisher VI is not the smoothest reel out there.

I felt this particularly when I first got it out of the box that it was a bit resistant to cranking.

This eased up but it doesn’t have the pure buttery smoothness of the Spheros or a Stradic for example.

Quite a stiff rod: As you get into the heavier power ratings on this rod, the rod does feel pretty stiff.

I don’t mind this for lure fishing with the reel drag set correctly, but if you need more flex, another combo or lower power rating might be better. 

Penn Spinfisher VI Combo Verdict

This is my favorite combo for surf fishing with lures that I’ve owned in a while. I think this rod and reel combo is a no-brainer to have in your arsenal.

Or even as a starter combo, given the price of these combos are so good right now.

They are a steal for the value you gett from Penn-quality construction and features.

If you want to land more fish, look great at the beach, and know that you are safe handling ocean monsters with this rod and reel combo then you should buy the Penn Spinfisher VI rod and reel combo.

Penn Spinfisher VI Combo Rating Score

4.85 stars

  • Performance: 4.85 stars
  • Durability: 4.9 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

2. Daiwa BG surf spinning combo – best for the money

Why the Daiwa BG surf spinning combo made the top list

Next on the list is the formidable Daiwa BG surf combo.

If you haven’t heard the name Daiwa BG… where have you been?!

The BG series has been going for years and it’s been an incredibly popular model among fresh and saltwater anglers alike. 

It didn’t quite reach the top spot because it doesn’t have the same level of sealing that the Spinfisher VI does, making that reel a bit more durable than the Daiwa BG.

Plus the Spinfisher VI combo comes in more models with greater versatility across applications.

That said, as an individual reel, the Daiwa BG has often topped our ‘best of’ articles for its incredible performance and technology at such a surprisingly low price for what you get.

And Daiwa has created a stylish, match here between rod and reel, appropriate for saltwater.

The reel in the Daiwa BG combo is a solid, heavy-duty reel that starts off in the 4000 size for the surf fishing combos. 

The Daiwa BG reel that comes with the combo
The Daiwa BG reel that comes with the combo

Daiwa BG surf spinning combo at a glance

The Daiwa BG reel

  • Best for: Surf anglers that need a decent whack of power behind the reel to help horse in fish through the swell of the surf.
  • Sizes: 10 sizes. 1500 – 5000, 6500, 8000.
  • Drag: 17.6lbs max drag on a 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 280yds/30lb braid OR 200yds/40lb on the 4000 size
  • Weight: 14.3 oz on the 4000 size
  • Bearings: 7
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1
  • Handle side: Interchangeable right and left
Daiwa BG rod and reel combo
Holding the Daiwa BG rods you can feel its power and action well.

Daiwa BG rod: 

  • Lengths available: 8f-10ft
  • Pieces: 2-pieces 
  • Power range: Medium to Medium-Heavy
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide Cut proof guides
  • Blank material: Graphite and carbon composite

Check out the full Dawia BG Combo Review here.

The Daiwa BG surf spinning combo Pros

  • Powerful reel: Great power to horse the fish away from the structure if fishing in tight surf spots near rocks, or to get the fish safely through the swell and shore breaks to land it safely. 
  • Responsive rod action: Rod has a nice fast action to it helping to fling out few ounce weights to get in where the fish are.
  • Massive line capacity: The reel has massive spool capacity and very fast line retrieval – just a fraction slower than the Spinfisher VI.
  • Good value: Very economical combo, with tonnes of value for your money. 

Daiwa BG surf spinning combo Cons

  • Not fully sealed: Doesn’t have the sealing that the Spinfisher VI has so is a little less durable than the Spinfisher VI.
  • Limited surf range: There are only three surf models in the range, but they are a good variation of sizes from 8ft, 9ft to 10ft.
  • Guide issues: I’ve seen reports from other seasoned BG combo users who have complained about the guides on the rods breaking and coming loose. So watch this throughout your usage. 

The Daiwa BG surf spinning combo Verdict

This combo gives you a lot of value for the price. 

The reel is an incredible piece of kit for the money.

It’ll see you land more fish capably with the power built into the BG’s construction. 

It is a super smooth reel that is a joy to fish, with no give or slippage to annoy you while fighting fish. 

The rod is ok quality but doesn’t quite deliver the same value as the reel is contributing to this combo package. 

Daiwa BG Surf Combo Rating Score

4.80 stars

  • Performance: 4.85 stars
  • Durability: 4.75 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

3. Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo – best for surf and boat

Why the Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo made the top list

The Penn Battle series of reels, in particular the Penn Battle 3, has become immensely popular with anglers these days. 

I think I read somewhere that it is the most popular reel in the US currently – don’t know if that’s true but impressive if it is!

And I can see why it is too. 

I bought the Penn Battle 3 and the HighSpeed version reel a while back and it’s a great little reel for the money.

It’s even cheaper than the Daiwa BG yet still delivers a tone of performance and quality. 

Plus you know you’re getting Penn’s famous durability and reliability in a combo that won’t break the bank.

Penn has really smashed it out of the park in terms of versatility with the Battle 3 combos.

There is a model for every type of saltwater fishing, from the 6ft 6in Light model for inshore finesse fishing, all the way up to the 10ft Heavy model for distance surf casting and tackling hefty fish like bull drums and sharks. 

There are even 2 travel models too. 

The reel from a Penn Battle rod and reel combo
The reel from the Penn Battle 3 Rod and reel combo

The Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo at a glance

Penn Battle 3 reel:

  • Best for: Great for targeting medium to large fish species that fight hard, thanks to the HT-100 drag system, and versatile fishing, coming in multiple different sizes.  
  • Sizes: 1000 – 10000
  • Drag: 15lb in the 4500, 25lbs in the 5000+.
  • Line capacity: 185yds/30lb braid on the 4000, or 24yds/30lbs braid on the 5000.
  • Weight: 12.2oz on 4000, 18.8oz on 5000 size.
  • Bearings: 6 bearings across all sizes
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 4000 is 6.2:1 and 37inches
  • Handle side: Right / Left

Penn Battle rod:

  • Lengths available: 8f-10ft
  • Pieces: 2-pieces 
  • Power range: Medium-Heavy – Heavy
  • Guides: Stainless steel on-piece Dura-Guides 
  • Blank material: Graphite composite

Check out the full Penn Battle 3 Combo Review here.

The Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo Pros

  • Tough, stable gears: You get Penn’s CNC cut gearing in the Battle 3, which you also find in higher-end reels like the Spinfisher VI.
  • These gears are tough and precision-cut so that they seam together without gaps or give, meaning you can fight fish with confidence and land large species easily for the dinner table.
  • Durable all-metal body: The reel feels very tough with an all-metal body – which Penn is infamous for in their reels. The Battle 3 can take a bashing and you don’t have to worry too much about damage. 
  • Strong Penn rod blank: The rod is a tough graphite composite blank to match the sturdiness and strength of the reel, while also giving you great sensitivity to pick up bites and ensure successful hooks up so you get on to more fish.

Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo Cons

  • Oversize reels: The reel sizes on the surf combo are pretty large. For example, you have a 5000 reel on an 8ft rod, which feels oversized to me and potentially unbalanced.
  • Not fully sealed: The reel doesn’t have complete sealing to protect it from saltwater, so care is due. The ball bearings are sealed but not the full reel body. 

Penn Battle 3 surf spinning combo Verdict

The Penn Battle 3 is a reel with tons of value built in and Penn’s renowned durability and strength.

The Battle 3 is a pretty good equivalent to the Daiwa BG in terms of performance, but comes in a little cheaper. You get a little less with the Battle 3 but it;s still atop-performing reel for the price.

Penn Battle 3 Combo Rating Score

4.78 stars

  • Performance: 4.8 stars
  • Durability: 4.75 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

4. Shimano Spheros Surf Spinning Combo – best premium option

Why the Shimano Spheros surf spinning combo made the top list

This is an absolute beast of a surf combo. 

One that can take an absolute beating in saltwater from big, hard-fighting fish.

A lot of fishing charters I’ve been on often carry Spheros reels on board as their go-to reel for when the big fish arrive. 

Think tuna, monster yellowtail, or giant snapper.

The reel on this combo is Shimano’s latest redesigned SW (Saltwater) spinning reel.

Interestingly, I see that Shimano has introduced their Infinity Drive technology, which surprisingly was found originally in the Stella SW. 

Infinity Drive is a tweak on the shaft of the reel which increases the stability of the gears and mechanism in the reel.

It gives the angler insane aunts of cranking power without losing smoothness.

I remember trying the Spheros on a fishing charter a few months back.

And the reels looked absolutely beat up from the outside, but they ran buttery smooth when you wound them. 

The 9ft 8000-sized Spheros model combo is perfect for distance-casting surf or pier fishing.

It will have no problem battling big fish in the surf and landing prize catches in a convenient combo. 

Shimano Spheros surf spinning combo at a glance

  • Best for: Heavy-duty surf fishing for large species that will fight you all the way to shore.
  • Sizes: 8000
  • Drag: 29lbs
  • Line capacity: 215yds of 65lb braid
  • Weight: 23.5g
  • Bearings: 4+1
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 5.6:1, 42 inches retrieval
  • Handle side: both

Shimano Spheros rod:

  • Lengths available: 9ft
  • Pieces: 2-pieces 
  • Power range: Heavy
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide guides
  • Blank material: Graphite composite

Check out the full Shimano Spheros Combo Review here.

The Shimano Spheros surf spinning combo Pros

  • Huge power and smoothness: Infinity drive used to be in the Stella which costs $1000s.
  • This gives you insane power and smoothness to provide more crank power against fish like trevally, big snapper, and tuna that pull really hard. 
  • Super tough gears: Hagane body and Hagane gear which is cold forged and they say is the strongest gear in the industry.
  • This is because it is not cut but instead is one solid piece forged to increase strength. 
  • Durable and sealed: I also noticed that the reel has X-protect, X-shield which is basically Shimano’s waterproofing sealing system within the reel to try to prevent saltwater damage.
  • This is important when surfcasting because reels often get exposed to water and you don’t want to be left with a broken reel!
  • The reel is actually rated IPX-8, which is a much higher level than the Spinfisher VI for example. 

The Shimano Spheros surf spinning combo Cons

  • Higher-end: This combo is a little more expensive than the other combos listed here. But you get serious bang for your buck with these rod and reel combos. 
  • Limited range: There are limited surf fishing sizes, with the 9ft 8000 being the most appropriate and versatile for surf fishing. 

Shimano Spheros surf spinning combo Verdict

If you have the money and you’re looking for a top surf spinning combo that will not fail you in the fight, then the SPheros is a great choice.

It’s not top of the list because I know some cannot afford or do not want to stretch to more premium combos.

But you do get so much value for your money with this combo.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend it as it’s a hugely popular choice among anglers using it in tough conditions. 

Shimano Spheros Surf Combo Rating Score

4.80 stars

  • Performance: 4.9 stars
  • Durability: 4.85 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.65 stars

5. Ugly Stik Bigwater surf combo – best for beginners

Why the Ugly Stik Bigwater surf spinning combo made the top list

Now, the other surf rod and reel combos on this list are kind of in another league to the Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Spinning Combo.

But if you’re looking for an inexpensive, seriously strong surf combo that’s not going to cost much at all, then the Bigwater is your game. 

I’ve seen people horsing in huge fish on these rods, from massive carp to even sharks, so the rod can rally handful itself well. 

It may well feel a bit chunky – with medium and medium-heavy power ratings that are all that is available – but if you are going to take this rod and reel to the beach a few times to go surf fishing then it’ll serve you pretty well. 

You can cast huge weights and baits with these things, with the 10ft model able to cast up to 6oz. 

The rod is chunky and grippy too so you’re not going to be losing your rod in a fight or a big cast anytime soon either. 

Penn Ugly Stik Bigwater surf spinning combo at a glance

Ugly Stik Bigwater reel

  • Best for: An occasional surf angler that’s not too serious about getting top gear, but still wants something reliable that’s not going to break down quickly. 
  • Sizes: 60 & 70
  • Line capacity: 420yds of 40lb braid on the 70 size
  • Bearings: 1+1
  • Gear ratio: 4.1:1
  • Handle side: Both

Ugly Stik Bigwater rod:

  • Lengths available: 8-10ft
  • Pieces: 2-pieces 
  • Power range: Medium to medium-Heavy
  • Guides: Ugly Tuff™ 1-piece stainless steel guides
  • Blank material: Graphite/ fiberglass composite

Check out the full Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Combo Review here.

The Ugly Stik Bigwater surf spinning combo Pros

  • Very tough, very powerful: if you just want to head to the beach to surf fish now and again and dial into some big fish, the Bigwater has your back. 
  • Pretty comfortable: the rod has chunky EVA foam handles that you’re not going to miss or slip on in the important moments!
  • Budget-friendly: this is not an expensive combo by any means, so you’ll have some spare change for some decent terminal tackle. 

The Ugly Stik Bigwater surf spinning combo Cons

  • Problems with the guides: The Bigwater has had problems with guides wearing out or popping loose from the rod. As soon as you spot something like this, get onto customer support. 
  • Quality of the reel: given this is a budget option, the reel is not going to be anywhere near the quality, performance, and smoothness of the other reels on this list. 
  • No sealing or waterproofing on the reel: the reel is susceptible to internal saltwater damage under heavy exposure or submerging – so best avoided!

Ugly Stik Bigwater surf spinning combo Verdict

If you need a budget-friendly rod to get you to the beach and casting quickly without investing too much time and money in finding the absolutely perfect surf rod and reel combo, then get the Ugly Stik Bigwater. 

You’ll appreciate its strength, sensitivity, and toughness for the price. 

Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Combo Rating Score

4.68 stars

  • Performance: 4.6 stars
  • Durability: 4.7 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.75 stars

6. Shimano Sedona surf combo – best budget light combo

Why the Shimano Sedona surf spinning combo made the top list

If you’re looking for a combo that starts to drift into more quality territory than the Ugly Stik Bigwater combo, but you still don’t want to take the dive into more premium price ranges like the Spinfisher of Spheros, then the Shimano Sedona FI surf combo is an excellent choice. 

The Sedona is one of those reels that are on the borderline of entry-level versus quality.

This is because it has a bunch of features and engineering technology that has made its way down into this model.

Now you might not immediately place this rod as a surf fishing rod, but I think it has the capability and features to deliver well with lure fishing in troughs and gutters near the shoreline.

The tough gearing and solid, balanced feel of the reel in your hand make it a surprising contender for certain types of surf fishing applications targeting smaller species like whiting, medium blues, and smaller stripers.

The rod it’s matched with is a great little rod from Bass Pro, with some pretty good features on it that increase the combo’s durability.

The rod is very sensitive to detect those small bites from whiting or pompano pecking at your bait but is still strong enough to handle a tough puppy drum that might give you a decent run.

The Shimano Sedona rod and reel combo
The Sedona FI felt really well-balanced in my hand.

The Shimano Sedona surf spinning combo at a glance

Shimano Sedona reel:

  • Best for: Closer in surf fishing targeting whiting, pompano, and puppy drum that are lingering in troughs and guts near shore.
  • Sizes: Go for at least 3000-4000 size
  • Drag: 20-34lbs
  • Line capacity: 170yds of 30lb braid on the 4000 size
  • Weight: 10.4g on the 4000 size
  • Bearings: 3+1
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 6.2:1 and 39 inches
  • Handle side: both

Shimano Sedona rod:

  • Lengths available: 6ft 6in- 7ft 3in
  • Pieces: 1-2-pieces 
  • Power range: Medium to Heavy
  • Guides: Sea Guides with Titanium Oxide rings.
  • Blank material: Graphite with Powerwall construction to make it stronger. 

Check out the full Shimano Sedona Combo Review here.

The Shimano Sedona surf spinning combo Pros

  • Shimano’s forged gear: The Sedona is the least expensive model to contain Shimano’s infamous Hagane cold forged gear. All reels more premium to the Sedona also carry this. The gear gives the reel hefty cranking power and incredible durability. It’s near impossible to wear these gears out. 
  • Propulsion line management system: this has been used for decades on Shimano’s top reels and the brand has never changed it. This will help you cast further, reach those perfect spots where fish hang out, and see you landing more fish on this fun, lighter gear. 
  • G-Free body: this feature of the gearing structure and position was introduced originally in the Shimano Stella, Shimano’s top-of-the-stable premium spinning reel. Through the trickle-down of engineering technology and technique, the Sedona FI now has this feature. The G Free body basically creates a much better-balanced reel in the hand, you can feel that the weight distribution feels tight, and close into your grasped hand, giving you more control over your retrieve to trigger more bites with well-presented lures.

The Shimano Sedona surf spinning combo Cons

  • Plastic body: being an inexpensive reel, the body is made from plastic. This means it needs to be chunkier in some areas, and you can see and feel where it looks a bit chunkier. A plastic boy also means it’s going to be more prone to flex under the pressure of large fish, so be conscious about how you use this reel in the surf. 
  • Not a sealed reel: while I say this reel can be used for surf fishing, I’d avoid splashing and definitely would not submerge it. Use lightly in salt water, like casting lures or baits into holes and troughs close to shore – don’t go wading out with it! 

Shimano Sedona surf spinning combo Verdict

The Shimano Sedona FI reel feels super smooth and capable when you crank the handle, which is needed when you’re retrieving lures through the surf and want to present them a certain way helping to trigger more hook-ups.

It’s got features that you’d find in other much more premium reels but lacks the sealing required to make it an incredibly durable surf reel.

Shimano Sedona Combo Rating Score

4.73 stars

  • Performance: 4.75 stars
  • Durability: 4.65 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

7. Penn Squall 2 Conventional combo – best for long-distance casting

Why the Penn Squall 2 Conventional combo made the top list

Penn recently released a couple of new models to the Penn Squall2 combos, one of which is their surf fishing model that comes with a size 15 reel and 10ft rod. 

The Penn Squall 2 reel looks awesome with the dark frame and gold and metal accents, the contrast is really cool.

When you hold the reel you notice that it is super light from the graphite frame holding it together. 

And the Squall rod blank it is paired with also is a graphite composite meaning the rod and reel system overall is a nice, light combo to take to the beach and get some long-distance casting done to where the big fish hang out.  

The reel also has a huge handle for wrapping your fingers around and cranking hard against big bull reds swimming against the surf.

Also, they’ve changed the position of the mag knob from the front to the back of the reel, which creates a more compact feel when you’re holding the rod and reeling in because the knob isn’t getting in the way. 

I appreciate how the reel feels very smooth to crank and also feels seamless when you cast out too, the reel distributes the line out very quickly and efficiently to help you get some distance when you punch out your casts. 

You can easily cast out 100-150 yards with not much effort using this combo, which is great for covering lots of areas at the beach to increase your chance of catching fish. 

Penn Squall 2 Conventional combo at a glance

Penn Squall 2 Reel:

  • Best for: Distance casting and great for windy conditions where you need to punch weight and bait out across the breakers. If you’re not familiar with conventional reels, there will be a learning curve to adopt this style. 
  • Sizes: 15
  • Drag: 20lbs
  • Line capacity: 415yds of 30lb braid
  • Weight: 15.5oz
  • Bearings: 6+1
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 6.1:1
  • Handle side: Right

Penn Squall 2 Rod:

  • Lengths available: 10ft
  • Pieces: 2-pieces 
  • Power range: Medium
  • Guides: Penn Dura Guides
  • Blank material: Graphite composite

Click here for the full Penn Squall 2 Conventional Combo Review.

Penn Squall 2 Conventional Combo Pros

Effective magnet system with 16 settings: The magnet system helps control the spool and avoid bird’s nests, meaning you can keep casting and fishing and not worry about wasting time unpicking tangles. Without the magnet on the reel casts like a beast, so make sure you’re ready to thumb it if you’re fishing without the assistance of the magnet. 

Smooth casting and reeling: the reel feels incredibly smooth and has lots of torque to it. The drag system is Penn’s famous HT-100 system which is powerful against large surf species, meaning you can fight fish your way and control them right into the beach without losing them. You get 30 inches of line punched in on every crank of the handle so you can get your fish in quickly if it’s reading for structure. 

Penn Squall 2 Conventional combo Cons

Small reel foot: The reel foot is still really small so is difficult to get on large chunky blanks. The foot on the Fathom was really small for some reason, particularly on large surf rods with thick blanks and chunky reel seats. You can get the Squall 2 on some rods, but you put a lot of pressure on the rod blank and can chip or scratch the blank trying to fit this on. Seems to be best designed for Penn rods, not other surf casting brands or customs.

Penn Squall 2 Conventional combo Verdict

If you prefer conventional reels, this is a great value surf fishing conventional rod and reel combo. It’s lightweight, strong, and able to cast considerable distances very far out, allowing you to cover the surf area and catch more fish on every session.

Penn Squall 2 Combo Rating Score

4.75 stars

  • Performance: 4.75 stars
  • Durability: 4.7 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

Things to look for when buying a surf rod and reel combo

Below is my list of criteria I follow when looking for a good surf rod and reel combo – you should consider these factors when you are deciding too:

Surf Reel

Ideally, you want a reliable, decent reel on your surf rod combo. If your budget can stretch then choose one with at least a sealed drag or more comprehensive sealing.

You need a strong, capable drag system – I prefer those in the 15-20lb+ max drag range for surf fishing – this is enough for most species.

Make sure there is enough line capacity on the reel for distance casting – you want to be able to cover a lot of area at the beach to maximize your casting.

Rod construction

Rods in combo systems are typically lower grade than rods that you buy solely on their own. That said, the materials and construction have improved recently a lot.

Look for graphite and fiberglass composite rods. I find these are the best for surf fishing because they give you lightness from the graphite, but also lots of sensitivity from the glass.

Rod Length

Ideally, I always aim for my surf rods to be at least 7ft for closer fishing where you are working the gutters closer to the shoreline, and at least 9-10ft for distance casting.

Having two rods, a short and a long one is my favorite way to surf fish, and you can be very productive and catch lots by fishing this way.

Rod Components

Look for corrosion-resistant, quality durable components on your combo. Again, the rods are lower quality than those bought on their own, so make sure you have at least stainless steel guides, with solid guide feet and preferably a durable surface to them like ceramic or a type of oxide.

Overall durability

Choose surf rod and reel combos that have a reputation for being durable and strong.

Surf fishing is tough on your gear, so it’s worth listening to the experiences of other seasoned surf anglers out there to understand if a surf combo stands up to the conditions over time.

Best Surf Rod and Reel Combo – Verdict

So after testing, handling, and hours of research, I hope you’ve found this article useful in helping you to find the best surf rod and reel combo for your fishing needs.

combos are so great when you just want to go with a reliable brand and pick up a good-value rod and reel system that is built to perform and last.

Let’s recap on the top surf fishing rod and reel combos in this list: