These days a lot of folks arelooking at surf rods to go beach fishing. Asking me what surf rod is better than the other...And itamazes me just how easy it is to get confused by this term. Basically, anyfishing rod that is (or can be) used from the beach could be described as asurf fishing rod. After all, that's what you're doing, right? Casting a line in thesurf...
Then why is it so hard to choose the best and most suitable surf rod for beach fishing?
Well, to start with not all surf rods are born equal. Some are shorter orlonger than the others, some are stiffer, some have a more flexible tip.
But let's back up a little bit andagree on something first. Surf is something that happens on the beach. So, we shouldstart by looking at what we should do on the beach. What techniques should weapply. In what circumstances. And, of course, How.
So, now let’s just start by dividing the beachor surf rods into two main categories:
1. The first category would be those surf rodsthat are specifically designed to be used with artificial lures and baits;
2. A second category would include those specially/purpose-built surf rods designed to perform on the beach, in the surf– casting at long distances natural baits (worms of all sorts, pippies, squid,prawns, fish fillets, etc. as well as live bait).
Today, we'll cover the first category, surf rods that are specially designed to be used with artificial lures and baits.
Any rod that we use inthe surf, on any beach (whether low or high energy), regardless of designation(artificial lures or natural baits) would need to be at least 2.70m (9 foot) long. Isee people using 2.10m or even 1.80m rods from the beach, waist deep in waterwith waders, neoprene or whole wetsuit on - using brute force- trying to compensate and somehow cast where the fish bite.
Sure, if it's winter, you'regoing for salmon, you're into surf and have a spare wetsuit but you don't wantto spend money on longer spinning rods, then OK. Go for it. Same if you enjoysitting in those frigid waters, purple lips and all and go for the same ortailor. Your small rod with a shiny silver spoon or blinker will probably dothe job and land you a decent fish. But you struggled. With stoicism. Anddespite all of that, you didn't quite enjoy the part between fights. But we allsalute you. For your conviction. And hard work.
And please don't tell me thatwhen the summer comes you'd actually prefer to go all the way in to cast alure.
Simply put, you cannot outmatch afellow fisherman that has a longer rod. He will cast faster, more often thanyou, reach difficult spots easier and most likely he will out-fish you. I daresaying nine out of ten times.
From the boat or a tinny ordinghy, sure you have a better fighting chance. We'll talk about that inanother article.
But from the beach or even rocks,I think we should settle for "longer is better".
So, how long your surf rod for beach fishing should it be?
Well, we've all agreed that 2.70m(9 foot) is the absolute minimum. Regardless if that rod is for artificial luresor for natural baits. Minimum would be 2.70m. Now it all depends on what techniqueyou'd employ when targeting some specific species.
Spinning is probably a little bitmore limiting in a certain sense. And when we talk about classic spinning, thatmeans cast and retrieve techniques. Artificial baits. In that sense, I wouldthink that 2.70-3.30m would be ideal to cast a lure (spoon, blinker, hard baitsor soft baits of any sort), with a 3.50m a maximum.
This will help you deal with thewind and you'll be able to deploy your artificial bait at the desired distancesregardless of weather. Not to mention it is a little less punishing on one'spersonal fishing technique.
Going longer than that it willbecome more taxing on your wrist, forearm and shoulders as the rods becomeheavier. It will be more difficult to retrieve hundreds of times as it is morecomplex to manoeuvre a longer rod. And it can actually backfire in a big way ifyou encounter some difficult conditions (gusty winds, side to side, choppywaters, seaweed and algae covering areas of interest, etc) as you will gettired faster and be less effective and efficient on the water. Butmanoeuvrability is key. Longer is more complex.
So, I would recommend a 2.70-3.50mrod length, all full carbon rods when beach fishing. The rod should be light, say something like 200-300g weight andcapable of casting weights of anything between 5g to 100g or more, depending on what luresyou are planning to use.
I always recommend carbon(graphite) surf rods for spinning techniques.
Because you have to launch thelure and retrieve hundreds of times and for the same length the rod differences(in weight) could be quite substantial. Sure, you can look and say, hey- I amOK to pay for this fiberglass rod 60-70$. I am happy with it. But a 3.00mfiberglass rod with any decent action is at least 40-50% heavier than theequivalent carbon fibre one. And in a couple of hours that can amount to many,many extra Kgs pulled from your shoulder and forearm. That leads to fatigue.And not being able to enjoy. These days- if you truly are a spinning aficionadoor even specialist- it is not even worth it to consider anything lower than mixcarbon with full carbon blank the option to go to. The higher the blank modulus(sometimes), the better.
You might say "Hey, you dohave on your website many spinning rods that are either shorter in distance orlonger...". Indeed, that is true. The spinning designation means nothingelse than those rods are designed to be used with spinning reels for different"spinning" techniques. Artificial or natural baits. But shorter rodsare designed to be used from the boat or in from the banks on estuaries, lakesor rivers. Perhaps some jetties too. Longer are needed from the beach. And weare covering only the later in this article.
So, now that we talked aboutspinning rods designed for casting artificial lures (from the beach, in thesurf), let's see what we could pair those with.
What reels to use with surf rods (casting artificial lures) for beach fishing?
Ideally, it should be up to4500-5000 size reel. Probably best 2000-4000 sizes. What should we then use,and how?
First of all, we need tounderstand that the reel selection is linked with the rod type and castingweight (matching rod). If you go for the normal spinning fishing rod with:
- 15-50g (andanywhere between those margins or thereabouts) casting weight limits, then asize 2000-2500 would be more than enough and will balance your rod nicely.
- 30-60g casting weight for your rod, again I would probably go for 2500-3000size.
- 40-80g or 50-100g c.w.- more than 3000 size reels (3000-4000),
- more than 100g you'd need to look for 4500-5000 size.
But then your outfit becomes again really heavy and you should ask yourself whatyou are actually doing and what do you hope to accomplish by throwing suchheavy artificial baits straight into the surf.
Casting further away? You shouldknow that even if you hit the gym every morning it is taxing for your body towrestle a 400-500g rod (if you go higher in casting weight capability, theblank becomes thicker- as the walls are thicker and thus heavier) with a500-600g reel (again, the bigger the size, usually the heavier it becomes). Forhours on end. Good workout perhaps. Question mark on enjoyment though...
But if you truly must cast longdistances with big and shiny spoons, then fine. Go at least for the lighterrod that you can find, 3.00m or over, HM carbon and light guide-rings (SeaGuide,FUJI or Titanium SIC). Pair that with a light reel (carbon body and rotor,etc.) and try to keep it within the 400-600g altogether. Don’t forget that the weightof your hard bait/soft bait adds to thecomplexity of your fishing experience, is more taxing with your technique andwill increase fatigue; as not only that you will hold a heavier outfit when youcast and jerk the metal but a 150g spoon retrieved in the water for 100m ormore at a time for hours on end is not everyone’s cup of tea.
That being said, it can be done.We are today blessed by the availability of technologies previously used inaircraft and fast cars; these amazing materials (high and intermediate modulus carbonblanks, nano technology, Kevlar, boron, epoxy resins, etc) are now used in manyrods coming from reputable manufacturers worldwide.
However, when choosing “yourweapon of choice”, keep in mind that - the longer the rod and the heavier thecasting weights - it would require a substantially more expensive higher moduluscarbon blank (coupled with some excellent fittings and components) paired withan equally good reel to allow you to truly enjoy a spinning session in the surf.
Summarizing what we’ve saidbefore, for artificial lures (whether hard or soft) spinning in the surf, youneed to:
- Choose a rod with a length ranging between 2.70mto 3.50m (at the most). 2.70m-3.30m ideal rod length
- The longer the rod, look for higher moduluscarbon blank construct. I would go for (minimum) TC24 (24Ton carbon) for rodsthat are 2.70m-2.90m. TC30 (30Ton carbon) for rods 2.90m-3.20m. For longer than3.10m-3.20m try getting TC36 (36Ton carbon or higher), with a preference forsomething like >TC40 (40Ton carbon- high modulus)
- Try to get your rod fitted with qualitycomponents throughout. SeaGuide, Titanium SIC (by WEBO or Kigan), Alps, PacBay orFuji being the best rings available (there are differences here as well, forexample XOG guides from SeaGuide or Torzite from Fuji- but let’s not splithairs for the time being). These components are usually suitable for use with bothmono or braided lines.
- What you want is fast action, so you can reachlonger distances and strike immediately to set the hook. Medium-fast works shorterlengths, but as the blank becomes thinner, longer and higher modulus (thusstiffer), the faster the action should get.
- Look for reputable manufacturers that use high qualitycarbon matts (Toray, Mitsubishi, Reglass, Helicore, etc) that are rolled withresins, Kevlar, boron or nano-particles for increased stability, balance,strength, rigidity, etc. Look no further than SPORTEX, DAM, BALZER, SAKURA,SUNSET or COLMIC and HERAKLES for ultra-high-quality rods.
- Use quality braided line (4x or 8x soft braided-saltwater and UV resistant). For longer distances use lower diameter braid.
- Pair the rods and reels accordingly. The reelsshould have high quality carbon or hybrid bodies and rotors (so they are lightand torsion-free), 3-8 stainless steel ball bearings, bronze or stainlesspinion gear, aluminium spool and power crank. Speed: anything above 5.1:1 willdo (depending on type of lures and fishing style)
Rods with casting weights of 30-60g (or similar)can be paired with a spinning reel (front drag or rear drag) size 2500-3000
An example here of rod and reel: Rod, something like:
BALZER MK IM-8 DOUBLE STRIKE SPIN 2.70m (10-45g and 20-75g) (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-mk-im-8-double-strike-spin-2-70m-10-45g-and-20-75g-2-10kg-carbon-two-tips-spinning-rod/)or
the superb SPORTEX BR3012 Black Pearl 3.00m (35-59g) (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-br3012-black-pearl-3-00m-35-59g-4-8kg-carbon-spinning-rods/)
paired with a reel like
DAM QUICK DRAGGER 530 RD (https://adoretackle.com/dam-quick-dragger-530-rd-high-quality-rear-drag-spinning-reel-size-3000/)or
the excellent BALZER MK Adventure Spin 630RD (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-mk-adventure-spin-630rd-high-quality-rear-drag-spinning-reel-size-3000/)
Rods with casting weights of 40-80g (andanything in between) or 50-100g can be paired with a spinning reel (front dragor rear drag) size 3000-4000
Some examples here for rod and reel:
the exceptional SPORTEX CT2703 Carboflexturbo 2.70m (45-76g) (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-ct2703-carboflex-turbo-2-70m-45-76g-6-10kg-carbon-spinning-rods/)or
SPORTEX UL2704 Hydra Speed 2.70m 39-94g (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-ul2704-hydra-speed-2-70m-39-94g-carbon-spinning-fishing-rods/)
can be perfectly matched with the impressive
DAM QUICK 7 400FD
Rods with casting weight bigger than 100g can be paired with a spinning reel size 4500-5000
An example here for rod and reel: Select a rod like BALZEREDITION IM-12 SPIN 105 2.85m (40-105g) (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-edition-im-12-spin-105-2-85m-40-105g-6-12kg-toray-carbon-spinning-rod/)and pair that with a reel like DAM QUICK AMMO 450 FD (https://adoretackle.com/dam-quick-ammo-450-fd-size-5000-quality-front-drag-spinning-reels/)
Your maximum rod and reel (including line) total weight should not exceed 400-600g.
The lighter, the better.
Next article, we will covernatural baits fishing from the beach, in the surf. Types of rods, styles andhow to pair those with the appropriate reel.