How far can you cast with a 12ft surf rod?

A man fishing thinking, how far can you cast with a 12ft surf rod

Have you ever wondered how much the length of a fishing rod can influence the casting distance? 

I’ve been looking to buy a longer rod, in the hope that I’ll be able to cast out further with it, and 12ft seems like a reasonable length.

Not too long, but potentially long enough to get a good distance. 

Click here if you’re looking for a great surf rod option and want our opinion.

But I wanted to know, how far can you cast with a 12ft surf rod? 

This article looks at some research I did to help answer this question, and also tips I found for casting as far as possible with a 12ft rod. Here’s what I found out about casting distances for a 12ft surf rod.

You can expect to cast an average distance of 100ft with a 12ft surf rod. However, depending on your casting ability and technique, and the conditions and fishing tackle you are using, the typical range might be anywhere between 50-120ft.

Take a look at our article on how far should you cast when surf fishing?

Average casting distances for 12ft surf rods

I’ve never owned a 12ft rod so I can’t give my personal experience. So I turned to the experience of expert and seasoned anglers on some of the internet’s most popular fishing forums to find out how far you can cast with a 12 ft surf rod. 

Here is the data I found on how far anglers are casting a 12ft surf rod, based on people estimations and measurements:

  • The average casting distance with a 12ft rod is 91ft.
  • The most common answer was 100ft.
  • The middle distance of all the answers was 100ft. 

So it seems about 100ft is how far you can cast a 12ft rod, dependent on using a good casting technique of course. 

Get our perspective on the best surf rods your money can buy today.

How far you can cast with a 12ft surf rod: key factors

When I started researching this question, I came across many factors that could help or hinder the distance you are able to cast a 12ft surf rod. Let’s have a look at them.

Power or weight rating for a 12ft surf rod

The ‘power’ rating of a fishing rod defines how easy or difficult it is to bend the rod, or how much force and weight it takes to bend the rod. 

The higher the power rating, the more weight it takes to bend the rod. Power ratings go along a light-to-heavy scale, with light being easier to bend than heavy. 

Heavier rods tend to cast further because you can build up more energy and leverage that during the cast. With lighter rods, you lose some of the energy in the flex of the rod.

 Heavier rods tend to make better surf fishing rods in my experience. I typically use medium-heavy rods for surf fishing and they work ok for me. 

So a medium to heavy power rating sounds about right for a 12ft surf rod. 

Rod action for a 12ft surf rod

The ‘action’ of a fishing rod speaks to the sensitivity of the rod’s tip, and where on the blank it actually bends. 

Fast action rods are great for surf fishing, but many believe that the lower bend of a slow action rod can lead to a longer cast distance, from the energy stored up in the rod blank when you release the rod.

If you think about two fishing rods, one that bends at the tip vs one that bends the entire rod back, you can see that when each is released the rod that bends only at the tip has a small amount of flex and energy built up in the rod. 

Whereas the other rod that bends almost entirely down the rod blank has so much more energy stored up that it releases into distance when you flick the cast out. 

That said, it takes a good technique to get the cast right and therefore max your distance with a slower action rod. But once you master it, you’ll be casting much further.

The only issue with slower action rods for surf fishing is that they can sometimes be too bendy and flexy, which can make it difficult to see if you’ve got a good bite on your bait. 

So, when selecting a 12ft surf rod, consider slower action rods if you are really looking for distance.

The weight or sinker

Each rod will have guidelines written on the side of a rod which shows the weight limits the rod should be able to handle efficiently. 

Staying within these can help increase your distance. Going with the upper weight range means you have a little more leverage and ‘oomph’ behind your cast.

However, don’t go too heavy because this will just weigh down your cast and have the opposite effect. The guides are there for a reason! 


The bait you use

If you’re chucking out huge flappy bits of bait, then they’re not going to be very aerodynamic, and will affect the distance of your casting.

Smaller, streamlined baits can help here. 

But you want to be picking the right bait for the right species and size of fish, rather than just what is most aerodynamic.

Fishing line size  

The thicker the line, the shorter your cast might be. This is because the thicker line is heavier and creates more drag through the air. So more energy is needed to cast further with thicker line. 

Thinner line cuts through the air more easily, is lighter in weight, and also tends to come off the spool much more easily, which means you can get more distance when casting out.

But there is always a trade off. If you’re casting further when surf fishing you are probably targeting larger species, and therefore a thicker line will avoid breakages and losing fish. 

Pick a line that’s too thin and you risk breaking the line from the force of a long distance cast, or from being broken when a monster fish out the back of the surf decides to chomp your bait. 

So think about the areas and species you are targeting to weight up how strong and thick you need the line, or if you can go thinner. 

Fishing rig

Another important part of the terminal tackle to consider is your rig. If it;s a complex rig with lots of swivels and bait hooks, these all create drag in the air and might affect your casting distance. 

I find a simpler rig like the paternoster rig is a good one for reducing drag and being able to cast further out. 

Surf casting technique

You need a good surf casting technique to clear distance over breaking waves

This is a huge factor! Consider the difference between a complete novice angler to a highly experienced one. The first has no technique and the line often lands a few feet in front of them, and the latter can sling a bait out tens if not hundreds of yards. 

And the main difference is technique – you can have all the gear but no idea, after all! 

But that doesn’t mean a novice can’t quickly learn and practice a more effective technique for casting their surf rod out. 

Check out the videos below which talk about casting technique if you want to improve. They’re easy to grasp and very instructional. 

Weather conditions

Finally, weather is a huge factor when it comes to casting distance. I’ve turned up to a beach before and the conditions have been great, but then it suddenly changes and you have a strong headwind – this can cut your casting distance in half!

Be mindful of what conditions you are fishing in – try to get either no or little wind, or a nice tailwind coming from behind you as you look out to the ocean. This will help carry your bait further! 

Rain can be a dampener on casting distance as well. Check the forecast!.

Surf casting technique to cast far with a 12ft surf rod

There are a couple of techniques that I use to cast as far as possible with my surf rods. 

The first involves placing the bait and sinker on the ground just behind you with your arms above your head. Make the line taught but without moving the bait – taking the strain basically. 

Then you take a step forward with one leg and bring your arms over your head in an arch, releasing the cast at roughly 45 degree angle. 

The second is sometimes called the pendulum cast, where you swing your sinker back and forth behind you, and then when the sinker reaches the furthest point behind you, you swing your arms forward in a smooth motion, unlocking the energy built up from the pendulum swing as you release into the cast. 

Here are some videos that show similar techniques.

How far can you cast with a 12ft surf rod? Summary

If you become well-practiced at casting with a good technique on a day where there are favorable conditions, you can aim for casting a 12ft rod in the range of 100ft. 

The more you practice the better you’ll become, so get out there and start casting!

Sometimes you might not need to cast too far when surf fishing.