5 Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combos Reviewed

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Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

Hey there! If you’re looking for the best surf fishing rod and reel combos, you’re in the right place.

Surf fishing rods and surf reels have to be able to withstand saltwater corrosion, cast far enough, and be strong enough to handle monster fish in the ocean. To find both a rod and reel that fits those conditions is hard, but not impossible. But even then, the rod and reel may not match. A rod and reel combo ensures that your rod and reel will work well with each other. Furthermore, it’s also often cheaper than buying a rod and reel separately.

That said, my number one recommendation is the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo. Both the rod and reel are extremely corrosion-resistant and strong enough to take on enormous fish. On top of that, the rod is long enough to cast sufficiently far to reach the largest fishes. Oh, and did I mention it’s also reasonably priced?

Of course, no one combo can satisfy everyone, so if you weren’t impressed, there’re 4 other affordable options for you to choose from. Let’s jump right in!

Our Top 5 Picks

  1. Daiwa BG Surf Combo (Best Overall)
  2. Penn Spinfisher VI Combo (Best Splurge)
  3. Penn Battle III Spinning Combo (Best Spinfisher VI Alternative)
  4. Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Combo (Best Warranty)
  5. Daiwa D-Wave Spinning Combo (Best Budget)

The 5 Best Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

Before we get started, for those wondering, these are all spinning combos. There’s a really good reason for that, and we’ll get into it later. For now, let’s get started!


Best Overall

1. Daiwa BG Surf Combo

  • Rod Length: 10 ft
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Reel Size: 5000
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1

Starting the ball rolling is the Daiwa BG Surf Combo. This incredible combo is everything you could ask for in a surf fishing combo. It’s durable, sturdy, and can cast past the breaking surf.

Firstly, the guides are made of aluminum oxide, one of the most corrosion-resistant materials for guides, giving you a durable rod. The drag system is also waterproof to prevent any corrosion of the drag system, and the corrosion-resistant aluminum body can withstand saltwater conditions well. Together, these create an extremely long-lasting rod and reel combo.

Next, the medium heavy power and 22 pounds of drag enable you to take on fish that are considerably large.

Finally, the 10 ft surf rod provides plenty of torque to cast into calm waters and the size 5000 reel gives you more than enough line to face the larger fishes.

As you’ll notice though, these can all be replicated by other brands as long as they have the right materials. What really sets this surf reel apart is its incomparably smooth drag.

The Daiwa BG spinning reel features a waterproof carbon Automatic Drag (ATD) system. The system delivers a more stable and progressive drag. This greatly reduces the chances of losing your catch as the ATD adapts to every phase of the fight. At the beginning, it works faster and more progressively. Later in the middle phase, it gives you a firmer hold for cranking power. The best part? The whole drag system adjusts itself on autopilot, thus its name Automatic Drag, not to mention the 6+1 bearings for even more smoothness.

With an irreplicable drag system and amazing specifications, the only flaw with this combo is that you can’t take on the biggest monster fish. It’s strong, but not that strong.

Other than that, it’s perfect in every other aspect and you can still catch pretty big fish with it. This one-of-a-kind rod and reel combo may not be the most affordable, but for what you’re getting, it’s worth every cent.


Best Splurge

2. Penn Spinfisher VI Combo

  • Rod Length: 6.5-10 ft
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Heavy
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Reel Size: 2500-8500
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1

Next up, the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo is the most powerful, sensitive, and durable surf combo available.

This surf fishing combo boasts a staggering 40 pounds of drag and a heavy power surf rod. With this surf combo that’s unmatched in strength, you’ll find reeling in prize fish and monster fish a breeze.

But it isn’t just the giants that you can catch, you can even go after panfish. This surf combo also comes in an extra fast action option for you to feel the softest tugs of the smallest panfish.

As for durability, the Penn Spinfisher VI reel has an IPX5 sealed body and spool, using seals in key areas to keep water out. Even the stainless steel bearings are sealed. Combining these features, the result is impressive corrosion resistance and durability that beat even the Daiwa BG spinning reel. 

The aluminum oxide guides on the Daiwa BG Combo’s rod are a tad more corrosion-resistant than the stainless steel guides on the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo’s rod though. Despite this, considering both the reel and the rod, the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo still beats the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo in overall durability. This means it’ll outlive the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo.

And of course, the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo’s rod is also long enough to cast the distance required for surf fishing. This combo also comes with line capacity rings so you can tell how much line you have left at a glance.

Taking everything into account, the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo beats the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo in power, sensitivity, and durability. It may not have the Daiwa BG Surf Combo’s state-of-the-art drag system, but you can target a wider range of fish with it and it can last longer. 

Both combos cost roughly the same, so which reel you choose depends on your personal preference. If you want a much easier time reeling in fish, you should go with the Daiwa BG Surf Combo. Otherwise, if you prefer a surf fishing combo that can accommodate a wider range of fish and can better take a beating, you’ll want to get the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo.


Best Spinfisher VI Alternative

3. Penn Battle III Spinning Combo

  • Rod Length: 6.5-10 ft
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Heavy
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Reel Size: 1000-8000
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1

Next on the list, the Penn Battle III Spinning Combo is basically a budget Penn Spinfisher VI Combo. It’s similar in almost every way and offers almost the same benefits as the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo.

Power-wise, it also has a heavy power rod option. As for the drag, its 30 pounds of drag are clearly lesser than the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo’s 40 pounds. Nevertheless, 30 pounds of drag are enough for the biggest fishes, so both combos are equally robust and both beat the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo.

Sensitivity-wise, the Penn Battle III Combo is less sensitive. Its most sensitive option is a fast action rod while the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo has an extra fast action option. Still, the Penn battle III Combo’s fast action beats the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo’s moderate fast action.

Durability-wise, like the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo, this combo has stainless steel guides and sealed stainless steel bearings. However, although it’s got a full metal body and sideplates to enhance its durability, it can’t beat the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo’s sealed body and spool. As such, it’s less hardy than the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo’s rod.

Other than these, both combos also have the same number and type of bearings and range of rod lengths.

All in all, the Penn Battle III Spinning Combo is in essence, a less pricey Penn Spinfisher VI Combo. It isn’t as durable or responsive as the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo, but it still allows you to take on a slightly wider range of fish than the Daiwa BG Surf Spinning Combo and can outlast it.


Best Warranty

4. Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Combo

  • Rod Length: 6.5-10 ft
  • Power: Ranges from Medium to Medium Heavy
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Reel Size: 5000-7000
  • Ball Bearings: 1+1

When it comes to warranty, Ugly Stik is unbeatable. The Ugly Stik Bigwater Surf Combo is a functional surf fishing combo that comes with a 7-year warranty.

Notice that I said it was a functional combo, not a great one. Here’s why.

Ugly Stik is known for making indestructible rods. Like all Ugly Stik rods, this surf rod was made with Ugly Tech Construction for legendary toughness. Nonetheless, the 1+1 bearings are really glaring. The scarcity of bearings makes retrieval with this reel quite a chore. Furthermore, the only protection the reel has against corrosion is its aluminum spool. This pales in comparison to the advanced technology that the previous 3 combos employ.

That said, it’s still a usable surf fishing combo, as it’s long enough to achieve the casting distance needed and possesses adequate power.

For those looking for a surf fishing combo with a longer warranty for peace of mind, this is a decent choice. Moreover, it’s less than half the price of any of the other combos on the list.


Best Budget

5. Daiwa D-Wave Spinning Combo

  • Rod Length: 7-10 ft
  • Power: Medium
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Reel Size: 4000-5000
  • Ball Bearings: 1+1

If none of the above combos appealed to you, I’m guessing it’s a matter of price. That’s why I included the Daiwa D-Wave Spinning Combo. This is by far the most affordable combo that can stand up to surf fishing conditions.

Notwithstanding its unbelievable price, this rod and reel combo will still allow you to get started surf fishing. The surf rod goes up to 10 ft so you’ll have no trouble casting far enough. The aluminum oxide guides and stainless steel ball bearings can also handle saltwater corrosion, albeit with more maintenance. And last of all, the medium power at least enables you to fish panfish and slightly larger fish.

Of course, at this price point, compromises have to be made. Not only is it the weakest rod and reel combo, but it also only has 1+1 ball bearings. Still, you get what you pay for. If you’re on a really tight budget, the Daiwa D-Wave Spinning Combo is your best bet.


What To Look For In Surf Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

Wondering how to judge whether a surf fishing rod and reel combo is good? Here’s everything you’ll need to consider.

Length

The longer your fishing rod is, the further you’ll be able to cast. To cast far enough into calm water, you’ll want a fishing rod that’s at least 8 ft in length. 

Most surf rods are 8-12 ft

8 ft rods are best for fishing panfish nearer to shore as they offer the best sensitivity and you won’t need to cast too far.

10 ft rods are ideal for casting further to reach medium sized or larger fish.

12 ft rods are for those looking to cast the farthest to reach the monster fish.

Action

Rod action is determined by how low down your fishing rod bends when you apply pressure to the tip. 

Rod action ranges from slow to extra fast. The closer to the tip your rod bends, the more sensitive it is and the faster the action is.

For action, it depends on the size of the fish you’re targeting. 

Ideally, your fishing rod should be fast or extra fast action to be able to feel the tug of even tiny fishes. ‘

However, if you’re targeting fishes that are medium sized or bigger, you can get by with less sensitivity. This means a moderate action rod will be fine for medium sized fish and a slow action rod will work for big fish. 

Notwithstanding that, more sensitivity can’t hurt and will allow you to go after a wider range of fish, so do get a more sensitive rod if possible.

Power

Your rod’s power is, as the name suggests, its strength. This is also commonly referred to as stiffness.

Rod power ranges from ultra light to extra heavy.

Like length, the right rod power is decided by the size of the fish you’re targeting. Naturally, the smaller the fish you’re targeting, the less power you’ll need.

For panfish, an ultra light rod will suffice for smaller fish like trout. However, even panfish can grow to be relatively sizeable, so I’d recommend getting a medium power rod for fishing panfish.

If you’re targeting the medium sized fish, you’ll want to get a medium heavy rod. Likewise, if you’re intending to go after the largest fishes, you should consider getting a heavy or extra heavy power rod. 

Blank Material

The 3 materials used to make fishing rods are carbon fiber, fiberglass, and composite.

Carbon fiber (aka graphite) is the lightest and most sensitive material for rods. This makes it the best material for fishing panfish as you’ll have a weak but very lightweight surf fishing rod.

Fiberglass is the least sensitive and the heaviest. However, it’s the strongest. As such, a fiberglass rod is a great choice for going after monster fish.

Composite is a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass. Composite is a fairly sensitive and tough material, giving you the best of both worlds. The best composite rods are extremely sensitive and sturdy, making them suitable for both prize fish and panfish. In other words, high-end composite rods can be used to fish any species of fish.

Handle

Most fishing rod handles will be made of either cork, EVA foam, or rubber shrink tubing.

Cork is a type of wood. Cork handles tend to feel smooth to the touch and offer a fairly secure grip.

EVA handles are usually the most comfortable to hold, especially for long periods of time.

Rubber shrink tube handles aren’t the most comfortable, but they provide the most secure grip.

Guides

Generally, guides hold up pretty well most of the time because guides are almost always made of metal. 

That said, look out for aluminum oxide, stainless steel, titanium alloy, and ceramic guides. These are the smoothest and most corrosion-resistant materials and they tend to last the longest. Also, titanium alloy in particular is the most resistant to rust.

Reel Type

You’ll notice that the surf fishing combos are all spinning combos. There aren’t any baitcaster combos on this list, and for good reason. 

The fact is, the majority of people who get rod and reel combos are just starting out. This is because more experienced anglers will prefer to choose a rod and reel individually so that the surf rod and surf fishing reel will be more to their taste. 

Moreover, beginners don’t usually know how to match a reel to a rod, which is why they’re getting rod and reel combos. Since seasoned anglers are unlikely to have trouble with this, they’re much less likely to get rod and reel combos. This is why most people who get rod and reel combos are new to fishing.

While both spinning and baitcasting reels each have their advantages, baitcasting reels are difficult to use. It’s best for beginners to start with spinning reels which are much easier to use.

Line Capacity

Line capacity refers to the amount of line that a fishing reel can hold. Naturally, the bigger the reel, the more line capacity you’ll have.

Luckily, this is one aspect that you won’t have to worry about. 

This is because surf fishing rod and reel combo manufacturers will ensure that the reel has the right line capacity for the rod. 

For example, a 10 ft rod would require more line capacity than an 8 ft rod since you’ll be casting further and taking on larger fish. 

Manufacturers know this and will automatically pair the right reel for you. 

Still, it can’t hurt to have more line capacity. So if you see that there are a few reel options for the same length, you might want to get the largest size reel.

Solid Drag

The drag system is a pair of steel plates in your reel that will prevent your spool from releasing line.

The drag is adjustable, and when a fish pulls harder than the drag that you’ve set on your reel, your spool releases line. This prevents your fishing line from snapping from a fish that pulls too hard.

To handle bigger fish, you’ll need stronger line, which means your drag weight needs to be heavier too.

The general rule of thumb is to set your drag to 1/3 or 1/4 of your line’s pound test. So if you were using a 60-pound line, you would set your drag to 15 or 20 pounds.

For panfish, a max drag weight of 10 pounds is enough.

For medium sized fish, I’d go with 20 pounds, and for the largest fishes, you’ll need at least 30 pounds of drag.

FAQs

For those who still have lingering doubts, here are some commonly asked questions.

What if I don’t want a rod and reel combo?

If you don’t want a fishing rod combo, we’ve actually compiled the best surf fishing rods and surf fishing reels. Here are the lists of the best surf fishing rods and best surf fishing reels.

Can I use a saltwater fishing rod for surf fishing?

Saltwater rods are by definition resistant to corrosion, which means they already satisfy the criteria of corrosion resistance. This means all that’s left is to check whether your saltwater rod is long enough and strong enough to handle your target fish. 

That said, I would recommend staying away from rods that are priced too low unless you’re sure they can get the job done. For example, cheap surf fishing rods may not be such a good idea, but the Daiwa D-Wave Spinning Combo’s rod is an exception.

What other surf fishing gear should I have?

When you go beach fishing, you’ll often see seasoned surf anglers with a few other items other than a rod and reel in their surf fishing setup. These include a fishing cart, rod holder, and sometimes even a cast cannon. They aren’t a must, but these additional gear will give you the best surf fishing experience.

My Verdict

Rod and reel combos ensure that you have a rod and reel that can work together smoothly. They’re also usually less expensive than getting a rod and reel separately.

For surf fishing, your rod and reel combo has to be corrosion-resistant to stand up to saltwater, strong enough for the monsters in the deep, and long enough to cast past the breaking surf. And there’s no rod and reel combo that fits the bill better than the Penn Spinfisher VI Combo.

With that, happy surf fishing!

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AUTHOR

Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.