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Best Saltwater Fishing Rods Reviewed For 2020

Last Updated: October 12th, 2020
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Best Saltwater Fishing Rods

Saltwater rod for surf fishing

Surf fishing demands a long rod that can cast like a dream, as well as an extra-long handle clad in shrink tubing to provide a no-slip grip. Built for big fish and large spinning reels, expect medium-heavy powered rods made of fiberglass composite.

Penn Carnage II

PENN Carnage II Surf Spinning

Amazon

Length: 11’
Action/power: medium-heavy/moderately fast
Material: graphite/fiberglass composite
Handle: continuous rubber shrink tube
Guides: 8 + 1 Fuji K with Alconite inserts
Line Weight: 20 to 50 lbs.
Lure Weight: 2 to 6 oz.
Pieces: 2

Penn specializes in saltwater fishing tackle, and if you’re an inshore, offshore, or beach angler, you’ll know their name is trusted. The Carnage II series are excellent surf rods, built to cast, fight, and last.

Penn equips the Carnage II with a composite of graphite and fiberglass that pairs the rigidity and sensitivity of the former with the flexibility and durability of the latter. The tip is quite sensitive, and from nibbles to the action of a crankbait, you’ll be aware of what’s going on at the end of your line. The blank bends easily for the first 40% or so, before hitting the real backbone this rod offers, which is confidence-inspiringly stiff.

Looking for a rod that’ll let you muscle a 4- to 6-foot shark?

You’ve found it!

Pros:

  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Excellent durability
  • Strong blank that lets you fight and muscle big fish
  • Excellent handle
  • Awesome guides and reel seat
  • Great casting

Cons:

  • Not as light as graphite rods

Check out our full buying guide on surf fishing rods!

Offshore saltwater rod

Saltwater trolling for sailfish, marlins, tuna, wahoos, sharks, and other large, aggressive species of fish demands a strong rod, precise attention to component details, and some pretty specialized gear. And while you don’t need to worry about casting, hard fights will break rods that aren’t up to the task!

Penn International VI INTVI305060AR

Length: 6’
Power/Action: medium/fast
Material: tubularfiberglass
Handle: EVA foam/slick butt
Guides: 4 + 1 Aftco Wind On Roller Guides
Lure size: N/A
Line weight: 30 to 50 lbs.
Pieces: 1

Penn’s International VI is the rod I’d want for chasing tuna, sailfish, and sharks. Built from incredibly strong tubular fiberglass, and featuring five Atfco roller guides, it can handle heavy lines and wind-on leaders without missing a beat. A long EVA foam handle, ending in a slick butt, gives you the controll you need when you hook a big fish, and it’s fair to say your arms will fail before the Penn does!

Pros:

  • Awesomely strong blank
  • Long EVA foam handle
  • Awesome roller guides
  • Awesome reel seat

Cons:

  • Expensive!

Check out our buying guide for the best conventional fishing reel

Inshore saltwater spinning rod

Whether you’re fishing the Intercoastal, a mudflat in south Louisiana, or warm-water shallows in Florida, a good inshore rod is essential for snook, reds, and specks. Built tough, they need to cast well in the wind and hold their own in a tough fight.

Redbone Hurricane Inshore RDB-761MS

Redbone 7' Medium Inshore Spinning RDB-701MS Rod 1 pc/8-17Lb

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Length: 7’6”
Material: graphite
Power/action: medium/fast
Lure size: 3/8 to 3/4 oz.
Line weight: 8 to 17 lbs.
Handle: cork
Guides: 8 + 1 Fuji New Concept
Pieces: 1

Plenty of professional guides hand a Redbone to their customers, and more than a few use them themselves. That’s an incredible testament to the quality you get for the money, and it’s simply amazing that these rods don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Blank quality is excellent, combining sensitivity and strength. This relatively long rod casts to the next county (or parish!), and its backbone really begins to strut its stuff about a third of the way toward the handle. You’ll find plenty there to help you muscle a brute from cover, turn a runner, and set your hook.

I doubt you’ll find a better rod for the price--indeed, for any price!

Pros:

  • Fantastic sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • Awesome guides
  • A great all-arounder for larger fish
  • Priced right!

Cons:

  • ???

Check out our full buying guide on inshore spinning rods!

Fishing Rod and reel combo for saltwater

If you want to get on the water quickly, one option is to buy a solid rod and reel combo. Ideally, this pairs an excellent rod with an outstanding reel, and in the best of cases, takes the work out of selecting a rod and reel separately.

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Penn BTLII4000701M Battle II 4000 Spinning Reel Combo, Inshore, 7 Feet, Medium Power

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Length: 7’
Power/Action: medium/extra fast
Material: N/A
Handle: continuous cork
Guides: 7 + 1 aluminum oxide inserts
Lure size: N/A
Line weight: 10 to 17 lbs.
Pieces: 1

Penn’s Battle II reels are a solid spinning option for saltwater species like striper and redfish, and in this case, a 4000-size reel comes with an excellent Penn rod to match.

This rod offers a medium power blank with the backbone to fight large fish and control them in a fight. And with an extra fast action, you’ll feel every ripple on the bottom, sense every wiggle of your lure, and detect even the lightest strikes.

A long cork handle gives you plenty of space for your hands, providing the grip you need when the fight is on.

Pros:

  • Strong blank with plenty of power to muscle stripers, reds, and small sharks
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Great guides
  • Awesome handle

Cons:

  • Can come damaged in packaging

Check out our full buying guide on saltwater rod and reel combos!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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