When I got into surf fishing several years ago, one of the first things that intrigued me was something that cannot really go unnoticed: namely the surf fishing rods and their length. Have you noticed how awe-inspiringly long some of them are? ‘Is that completely necessary?’ I remember thinking to myself.
At that time, I had experience fishing with what I’d consider regular fishing rods, which, admittedly, were not very impressive length-wise. I was about to get into a whole new ball game. I had to find out what is that all about. So, I did a lot of research and asking around to get all the information I needed.
Why are surf rods so long? The length of the surf fishing rod is an important factor that determines the casting range. A long fishing rod will have a longer casting distance. Frequently when surf fishing, you need to cast at long distances of 60 to 100 yards and more in order to get past the breaking waves.
As it turned out, some interesting things are going on, which will ultimately motivate you to use a longer fishing rod for surf fishing. Of course, this is not always the case as there are certain caveats and exceptions to the rule. And we will get to that in a bit, so read on.
What Is the Average Length of a Surf Fishing Rod?
Fishing rods do come in many different sizes.
Here is a quick and easy example of some fishing rods that are used for surf fishing and their length.
|Brand and Model
|Daiwa Emcast Surf Rod
|8’0″, 9’0″, 10’0″, 11’0″, 12’0″
|Okuma Rockaway Surf Rod
|8’0″, 9’0″, 10’0″, 11’0″, 12’0″
|ODM Frontier X Surf Rod
|8’6″, 9’6″, 10’6″, 11’6″
|Lamiglas GSB Surf Rod
|8’0″, 9’0″, 9’2″, 10’0″ 11’0″
|Penn Battalion Surf Rod
|10’0″, 11’0″, 12’0″
|St. Croix Mojo Surf Saltwater Casting Rod
|10’0″, 10’6″, 11’0″, 12’0″
The fishing rods the majority of fishermen use for surf fishing are frequently within the range of 8 to 12 feet with some even being as long as 15 feet. But you can consider these more the exception and not the rule.
In comparison, most of the regular fishing rods – used for catching bass for example – will be between 6 to 8 feet.
The length of the fishing rod is always measured from the tip to the butt.
How Should Long Be the Length of a Surf Fishing Rod for a Beginner?
The numbers we went through above may seem somewhat reasonable, that is until you put the fishing rod right beside you.
I am sure that anyone who has ever taken a walk on the beach and has seen somebody surf fishing knows what I mean when I say that the rods for surf fishing can literally dwarf even a tall person.
So what rod length should a beginner start with?
Most of the beginners typically start with a shorter fishing rod, usually between eight to nine feet.
And eight feet is pretty much the lowest you can go if you are going to be using the fishing rod for surf fishing on the beach.
A shorter fishing rod is going to be more comfortable to cast with, and it also offers good sensitivity so you can feel the fish better when taking the bait.
A fishing rod that is too long is going to be challenging to handle and manage in the beginning.
With time and when anglers start to get more experience under their belt, they will usually start leaning towards longer surf fishing rods. But that is very individual and will depend on a couple of factors that we will discuss in a moment.
Why Do the Surf Fishing Rods Have to Be so Long?
A fishing rod has at least several different aspects and features that are going to be important to you. One of which is the fishing rod’s length. But why is that?
Why is the length so important, and what does it affect exactly?
The number one thing that the length has a significant impact on is the casting distance.
In this video, you can see an excellent example of how two fishing with two different lengths (7’6″ and a 9’6″) would affect casting distance.
And trust me casting distance is important to any fisherman.
Of course, depending on where you will fish and what fish species you are after will also have a say in the casting distance you will have to cover.
And to say casting distance in surf fishing is important is going to be an understatement. A lot of anglers may want to cast 60, 80, 100 or even 150+ yards into the water. And the only way to do that is by using a longer fishing rod.
When you are surf fishing, your main goal when casting should be to get past the breaking waves and keep your line away from the surf.
Otherwise, what you are risking is to have the surf pull away your bait from where you have cast it. And as a result, this will reduce the sensitivity of the line by creating slack.
A shorter rod will NOT be able to outperform a longer one in that regard.
How Long Should a Surf Fishing Rod Be?
The ideal surf rod length for surf fishing really depends on the angler, the surf fishing conditions, and the preferred fish species the fisherman trying to catch.
I find the following rod and reel tips quite useful:
- Plugging & heavy bait fishing.
For this type of fishing, you will need reels that can manage between 150 and 200 yards of line. You will find both spinning and regular reels that can handle this. The line needs to be 20- to 40-pound monofilament or braided line, so choose wisely.
In this type of fishing scenario, I used a 9- to 11-foot surf fishing rod that has a casting rating of between 2- to 8- oz, and I preferred a braided line for my mainline.
- Fishing with Carolina-rigged grubs & light bait.
For this type of fishing, I found that using a surf fishing rod between 7 to 9 feet will work perfectly fine, with either baitcasting reel or spinning reel. Your line should be able to manage 1/2 to 1-oz sinker depending on surf conditions.
- Fly fishing.
Fly fishing requires a smooth and systematic casting method. For this, you won’t need a fly rod that’s any longer than 9 to 11 feet. You’re also going to need a stripping basket to manage your line.
Another Thing to Consider
There are a few essential details that can affect the right length of a surf fishing rod you may need.
There are two main ways you will be surf fishing. You will either put the fishing rod in a rod holder on the beach line or hold the rod yourself while being further into the water.
With longer surf fishing rods comes a certain disadvantage in the face of them getting really heavy. If you are fishing in the water while holding your fishing rod, you don’t really want to have to hold big and heavy surf fishing rod.
In order to avoid fatigue and getting your hands tired, I would recommend you go with a shorter rod. A surf fishing rod between 8 to 10 feet will do great.
If you are casting off the beach and using a rod holder, you can safely go with a longer one about 10 – to 12- feet rod.
As you can see, the length of the rod really depends on the type of fishing you wish to do and the kind of scenario you find yourself. There’s no hard and fast rule or answer that can be provided.
Are There Any Disadvantages of a Longer Surf Fishing Rod?
There are certainly some disadvantages that most certainly do come with higher lengths.
First, the longer the fishing rod is, the more bulky and awkward to use it will be. Not just because of the sheer size of it but also because of its weight.
Additionally, if you are traveling, you may find it really hard to find a place to fit into some of the really long ones.
Secondly, the longer the rod, the heavier it is, the less sensitivity you will have when the fish bites.
This comes as a result of a combination of factors: the rod’s length, size, weight, and how many pieces it is. Some of the longer rods can be 3 or 4 pieces.
You will be able to feel the head pulls, but frequently you may not even be able to tell how big the fish is.
And lastly the infamous leverage problem so many fishermen like to bring up.
When you are holding the rod and reeling in the fish, you are dealing with a class 3 pulley system. This will be a case for another topic, but what you need to know for now is that the longer the rod, the more advantage you give to the fish.
How Does the Length of a Surf Rod Affect Surf Fishing?
Does Your Height Affect How Long a Surf Fishing Rod Should Be?
One of the questions I had back in the days was whether my height affects the rod’s length in any way.
Usually, most people may consider the idea that the taller you are, the longer the fishing rod you will need. And respectively, the shorter you are, the smaller the rod you can use.
The general consensus seems to be that there is no real relation between the two. I have found online shorter guys that say they use fishing rods that are as long if not longer than what significantly taller people would use.
The fishing rod doesn’t have to be matched to your height in any way. More often than not, it will be a question of personal preference and just what feels better to you.
Another thing that may play a more significant role in choosing the right rod length is going to be your body frame and stature.
A stronger person may be able to handle a long and heavy fishing rod with ease and utilize it to its full potential than a smaller person.
A Few Final Points on Surf Fishing Rod Length
I have been surf fishing for several years now, and I can attest to the importance of picking the right size of surf fishing rod that feels most comfortable to you in the first place.
Not everyone will be able to cast the same way with the same sized fishing rod. And there is nothing set in stone here. Granted you may need to experiment a bit but keep an open mind and don’t shy away from the longer fishing rods.