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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.
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.
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!
Check out our full buying guide on surf fishing rods!
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!
Handle: EVA foam/slick butt
Guides: 4 + 1 Aftco Wind On Roller Guides
Lure size: N/A
Line weight: 30 to 50 lbs.
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!
Check out our buying guide for the best conventional fishing reel
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.
Lure size: 3/8 to 3/4 oz.
Line weight: 8 to 17 lbs.
Guides: 8 + 1 Fuji New Concept
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!
Check out our full buying guide on inshore spinning rods!
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.
Power/Action: medium/extra fast
Handle: continuous cork
Guides: 7 + 1 aluminum oxide inserts
Lure size: N/A
Line weight: 10 to 17 lbs.
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.
Check out our full buying guide on saltwater rod and reel combos!