The Best Saltwater Fishing Rod Brands in 2021

Looking to embark on a saltwater fishing adventure? If so, you've come to the right place because we're going to review some of the best saltwater fishing rods.

I know the struggle of finding the right rod because fishing in saltwater is unforgiving. The water takes no time to break rods unless they’re made specifically for these conditions.

In my opinion, the Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcasting Rod is where it’s at when it comes to durability and ease of use. But, take a look below to find more saltwater fishing rods and what makes them stand out.

Best Overall

Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcasting Rod

4.6/5
Best for Beginners

Penn Squall II Level Wind Conventional Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

4.6/5
Best by Budget

Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit Blue

4.5/5


Saltwater Fishing Pole Reviews

  1. Ugly Stik GX2
  2. Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit Blue
  3. Penn Squall II Level Wind Conventional Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
  4. Sougayilang Saltwater Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Kit
  5. Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Saltwater Fishing Rod
  6. Offshore Boat Rod 20-50 lbs Class Fishing Rod Roller Tip
  7. Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod
  8. PENN Carnage III Boat Spinning Rod
  9. St. Croix Rods Avid Series Inshore Spinning Rod
  10. St. Croix Rod Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Rod
  11. PENN Squadron II & Squadron III Inshore Spinning Fishing Rod
  12. Tica UGSA Series Surf Saltwater Fishing Rod
  13. BERRYPRO Light Surf Spinning Rod
  14. SHIMANO TREVALA Spinning, Graphite Saltwater Jigging Rods
  15. Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 is an all-around spinning rod meant specifically for saltwater fishing. It’s made from graphite and fiberglass, so it’s practically impossible to break.

Still, it’s pretty sensitive and easy to use for all kinds of fish. Plus, it has Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides that are among the most durable I’ve seen so far.

The guides are designed to eliminate friction, allowing you to retrieve the line easily and quickly. On top of that, this spinning rod has a clear fiberglass tip for added strength.

It’s versatile and suitable for fishing from the shore, on the reef, in the flats, or off the shore. Plus, it’s quite affordable given the quality it sports.

This 5’10” medium-power spinning rod comes in two pieces and has EVA handles. It’s comfortable to use for extended saltwater fishing trips.

Standout Features:

  • 7-year warranty
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Durable and comfortable grips

Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit Blue

Okuma travel kit comes with a rod and reel combo for trout, bass, panfish, catfish, and more. The reel has a ball-bearing drive system in a rust-free graphite frame.

It comes with a one-piece anodized aluminum spool and machine-cut brass pinion gear. Also, you can change the handle from right- to left-hand retrieve.

The kit also includes a traveling bag with a shoulder strap and a tackle box for hooks, spinners, spools, and more.

The Okuma VS-605-20 measures 6′ and has five pieces. It comes with ceramic guide inserts and a shock-resistant foam insert. Also, it has two cork handles that are pretty comfortable and long-lasting, even when exposed to saltwater conditions.

Standout Features:

  • Reel included
  • Easy to put together
  • Strong graphite frame

Penn Squall II Level Wind

This Penn rod and reel combo is meant for those looking for top quality. The combo is meant for offshore fishing as it measures 6′ 6”. It’s a single piece, so you won’t have to do any assembling.

The product is made from tubular glass blank material, so it’s nearly unbreakable. It’s reliable and easy to use in saltwater conditions.

The Penn Squall II Level Wind has a lightweight graphite frame with side plates and bronze alloy main gear. It’s tough and easy to use regardless of the fish you’re targeting.

It’s a start drag reel, so it’s not as smooth or consistent. But, it works excellent for all fish under 30 pounds.

Another few things we should mention are its two stainless steel ball bearings. It also has an anti-reverse bearing to prevent rotor back play.

Standout Features:

  • Graphite frame and side plates
  • Anti-reverse bearing
  • 15 pounds maximum drag

Sougayilang Saltwater Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Kit

Sougayilang saltwater fishing rod and reel combo kit is among the most affordable ones. It’s an excellent kit that includes a 5/6WT aluminum alloy reel, backing line, fly fishing line, braided loop connectors, tapered leader, and a packed fly fishing box.

The product comes with measures 8.85′ and has four sections you have to put together. It’s made from carbon fiber with high-quality stainless steel guides.

It has a cork handle that remains non-slippery even when wet. On top of that, the machined aluminum reel seat adds to its overall ease of use and efficiency.

Its aluminum reel weighs 5.7 ounces and you can change it from left to right hand, depending on your preference. Also, it’s well-known for silent retrieving.

Since this combo has everything you need, you can start fishing the moment it arrives. It comes with a one-year warranty, so you have plenty of time to test it.

Standout Features:

  • 12-piece fly fishing box
  • Lightweight rod frame
  • Corrosion-resistant hardware

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Saltwater Fishing Rod

Okuma is one of the most popular brands and for a reason.

It’s made from graphite, so it’s pretty strong but also sensitive enough to allow easy fishing. It has aluminum oxide inserts for braided lines.

The double-footed aluminum guide frames help to keep the guide frames in place. They’re designed to prevent the frames from twisting when you catch a heavy and hard-pulling fish.

Another thing we should mention is the cork handle that prevents slipping. It remains stable even when wet, which makes it easy to use for extended fishing trips.

Plus, the Okuma Longitude Surf saltwater fishing rod comes with a one-year warranty.

Standout Features:

  • Stainless hooded reel seat
  • Multiple lengths and actions
  • Aluminum oxide inserts

Offshore Boat Rod 20-50 lbs Class Fishing Rod Roller Tip

Offshore fishing requires a quality rod that has plenty of backing power because you’re likely to catch big fish. This is where this product can help you as it’s made from graphite.

It has excellent action and pulling power, spreading the weight of your catch along its entire length. It also has a high-quality roller tip and stainless steel guides.

The guides are meant to allow the line to run smoothly without ripping or damaging it. Another thing we should mention is the aluminum alloy wheel seat. It has tapered hood transitions for added protection.

As you’ll see, the design itself is quite precise and versatile. It makes the Offshore Boat rod flexible and suitable for a wide range of big fish.

Standout Features:

  • Durable hardware
  • EVA foam grip
  • Rod protection bag included

Fiblink is somewhat new to the market, but many anglers are already fans. This particular saltwater spinning rod is a multi-purpose saltwater rod meant for fishing on the reef or offshore.

It’s one of the best saltwater fishing rods thanks to its carbon frame and extreme sensitivity. This makes it suitable for small fish that has barely noticeable bite.

Also, this one has two pieces, so you’ll have to put it together before using it. But, the two-piece design makes it easy to travel with.

It has stainless steel guides that won’t show any signs of damage when exposed to saltwater. Also, the EVA foam handle is non-slippery and quite resistant to harsh saltwater.

We should also mention its aluminum alloy reel seat that keeps the reel in place. It doesn’t rust, so you can expect it to last a long time.

Standout Features:

  • Aluminum butt section
  • EVA foregrips
  • Heavy-duty roller guides

PENN Carnage III Boat Spinning Rod

Penn is a well-known name in the saltwater fishing industry. It’s been around for nearly a century, so it’s unlikely you can go wrong with it.

Although it’s slightly on a more expensive side, Penn Carnage III is a high-quality saltwater spinning rod. It’s made to catch trophy fish with braided line, handling fighting fish and strain it puts on the braid.

It has a slim profile but it’s incredibly strong. It’s made with Penn’s SLS3 blank construction, featuring Fuji K guides and Alconite inserts. It also has a Pac Bay aluminum reel seat that’s reinforced for extra durability.

This one has a non-slippery handle with optional rubber or aluminum gimbal. Although its performance is suitable for both experienced and novice anglers, the price might turn some away.

Standout Features:

  • Fuji K guides
  • Non-slippery handle
  • Pac Bay aluminum reel seat

St. Croix Rods Avid Series Inshore Spinning Rod

St. Croix is another excellent brand to choose from. This Avid Series is among the best rods on the market thanks to its durability, efficiency, and ease of use.

As you may know, St. Croix redesigned the whole Avid Series a few years ago. It then came out with new and revamped rods made specifically for saltwater fishing.

This inshore spinning rod is a durable one. It has graphite construction and advanced guides to reduce tangles. Its aluminum-oxide rings are fitted in titanium frames, offering maximum reliability regardless of your targeted fish.

We should also mention the Fuji DPS reel seats and the great-looking cork handle. It gives the whole construction some style and sleekness.

Standout Features:

  • 15-year warranty
  • Aluminum-oxide rings
  • Tough graphite construction

St. Croix Rod Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Rod

St. Croix Tidemaster inshore saltwater spinning rod is made from SCII carbon. You can choose between several flex varieties going from heavy to light.

It’s an incredibly durable rod that still offers plenty of sensitivity in the tip. This makes it suitable for all kinds of fish and fishing styles.

One of the best things about it is the Fuji DPS reel seat. It has frosted silver hoods for added ease of use and efficiency regardless of your skill level.

It also has aluminum-oxide guides with rustproof black frames. Plus, the premium cork handle is comfortable, even if you’re going to spend the whole day out fishing.

This St. Croix rod comes with a 5-year warranty.

Standout Features:

  • High-quality SCII carbon
  • Comfortable cork handle
  • Fuji DPS reel seat

PENN Squadron II & Squadron III Inshore Spinning Fishing Rod

The PENN Squadron measures 7′ and comes as a single piece, although you can choose between several other lengths and variations.

It’s meant for inshore fishing with its extra-fast action. It’s designed to grab all fish, big and small, regardless of how gently it bites. Its flexibility and sensitivity allow you to feel even the slightest nibble.

This one has seven guides to allow the line to glide smoothly. These won’t rust even if exposed to saltwater for prolonged periods.

Another thing worth noting is the cork handle. It adds style to the rod, while also providing cushioning and comfort at all times.

This saltwater fishing rod has a tension level of 6 pounds.

Standout Features:

  • Lightweight design
  • Affordable price
  • Corrosion-resistant hardware

Tica UGSA Series Surf Saltwater Fishing Rod

Tica UGSA is among the best saltwater fishing rods for casting lures. It’s a versatile piece meant for lure fishing as it can cast both heavy and light lures.

It’s made from graphite but has quite the flex, allowing you to cast light lures with ease. Plus, this one has a sliding hook keeper so that you can clip the lure while hunting the fish.

The overall style is quite traditional as you’ll notice right off the bat. It has a cork handle that’s also traditional-looking but provides excellent performance in saltwater fishing.

On top of that, it has diamond wraps made with maximum attention to detail. The Fuji Alconite tip guide, Fuji DPS reel seat, and Fuji Hardloy ring guides all add to its overall efficiency and ease of use.

The rod comes in many varieties, so you can choose between several sizes and action options.

Standout Features

  • Sliding foldable hook keeper
  • Custom diamond wraps
  • Non-slip cork handle

BERRYPRO Light Surf Spinning Rod

Berrypro Light Surf Spinning Rod is made from IM8 X-Carbon to deliver incredible power and sensitivity. It’s meant for surf and bay fishing and pursuing corbina, striper bass, halibut, and surf perch.

It features a stainless steel fishing guide with a ceramic ring to allow the line to run smoothly. Its construction is meant to minimize friction between the guide and line.

Plus, the guides are aligned at the bottom of the blank’s spine. This means the sensitivity is transferred directly from the line to the rod and your hand when you make a long cast.

Berrypro is ergonomically designed with quality parts and components. Its fixing ring locks the reel seat, making it much stronger and able to handle heavier fish.

On top of that, the high-density EVA grips allow for a comfortable experience, even if it’s a full day of fishing.

Standout Features:

  • One-year warranty
  • Ergonomic design
  • Stainless steel hardware

SHIMANO TREVALA Spinning, Graphite Saltwater Jigging Rods

Shimano Trevala is a part of the brand’s jigging rod series. It’s designed for you to use with the Shimano butterfly jigs, throwing them at high speeds.

It’s made from graphite and designed for long fishing trips. It has a somewhat unconventional design but works well for both beginners and experienced anglers.

Although it has a unique design that’s new to many people, it also has several exciting features. The top carbon butt section and high-power fishing reel make it stand out.

On top of that, the blank design allows a lightweight structure, which increases the overall portability and compatibility.

We should also mention this one is diamond polished. It has Fuji aluminum oxide guides for maximum heat dissipation and corrosion resistance.

Standout Features:

  • EVA foam grips
  • High carbon butt section
  • Fuji aluminum oxide guides

Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Fishing Rod

The Ugly Stik Tiger saltwater fishing rod is among the best from the brand. It might even be the best saltwater fishing rod for catching a great variety of species.

The diamond shrink tube with rubber gimbals is comfortable to use for hours on end. Plus, this is a one-piece rod, so you don’t have to do any assembly when it arrives.

It’s built to withstand harsh saltwater fishing conditions without showing any signs of corrosion On top of that, it has the Ugly Tuff guides made to prevent pop-outs.

Not only it’s one of the best saltwater fishing rods for anglers who want a lightweight one but’s also among the toughest options. Plus, it’s excellent if you’re into using a monofilament line only.

The only downside is that it could be trickier to carry around since it’s a single-piece.

Standout Features:

  • Ugly Tuff guides
  • Diamond shrink tube
  • Rubber gimbals

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing one of the best saltwater fishing rods can be a bit tricky if you’re a beginner. The choices are many, which often makes it difficult to pick just one.

Below are several things you should consider before you purchase anything.

Rod Style

The first thing you should do is choose a rod style that suits your needs. We’re already talking about those meant for saltwater fishing, but you should definitely be more precise.

Most people lean towards baitcasting rigs instead of spinning rods. This is because baitcasting rods cast further and can hold much more line.

They’re also better for heavy tackle and have better drag systems. But, a baitcasting rod is typically harder to use than a spinning one, so it can be tricky for beginners to start with.

Material

As you may have noticed, saltwater rods are usually made from fiberglass or graphite. There’s a huge difference between the two and how they perform in the same conditions.

Fiberglass is more of a standard material. It’s a commonly used material because it’s durable, resistant to constant wear, and can bend quite a lot.

But, fiberglass is heavy. It can be difficult to notice small bites on the line.

Graphite is lightweight and easy to handle. But, it’s much more expensive. These rods are more sensitive, allowing you to detect even the smallest fish.

The disadvantage here is the durability. Graphite saltwater rods aren’t as durable as those made from fiberglass.

Cork Handle

The handle is one of those parts people often overlook. But, it’s among the most critical pieces, so make sure to check if it fits you.

The type and material come down to your fishing style. You want it to be comfortable and convenient to use for a particular type of fishing.

Baitcasting rods usually have a pistol grip. It’s a commonly seen grip on inshore and freshwater rods we cast with one hand. Saltwater rods typically have a longer handle, so you can grab it with both hands.

Cork is a favorite material of many because it looks good. It’s durable and comfortable, but also adds some style to your saltwater rod. On the other hand, EVA foam is even more comfortable and resistant to wear, but not as good-looking.

Action

The first thing you should think about is how much action you need to launch the lure. This will help you determine the action you need.

A heavy lure will need heavy action, whereas a light lure needs light action. This is also determined by how flexible your rod is since those that curve under tension have more action than rigid ones.

Luckily, companies usually list the recommended lure weight for the specific rod, helping you match rod action and lure weight.

Durability

Saltwater is corrosive and will eat on your rod every time you use it. This is normal, so you have to make sure your rod can handle these harsh conditions.

For this reason, you should always choose between saltwater fishing rods. These are made specifically for saltwater fishing conditions and won’t show signs of damage as quickly.

Durability is important for various reasons. You don’t want a rod that will last you only a few trips to the sea. Instead, look for one made from strong and anti-corrosion materials.

Power

Look for the right amount of power in the rod bank for the type of fish you’re targeting. A general rule of thumb is to go for a more powerful rod if you’re after bigger fish.

This way, you have a higher chance of getting it out without the rod breaking. But, think twice before going for the most powerful saltwater fishing rod.

Too much power can result in a very stiff rod you can barely use for any smaller fish. Power is usually rated on a scare from light to extra heavy.

For most people, going for a medium allows them to catch different small and big species. These rods are usually a golden middle between flexible and stiff.

Weight

The weight of the best saltwater fishing rods is usually not as big of a factor. Most rods are balanced enough to give you a feel of weight without weighing you down.

Saltwater fishing rods are now made from lightweight materials. One that’s too heavy would be too uncomfortable to use as it would put pressure on your wrists, shoulders, and back.

It can sometimes be a matter of preference since some people like to feel a heavier rod in their hands. Still, the weight doesn’t have as much to do with how you cast. We’re relying more on the length of the rod and the weight of the lure.

Sensitivity

Rod sensitivity is among the most significant factors to consider, especially if you’re catching sheepshead, flounder, and other small fish.

Having a sensitive rod allows you to feel these small species bite. The more sensitive it is, the better it transfers vibration from the light bite to the rod.

Carbon fiber is more sensitive than graphite or fiberglass. It’s lighter and more sensitive to small nibbles.

Length

Length is another critical factor you want to think about before buying. It dictates how smooth, but also forgiving, the cast will be.

The length affects how accurately you can cast from a certain distance. Shorter saltwater fishing rods are more accurate, but won’t throw your lure too far away.

For this reason, you should think about your target fish, the lure you’re using, and the preferred distance at which you want to cast.

Most people start with a 7′ fishing rod as it offers a solid combination of accuracy and power.

Rod Blank

A rod blank is the body of your saltwater fishing rod without any additional attachments that make it complete and ready for use. As we said, the material has to work for your fishing style since you want it to be flexible without breaking.

Rod blank has to be tough to handle the rough saltwater conditions. For this reason, make sure it’s high-quality and durable.

Focus on the material and whether it’s suitable for your fishing style. Its overall design is also important for its performance, but you should always focus on the material first. It’s where the most strength and durability come from.

Construction

Best saltwater fishing rods were once made as single-piece poles. These were quite stable and easy to use since they needed no assembly.

But, the issue is in the length and how you can transport a long rod from one place to another. Carrying an 8′ fishing rod around is inconvenient even if your location is within walking distance.

This is why most people go for multi-piece rods. They’re easier to carry around, especially if you’re going on a long-distance trip.

Castability

You should first think about how you want to cast your lure. Consider the accuracy and distance you’re looking for to determine the castability you need.

Accuracy comes from fast action, allowing you to cast with speed. But, this comes at a price. These rods are usually quite stiff, so you’re sacrificing distance.

What you can do is get a heavier lure so that your rod bends more. The flexibility will allow for more energy in your cast.

Still, castability depends on whatever you think is the most important for the type of fishing you’re into.


FAQ

How durable is my rod?

The first thing you should do is think about the material used. As we said, some are more durable than others, resulting in a fishing rod you can use for years to come.

Durability depends on the materials, but also the flexibility, corrosion resistance, and the overall manufacturing quality.

Why do I need a saltwater fishing rod?

Saltwater conditions are harsh and will eat up your rod faster than you think. Best saltwater fishing rods are made specifically for these conditions.

They’re made from corrosion-resistant materials and often have specific coatings to protect from salt. For this reason, you can use it for freshwater, but you can’t use a freshwater one for saltwater fishing.

What’s the difference between freshwater and saltwater fishing rods?

As we said, the best saltwater fishing rods are made from materials that can handle these conditions. Saltwater fishing is no joke since the salt takes very little time to eat up your equipment.

For this reason, you want to choose between fishing rods that can handle this without showing signs of damage as quickly. Freshwater rods are built from different materials that don’t hold up well in saltwater.

How Do I Take Care of Saltwater fishing rods?

You should always wash your rod after you’re done fishing. Use warm water and mild soap to wash away the salt, preventing it from causing any corrosion.

Rinse the soapy water and let the rod dry before storing it. Make sure you never store it when wet since that too can cause corrosion.

What size fishing rod should I use?

This is up to you to choose based on your fishing style, target fish, and location. As you noticed, many brands offer many possibilities and variations, so choosing a length shouldn’t be too hard.

Remember, short rods are usually more accurate, whereas long ones have more power.

What should I use between Split Or Full Grip?

This comes down to your preference and what you find more comfortable. A split grip takes some weight away, making it easier to cast.

Still, some people find a full grip more comfortable. The difference is minimal, so you can go for whatever works best for you.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you got something out of reading about the best saltwater fishing rods. Now you know why we say that buying one is simple when you have the right information.

Again, I think the Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcasting Rod is the best choice in its category. It’s easy to use and will fit both beginners and experienced anglers.