Best surf rod for pompano

two fish caught with the Best surf rod for pompano
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Fishing for Pompano from the beach is an incredibly popular pastime for anglers due to pompano’s fantastic taste but also its ability to put up a good fight once hooked.

But you need to select the right rod for catching pompano in the surf, based on the type of fishing you’ll be doing.

Need more guidance on the best rods to take surf fishing? Click here.

This article steps you through the most important factors for choosing the best surf rod for pompano.

The best surf rod for pompano is either a medium-light, moderate-fast action rod for short-range sight casting, or if long-range surf fishing for pompano then a medium-heavy, moderate action rod is best.

Need a reliable surf reel for this year’s beach casting? Pick from the best surf reels right here.

Choosing the best surf rod for Pompano: need to know

If you want to catch pompano effectively and avoid drawing a blank when you next visit the beach, you need to select the right surf rod to target pompano.

Let’s have a look at the need-to-know factors to consider when choosing the best surf rod for pompano.

Match a Pompano fishing surf pole to the type of fishing

Pompano can be caught in a variety of ways, and choosing the right surf rod for catching pompano depends on how and where you’ll be fishing for them.

Let’s look at two different approaches for targeting pompano from the beach, and what this means for choosing a pompano surf rod.

Short-range casting for pompano

In the colder months, pompano are more likely to be closer to the shore waiting for prey in troughs, rips, and holes that sometimes may only be a few feet from the shoreline. They’re also known to swim in and out of inlets in these months.

This means they can be targeted with smaller, lighter gear without needing to cast huge distances.

So your surf rod for pompano in this situation can be shorter and lighter.

This gives you a great experience fighting these small but powerful fish on a rod that will allow you to feel every movement of the battle. 

It also opens up different ways to fish for pompano when fishing closer to shore. 

Firstly, you could use bait like sand fleas or cut-up shrimp, attached to a light hi-lo rig with a ½ oz egg sinker to fish the breaking wash in close. The egg sinker allows the bait to roll around, attracting the pompano to come and strike. 

Secondly, on lighter gear, you could try some sight fishing. This involves looking for visual signs of pompano and casting something like soft plastic jigs out into the closer, deeper areas where you see fish.

A slow retrieve along the bottom, jigging gently up and down can be effective at triggering pompano to strike because it disturbs the sand, imitating their prey moving along the bottom.

Click here for more surf rod options!

Long-range casting for pompano

As the water warms up, pompano move back out beyond the breaking surf and sandbanks, waiting for bait and prey to wash back out to the ocean.

To reach them, you’ll need a longer surf rod for pompano fishing in this situation. 

The longer rod will provide more leverage when casting, allowing further casts out to the back with a sinker and bait. 

In this case, you’ll want to use a sand spike to hold your fishing rod as you wait to detect a strike from a pompano. 

fishing rods on the beach for pompano fishing gear

The best short-range Pompano surf rod: specifications

Fishing short-range for pompano that are hugging the shoreline requires a shorter, lighter surf rod set up. 

Let’s have a look at the different surf rod specs that are best suited to catching pompano at short range. 

Length: 6-8ft

It’s worth keeping your pompano surf rod fairly short for shorter-range fishing. 

A surf rod between the 6-8ft range will give you enough length without being overbearing.

You’ll easily reach the deeper spots closer to shore, like troughs, that pompano swim in, in the cooler months. 

A popular choice is a 7-foot spinning rod for surf fishing. Spinning rods are very versatile and great for a saltwater application like this.

Because you aren’t challenged by the breaking surf and movement of the waves, you don’t need the height of a 10-12-foot rod to make it clear of the breaking surf. 

There are reports of pompano at dawn swimming right into the wash of the shoreline to avoid predators and to feed.

A large 12-foot rod would be overkill in this situation. 

The other benefit of a shorter rod if you decide to fish with lures like soft plastic jigs, is that it is easier to handle. 

You’ll be doing a lot of movements whilst using lures so a shorter rod is physically lighter to use, and provides more sensitivity for this type of fishing. 

Even a 10-foot rod would become too heavy and tiresome after 15-20 casts and working the lure, so it’s worth staying within the 6-8-foot range. 

Power: medium-light

For shorter-range pompano surf fishing, a medium-light-powered rod will provide enough strength while not being too rigid. 

A rod that is too heavy will lack sensitivity. 

Pompano are well-known for their feisty battles, and having a rod that is too heavy will take away the fun of fighting this fish.

A medium light-power rod has enough flex to sense the pompano biting but also to feel all their acceleration and turns while retrieving them.

Experienced anglers online often attest to the benefit of having a lighter set-up for pompano. 

When surf fishing for pompano, I personally wouldn’t choose a rod that has a power rating below medium-light though. 

You still want to have some rigidity and strength in the main body of the blank. 

The surf conditions can create a lot of movement in your rod, so if you have a very light set up on the surf, it might be difficult to detect bites because your rod will be waving all over the place. 

Now let’s have a look at the right rod action for a short-range pompano surf rod.

Check out the best surf rods overall in this article.

Action: moderate-fast

There are a couple of options here, depending on if you are using lures or bait.

Lure fishing for pompano: Fast action

Use a fast-action surf rod when lure fishing for pompano. 

The faster action helps to sense the bites more easily as you retrieve the lure through the water, and also helps to set the lure’s hook in the fish’s mouth. 

Importantly, a faster action rod gives you much more accuracy when casting. This is a benefit when sight casting for pompano in the surf, and you want the lure to land in a specific place, usually ahead of a shoal of pompano so that they swim right by it and strike. 

Bait fishing for pompano: moderate to fast action

For bait fishing pompano at a short-range, a moderate to fast action is appropriate. 

Depending on the hook types you’re using you might err on using either a moderate or fast action. 

Typical J-hooks often need a little more encouragement to set properly in the fish’s mouth and a faster action will provide a bit more responsiveness to set the hook. 

Other hooks, like circle hooks, need less force to set and a moderate action rod might be a good option for that hook type.

Casting weight: 1/8-1/2oz

Anything between 1/ 8 – 1/ 2oz lures will suit a medium-light rod well for pompano. 

Choose the specific lure size based on how far you might need to cast, and the size of the pompano you’re after. 

Generally, you shouldn’t need to go too big, and lighter tackle works effectively.

If casting out bait, similarly weighted egg or ball sinkers should do fine. 

Line class: 8-10lb

Surf rod line weights are often much heavier and stronger than typical freshwater fishing because its often the case you are targeting large, hard-fighting species. 

However, in this case, you are fishing with lighter gear while targeting pompano closer to the surf. 

This means you can decrease the line class to match the lighter gear you are using. 

A braided line of between 8-10lb range should serve well in this situation for both lures and bait, being thin enough to aid casting but strong enough, too.

Because we’re using a flexible rod tip, braid should be ok in this case despite not being stretchy – the rod will make up for that.

_a rod and reel is the best setup for pompano surf fishing

The best long-range Pompano surf rod: specifications

To reach pompano further out beyond the breaking surf requires a longer, heavier setup. 

You want to make sure your surf rod gives you enough leverage to cast far enough and be strong enough for the conditions, but not be dominating over the pompano in the battle to land them on the shore.

Let’s have a look at the specs for the best long-range pompano surf rod.

Length: 9-14ft

Our research looking at what most anglers use to catch pompano that swims beyond the breaking surf shows that a 10ft rod is the preference for many. 

The range was between 9ft to 14ft.

There are three benefits to a longer surf rod for pompano fishing or this style. 

  • Casting distance
  • Clearance above the surf
  • Control

Let’s have a look at these in more detail. 

Casting distance 

Typically the advice is to select a longer rod if you need to cast a further distance. 

The additional length of the rod provides much greater leverage and therefore kinetic energy to send a bait out further than a shorter rod.

Also, if you use it correctly, the extra length means there is more of the rod blank to build up energy when it flexes while casting.

That said, very long rods take a good technique to cast a long distance. You want to make sure you’ve practiced your casting if you’re aiming to reach pompano that are a significant distance from the shoreline. 

Clearance above the surf

Once placed in a sand spike (which is advised when surf fishing for pompano), the extra length of the rod helps to clear the breaking waves in front of the fish.

I’ve tried to surf fish with a shorter rod in conditions where I could not clear the surf – it was a nightmare where the bait kept being washed about and the line drifted all over the place. 

Furthermore, it’s difficult to detect a bite when the breaking waves are moving your line so much.

Greater clearance means more stability, visibility, and a true representation of when a pompano strike might be hitting your line. 


Another benefit of having a long surf rod is that the length can provide greater control when striking when a fish bites, and also in guiding the fish to the shore whilst battling it. 

The additional length means additional leverage, so a small movement with a large rod can create a large movement at the end of the line. 

What this means is that striking a bite can take little effort – just a short, sharp rise of the rod.

It also means that you can easily guide the fish in the direction you want it to go when fighting it to shore. 

This can be beneficial if there are directional troughs or features that help naturally guide the fish to shore. 

By moving and pointing a longer rod in certain directions, with small sweeps you can encourage the fish in the direction you need it to go. 

Power: medium-heavy

The common advice across some of the most popular fishing forums, from seasoned pompano anglers, is that a medium-heavy power is most suited to fishing pompano in the surf.

A medium-heavy surf rod is best for pompano because it provides the strength to achieve powerful casts and battle pompano fish comfortably, but is not too heavy that all the feeling and sensitivity is lost in the rod blank.

Action: moderate

In terms of action, you’ll want to counter the rigidity of a medium-heavy power rod blank with a flexible rod tip that will help you sense bites easily but also help the hook remain in the mouth of the fish.

Experienced anglers giving advice online suggest that fiberglass rods with a limber tip seem to hook up pompano much better than more rigid graphite rods. 

So here, our recommendation is a moderate action tipped rod to achieve the best results. 

Casting weight: 2-5oz

The appropriate casting weight for longer-range surf fishing for pompano is anywhere between the 2 -5oz range. This will provide the right amount of leverage and loading when casting out beyond the surf. 

It will also be enough to hold the bait in the location you want it to be, without being pummeled and washed around by the breaking surf and moving currents. 

Line class: 15-20lb

Pompano aren’t huge fish, rarely getting over an extreme of 8-9lbs in weight. So a mono line weight of around 15-20lbs is more than enough that’s needed to comfortably land these fish. 

Don’t forget – check out this comparison of the top surf reels for many different uses here.

Best surf rod for pompano summary

If you’re wanting to catch this popular species, remember there are two common ways of targeting these fish, and this will influence what to choose as the best surf rod for pompano. 

If short-range surf fishing for pompano, the best pompano surf rod is a medium-light, moderate to fast action depending on if you are using lures or bait. 

If long-range surf fishing for pompano, the best surf rod is a medium-heavy, moderate action rod to provide strength.

5 Must-know Surf Fishing 'Secrets' that lead to more hook-ups.Free Guide to catch more fish – without spending money on gear!
  • Simple habits to hook up more fish
  • Quick and easy to implement on your next fishing trip
  • Don't pay any more money on gear.

Just ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW, and get the FREE resource, NOW!