Are you wondering whether to stretch your budget to a premium surf rod?
Or could you just go for a cheap surf rod make and model and be done with it?
There are so many surf rod options out there, across all price ranges, it’s overwhelming to make a decision.
I’ve spent the last 20 or so years surf fishing and have handled many different surf rods of varying price ranges.
Today I want to help you answer, are expensive surf rods worth it?
A surf rod being expensive is not a sign of quality per se. Blank construction that uses graphite and glass composite, components like the guides and reel seat being Fuji ceramics or Seaguides are signs of quality. And whether the surf rod is from a reputable brand, and whether other anglers have had positive experiences with the rod.
Understanding Surf Rods
As a surf angler, I know that choosing the right surf rod can make all the difference in the success of my fishing trip. In this section, I’ll provide a brief overview of surf rods, including their types and components.
Types of Surf Rods
There are two main types of surf rods: spinning and casting.
Spinning rods are the most popular option for surf anglers because they are easy to use and can cast a variety of baits.
Spinning rods are also great for beginners because they are forgiving and can handle a wide range of fishing conditions.
Casting rods, on the other hand, are for more experienced anglers who want to cast heavy baits long distances.
They are more powerful than spinning rods and can handle heavier lines and lures. However, they require more skill to use and can be more difficult to cast.
Most of my rods are surf spinning rods which are. a little more heavy-duty than freshwater spinning rods.
Surf Rod Components
Surf rods have several components, each of which plays a critical role in the rod’s performance. Some of the most important components include:
- Rod blank: This is the main body of the rod and is responsible for its strength and sensitivity. I look for composites that contain a little fiberglass in them because I believe it improves stability and flex for battling fish.
- Guides: These are the small metal rings that attach to the rod blank and help guide the fishing line. Ideally, you want guides that will last. Cheap surf rods typically have guides that wear out easily and this risks losing fish from line breakages. Look for Fuji, Seaguides and ceramic guides where possible. Corrosion-resistant guide feet are important too.
- Reel seat: This is the part of the rod where the reel is attaches to the blank. For lighter fishing, look for graphite reel seats, or a combo of graphite and aluminum. If you’re battling larger fish, like sharks, I’d advise you go heavier-duty with aluminum.
- Handle: This is the part of the rod that you hold onto while fishing. You want a grip material that’s not too thin, is comfortable and durable. A tacky material is best because you don’t risk your wet hands slipping in the cast or fighting fish.
When it comes to choosing a surf rod, it’s important to consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll be fishing in.
A longer rod is generally better for surf fishing because it allows you to cast farther and keep your line above the waves.
However, a shorter rod may be more maneuverable and easier to use in tight spaces.
Overall, understanding the different types and components of surf rods can help you make an informed decision when choosing the best surf fishing rod for your needs.
And whether it is worth shelling out for more expensive rod.
Materials and Construction
Graphite Vs Fiberglass
When it comes to surf rods, the two most common materials used for the blank are graphite and fiberglass.
Graphite is a popular choice due to its lightweight and sensitivity, while fiberglass is popular for its durability and ability to handle heavy loads.
Graphite blanks are typically more expensive than fiberglass blanks, but they offer better sensitivity and responsiveness to bites.
These will tend to be all fiberglass and much heavier in weight to handle. If you have a very long, cheap fiberglass rod you can become tried pretty quickly on the bach from using it.
More expensive rods
These use a composite including graphite or carbon fiber (a very similar thing really).
This makes the rod much lighter and therefore more usable, it stops your arm from getting tired.
So you can stay at the beach fishing for longer and catch more fish with each session.
The construction of the blank is also an important factor to consider when choosing a surf rod.
High-end surf rods are often made with 20-30-ton carbon or carbon/graphite composite, which provide a great balance between strength and sensitivity.
Some manufacturers also use TC2 Japanese graphite construction, which is known for its high-quality and durability.
Handle and Reel Seat
The handle and reel seat are also important components of a surf rod.
These often come with plastic reel seats and thin rubber or foam handles that can perish quite quickly. If you’re using a cheap surf rod it’s likely to wear out over heavy usage quite quickly.
The reel seat is likely to be plastic.
And there are many cases where cheap surf rod reel seats have a lot of movement in them when casting and fighting fish, which is not ideal
High-end surf rods
These often feature custom-designed handles made from high-quality cork or EVA foam.
The reel seat is usually made from lightweight materials such as aluminum, titanium, or graphite, and is designed to securely hold the reel in place.
So, when it comes to expensive surf rods, the quality of the materials and construction are key factors that determine their worth.
Graphite and fiberglass are the two most common materials used for the blank.
Graphite offers better sensitivity and responsiveness, while fiberglass offers durability and strength.
High-end surf rods often feature 30-ton carbon or carbon/graphite composite construction, as well as custom-designed handles and lightweight reel seats made from materials such as aluminum, titanium, or graphite.
When it comes to surf rods, there are a lot of brands to choose from. In this section, I’ll compare a few of the most popular brands and models.
Penn Vs St. Croix
Penn and St. Croix are both well-respected brands in the fishing world.
Penn offers a range of surf rods, including the Penn Battalion and Penn Prevail, while St. Croix has the Mojo Surf Spinning Rod and the Avid Surf Casting Rod.
Both brands offer high-quality rods that are designed to perform well in a variety of conditions.
Penn tends to offer rods in cheaper ranges than St Criox, but these Penn rods are a step above the basic entry level rods, so if you’re on a budget your money would be well placed here.
Tica Vs Okuma
Tica and Okuma are both brands that offer affordable surf rods.
Tica’s Surf UMGA series is a very popular choice with surf anglers for the rod’s performance and durability.
While Okuma has the Okuma Rockaway Surf Rod and the Cedros Surf Rod. The Rockaway rod has become renowned among anglers for how well it casts while being light and responsive.
Both brands offer great value for the price and are a good choice for anglers on a budget.
Shimano Vs Daiwa
Shimano and Daiwa are both well-known brands in the fishing world.
Shimano offers a range of surf rods, including the Tiralejo and the SpeedMaster.
While Daiwa has the Saltist and the Team Daiwa.
Both brands offer high-quality rods that are designed to perform well in a variety of conditions.
Custom Rod builders
If you are really looking to invest in the top-of-the-range surf fishing rod that matches your exact requirements, then you can contact a custom rod builder to make you a rod.
The benefits here are you get to choose what materials, construction style, and all important specs like the power and action, length, lightness, number of guides and one or 2 piece blanks, and componentry too.
But all this customization does come at a price!
So, as you can see there are a lot of great surf rod brands to choose from – and many offer quality at not too large a price.
Whether you’re looking for a high-end custom rod or an affordable option, there’s a brand out there that will meet your needs.
Value and Performance
When it comes to surf rods, there are a variety of options available at different price points. In this section, I will compare the value and performance of budget, high-end, and middle-range surf rods.
Budget Surf Rods
Budget surf rods are a great option for beginners or those on a tight budget.
These rods are typically priced under $100 and are made with less expensive materials.
While they may not be as durable or high-performing as more expensive options, they are a good choice for those who are just starting out or don’t plan on using their rod frequently.
Mid-range surf rods
These rods go from about $150 – $500.
This level of surf rod gives you access to some very high-performing gear.
The rods at this level should have quality, durable components such as tough guides that are engineered to aid with casting and dispersal of pressure and strain across the rod.
Look for a sturdy reel seat, with ergonomic, grippy, and comfortable handles that help you execute technical surf casts.
The blank should be a composite or graphite blank to provide strength and sensitivity while drastically reducing the rod’s weight compared to cheaper glass models.
High-End Surf Rods
High-end surf rods are made with premium materials and are designed for experienced anglers who demand the best performance.
These rods can cost upwards of $500 or more, but they offer superior sensitivity, strength, and casting distance.
They are also more durable and long-lasting than budget options. However, the high cost may not be worth it for those who only fish occasionally or are not serious anglers.
Are Expensive Surf Rods Worth It? My Verdict.
The cost of a surf rod is often a major factor in the decision-making process.
In short, I believe investing in the right surf rod is very important because of the harsh conditions of surf fishing, and the performance you expect out of the rod.
While high-end surf rods offer superior performance, they may not be worth the extra cost for everyone.
It is important to consider your level of experience, how often you fish, and your budget when deciding which surf rod to purchase.
For those who are just starting out or on a tight budget, a budget surf rod may be the best option.
However, experienced anglers who demand the best performance may want to invest in a high-end surf rod. It all comes down to personal preference and budget.