Surf fishing rods and reels are designed for anglers who fish the surf zones of the ocean, river mouths, and large lakes. The gear itself should be strong enough to cast heavy lures and withstand a lot of punishment from angry waves. Rods typically fall into two categories: those that feature big, sturdy blanks as well as the ultra-sensitive, lighter versions that help anglers feel the action of even the smallest prey. Reels should be able to hold a lot of lines and have a strong drag system capable of landing large fish in difficult conditions.
Additionally, it’s important to keep your gear light enough so you can cast for hours without getting too tired. This might not be an issue if you’re fishing alone, but it’s certainly something to consider if you like to take along the kiddos. Surf rods and reels don’t come cheap, so make sure you get one that best fits your needs.
Features of surf fishing rods and reels:
There are a few things you’ll want to look for in a surf rod, including:
Blank Handles –
Most quality reels have a cork or foam handle insert with grips to ensure comfort while reeling in large fish. However, keep an eye out for rods with a full cork handle as these provide increased grip and sensitivity.
Reel Seats –
The reel seat on the rod should be comfortable to use and durable enough to withstand abuse from waves, wind, and boat traffic. Look for a reel seat ring made of high-quality aluminum or stainless steel as these materials are highly corrosion resistant.
Rod Tips –
The tip is the last portion of the rod that will be exposed to any bait or lure, so it’s important to find a model with a durable tip. Look for high-grade stainless steel guides and ceramic inserts as these materials will provide increased durability and sensitivity.
Tapered Rods –
While some anglers prefer standard straight rods, having one with a taper will help you cast extra-long distances. As the rod tapers down, it’s softer and more flexible. This flexibility allows for better casting as well as increased sensitivity to the slightest tug from fish.
Rod Handles –
Rod handles come in a variety of shapes and styles. Torque or power handles provide increased leverage for pulling in larger fish, while split grips allow you to adjust your grip for better comfort and control.
You’ll want to pay attention to the following features when shopping for surf reels:
Drag System –
The drag system is the heart of any surf fishing reel. Look for a durable, reliable drag that can be easily adjusted. Even if you’re not after large fish, it’s important to have a powerful drag system in place to prevent small fish from tearing your line while fighting.
Reel Seats –
A durable metal reel seat will help ensure your reel won’t budge. Look for models with either stainless steel or aluminum reel seats to ensure years of use.
Line Capacity –
Depending on how often you fish, it’s important to match the line capacity on your reel with your preferred fishing style (e.g., surf fishing vs. kayak or pier fishing). If you’re targeting smaller fish, it might be beneficial to find a reel with more line capacity. However, larger reels will likely accommodate lines of up to 150-200 yards for aggressive gamefish like red drum and striped bass.
Just as with rod handles, you’ll want to look for models with comfortable grips on the spool shaft. A rubberized grip will provide the most comfort and security.