Top 5 Best Jetty Fishing Rods in 2022
Jetty fishing is right up there among the most exciting fishing setups. You never know what you’re going to get, so get ready for flounder, shark, tarpons, and redfish.
For this reason, you need a versatile rod. I researched and tested the five best jetty fishing rods and found the Tsunami Airwave Elite to be the best one.
I love the challenge of jetty fishing, and the Tsunami Airwave Elite gave me the confidence I needed. I got this from its high-fiber density blanks and a stainless steel reel seat that can handle many aggressive species.
Keep reading to learn more about these five jetty fishing rods, their benefits, drawbacks, and standout features.
Tsunami Airwave Elite
Best For Beginners
St. Croix Rods Mojo Surf
Best by Budget
Shakespeare Ugly Stik
1. Tsunami Airwave Elite
Tsunami Airwave Elite is a two-piece, but you can choose among many length, power, and action options. I went for the 10’ model because I targeted larger fish.
I paired it with a 30-pound KastKing braided line, but again, this depends on the fish you’re targeting. The rod works with a 15-30lb test line, so you have several options.
Tsunami is a popular brand, so I had big expectations regarding customer service and reliability. They didn’t disappoint – I broke the tip, and they replaced it.
Tsunami Airwave Elite has high-fiber density blanks and is relatively lightweight. It feels light and comfortable, so it’s great for long hours of casting at a different distance.
It has Fuji guides and grips that make it look a bit weird. In other words, both the foregrip and rear grip look like crisscrossed lacing. So not only it looks funny, but it also feels a bit too thin.
The stainless steel reel is durable and easy to use, allowing you to pair it with pretty much any reel you like. I used the 4000 series, but it depends on the fish you’re targeting.
I noticed it performs differently depending on the bait and line you use. First, it’s a little stiff, so it doesn’t load much when you use minnow and similar bait.
The blank breaks 70/30, which is also a bit weird, especially if you’re looking to pack it in your trunk. I struggled to pack it myself, which is when I broke the tip.
But, the sensitive tip is exactly what you want for jetty fishing with a fast-running current. It allows you to feel all bites from the ambushing fish. Tsunami Airwave Elite is slim but has plenty of backbone to retrieve and handle some of the biggest fish like the common snook.
2. St. Croix Rods Mojo Surf
St. Croix rods are always worth our attention due to the credibility and quality of their products. If you ever had one of their rods, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’ll realize pretty quickly if you choose the St. Croix Mojo Surf.
St. Croix Mojo Surf is made from SCII carbon, featuring FRS for impeccable durability. You can choose between one-piece and two-piece models, which feature ART (Advanced Reinforced Technology).
I went for the 10’ length, but you can choose anything from 7’ to 11’ depending on the fish. I used medium-heavy power and moderate action because that’s preferred for jetty fishing. St. Croix Mojo Surf comes in other action and power options if you prefer something else.
Another thing that stands out is the custom X-Wrap handle. It adds some style to the all-black rod while also giving you enough grip to work even the heaviest fish.
It comes with surf guides with zirconium rings and a Fuji DPS reel seat with black hoods. Overall, it feels comfortable and light but also more sensitive compared to other jetty fishing rods.
It seems delicate, but you’ll notice it’s strong and has just the right amount of stiffness. The weight-saving surf guides are ideal for distance casting because they allow precise presentation.
One thing that I didn’t like was the point of breakdown. Like its competitors, St. Croix breaks down closer to the butt, making it awkward to pack and carry. You’ll find a way about this, but it takes some getting used to.
However, it’s a minor drawback considering how well it performs for jetty fishing. Its length allows distance casting, but you can also use it for presenting in the rocks if you’re after flounder, for example.
3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon Casting Rod
Shakespeare Ugly Stik is a one-piece made from graphite and fiberglass. It feels tough and durable but still lightweight and comfortable for long-hour fishing adventures.
I paired it with a Shimano D1200 spinning reel, which worked excellently. The combination handled everything from flounder to snook in different areas of the jetty. I assume it’d work equally well for other big fish.
One of the best things about it is the clear tip design. It gives the rod impeccable responsiveness, so you won’t have any trouble feeling even the lightest nibble. But, it’s a strong tip as well, and it doesn’t break easily.
It has EVA grips that provide enough cushioning and comfort during your fishing trip. However, EVA is known to break down after a while of fishing in saltwater, so make sure to rinse it after each use.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik has one-piece Ugly Tuff guides made from stainless steel. There is no chance of pop-outs because they’re made from a single piece of steel.
The drawback that stuck with me the most was its weight. Shakespeare Ugly Stik weighs four pounds, which is quite a lot, especially if you’re after big fish.
Also, the reel seat feels like it could go loose after a while, but I didn’t use it long enough to say for sure. Ugly Stik had this problem in the past, but only time will tell how the reel seat holds up.
You can choose between a few action and power options, but I went for the medium-heavy moderate Shakespeare Ugly Stik. It has the right amount of backbone and flexibility to handle different fish without breaking or feeling like it would break.
4. PENN Fishing Squadron III Surf Fishing Rod
Penn Fishing Squadron III is an affordable two-piece made from graphite composite. It comes with several useful features like the graphite reel seat and rubber handles, among other things.
I got the 10’ one, although the longest is 12’ if you feel the added length would benefit you. It feels sturdy and stiff, but it bends well thanks to its medium power.
The length is perfect for jetty fishing, so you’ll be able to fish in different locations within the jetty. And, it remains sturdy in fast water, so you won’t feel so much resistance.
I paired it with different baits and 20lb test mono and 80lb test braid. It performed well in both cases, but this very much depends on the particular fish you’re targeting.
However, the first thing I noticed was the durability of the tip. It started showing signs of use pretty quickly, although this didn’t affect the rod’s performance. Proper maintenance should help avoid this, but I’m not sure it’s saltwater that caused it.
It comes with Penn Dura-Guides made from one-piece stainless steel. This means no insert pop-outs and smooth performance regardless of the line you use. In addition, they’re pretty durable if you overlook the potential issue with the tip.
Penn Fishing Squadron III has rubber shrink tube handles, which stand out from other rods for jetty fishing. It does have EVA foam over it, but you’ll feel the rubber provides an excellent grip.
It’s a unique type of handle, so it might take some getting used to. However, it’s easy to hold when wet because it doesn’t become slippery.
Fiblink is made from carbon to deliver maximized durability and toughness. And, it feels like that in hand, but with an addition of sensitivity and comfort.
The surf spinning rod is tough and precise, which is exactly what you want when fishing in a jetty. It comes with stainless steel and ceramic guides for the line to run smoothly.
I used a 50-pound braid and was able to feel the vibrations from the line to my hand. Everything is aligned along with the blank, so there’s minimal friction.
I went for the 12’ one, pairing it with a 6,000 reel. The combination works great, casting at different distances equally easily. Plus, the entire setup looks very professional and sleek.
Fiblink has an extreme exposure reel seat. In addition, it has stainless steel tapered hood transitions that protect the cap, improving durability and overall performance.
This rod is sensitive, which allows you to feel light bites, but it also has plenty of backbone. You’ll feel this with the first fish you hook, as it’s relatively easy to reel it out.
The handle features the same non-slip rubber shrink tube we mentioned earlier. It’s not something you’ll find too often, but it’s growing more popular in jetty fishing due to its non-slippery qualities.
It’s pretty lightweight, so be careful with the reel you pair it with. The 6,000 series one I used worked well, but anything bigger would probably throw it off. Also, it would mess up the balance, making casting difficult with enough precision.
This is a two-piece, so it’s easy to pack in your car’s trunk. It comes with a nylon bag for easier transportation, but remember that it’s not a protective bag. Your rod will still require careful handling and packing during transport.
Buying Guide: Jetty Fishing Rods
Jetty fishing is exciting because you never know the species you’re going to catch. However, this is exactly what’s challenging about it since you need a rod that can handle all of it.
Although everyone has their preferences and needs, you should consider some standard points. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
The best rod strength for jetty fishing is medium-heavy. This is the rod’s ability to withstand pressure before bending, which often relates to its thickness.
Medium-heavy rods are generally thick and stiff, but you’ll find variations among different models. It’s important to find the right balance between flexibility and stiffness, especially when pairing the strength with lures.
A lure type that doesn’t work for medium-heavy rods will make casting difficult.
I mostly used 10’ rods because it’s the length I and many other anglers prefer. However, I suggest you start at this length as well if it’s your first time jetty fishing.
Once you get the hang of it, you can play with the length depending on the fish you’re targeting and where exactly you’re fishing in a jetty.
Many feel that 10’ is enough to cast at a different distance. It’s enough for precise casting in the rocks if you’re targeting ambushing fish like flounders. However, it’s equally good for casting further away into an open ocean.
Depending on the rod you’re using, you can use different reels for jetty fishing. However, it’s best to start with an 8,000 reel if you’re after big fish like sharks and tarpon. Pair this with a 10’ surfcasting rod, and you’re good to go.
Large-sized reels are used for common species like kingfish, grouper, mulloway, snapper, and tailors. These work with 1620lb mono and 20-50lb braid.
This type of reel works best with long rods, going back to the talk we had on length.
Jetty fish are hungry and aggressive, so you need to have the right type of bait. The best way to determine the bait is to refer to the power and line you’re using.
Medium-heavy rods we use for jetty fishing work best with lures weighing over ¼ of an ounce. Anything lighter than that might not be enough to cast since these fishing rods are slightly stiffer.
As far as the type of swimbait, you’re allowed to play around depending on the fish you’re targeting. Some people like using 3/8 ounce jig heads or natural bait like ghost shrimp.
FAQ for Jetty Fishing Rods
What Line Should I Use for Jetty Fishing?
The type of line you’ll use depends on the reel and rod you go for. I suggest using a 50-pound line when fishing for larger species.
You need a heavy and strong line that can handle the aggressive jetty fish, so don’t go for anything lower than 20 pounds.
You don’t have to worry about the fish noticing the line. The fish typically hits the bait right when they see it, and the bright line makes it easy for you to keep an eye on it.
What Tide is Best for Jetty Fishing?
The best tide for jetty fishing is a moving tide. As long as the water moves, you have a bigger chance of catching anything from snook to flounder.
Slack tide is difficult to work in for most bates and is likely to turn off the bite. However, you can fish in both incoming and outgoing tide, depending on the fish you’re targeting.
What Lures are Best for Jetty Fishing?
Depending on the particular species you’re targeting, you can use many different lures for jetty fishing. Although you can never know what jetty fishing will bring you, you can try focusing on a certain species by using a specific lure.
Some people like using natural bait, so think about what you can get your hands on. If not, consider using jig heads, soft-plastic baits, bucktails, minnow-style plugs, and other similar lures.
And, remember to size up your lures for nighttime jetty fishing.
Is Jetty Fishing Dangerous?
Jetty fishing can be dangerous because of the location. You’re in the middle of the water and standing on rocks, which sounds dangerous enough.
However, it’s exciting and fun, so the risk is often worth it for most people. Remember to stay alert, don’t turn your back on big waves, and consider wearing protective fishing gear.
Final Thoughts on the Best Jetty Fishing Rod
One of these five jetty fishing rods can help you land all kinds of species hiding in the jetty. I found the Tsunami Airwave Elite best for the ever-changing conditions of jetty fishing, but the other four are close behind.
Think about what you need in terms of rod materials, handle, reel seat, and the guides to determine which one of these would fit you the best.
All of them can handle the big fish lurking in the jetty, but it’s a matter of finding one that suits all of your needs in terms of comfort and ease of transport.