10 Best Pier Fishing Rod in 2022: Buyer's Guide & Reviews
Pier fishing has been popular for ages as it can be very fun but also challenging. There are many piers ranging in lengths and heights, all of which affect your experience.
I’ve been a long-time fan of pier fishing because Southern California is known to have a ton of piers. Growing up, my grandpa would take me to every single one of them (mainly the ones in Long Beach, Redondo and Seal Beach).
And since then, I’ve set out to find the best pier fishing rod. Testing several of these rods were challenging for me as I emphasized on comfort.
Since being on the pier is usually a whole day event, I wanted one with good grip. And that’s where I got my hands on the Shimano Trevala. It’s a sensitive but a strong rod for pier fishing with several excellent features that you’ll find helpful.
Before checking the rest, you might also want to check the Ugly Stik Elite and Plusinno rod and reel combo.
SHIMANO Trevala Casting Rod
Best For Beginners
Ugly Stik Elite
Best by Budget
PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos
Quick Reviews on The Best Pier Fishing Rods
1. SHIMANO Trevala Casting Rod
Shimano Trevala is where it’s at when it comes to pier fishing. It’s a lightweight, comfortable, and user-friendly rod rated 50-100 lbs. I paired it with 6 to 8-ounce jigs and experienced no fatigue whatsoever. For me, I consider this to be a great pier fishing rod.
What stands out the most on this rod for pier fishing is how sensitive it is. But, it has a backbone, so you can easily get any species out without too much hassle. In addition, it comes with a high-carbon butt fused with a TC4 tip.
The combination gives it sensitivity and a fast recovery rate for subduing the fish. It’s reinforced with Fuji aluminum oxide guides with a smooth finish.
These are diamond-polished to decrease the line wear and provide better heat dissipation.
For comfort, Shimano included EVA foam rubber grips. The rear handle has a shaved design with flat sides, so it’s not entirely round. This is quite comfortable, especially when your hands are wet and slippery. I also think it feels great with the EVA foam rubber grips when I’m pier fishing. I’m a little on the shorter end, so my positioning along the rails is a bit uncomfortable. Which then makes the handle a bit more important for my grip and the Shiamno does just that.
The Trevala comes in many actions and power varieties. And, you can also choose between several size options.
2. Ugly Stik Elite
This Ugly Stik is excellent for pier fishing thanks to its durability and ease of use. In addition, it has the Ugly Tech design, consisting of a special way of winding graphite fiber. As a result, it’s exceptionally strong and suitable for all kinds of fish.
Its transparent fiberglass tip transfers even the slightest bites. This, along with its Clear Tip design, adds to the responsiveness, making it easy to target smaller fish without missing its gentle biting.
Overall, it feels light in hand, and I also noticed it’s well-balanced, which adds to the comfort. I spent hours on pier fishing with this rod, and it didn’t overload my hand, not in the slight.
Another thing that helps prevent hand fatigue is the cork handle. It’s not as soft as EVA, but it’s still gentle on your hands and easy to hold even when wet. Again, the Shimano Trevala would probably be a better pier fishing rod in terms of grip.
Keep in mind that it’s made from graphite and fiberglass – a combination is known to deliver excellent levels of power and resilience. In addition, it comes equipped with one-piece stainless steel Ugly Tuff guides that work with all line types.
3. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos
Plusinno is one of the best options if you’re looking to buy a rod and a reel combo. This is a powerful combination that will land you big fish.
The first time I took it out, I was able to catch an 11-pound catfish. The fish did put up a fight for about ten minutes, but the rod was flexible enough to handle this without breaking.
It’s made from high-density carbon fiber and fiberglass, so I didn’t expect anything less. Plus, it has aluminum oxide guide inserts that help to reduce friction and allow even heat dissipation.
The hooded reel is made from stainless steel, so don’t worry about rust forming due to saltwater. And, the good thing is that it’s a telescopic rod, which means easy packing and carrying. There’s a lot of piers along Southern California, so we like to go to all of them throughout the season. And so we have this one as our go to pier fishing rod for traveling.
The reel has a deep-aluminum spool and an instant anti-reverse function. This comes in handy when fighting big fish as it prevents the fish from pulling the line out.
4. Ugly Stik Tiger Elite
The Ugly Stik Tiger Elite has some of the best guides I’ve seen for pier fishing. These are one-piece Ugly Tuff guides made from stainless steel you can see on most Ugly Stik poles. Yet, they stand out even more when paired with such an efficient blank.
The guides eliminate insert pop-outs that we all know is one of the worst things to happen. I used a 65lb braided line, but you can even go for an 80lb braid without any problem.
First of all, the blank seems indestructible, but it’s not rigid or stiff. The added graphite gave it more sensitivity to balance out the toughness.
It’s a single piece, which means no connection points where it could potentially break. This allows you to go for big fish, and I strongly advise you to because you won’t be disappointed.
5. St. Croix Rods Avid Series
This St. Croix has everything you need for pier fishing, from a strong blank to a sensitive tip. It’s made from high-strain graphite fiber to give just the right amount of sensitivity and durability.
However, what stands out the most is the Integrated Poly Curve Tooling Technology. Referred to as IPC, this technology eliminates transitional points in the blank. As a result, the rod is stronger and more responsive.
Another thing that stands out is the Fuji DPS reel seat with a gunsmoke hood. It works with most spinning reels, so you should be fine with any you have at home.
The Kigan Master guides with aluminum-oxide rings have titanium frames. As a result, the guides allow the line to run smoothly without popping the rings out.
Another few things we should mention are the Kigan titanium hook keep and the super-grade cork handle. The two details make a massive difference in comfort and ease of use, especially if you’re out for hours at a time. And as we all know, being at the pier can be almost an all day thing. The St. Croix has always been a popular pier fishing rod because of it’s length and it’s versatile action for a wide range of casting weight.
6. Fenwick HMG Spinning Fishing Rod
The Fenwick HMG comes in many sizes and action variations, but I picked the 7’6’’ moderate rod for my fishing trip.
I was after trout, and this spinning rod did quite a fantastic job at landing just that.
It doesn’t come with a reel, so you’ll have to buy that separately. However, make sure it’s a lightweight spinning reel you’re using, or you’re risking making the rod too heavy. When it comes to a pier fishing rod, you don’t want it to be heavy so that you don’t reduce the sensitivity of any bites.
What’s great is that it comes with a sea-guide alien reel seat that works with pretty much all reels. In addition, the positive-lock design allows a secure fitting.
I paired it 18mm braided line that ran smoothly through its Fuji guides. These have stainless steel deep-pressed frames paired with aconite inserts.
It has the power you need to handle big fish but not at the cost of sensitivity. Instead, it’s still pretty sensitive, allowing you to feel the bottom and even the slightest bites.
7. Penn Battalion Inshore Spinning Rods
Penn Battalion is a versatile inshore rod with strong SLC2 construction. This means it has inner spiral carbon wraps combined with longitudinal carbon fibers on the outside.
As a result, it’s one of the most durable options for pier fishing. In addition, it can handle quite a beating, so it’s a good choice for beginners.
Despite its strength, it feels very light and balanced in hand. I took it out for some jigging and was pretty impressed with its muscle. Again, it’s lightweight but has enough backbone to hook the fish and pull it out.
The Fuji Alconite guides and reel seat make it seem like quite a premium pier fishing rod. I paired it with a reel of the same brand to achieve the best performance and was not wrong. The two complete each other, making it easy to land both small and large fish.
One thing you might not like is the packaging. I received mine in good condition despite the poor way it was shipped, but not everyone was this lucky.
8. Quantum Reliance Spinning Reel Combo
Quantum Reliance comes with a spinning reel, so it’s ready to use right out of the box. I paired it with a 15lb braid and a 5” soft bait to achieve the best casting distance. This helped me land flounder and redfish without any struggle.
This pier fishing rod is made from graphite, so you don’t have to worry about its durability. However, it’s still light and balanced enough to land you different fish.
The reel has an aluminum body and C4LF rotor, featuring six anti-corrosion bearings. It performs equally well in both saltwater and freshwater conditions.
And, the roller bearings allow an instant anti-reverse for an immediate hookset. This means the combo is equally useful for both beginners and advanced anglers.
Another thing I noticed is the water-tight sealing that protects the reel’s inner components from salt and corrosion.
Overall, the rod feels comfortable in hand, mainly thanks to the cork handle.
9. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 is always a good choice for pier fishing due to its comfortable construction. I had my sweet time with it, using live baits to catch both big and small fish species.
What stands out the most is the Ugly Tech construction, combining graphite and fiberglass. The two materials created a strong but sensitive rod that feels comfortable and balanced.
I was out for hours, and not once did I experience hand fatigue. This is also thanks to the EVA grips that provide enough cushion and grip when casting and retrieving.
The single-piece Ugly Tuff guides are made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about corrosion. Also, this helps to eliminate insert pop-outs regardless of the type of line you use.
It comes with a 7-year warranty to back up its durability and strength. It doesn’t lack any of that and has a clear tip for transmitting even the slightest bites.
10. KastKing Perigee II
This is a two-piece rod, but don’t let this discourage you. The connection between the two pieces is stable and smooth, so it almost feels like a one-piece.
The blank is made from Toray 24-ton carbon, utilizing the KastFlex Technology for strength, accuracy, and power. And, it comes in 29 sizes and variations to pick from based on your preference.
Thanks to its construction, it can catch pretty much anything. All you have to do is pair it with a reel and line of your choice based on the species you’re after. I used both cast light lures and heavy lures and noticed it performs with the same quality.
It features Fuji O-Ring guides, an ergonomic graphite reel seat, and a Saf-T hook keeper. The EVA grips give you enough grip you’ll need for accurate casting and quick retrieving.
It’s lightweight for enhanced comfort, but this doesn’t come at a price of strength. This one can handle quite some action without showing any signs of damage on its carbon fiber finish.
Buying Guide: Pier Fishing Rods
What makes a rod suitable for pier fishing?
The market offers many options, but not all of these will fit your needs. Pier fishing is unique, so you need a pier fishing rod that fits these particular fishing conditions.
Although the choice mainly depends on your fishing style, you want to consider a few other things. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss each of these factors and how they can impact your choice.
Pier Fishing Rod Type
When it comes to rod types for pier fishing, I suggest you go for a spinning rod. It has the line guides at the bottom of the blank. The line then pulls down on the guides when you’re reeling in a fish.
And, these work with spinning reels, which are known to be the easiest to use. In addition, most models come with a reel seat designed specifically for a spinning reel, so it’s easy to pair them.
Other pier fishing rod types might also work well enough, but I found spinning rods to be the best. They’re the most elastic and versatile, allowing you to catch all kinds of fish.
The rod size refers to the length measured from the handle to the tip. And, there are no rules, so you can go for any length that works for you.
However, the typical pier fishing rod is anywhere between 6 and 9 feet. Therefore, a longer rod might be a good option if you’re targeting larger species and casting from the pier.
But, it might not be so comfortable to use for casting at a shorter distance, especially if there are other people.
It’s up to you, so think about your fishing style to determine the best length. A longer rod is easier to use, mainly to prevent a fish from going under the pier as you fight it.
A short rod for pier fishing is easier to use and control in a small space. It’s also better for dropping your lure if you’re not interested in casting.
Most rods are now made from carbon fiber, fiberglass, graphite, or a combo of these three. Each material has several benefits and drawbacks, so it’s a matter of finding what suits your needs the best.
With that said, it’s important to note that you don’t need a particular material for pier fishing. Any of these would work.
Although some materials are stronger than others, it’s better to consider other factors like action and power. The material does have a say, but it’s not something you want to base your decision around.
Most anglers prefer the medium-power rating for pier fishing. It’s what I usually had at hand as well, which allowed me to target many different species.
However, this is something you want to think about in advance. For example, if you’re after a specific fish, you might want to double-check what power rating would work the best.
As you know, the bigger the fish, the more power you need. Luckily, most of these rods come in many power and action varieties you can pick from.
Although brands offer many options, you should focus on fast-action rods for pier fishing. This is because you want the blank to retain its length as you retrieve the fish, which is only the case with fast action.
This way, you can keep the fish away from the pier so that it doesn’t go under.
Versatility is always important when buying a rod for pier fishing. However, not all models are versatile, so make sure to double-check how some of them perform.
Is your rod for pier fishing flexible and comfortable? If not, you won’t use it for much more than the specific fishing method.
It should have the right amount of strength, balance, and flexibility to handle different species. Without this versatility, you’ll probably have to buy another rod for each other species you’re looking to catch.
The most versatile rods are fun and comfortable to use for pier fishing as well as other methods and conditions.
As you know, all rods have at least one handle made from cork or EVA foam. You can do well with either of the two, but do consider their pros and cons.
You should first think about how long you’ll be holding the rod. You need a comfortable grip that won’t cause hand fatigue if you’re fishing all day long.
Make sure it’s non-slippery and wear-resistant since it’ll probably be wet quite often.
Also, check the size of the handle. A short handle is good for one-hand casting, but you should aim for a split-grip if you’re interested in precise casts.
FAQ for Pier Fishing Rods
Which is Better for Pier Fishing? High Tide or Low Tide?
Fishing is best when the tide is running. Unfortunately, this means neither high nor low tide is ideal for pier fishing. The thing is, most species bite more when the water flows continuously.
In other words, you won’t find many species when the tide is low or high.
What Kind of Tackle is Used For it?
Many people use weight or sinkers because these can prevent the bait from moving. Popular baits include shrimp, squids, sardines, and anchovies.
You might also want to think about using J hooks with pier fishing. But, again, these are versatile and will work with other methods.
What Kinds of Fish Can Catch on Pier Fishing?
This depends on where exactly you are. In most cases, you can expect fish like flounder, redfish, bonito, Atlantic croaker, white perch, striped bass, and more.
You can target specific species by getting the appropriate rod and lure.
What Equipment is Needed?
Apart from the rod, reel, line, and all of that, you’ll need several other things for pier fishing. Consider pyramid sinkers, bait tanks, lines, a drop net, and a rod rail holder.
Bait tanks are vital if you’re using live bait. This is where you store the squid, shrimp, and anchovies all in one place.
Go for a line between 20lb and 40lb to battle different species without much struggle or breakage. And, make sure to have a drop net at hand to haul the heavy fish if you think your rod might snap.
Is a License Required
You probably won’t need a license for pier fishing. Most US states allow this without a permit, but this isn’t the case for all.
For this reason, it’s best to double-check with the local authorities before you head out.
Final Thoughts on the Best Pier Fishing Rod
There is something special about pier fishing we can’t really put the finger on. And, with the right equipment, it turns into an unforgettable adventure regardless of the fish you’re after.
Hopefully, you found the best rod suitable for the specific conditions you fish in. These are the best for pier fishing, but some might even work for other styles and methods.
Take a second glance at the SHIMANO Trevala Casting Rod if you struggle to pick a rod. This one stands out the most with its ease of use, sensitivity, and backbone.