There are many saltwater game fish species and different methods and equipment are called for in fishing for each of them. We want to now evaluate the different attributes in order to help you choose the best saltwater fishing rods and equipment configuration for your fishing plan.
Top 5 The Best Saltwater Fishing Rods
- Type: Spinning
- Length: 7′
- Power: Medium
- Action: Medium Fast
- Type: Spinning & Casting
- Length: 7′
- Power: Fast
- Action: Medium
- Type: Casting
- Length: 7.6′
- Power: Extra Heavy
- Action: Fast
- Type: Casting
- Length: 7′
- Power: Medium
- Action: Fast
- Type: Telescopic
- Length: 7′
- Power: Medium
- Action: Medium
1. Ugly Stik Elite – Best Inshore Saltwater Spinning Rod For The Money
Ugly Stik Elite comes in lengths up to 7’6” and in weights from ultralight to medium heavy. This is a composite rod with 35 percent graphite construction, which provides for a strong and durable rod with lighter weight.
The Ugly Stik Elite has comfortable cork handles for repetitive casting, and the cork will be long-lasting for saltwater use. The handle is long enough for use with any rod holder. The action is well suited to fishing with live bait from piers or inshore. The Ugly Stik Elite tip is sensitive and allows for very good line control.
The Elite includes durable stainless steel line guides that will retain their inserts against harsh saltwater. The reliable Ugly Stik brand name is backed up with a 7-year warranty.
The Ugly Stik Elite is the best inshore saltwater spinning rod for the money. It is light and strong while providing good casting distance and accuracy for repetitive casting from a pier or other structure. With maintenance, the Elite will last a long time and serve many saltwater fishing techniques.
- It is lightweight and durable.
- It will work very well for pier fishing.
- It is too short for long casting while surf fishing.
- It is not as well suited for offshore fishing.
2. UglyStik GX2 – Best Deep Sea Fishing Rod
UglyStik GX2 comes in lengths from 6’0” to 7’6” feet in medium-heavy weight. The composite design of the GX2 makes for an excellent match for a heavyweight baitcasting reel for larger offshore fish.
The GX2 has an ergonomic and well-leveraged handle suitable for baitcasting and most rod holders. The line guides are well suited for offshore jigging and trolling, and accommodate fast line retrieval.
The reel seat is strong and matches well with most saltwater baitcasting reels. The UglyStik GX2 has an attractive finish and a well balanced and hefty feel. A highly sensitive GX2 tip allows for good line control even with heavier baits and tackle. When paired with an appropriate reel and line, the UglyStik GX2 is well equipped to handle large tuna and kingfish in deep waters.
This durable and strong rod is an outstanding value. With proper cleaning and care, this rod will handle many offshore fishing trips. The GX2 is well suited for heavier baits and fish found in deeper offshore waters.
- It is well suited for offshore fishing.
- It is also well suited for jigging and trolling inshore and offshore.
- It will not cast well enough to be suitable for surf fishing.
- Baitcasting might not work best with many pier fishing uses.
3. KastKing Royale Legend – Best All Around Saltwater Rod
KastKing comes in both spinning and baitcasting configurations, and in medium weights between 6’6” and 7’6” lengths. The Royale Legend blank is made from a carbon composite made with exacting precision. The construction material makes for a very durable and lightweight rod with good sensitivity at higher weights.
The line guides are Fuji o-ring guides, which are known for quality and durability. The overall finish and design of the Royale Legend is very attractive and appears to be of design and manufacturing quality of much more expensive rods.
The handle is of foam composite construction and the baitcasting handle is especially comfortable. The KastKing Royale is also useful for many freshwater fishing applications with the proper reel installed and is very versatile for anglers who fish in all kinds of waters.
The Royale Legend is made from highly durable carbon composite material. It is lightweight while maintaining strength and durability. Paired with either a spinning reel or baitcasting reel, the KastKing Royale Legend will be suitable for both offshore and inshore use.
- It is very versatile and is suitable for offshore, inshore, and pier fishing.
- The KastKing rod comes with a lifetime warranty.
- It does not have the length necessary for surf fishing or some pier fishing locations.
- The baitcasting reel seat is not as well manufactured as the spinning reel seat.
4. Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece 7-Feet – Best Saltwater Baitcasting Rod
Entsport Camo Legend comes with two tips, one medium weight and the other medium heavy. Depending on conditions and the bait being used, the two different weights provide great versatility for the wide variety of inshore fishing techniques available to saltwater anglers. The second tip also serves as a backup in the event of tip damage. That can come in handy when saltwater fishing, as life on a boat is often hard on equipment.
The Camo Legend is made from a carbon composite material that is lightweight and sensitive for use with most inshore bait types. The line guides and reel seat are designed to be highly resistant to corrosion and should provide long saltwater service.
The Entsport Camo Legend handle is made of EVA composite material and is comfortable while maximizing sensitivity. The overall ergonomics of the Camo Legend are designed for long days on the water and comfortable casting and line control for hours on end.
The Entsport Camo Legend offers the best attributes of most saltwater baitcasting rods. It is lightweight and sensitive, allowing for effective casting of most inshore bait types. The Camo Legend length is well suited to handling on a boat and effectively handling and landing typical inshore species.
- It is also useful for many freshwater fishing techniques with a proper reel.
- It has a very nice finish and cosmetic appeal.
- It is not well suited for long range casting.
- The composite material of the Camo Legend requires additional care and might be damaged in the course of normal saltwater use.
5. Sougayilang Portable Fishing Rod – Best Travel and Surf Fishing Saltwater Rod
The Sougayilang is made from a carbon and fiberglass composite material. The material provides light weight and very good sensitivity for a multipiece rod.
The reel seat and line guides are made from aluminum and stainless steel and are designed for long life with saltwater use. The Sougayilang competes with one or two piece rods of similar length in casting distance with typical surf fishing tackle.
Sougayilang has a reputation for quality design and construction, and the Sougayilang looks nice while providing a sturdy feel for a telescoping rod. The EVA foam composite handle provides for comfortable casting and works well with a rod holder while surf fishing.
The Sougayilang is an outstanding choice for beach camping or any travel along shorelines. It is made of durable material and will pack away for comfortable carry with your gear. With a good case, it will easily stow away in an overhead compartment for your next flight to any coast.
- It travels easily and can go with you to any saltwater location you visit.
- It has the length and casting distance to enjoy surf fishing from just about any beach.
- It is not the best choice for inshore or offshore fishing.
- The multipiece construction means you will have to spend extra time and effort to properly clean away the corrosive saltwater elements each time you use it.
Shopping Guide – Saltwater Fishing Rod
Saltwater fishing is a different sport from freshwater fishing in important ways, and the equipment you will need for saltwater fishing is not the same as ordinary freshwater gear. It is corrosive and will weaken, warp, and ruin equipment not designed for the harsher elements saltwater fishing presents. Additionally, you will have to be disciplined in thoroughly cleaning your saltwater equipment after each use.
There are several different styles of saltwater fishing, and you should choose the rod that best fits the type of fishing you will be doing and the species of fish you are going after.
Surf fishing is done on the shoreline and involves long casting out past the breakers or other obstacles. Pier fishing is very similar in that normally the angler stands on a pier or other structure extending out into the water and casts out from the pier.
Saltwater fishing from a boat is described as either inshore or offshore fishing. Inshore fishing is usually done within a mile or two of the shoreline and in waters less than 100 feet or so deep. Offshore is done in deeper waters, usually from ten or more miles from shore. Offshore usually involves jigging, where a bait is cast out a moderate distance from the boat, or trolling, where a bait is pulled along from a moving boat.
In addition to choosing a rod that is suited for the harsher saltwater conditions, matching your rod choice up with the style of fishing you will be doing is the first step to enjoyable saltwater fishing.
It is dictated by the type of reel you will be using, as the reel and rod must match up in order to function correctly. There are two main styles combinations for saltwater fishing: spinning and baitcasting.
Spinning reels are positioned on the underneath of the rod, ahead of the rod handle. The line guides run down the bottom of the rod and are designed to help control the line coming on and off of the outside of the reel spool. Spinning rods are useful when longer and more repetitive casting is called for. Spinning reels that are designed to use a line weight proper for the fish you are going after are excellent choices for surf and most inshore fishing.
Baitcasting rods are designed to have the reel attached to the top of the rod above the handle. Many baitcasting equipment includes a trigger grip on the bottom part of the handle to help with casting and rod control. It’s generally designed to handle larger baits and tackle and are well suited for offshore jigging or trolling. Having the line and line guides along the top of the rod helps control larger fish and avoid damage to the rod or line.
The length is important when considering the casting distance required and the ease of fish and line control in landing a hooked fish. It is of critical importance when long casting is desired and can be a critical factor in getting larger fish on the boat.
Longer rods allow for longer casting from the surf or a pier, while shorter rods are much easier to control when taking in line and fighting a big fish. A compromise between long and short is also useful for inshore and many offshore fish, as a longer rod provides additional leverage and helps avoid fatigue during a long fight with a fish that has a lot of your line out.
Rods of less than 7 feet are good for most inshore and offshore uses, as they provide a good compromise between casting distance and fish control. Shorter ones are useful in getting line back on the reel quickly.
Rods between 7 and 9 feet are good for casting from piers and provide good casting length while maintaining a well-leveraged rod.
Rods over 9 feet are best suited for the long casting required from the shore when surf fishing. The longer rod casts further and allows you to better keep your line out of floating seaweed or other debris.
Power is also called the rod’s weight and is generally rated from H (Heavy), MH (Medium Heavy), M (Medium), ML (Medium Light), L (Light), to UL (Ultralight). Power tells you how stiff the rod is and how resistant it is to flexing or bending when a fish is on the line. Lower power is generally more sensitive and useful for fishing for smaller species with live bait, while higher power trades off sensitivity for strength. Undersizing your rod’s power for larger fish will result in great difficulty in controlling and landing fish.
An action describes the flexibility of the rod when a fish has been hooked and you are taking in line to land the fish. Rods are generally rated as slow, medium, medium-fast, and fast. Faster action is, the more the flex of the rod will be towards the rod tip. Slower action flex more along the entire length of the rod blank.
An action also describes it’s sensitivity while waiting for fish to bite. Faster action is generally better for fishing with live bait so that lighter bites on the bait will be felt. Slower action is useful for fishing with plugs where the rod is used to pop the lure.
Saltwater rods are designed and constructed from many modern materials. Currently, most saltwater rods are constructed of fiberglass, graphite, carbon, or a composite of these materials.
Fiberglass has been the classic material for saltwater for many years. Fiberglass is durable and very strong but is heavier and less sensitive than modern graphite and composite designs.
Graphite has been refined and greatly improved as a construction material in recent years. It is lighter, more flexible, and more sensitive than fiberglass. Graphite is more expensive than fiberglass, and generally not as durable. Additional care should be taken to properly clean and maintain graphite after exposure to corrosive saltwater.
Composite materials make for an outstanding combination of the sensitivity, strength, and durability found both fiberglass and graphite.
Saltwater rods require different line guides than freshwater rods, and guide destruction and design is the greatest differentiation between the two.
Saltwater guides are made from plastics, metals, and ceramic material. Plastic is the least durable and has the lowest performance of the materials, while ceramic is the highest quality material for saltwater use.
Rods with a higher number of guides will distribute weight more evenly along the length of the rod and will cast more smoothly.
Selecting the right rod for saltwater fishing involves choosing the right configuration of the attributes discussed above and the best rod for the type of saltwater fishing you have in mind. We hope this guide has been useful. Please leave your comments or questions below.