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The Ultimate Fishing Rod for Saltwater Angling: A Complete Guide

Few things are better than a day spent on the water fishing. While you don’t need tons of fancy gear to enjoy fishing, you’ll want to invest in a quality rod. 

person using a saltwater fishing rod on a boat

That is essential when fishing saltwater because saltwater angling presents unique challenges.

Not only are the fish typically larger, but saltwater is corrosive and can wreak havoc on a low-grade rod. 

saltwater fishing rod at sunset

Fortunately, there are tons of excellent options available, and many of the best saltwater fishing rods are still quite affordable.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the best saltwater fishing rods on the market to help you decide on the perfect one for you. 

Top 11 Best Saltwater Fishing Rods

From the affordable to the high-end, there are plenty of excellent saltwater rods. Read on as we take a closer look at 11 of the best saltwater fishing rods in the business.

  1. Ugly Stik GX2
  2. Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod
  3. G.Loomis E6X Inshore Spinning Rods
  4. Fiblink 1 – Piece 
  5. Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods
  6. Penn Prevail II 
  7. Shimano Trevala
  8. St. Croix Mojo
  9. Seeker Super Seeker S Glass Jig Sticks
  10. Okuma Nomad 
  11. Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik GX2

Ugly Stik has built a sterling reputation as one of the best fishing rods for saltwater out there.

Whether you’re fishing for small porgies or trying to land a massive shark, Ugly Stik makes a durable rod that’s up to the task at a price that’s less than half of most competitors. 

Their latest rod, the GX2, offers several notable construction and performance upgrades that all anglers will appreciate.

The GX2 features UglyTech construction, which uses fiberglass and graphite to produce a durable and highly sensitive rod.

These rods are available in an extensive range of sizes, actions, and powers. All the GX2 rods have both casting and spinning configurations.

For its affordability, there aren’t many more suitable rods on the market for beginners and more experienced anglers.

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning or casting
  • Construction: UglyTech graphite and fiberglass
  • Size: 4’6”, 4’8”, 4’9”, 5’, 5’6”, 5’10”, 6’, 6’6”, 7’, 9’
  • Action: Moderate
  • Power: Ultra-light, light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy

Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod

While this rod is built primarily for bass anglers, the heavyweight build and saltwater-friendly specs make the Daiwa Tatula an excellent choice for marine anglers.

This rod offers many of Daiwa’s leading performance technologies while still being cost-effective. 

The Tatula features Daiwa’s BRAIDING-X rod construction, which helps to reduce rod twist while providing a tighter and more uniform taper.

The technology also makes this one of Daiwa’s strongest rods yet, and Tatula models can significantly outperform what they’re rated for. 

These graphite rods come in sizes from 6’3 to 8’ and medium to heavy power.

This rod is well-appointed beyond the premium build, with Fuji Faz-Lite tangle-free guides, a Portuguese cork split handle, and a premium reel seat.

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Casting
  • Construction: BRAIDING-X graphite and composite
  • Size: 6’3”, 6’6”, 6’10”, 7’, 7’1”, 7’2”, 7’6”
  • Action: Moderate, fast, extra-fast
  • Power: Medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy

G.Loomis E6X Inshore Spinning Rods

G. Loomis is one of the most legendary names in saltwater fishing, as well as fly fishing, and their rods are a marvel of modern technology.

The E6X rod follows in the footsteps of other excellent G. Loomis rods, and it’s the perfect stick for targeting inshore fish in the back bays or along the shore. 

This rod is built with multi-taper technology, which produces the thinnest, lightest, and most sensitive rods on the market.

It may look like a toothpick, but this is an ideal rod for muscling up doormat fluke, sea trout, and other coastal species.

Most rods in the series offer a short butt, ideal for wade or kayak fishing.

G. Loomis crafts these rods from high-modulus graphite. They have five technique-specific models: medium-light to medium-heavy power with moderate, moderate-fast, fast, or extra-fast action.

Anglers looking for a premium rod that delivers unrivaled sensitivity will enjoy the E6X series. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning
  • Construction: Graphite
  • Size: 6’6”, 7’, 7’6”
  • Action: Moderate, moderate-fast, fast, extra-fast
  • Power: Medium-light, medium, medium-heavy

Fiblink 1-Piece Trolling Rod

Until recently, hitting big water for a trophy fish was something that invariably required thousands of dollars in gear.

New manufacturers offering direct-to-consumer rods have cut costs significantly, as evidenced by Fiblink’s 1-Piece offshore trolling rods. 

These rods are perfect for species like dolphin, tuna, shark, or wahoo, and they incorporate the premium construction that offshore fishing demands.

The composite blank is outfitted with smooth stainless steel rollers, and the aluminum reel seat is reverse-knurled to keep your reel locked in place during a fight. 

This rod is available in three configurations, which offer moderate action at a 5’6” length.

If you need an excellent offshore trolling rod for a bargain price, be sure to look at this model from Fiblink. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Trolling
  • Construction: Composite
  • Size: 5’6”
  • Action: Moderate
  • Power: Heavy

Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rods

The Longitude line from Okuma is an ideal rod for surf anglers who need a durable and reliable rod without breaking the bank.

While certain corners have to be cut to offer a surf rod at this point, Okuma does an excellent job of doing so while still offering some premium appointments. 

This series comes in sizes from 8’ to 12,’’ and all rods are either fast or moderate-fast action.

Each model features double-footed guides with aluminum-oxide rings, EVA split grips wrapped in cork tape and a premium reel seat. 

The blank is a graphite composite, and all models deliver exceptional sensitivity.

They are also reasonably priced, making the Longitude a top option for budget-minded surf anglers. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning
  • Construction: Graphite
  • Size: 8’, 9’, 10’, 11’, 12’
  • Action: Moderate-fast, fast
  • Power: Medium, heavy

Penn Prevail II 

Penn is well-known for its legendary surf fishing rods, and the Prevail II carries on that legacy.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a surf rod that’s this affordable but still delivers the feel and premium features of a custom rod. 

These rods offer a graphite composite blank which is one of the greatest rod materials on the market, and they’re available in sizes from 8’ to 12’, each with moderate fast action.

The rod features Penn’s Dura-Guides, SeaGuide graphite reel seat, and ergonomically-designed Winn grips that allow you to cast in comfort all day long. 

The Prevail II is one of very few surf rods that are affordable and light, with only the 11’ and 12’ models breaking the 16-ounce mark.

This reliable and affordable surf rod is worth a second look, whether you’re targeting fluke, striped bass, snook, redfish, or anything in between.

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning
  • Construction: Graphite
  • Size: 8’, 9’, 10’, 11’, 12’
  • Action: Moderate-fast
  • Power: Medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy

Shimano Trevala

The Trevala is arguably Shimano’s most popular rod, which is saying something considering how well-loved the brand is among serious anglers.

This rod offers premium Shimano quality, cutting-edge technology, and a bold look. That’s all for a price that’s still attainable for most competitive anglers. 

These rods are designed for jigging, so they’re super light and made to handle monster fish.

Don’t let their relatively small size fool you; these rods have the power you need to muscle large pelagic fish from the depths. 

The Trevala rods are made with TC4 construction, which starts with a fiberglass frame wrapped in a spiral pattern with high-modulus graphite to provide unparalleled sensitivity at the lightest weight possible. 

You can get the Trevala in various configurations, including casting and spinning styles. They range from light to extra heavy power and sizes from 5’8” to 7’.

The Trevala can also come in moderate and moderate fast action. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning or casting
  • Construction: TC4 fiberglass and graphite
  • Size: 5’8”, 6’, 6’3”, 6’6”, 7’
  • Action: Moderate-fast
  • Power: Light, medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, extra-heavy, x-x-heavy

St. Croix Mojo

St. Croix is one of the most famous names in fishing, and it was their Mojo series of rods that first put them on the map.

These offer tons of sensitivity and technology while still being significantly more affordable than a custom rod. 

The line has expanded from the original Mojo Salt rod to offer specific inshore fishing and jigging models.

Each Mojo model comes in either spinning or casting configurations. The Mojo features an SCII carbon frame overlaid with FRS and linear S-glass for superior feel and excellent durability. 

Mojo rods are available in sizes ranging from 5’8” to 8’, and action varies from moderate to fast.

There are at least twenty different Mojo rods across the lines, so you’ll find one ideal for you, regardless of what you’re fishing for. 

Whichever you choose, it will be outfitted with Fuji or SeaGuide guides and reel seats, heavily reinforced guides, and a generous application of slow curing finish to protect the rod from the elements. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning or casting
  • Construction: SCII carbon, FRS, and linear S-glass
  • Size: 6’6, 7’, 7’6”, 8’
  • Action: Moderate-fast, fast
  • Power: Medium, medium-heavy, heavy

Seeker Super Seeker S Glass Jig Sticks

Seeker manufacturers some of the finest rods in the world from their Orange County, California custom shop.

The Super Seeker line is top-of-the-line in every respect, and it’s perfect for serious anglers who demand the best. 

These rods feature a graphite and composite S-glass blank, offering superior tensile strength and higher modulus than traditional E-glass.

All components are top-notch, including Fuji TiChrome SIC guides and aluminum reel seats. It is also available in several roller configurations for big game trolling. 

Seeker makes these rods in tons of different sizes and styles, and the Jig Stick has 6’6 and 7’ sizes, mostly with moderate fast action.

Beyond the Jig Stick, the Super Seeker comes in spinning, standup, and trolling styles with various guide configurations. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning, conventional, trolling
  • Construction: Graphite and S-glass
  • Size: 6’, 6’6, 7’
  • Action: Moderate-fast
  • Power: Heavy, extra-heavy

Okuma Nomad 

Fishing has never been easier than with the Nomad travel rod from Okuma. This three-piece ensures you’re always ready to fish no matter where you’re at when you’re traveling. 

These three-piece rods have 6’6 and 7’ configurations, and each features moderate action. Okuma includes two different top sections, offering varying rod power.

Whether you’re fishing finesse techniques or you need to muscle a big fish out of the rocks, you can easily set the rod up to support multiple fishing styles. 

These rods might be three pieces, but they offer one-piece performance thanks to their graphite and carbon construction, ALPS guides with zirconium guide rings, and ALPS aluminum reel seats. ]

The Nomad also includes a deluxe storage case to keep your rod protected when you’re off the water. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning
  • Construction: Graphite and carbon
  • Size: 6’6, 7’
  • Action: Moderate
  • Power: Light/Medium-light, medium/medium-heavy

Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Fishing Rod

The Bigwater spinning rods from Ugly Stik are the perfect answer for anglers who love the value and durability of the Ugly Stik GX2 but need something powerful enough to land the most tenacious gamefish. 

These rods offer the same Ugly Tech construction as the GX2, utilizing graphite and fiberglass to make a powerful and durable blank.

It also features Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel guides and a genuine Fuji reel seat. 

The Bigwater spinning rod is available in tons of configurations, ranging from 6’ up to 15’ for surf anglers who need to bomb monster casts out past the breaking waves. Each rod offers moderate action. 

Critical Specs

  • Configuration: Spinning
  • Construction: UglyTech graphite and fiberglass
  • Size: 6’, 6’6”, 7’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 11’, 12’, 15’
  • Action: Moderate 
  • Power: Medium, medium-heavy, heavy

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best saltwater fishing rods on the market, there’s no shortage of excellent models to consider from leading manufacturers like Shimano, Penn, and G. Loomis.

Each of the rods on our list above represents an excellent choice, but two, in particular, are our favorites. 

The Shimano Trevala is one of the most popular, reliable, and high-quality models. As well, the Trevala earns the honor of the best saltwater fishing rod on our list.

Or, if you’re looking for something more affordable, you can’t go wrong with the Ugly Stik Bigwater rod. Don’t forget to get some high-quality leader to fish with as well!

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