For many anglers, there is nothing that can beat chucking a lure out to sea and seeing what you pull back up. Rivers, ponds, and even lakes will usually have 6 or 7 gamefish species, but the ocean is an entirely different ball game.
Every pier, reef, and square mile of the seabed will have dozens of species just waiting to give you a run for your money, not to mention that some of them are very, very big.
But if you think you’re ready to go after the big boys, you’re going to need the equipment to have a shot. Most importantly, you need a rod that’s going to be able to stand up to the punishment of the ocean and salt water.
There are many different saltwater rods available, and it can seem overwhelming when you first realize the sheer number of choices. The first thing you need to do is decide what sort of rod you want, you need a rod that will support the type of fishing you like and knowing the kind of thing you’re looking for will help you make your choice.
We’ve assembled this guide to take you through some of the best options currently available, show you some of the features that you need to know to make the best choice, and answer a few of your questions.
Top 5 Best Saltwater Fishing Rods
OUR TOP PICK
If you want to catch fish on the flats like bonefish, redfish, or tarpon than you need a rod that suits where your fishing. This model from St Croix has an excellent casting range and a fast action tip that makes rock-solid hook setting simple and gives you consistent performance every time.
Fishing with this rod is fun, simple, and makes it easier to catch more fish. St Croix has a reputation for quality rods, and this one is happily no exception to that rule, this is a durable and sturdy number that’s also lightweight thanks to the high-quality SCII graphite that the rod is made from.
If you’re looking for a rod with plenty of backbone that’s still sensitive enough to allow you to feel even the slightest bite than this is a great option for you.
The rod includes with Batson Forecast® hard aluminum-oxide guides and has 316 stainless-steel frames. Many similar options include 304 frames that aren’t as durable and don’t resist the rust as well as this option. St Croix is aware that one of the most important features of any saltwater rod is its ability to hold up against saltwater, and that awareness has paid off in the excellent durability of this product.
The rod comes in 2 lengths with 7-foot and 7-foot-6-inch versions available. The options give you a chance to decide whether you’d prefer a longer rod with a greater casting distance, or a shorter rod that’s easier to maneuver. If you’re a beginner then you should probably go for the shorter version as it’s easier to maintain control over as you learn.
- Excellent quality and build
- Comes in 2 lengths
- Lightweight and durable
- Outstanding ability to hold up against saltwater
- Great casting distance and can hold its own against large fish
- Little stiffer than similar options
- PREMIUM SCII GRAPHITE CONSTRUCTION: Perfect for anglers who appreciate high-performance without high cost; Mid-modulus graphite fiber with a higher strain rate than common fibers; Most popular material that is lightweight, durable and sensitive
- SPLIT-GRIP PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Ensure you have a firm grip on your Mojo Inshore spinning fishing rod at every moment of the fight against the fish
- FEATURES: Specialized inshore saltwater design built for superior performance; Hard aluminum-oxide guides with corrosion-resistant black frames; Fuji DPS reel seat with black hood; Kigan hook-keeper; Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish
- SPECIFICATIONS: Length – 7’; Power – MH; Action – Fast; Pieces – 1; Line Weight – 10-20 lbs; Lure Weight – 1/2-1 1/4 oz; Rod Wt. – 5.6 oz; Handle – 2
- 5-YEAR WARRANTY: Backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
If your priority is getting a rod that strong but retains flexibility than this could be the one for you. This model features the Daiwa Super Volume Fiber graphite construction which makes this option durable, strong, and extremely flexible.
With this rod beside you, you might find that the size of the fish you’re going for increases. The build quality is exceptional, and you’re unlikely to see much better without really stepping up into the professional lane.
The sensitivity on this rod could easily be compared to much more expensive rods, and there’s no doubt that this rod will let you feel even the lightest nibble. The rod has a great casting distance and casting itself is effortless with this model.
If you want something that’s a great all-rounder in terms of fishing style than this is a good option. The rod can handle chatter baits, spinnerbaits, and in-line topwater very well and if you love experimenting with your style then this rod might suit you. The rod has a great backbone, and its light enough to remove some of the stress from your hands and wrists so you can fish all day if you want to.
The rod comes in a range of lengths from 6 foot 10 to 7 feet 2 inches, and the little bit of extra length makes it much easier to cast and the line pickups are very fast as you set the hook. The quality of materials is pretty outstanding too.
The rod includes a custom Daiwa reel seat, Fuji Alconite ring guides, and a machined aluminum reel clamp and this combines with the quality of the micro-pitch clear finish make the rod a real joy to handle. The 25-inch handle is made from EVA and it’s easy to find and maintain a sturdy, comfortable grip even when fighting the big fish.
If you’re looking for a rod that can catch some monster fish but is also really good value and fun to take out than this option is worth considering. This rod is comfortable, sturdy, and versatile enough to be a good investment for an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned angler.
- Excellent construction and build quality
- Comfortable EVA handle which gives a great grip even when fishing big fish
- Fast action and excellent sensitivity
- Great casting length
- Can tackle the big fish comfortably
- Not the most portable option due to length
- Daiwa's exclusive SVF (Super Volume Fiber) graphite technology
- Bias graphite fiber construction for flexibility, strength and virtually zero blank twist
- Micro pitch blank finish
- Daiwa custom reel seat and machined aluminum reel clamp nut
- Fuji alconite ring guides
If you’re a beginner to saltwater fishing then you may be concerned about getting the right poles and reels, and especially about making sure that you get rods and reels that match. A better option might be to consider a rod-and-reel combo.
Going for a combo rod/reel will mean you can avoid all the worry about choosing a rod and reel separately, and instead just get fishing. This option from Penn is the ideal solution for a novice angler looking to try out saltwater fishing but who doesn’t want to risk wasting time and money picking wrong or mismatched poles and reels.
The rod comes in 2 lengths and 2 power ratings which gives you a bit more of an opportunity to customize your rod for your style of fishing. Both options will help you catch a range of fish and they’re perfect for inshore angling. There are options more suited to offshore angling, but the rod should be able to hold its own if the need for it arose.
This is a strong rod due to the graphite construction and the one-piece, tubular glass blank both of which combined with the solid tip make this a very durable and strong rod that with the proper care and right usage should last for years. The included lever drag system makes it easier to fight the bigger fish because it lets you adjust quickly and easily to give you more control, and the rod is light enough to let you fish comfortably for longer periods.
This is a great option for beginners who are looking to get out on the water and fish. This rod is capable and durable enough to grow with you as you improve your skills, and it has enough power to catch you some pretty big fish into the bargain.
- Very strong and durable
- Excellent quality materials and build
- Great sensitivity
- Light enough to fish for long periods
- Can handle the bigger fish
- Not the best for offshore fishing
- Lightweight graphite frame and sideplates
- Forged and machined aluminum spool with line capacity rings
- Stainless-steel main and pinion gears
- Dura-Drag system
- 6 stainless-steel bearings
This is another rod and reel combo that’s a good option for beginners, or anyone who doesn’t want to spend ages setting up and prefer to just get right out on the water.
This rod comes in a 2 pieces construction which makes it a great option for portability and it’s very easy to use. There are seven different options to choose from so you have the opportunity to ensure you’re getting the specific rod for your kind of fishing.
There’s a very smooth gear feel the whole time you use this rod due to the 3 ball bearings and one-way clutch anti-reverse bearing. These features also give you instant hook sets, which gives you a better chance against the big fish. The included compression bail springs raise the lifespan of the reel and give the whole set up an added durability.
The rod and reel are fully protected against corrosion from saltwater, and the rod itself is very sturdy. The rod’s spool is made from double anodized aluminum and has an oversized bail wire which gives the rod an added level of durability. The handles are made from EVA and are very comfortable to use, which gives you more control over the rod.
This is a great option for an angler who wants to spend as much time on the water as possible. Ugly Stik is known for making rods that are almost impossible to break and this one stands up that promise. If you’re looking for something sturdy that’s going to consistently perform than you won’t need to look much further than this rod.
- Excellent rod and reel combo that’s great for beginners
- Range of weights and sizes available
- Great for catching big fish
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Very sturdy and durable
- Serious anglers might want something a bit more powerful, but the rod is still a lot of fun at any skill level
Finally, we have this heavy-duty option from Fiblink. This multi-colored option performs at a consistently high level and it’s got more than enough power to be able to catch you some real monsters. The rod is made from 2-piece fiberglass which gives it a remarkable amount of power so that it can compete with the bigger fish.
The rod is very strong thanks to the effort that’s gone into the construction and the quality of materials used, but it also has more than enough sensitivity to let you know about even the very tiny bites.
The guides are made from stainless steel and combined with the ceramic inserts provide you with excellent protection against corrosion and a very smooth line flow. The rod is very durable, particularly against the threat of saltwater, and with the proper usage, it should last for years.
The rod is very comfortable and easy to use. The high-density EVA handles are hard-wearing but give you a comfortable strong grip while out on the water. The reel seat is tough, and you should find no problems in catching a large range of fish easily and comfortably.
This is a great rod for those in the market for a reliable and sturdy rod that can catch some large fish. The rod is easy and comfortable to use, and its bright colors stand out from the crowd. This rod is a lot of fun to use and could help catch some very big fish.
- Brightly colored to stand out from the crowd
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Can catch some big fish
- High-quality construction and materials used
- A sturdy and reliable rod
- A bit heavier than other similar options
Best Saltwater Fishing Rods Buying Guide
You should now have more of an idea about the sort of options out there for saltwater rods, and you might even have an idea about the sort of thing that might suit you and your style of fishing. If you’re still unsure though, don’t worry.
This section of the guide is here to take you through some of the most important factors in saltwater rods, and the sort of things to pay attention to before you make your decision.
When you buy any rod you have to consider the length of the rod as one of the most important features before you make your decision. The length determines how well the rod will cast as well as how easy to control it is.
If you want to cast accurately and if you want your line to be able to make the distance you need it to, then making sure that the length of your rod is what you need it to be is crucial.
If accuracy is going to be important to you than you’d be better going for a short rod. The shorter the rod, the more accurate you can be with your cast. A shorter rod has its drawbacks that you must consider before making a decision. Shorter rods generally have less movement, and a far shorter cast because of a lack of power than longer rods.
You have to weigh up your priorities and how each rod might help or hinder your fishing style. A rod that’s around 7-foot long will probably give you the right sort of balance of power and accuracy and it’s a good middle ground especially for novices.
Longer rods can fast much further, so if you want to deliver a longer cast you’re going to want something over 8 feet long. These are harder to manage and generally less accurate, but if you think you can handle them than why not have a go.
A rod’s power essentially determines what kind of fish you can go after. The more powerful your rod the bigger the fish you can pursue without worrying your rod won’t be able to handle the fish without breaking. Some beginners think that this means you should go out and get the most powerful rod you can find but this isn’t the best plan.
The more power a rod has, the stiffer it tends to be and if you’re going after smaller fish than this stiffness is going to make it very difficult to catch them
In fishing rods, power ratings come on a scale that goes from light to extra heavy. Most people choose to go for a rod in the middle of that range because a rod with a medium level of power will still be flexible but have enough power to go after some of the bigger species. Before you choose a rod, you need to know what fish you want to go after, and what size you want to catch.
For anything lighter than 12-25 pounds you’ll probably want something more on the medium-light scale which is best for fish between 8-14 pounds. For anything heavier, you’re going to want to move up the range towards the heavy end of the scale.
Best Saltwater Fishing Rods FAQ's
What is the difference between freshwater rods and saltwater rods?
Saltwater rods have been specially treated to fight against corrosion. Freshwater rods don’t have the same protection and will rust and can get badly damaged.
How expensive is a saltwater rod?
Saltwater rods come in a range of budgets; the best thing is to get the one that suits you best. If you want to just try saltwater fishing out and not break the banks, then a rod and reel combo might be a good answer.