Fishing can be unforgiving at times, and the fish doesn’t care if you’re using the best fishing rod for the occasion or not. It’s up to YOU, the angler, to make sure that each time you hit the water you’ve got the best fishing gear in tow.
Purchasing new fishing rods can be intimidating because there are so many options on the shelves. Saltwater fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes, the action on the rods varies from fast to medium and the power jumps from light to heavy. Let me be your guide in helping your bros choose the best saltwater fishing rods for every occasion because I’ve spent my entire life on the water learning what works and what doesn’t, I’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to. So without further ado, here are the very best saltwater fishing rods for every occasion (Flats Fishing Rods, Light Tackle Fishing Rods, Surf Casting Saltwater Fishing Rods, Sabiki Rigs, Inshore, etc)!
I’ve had a St. Croix fishing rod in my arsenal ever since I was old enough to graduate from an Ugly Stik (I still love Ugly Stiks though, more on those below!). They’re some of the most sensitive rods on the market, perfect for any types of flats fishing. You can buy them robust enough to hold up to tarpon and light enough to haul in speckled trout and flounder all day. This is a rod that’s going to stand up to the test of time, won’t corrode from the saltwater as long as you treat it well, and you’ll catch more fish by being able to feel more strikes.
The action on these rods is almost entirely classified as ‘fast’, though some vary, and they come in four major styles: Heavy Fast (HF), Medium Fast (MF), Medium-to-Heavy Fast (MHF), and Medium-to-Light Fast (MLF). Size-wise they come in either 7-foot or 7-foot-6-inches. Each of the rods features ‘Batson Forecast® hard aluminum-oxide guides with 316 stainless-steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance compared to 304 stainless-steel frames’ as well as Fuji® DPS reel seats and black hoods on the spinning models (slightly different on the bait casting models). The handles come in various styles of your choosing as well:
Last but not least these rods feature a 5-year warranty backed by ‘St. Croix Superstar Service’, so it’s a very safe purchase, as any potential defects (rare as they may be) will be covered by the warranty.
I’ll show you an expensive travel rod option in the G.Loomis model below, but at the several hundred dollar price point that the G.Loomis travel rod costs I know that it’s something that’ll be above many of you bro’s price range. That’s why I wanted to show you one of the highest rated travel spinning rod on the market, the Fiblink Carbon 4-Piece Travel Spinning Rod. It breaks down into 4 pieces, is extremely portable, and fish will put up one hell of a fight on this setup. You’ll love it, guaranteed:
— Lightweight but has Medium action for ripping artificial baits through the moving tides and it has sensitive feel for dropping live baits on the bottom
— The carbon construction makes for an incredibly powerful and strong rod that you can use in every type of fishing conditions
— There’s an enhanced reel seat and corrosion resistant stainless steel hoods which is a huge plus if you’re fishing saltwater and want to protect against corrosion
— The 7+1 guides with ceramic inserts and stainless steel frames allow your line to flow smoothly while casting and fighting fish
So I considered breaking jigging rods and grouper/snapper rods into different categories, but ultimately you can end up using the same rods for both. If you’re going for a quality set up, one that’s sturdy enough to hold up to monster grouper and snapper, then you’ll want to spend a few bucks on the PENN Carnage II Jigging/Spinning rod. Options are 6′ (heavy, 6’4″ (medium heavy), and 6’6″ medium.
For years Gary Dobyns (owner/founder of Dobyns Fishing Rods) has been churning out some of the highest quality bass fishing rods in the world. Traditionally, his semi-custom bass fishing rods were quite pricey, but always lived up to the hype. So it was only a matter of time before he made his foray into the world of saltwater fishing rods, and in no time at all the Dobyns Fury Series is being heralded by the entire industry as some of the finest inshore fishing rods around.
Whether you’re targeting bull redfish in Louisiana or the Chesapeake Bay, or you’re going after Bluefish in the Northeast, or Snook in Florida, the Dobyns Fury Series is a rod you’ll want to have with you in the boat (or in the truck, whatever).
The Mach 1 Combo took top honors at last year’s ICAST Fishing Conference, grabbing the award for ‘best rod and reel combo’. This rod-reel combo is said to have been designed with the avid high school/college angler in mind, so if that doesn’t speak to your soul then I don’t know what does.
This is a baitcasting rod/reel setup, so if all you know are spinning rods and reels then there’s definitely going to be a learning curve here. Don’t fret though, it’s really not that hard of a skill to pick up. Here’s what ICAST has to say about this best all around combo:
“The Mach 1 Combo is a higher-end baitcast rod and reel combo designed with high school and college anglers in mind for an affordable premium performance. The Mach 1 Speed Spool features 10 premium double-shielded stainless steel bearings, high speed 7.1:1 retrieve, Lew’s Multi-Setting Break MSB dual cast control, Zero Reverse, large capacity aluminum spool and 95MM aluminum power handle. The Mach 1 rod is a 6’10” MH all-purpose one-piece premium IM8 blank with Nano technology, stainless steel guide frames and aluminum oxide inserts, Lew’s Soft Touch skeletal graphite reel seat and durable EVA foam split grips.”
Sound enticing? Yeah it does!
Some of my fondest childhood fishing memories were surfcasting for sharks on the Gulf Coast here in Florida. Maybe you don’t have access to a boat, kayak, or pier, but you do have access to a beach. Or maybe you’re like and just enjoy surf casting for fish. Either way you’re going to need a very tall and robust rod to hurl your bait super far out into the water, because chances are you’ll be standing on the sand when doing this.
The Longitude Graphite series from Okuma are the highest rated surf casting rods around, which is great because they’re also VERY affordable, starting at just $43. Coast to coast this is option for a surf casting rod, and when it comes to price/value this ranks up at the top on the overall list of best saltwater fishing rods in the world.
Tarpon, aka the ‘Silver King’, are probably the most lusted after inshore game fish in the state of Florida. Ernest Hemingway himself used to catch these giants, and giants they are. Tarpon fight like hell and put on an aerial display unlike any other fish around. To catch tarpon you’re going to need a very specialized fishing rod. You’re probably looking for a medium-to-heavy action, 7-foot, beast of a rod (a one-piece rod for sure).
Penn Fishing is one of the best known and most trusted names in fishing, and the Penn Allegiance II Inshore Spinning Rod (HEAVY) is going to be your best option for the money. If you’re looking to shell out more $$$ though I’d point you in the direction of the Envy Green Tarpon H Spinning Rod from 13 Fishing, because although it’s expensive as hell it’s an exquisite fishing rod.
Pier/Jetty fishing is great. Basically anywhere that has a coast you’ll find a nearby pier or jetty, and these structures offer total cornucopias of fish species, you never know what you’re going to catch. Piers and jetties are great for two reasons:
1) They enable you to get out into deeper water without the need of a boat, and in that deeper water you can target species of fish that don’t hang by the shoreline.
2) The structures themselves begin to act as an artificial reef, providing shelter and protection for small and medium sized fish, which in turn brings the big fish hanging on the outskirts.
So when you’re fishing in a pier or jetty you want a big, robust fishing rod, one that’s going to be able to haul anything up from the deep AND one that won’t break when you pull that fish out of the water and reel it up through the air. My suggestion here is the Shakespeare/Ugly Stik One-Piece Heavy Action Big Water, because this diesel rod won’t fail you when you’re hauling up countless species on the pier.
Alright, bros, now we’re getting into the pricier options on this list. But I’m telling you bros, you simply will not find a better travel fishing rod in the world than the products G.Loomis makes. I’ve owned a 4-piece G.Loomis 8-weight graphite fly fishing rod since I was about 13. They come with a lifetime warranty, so any time I’ve had an issue in the slightest bit, which happens over the course of several decades, I just pop my rod in a tube and send it to them and a few days later I receive the latest/greatest model, a brand new rod. It’s amazing. And I’m just talking about their customer service here, not their world class fishing rods.
These come in every heigh, action, speed, and stiffness that you’re looking for. Again, this is not a cheap line of rods, but this is a travel fishing rod that will last you a lifetime.
The Ugly Stick rod + reel combo is your entry level setup. This is rod-reel combo that you can take anywhere with you, beat up, get muddy, and it will NEVER break. That’s they’re claim to fame, that the Ugly Stik combo is nearly indestructible. I’ve had an ugly stick in my arsenal nearly my entire life, and if I ever have kids one day this will be the first gear I get them when they graduate from those little click button rods.
If you bros are serious about offshore fishing then you’ve most certainly heard of a Sabiki Rig by now. It’s a light tackle setup that uses a string of tiny hooks, all designed to look like fingerling baitfish. When catching live bait to use for larger pelagic and game fish you drop these Sabiki Rigs into large schools of bait offshore, jig them up or down a few times, and those stupid baitfish get hooked six at a time.
Now you can certainly use light spinning rods for a Sabiki Rig in place of a specialized rod, but that would be stupid, because those tiny little sabiki hooks get tangled up more than any other hooks in fishing. With a specialized Sabiki Rod you don’t have to worry about any of that. The rod you see above is a MUST HAVE for anyone serious about offshore fishing, because fresh live baits are always going to net you more game fish in the boat.
BONUS: you can purchase 10-packs of pre-rigged leaders with the Sabiki hooks ready to go so you don’t have to bother with all the annoying rigging.
The BroBible team writes about gear that we think you want. Occasionally, we write about items that are a part of one of our affiliate partnerships and we will get a percentage of the revenue from sales.