Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combo in 2018. Reviews & Analysis

Top Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Reviewed and Compared


If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best surf fishing rod and reel combo. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo is the best because it comes with a durable construction and is capable of providing you with a smooth performance every time. This combo is a popular choice with fishermen around the world so you can rest assured that it is a good value for your money. The 10 foot fiberglass rod will provide you with the reach you need for surf fishing and its well balanced design makes it easy to control. The size 80 spinning reel can hold plenty of 25 lb test line so you can go after heavy saltwater fish without worrying about it breaking. If the Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo is not available, you should consider the Penn Pursuit II 8000-2 as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.



Comparison table




Our top choices


Okuma Tundra


1.Okuma Tundra SurfThe Tundra Surf Spinning Combo from Okuma Fishing is used by professional anglers around the world. Known for its quality products that are designed to provide you with a reliable performance, it is easy to see why this rod and reel combo is a popular choice with consumers.

The 10 foot rod gives you the reach you need for successful surf fishing, and its fiberglass construction ensures that it is durable, lightweight, and well balanced. The ceramic inserts help to guide the rigging, and you will appreciate how comfortably the rod fits in your hand.

This combo also comes with a size 80 spinning reel that is capable of holding up to 260 yards of 25 lb fishing line. This ensures that you can let the fish run, before starting to reel it in. The 25 lb line is strong enough to bring in heavier saltwater fish, and it also won’t easily break on driftwood and other debris. To ensure a smooth retrieval the reel uses a multiple disc drag system that is well lubricated to provide a consistent performance.


  • You will appreciate knowing that this rod and reel combo is often used by experienced fishermen worldwide.
  • The 10 foot rod is designed to be durable and comfortable to use, and the spinning reel is capable of providing you with a smooth and reliable performance.


  • It should be noted that this rod and reel combo is constructed for surf fishing, and might not be the best choice for first time anglers.



Buy from for ($42)






Penn Pursuit II 8000-2


7.Penn Pursuit II 8000-2The Penn Pursuit II 8000-2 is a critically acclaimed alternative that seems to be the favorite choice of various types of anglers. This combo is fit for any boat and surf fishing expedition and offers the same great results even when fishing inshore. If you’ve been searching for a cost-effective option that allows you to avoid breaking the bank, perhaps you’d enjoy giving a chance to the Penn Pursuit II, as the combo has been highly spoken of thanks to the performance it provides. The reel is very lightweight as it features a body made of graphite, a material that has been tested and proven to be corrosion-resistant and sensitive. Saltwater anglers can finally take advantage of the fishing experience thanks to the oiled-felt drag system that can be found in the reel in this combo.

The rod also has a series of features that are hard to say no to. As such, this part is made of composite graphite and thus is lightweight enough to be operated by beginners and experienced fishermen just as well. While some people who’ve reviewed the unit claim it’s a tad too hefty, we’d like to point out that this is a 10-feet alternative and it couldn’t have been any smaller or more lightweight than it already is. With an EVA grip, the model is very comfortable to hold even when you might be in the midst of a battle with heavy fish.

Another reason you might be interested in purchasing this model is that it is remarkably affordable. Few combos manage to combine the convenience and reliability of this one and cost less than one hundred dollars. Depending on the online retailer of your choice, you might be as lucky to get it for as little as eighty-five dollars or less.


  • With a large-capacity reel and a dependable rod, this combo is worth every penny as it can hold up really well over the years, regardless of the abuse it might take over time.
  • Judging by the Amazon reviews it has acquired, the Penn Pursuit II 8000-2 combo offers excellent value for the cost.


  • The reel needs a little cleaning and maintenance after having been used in saltwater. As such, users are advised to give it a good rinse after every fishing trip.



Buy from for ($65.5)





Hurricane Seahawk


1.Hurricane Seahawk SurfIf you love seeing what you can “bring in” from the surf, this rod and reel combo from Hurricane might be exactly what you need. It features a durable construction that is also capable of providing you with a smooth performance, and this surf fishing combo is priced to fit almost any budget.

The two piece medium heavy rod is designed to withstand the pounding of the surf. The fiberglass blanks ensure that the rod is sensitive enough to feel the smallest nibbles, and the EVA grip on the handle fits comfortably in your hand. Never lose your bait to a sneaky fish, with this sensitive rod.

You will love the smooth performance capabilities of the size 70 reel. The spool is constructed from sturdy graphite which provides you with the strength you need to retrieve heavier saltwater fish. The ball bearings ensure a smooth and reliable cast and retrieval, and the drive system will provide you with the power you need to securely hook and reel in larger fish. For added convenience the spool is already wrapped with a 20 lb monofilament line, so all you need to do is attach a lure to start fishing with this combo.


  • Not only does this rod and reel come with a durable construction, it is also priced to suit most budgets.
  • The rod can be broken down into 2 pieces for convenient carrying and storage.


  • Some consumers have noted that the reel can become stuck on retrieval, but this is often due to the type of line they are using and not a flaw in the design.



Buy from for ($54.32)





What is Surf Fishing?


You’re wading in the surf. Or probably standing on the shoreline. This is while catching fish. That’s what surf fishing basically is. Wikipedia states that surf fishing is a general term for all types of shore fishing, including from fishing piers, rock jetties, and sandy and rocky beaches. However, some enthusiasts argue that pier fishing and surf fishing are two different things, simply because they are two different methods.

The terms beachcasting and surfcasting are the appropriate terms for surf fishing from the beach, since you cast near the shoreline or into the surf. One thing is sure though: surf fishing is mostly done in saltwater.

Surf fishermen utilize artificial lures and live bait for the sport. They also have to watch out for undertows and waves, as those can be quite dangerous. The use of waders when surf fishing will require having a wader belt on so water won’t get into the fishing apparel if you slip underwater.

Both hands need to be used when casting. Surf fisherman even cast with their entire bodies to ensure more distant casting. This is to be expected since they are after inshore fish that go feeding. When casting, extra care must be taken as one has to use extra-sharp hooks. The tremendous body power required to hurl the line far out also means one has to ensure that no one is nearby when casting.


Surf fishing rods described

Investing in the best surf casting rod and reel can spell the difference between enjoying your day fishing in the surf and coming home with nothing else to show except a bruised ego.

Surf fishing rods are designed to be exceptionally long, typically 12 feet to 16 feet long. However, many surf fishers choose surf rods 10 to 11 inches long, outfitted with around 250 yards of 20-pound test monofilament. Vendors do stock up on rods from 6 feet to more than 14 feet, and this gives anglers a wide range of options. The size of the rod will depend on the location you want to fish and the particular catch you want to score. In addition, you will have to think about the combined weight of the rod and reel.

For spinning or feathering, you want a rod-and-reel combo that won’t cause your arms to get fatigued easily or get achy quickly.

Also, check out how much bend is in the rod. You will want a stiffer rod for effortless hauling up of more fish if you are on a pier or cliff. A stiff rod might make it a bit more difficult to sense bites but you will appreciate the added strength on the top half of the rod to compensate for that issue.



Surf fishing reels described

It can’t be said enough: fishing in saltwater requires that you use a rod and reel ideal for the activity and also learn how to use those devices really well. For shore fishing, the angler can choose between a baitcasting reel and a spinning reel.

Baitcasting reels are proven to be the best choice for offshore fishing for large fish, making them a favorite for most experienced shore fishers who have to use heavier lines or who cast large baits for a better technique. The line of this type of reel does require a higher degree of coordination to work with optimally when using the thumb to control spool speed and also stop it from releasing more line at the end of the cast. To be able to make the most of a baitcasting reel, you will have to develop the skills with constant practice. Thankfully, modern reels are now designed to make the learning curve less steep.

Today’s top quality baitcasting reels have a built-in drag system that enables the user to regulate the resistance or drag on the spool. You can regulate the speed of the spool with an adjustable drag, which lets you reduce backlash from spin over while optimizing casting distance. With a baitcasting reel, the line is laid directly on the spool, giving you a good chance of fighting big fish. The line capacity is determined by the spool size on any reel. The unique design of a baitcasting reel also provides wider and deeper spools that can take more line, aside from having low gear ratio.

A spincasting reel is not as capable as a baitcasting reel when handling large game but it is considered overall as quite the easiest to utilize for shore or surf fishing particularly for beginners. This type leans more towards onshore than offshore fishing.

The spool of a surf fishing reel can be made of aluminum or graphite. Aluminum is a heavier and more expensive option than graphite. It is also tougher. Check out models with an anodized finish, or perhaps those that are machine bronzed to reduce incidences of rust. Take note: the materials are meant for corrosion resistance but still require religious cleaning and maintenance.

The frame can also be either aluminum or graphite. A frame machined out of a solid block of aluminum offers incredible strength, with less torque on the reel body and spool when doing battle with big fish.

Bear in mind, too, that the number of bearings and the gear ratio are critical elements.

The rod should last you anywhere from 6 months to a full year, but the reel should last much longer.



Choosing the right gear


It is not just having the best surf fishing rod and reel that matters, but having the right rig.

With a Fishfinder Rig, you have a main line along which the bait line moves smoothly up and down, enabling the live bait to swim freely This type is your best best for targets that carry their prize off a considerable distance before swallowing it. A circle hook works best for this type, with the barb bent toward the shank to the back, making the fish hook themselves. Generally, a circle hook remains unswallowed by fish, facilitating easy release of the catch at your option. This type of rig is ideal for catching striped bass and redfish.

Made for striped bass as well as bluefish, a fireball rig is outfitted with dropper lines attached with brightly colored floats that raise the bait away from the sea bed to keep it away from crabs and small fish. This type entices sight-hunter fish.

A double-drop bottom rig utilizes colored beads that make it more visible in choppy waters. This type can be outfitted with live mole crabs or fresh shrimp for bait. It is great for catching just about any fish including speckled trout, whiting, spot, flounder and Atlantic croaker.



Surf fishing lures and techniques

So you’ve set yourself up with the best surf rod and reel combo. What’s next aside from bagging the best fishing rig?

Surf angling success is also guaranteed by the perfect type of live bait you use. This can vary from squid, mole crabs, ragworms, sandworms, shrimp, bloodworms, hard/soft shell crab and mullet. Remember to use the right bait for the right fish. Ask a local tackle/bait shop employee about the best live baits you can use in the area you plan to fish.


There are five lures you can choose from as well.


Bucktails are available in a variety of sizes and can be fished at water columns of any level. A bucktail lure catches all fish anywhere on the planet, easily mimicking any swimming organism. It is the most versatile, too. Choose from white to colored ones. Some fishing experts recommend having pork strip or rind as an integral part of this kind of lure.

Fish that feed on the surface or willfully move toward the surface are best captured with pencil poppers. Resembling a wounded fish, this type entices fish with its slow and rhythmic motion and can also trigger strikes.

Conventional poppers of various colors and sizes are great for even the biggest fish.

Swimming plugs not only catch plenty of fish but also catch fish that feed on a variety of baits. Usable in both rough and calm waters, they can mimic sand eels and bunker and are most effective for night fishing.

Tins or metal lures cast well and are keeled. The design enables the surf fisher to retrieve the lure very slowly while ensuring that it stays steady. Metal lures may be outfitted with tubes or feathers.

When surf fishing, remember not to use makeshift rod holders. Use only real fishing rod holders that prevent the fishing pole from getting dragged into the surf.

Ensure your safety by informing someone where you will be fishing and when you expect to come back. Use plenty of sunscreen and watch out for swimmers nearby.

It is good advice to check out your fishing location at low tide to take note of hollows, dips and sandbanks where the fish will likely be feeding during high tide, the best time to surf fish. Points of land are notable for being where fish are when the tide comes in.

Never overdo it when baitcasting, as fish may be closer than farther away sometimes.

Don’t hesitate to ask the local bait/tackle shop for advice.





What is a good surf fishing combo for less than 100?

If your budget is somewhat limited and you can’t afford to spend over one hundred dollars on such a combo, perhaps the Penn Pursuit II 8000 2-Piece spinning set might be the solution to your problems. This product features EVA grips, graphite reel seats, and a graphite composite blank, which is why it’s one of the lightest yet most resilient alternatives we’ve seen while prospecting the market. The reel is made of a corrosion-resistant graphite body and has been outfitted with an oiled-felt drag system. Although it is primarily designed for saltwater fishing, there’s nothing stopping you from utilizing it in freshwater, as well. What’s more, many of the anglers who have chosen this combo speak highly of how easy it is for them to assemble and disassemble the reel in order to clean and lubricate it.


What should I choose between an Okuma surf fishing combo and a Shakespeare surf fishing combo?

Okuma Tundra is one of the critically acclaimed choices we have discovered during our research process, and that’s mostly due to the fact that this brand is world-known for manufacturing top-notch angling products. The pole included in the combo boasts a fiberglass construction that renders it well-balanced and lightweight, and its ceramic inserts are worth it, as well. A surf fishing alternative from Shakespeare is the Catch More Fish option. This pole and reel are also relatively well-built, although the set includes a tubular glass rod with stainless steel guides and ceramic inserts. This product is a good option, as well, but the Okuma Tundra seems to be of a higher quality, in our opinion.


How do you feel about the Ugly Stik? Should I go for it or would you rather recommend a different surf fishing combo?

It really boils down to what you’re looking for in terms of sensitivity and balance. The Ugly Stik Surf Casting rods make a good choice for people looking for a lot of performance and dependable strength. One product that we like due to its excellent construction is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik 10’ Bigwater combo. The set includes a heavy action pole and a dependable reel, as well. Based on what we found about it, the rod is remarkably sensitive and flexible compared to other models in the same class. If you’re looking for a relatively versatile combo that enables you to catch both mackerel and larger fish, this particular kit seems to be a good choice. A cheaper alternative would be the Penn Pursuit II 8000 2-piece spinning combo.


In terms of brand reliability, do you consider Shimano or Shakespeare a better manufacturer of rods and reels?

In order to try to compare the two companies, we’ve referred to two of the popular surf fishing combos made by these brands. One of them is the Shimano Sienna 2500 and the other is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2. Despite being more budget-friendly, the Ugly Stik features a lightweight design that can allow you to fish for hours on end. This doesn’t mean that it’s any less durable compared to its Shimano counterpart. The combo we analyzed came with a 4 ball bearing reel and a 2-piece rod. The Sienna is an excellent choice only if you have the budget, in that it does feature several components made of more resilient materials. In fact, the combo offers a Catana rod that comes with lightweight Sea Guide zirconian rings and graphite composite blanks. Comparing Shimano and Shakespeare, in general, is like trying to do the same with toothpaste and mouthwash. Each of these two brands uses different materials and creates their products differently.


How can I get a cheap surf fishing combo that’s worth it?

If you’re trying to get a reasonably priced alternative, first you need to consider the maximum budget you can put aside for such an expense. Most combos under fifty dollars relatively well-made. Depending on the dimension of the rod and reel, you can choose anything from the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 and Okuma Tundra to the Sea Striker PT50/SS80PG or a Plusinno Spinning combo. The Daiwa D-Wave is another good choice. Whichever of these products you end up selecting, the fact of the matter is that the area you’ll be doing your angling in and your target have to be correlated with the right size and design of your future combo.



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