Full Guide on How To Choose The Best Sea Fishing Rod In 2024

Updated 10/03/2024 - James Bevan

Generally speaking, the best sea fishing rods will suit your choice of mark and species. 

It should easily allow you to get your bait to where it needs to be and give you the ability to handle the fish you expect to catch. If it has a few extra features that make life easy, even better!

In this article, I will take you through what to look for in different types o sea fishing rods and reveal 8 rods that are considered top rods on the market today.

Quick Answer

Here is a list of the sea fishing rods featured in this guide:

ImageProductFeaturesQuick Link
Best Overall Beachcaster
PENN Mag4 Mixed Ground Beachcaster Rod
PENN Mag4 Mixed Ground Beachcaster Rod
More Info
Best Budget Beachcaster
Shakespeare Agility Beachcaster
Shakespeare Agility Beachcaster
More Info
Best Overall Boat Rod
Daiwa Super Kenzaki Boat Rod
Daiwa Super Kenzaki Boat Rod
More Info
Best Budget Boat Rod
Shakespeare XT SALT Boat Rod
Shakespeare XT SALT Boat Rod
More Info
Best Overall Spinning Rod
Daiwa Wilderness Spinning Fishing Rod
Daiwa Wilderness Spinning Fishing Rod
More Info
Best Overall Uptide Rod
PENN Regiment III Uptide Boat Rod
PENN Regiment III Uptide Boat Rod
More Info
Best Budget Uptide Rod
PENN Squadron II
PENN Squadron II
More Info
Best All-Round Sea Rod
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite
More Info

Now we get into the crux of the article to find out more on what features to look for in the best sea rods alongside more detail around the chosen products.

The Best Sea Fishing Rods | At a Glance Guide

There are a lot of factors that come into play when trying to decide on a rod. As we said above, it can depend on the method of fishing you intend to undertake. Are you after a rod that’s good for casting, a lighter sea fishing rod, or something that’s a good all-rounder?

Here’s an at-a-glance cheat sheet to show you what’s typical in the best sea fishing rods: -

Table To Show The Different Types Of Sea Fishing Rod

Type of Sea Fishing Rod Typical Length Blank Action Type of Reel Casting Weight Type of Fishing
Beach Casting Rod 11 – 16ft Stiff Slow - Middle Through Action Multiplier or Fixed Spool 3 – 5oz Bottom Fishing
Boat Fishing Rod 6 – 8ft Mid Slow/Moderate Multiplier 5 – 10oz Bottom Fishing
Sea Spinning Rod 11 -13ft Mid Fast Fixed Spool 20 – 80g Lure Fishing and Float Fishing
Uptide Rod 8-11ft Mid - soft Fast Multiplier 6 – 10oz Bottom Fishing
All-round Sea Fishing Rods 10 – 13ft Mid Moderate Fixed Spool 1 – 2oz All methods

You may be wondering why the above is what you should be aiming for as a good general rule of thumb. If so let's answer that now...

Beach Casting Rods

What beach casting rods are used for

Beach casting fishing rods are longer than other sea fishing rods and tend to be more heavy duty due to the requirement to cast long distances.

They are typically made of fiberglass or graphite and are built to be durable and strong. A beachcaster will vary in length from 12 to 16 foot and are generally designed to cast heavy weights upwards of 4 ounces.

They are not generally held in hand (they can be pretty heavy). Instead, they are mounted on a tripod and are normally used for bottom fishing.

Beachcasters can be paired with a multiplier or large fixed spool reel. You’ll find that a multiplier is a preferred choice for distance casting.

Bites are registered by the movement of the rod tip, which will jerk and twitch when a fish has been hooked.

The best sea fishing rods for beach casting tend to be pretty powerful pieces of kit. This is because they have to bear the weight of your bait, rig (which in some cases can go up to 8oz+), plus the force of the tide… And the fish too.

Features to look for in the best sea fishing rods for beach casting

  • A rod length of between 12 – 14ft is ideal
  • Choose a rod that is designed to work with your choice of a top reel
  • Pick a rod action based on the ground you will fish: -
  • Rough ground – Stiff Action
  • Mixed Ground – Medium Action
  • Clean Ground – Soft/Fast Action
  • Choose a rod cast weight based on how you intend to fish most of the time. The aim is to go in-between the weight range. So 5oz leads are perfect for a 4 – 6oz rod.

You can check out some great beach casting rods here.

sea fishing beach casting rods

Example of a beachcaster rod

Boat Sea Fishing Rods

What boat fishing rods are used for

Boat fishing rods are a little different from other sea fishing rods. They don’t need a lot of power to cast as you’ll be dropping your bait straight over the side!

However, they still need serious pulling power. This is because you’ll more than likely be catching bigger species. You tend to find that the best boat marks are over features and structure, so you’ll need a rod that can still haul a heavy weight off the bottom.

The weights used with the best sea fishing rods for boats tend to be bigger too. They need to hold the bottom underneath the boat, which may be anchored in fast-flowing tides.

One other key difference in boat rods is that they are significantly shorter than any other type of sea fishing rod. Large rods on a boat would be cumbersome, and on a boat, you’ll need to be able to easily reach the rod tip too.

Boat sea fishing rods are paired with multipliers about 90% of the time. This is because they have a faster retrieve rate, which you will need to pull in lots of line from deep water.

Features to look for in the best sea fishing rods for boats

  • Rod lengths between 6 – 8ft are ideal
  • Look for rods that can accommodate a multiplier reel
  • Make sure your rod has a locking reel seat. A reel that falls over the side can really spoil your day!
  • Aim for a rod weight of 6 – 10oz
  • Action is entirely up to you. A through-medium action is good for bigger fish. Fast tip actions are better for smaller species
best fishing rod for beginners

Some sea fishing boat rods ready to go

Sea Fishing Spinning Rods

What sea spinning rods are used for

Sea spinning rods are used for fishing artificial baits and lures. This is normally achieved by casting them over features and using the rod and reel to ‘work’ them back in.

Sea spinning and lure rods are normally used exclusively with a fixed spool reel. The weight of the lures is generally not enough to pull the line from a multiplier, plus they are more prone to tangle. Seeing as you will be casting almost constantly, this is not something that you want.

The best sea fishing rods for spinning can be a bit of a mixed bag, and choosing can be difficult. You have to select a rod based on the lures you want to cast but need the necessary ‘muscle’ to handle the size of fish you intend to catch.

There are several types of spinning rods for sea fishing. Most will have some notation that tells you what they are intended for.

You might opt for a ‘heavy’ rod, used for big lures and designed to fish over reefs and rough ground.

Alternatively, you might want to look for an LRF rod. This stands for ‘Light rock fishing’. These rods are designed for casting tiny lures fairly close in.

As a nice middle ground, you could choose something in between. The key is in the casting weight more than the action.

Here’s what you need to look for

Features to look for in the best sea fishing rods for spinning

  • A casting weight of 25 – 50g is a good all-round choice that will cover you in 80% of situations
  • A rod length of 12 ft is perfect
  • Medium to fast action is ideal for maximum casting distance
  • Look for shrink wrap handles
  • Locking reel seats are essential, as the rod is in constant motion.
best sea fishing spinning rod

Example of a sea fishing spinning rod

Uptide Rods

What uptide sea fishing rods are used for

Uptide rods are generally used for fishing from a boat. Unlike boat rods, they are designed to cast. The aim is to fling a heavy weight, capable of holding the bottom away from the boat where it will sink and ‘anchor’ uptide… Hence the name.

Why fish away from the boat?

There is a theory that under the boat and surrounding area, there is a ‘scare area’ in which the fish are more reluctant to bite. By fishing away from this area, you stand a better chance of catching fish.

Unlike true ‘casting’ rods, uptide rods are a little softer. This is because combined with a heavy weight, you won’t need to put much effort in to load the blank and propel your rig. Besides, pendulum casting on a crowded boat won’t win you any friends.

Features to look for in the best sea fishing rods for casting uptide

  • Aim for a casting weight of around 8oz
  • A rod length of 8 or 9ft for something that will be suitable in most situations
  • Again, look for a locking reel seat
  • Aim to find a rod that can accommodate a multiplier reel
  • A mid-action uptide rod is perfect

Sea Fishing Rods | Rod Action Easily Explained

Rod action is a fancy way of describing how and where the rod bends when placed under load. Either in the cast or in the retrieve.

It really is that simple, however, the rod action is an important consideration when choosing the best sea fishing rods for your specific circumstances.

Here’s a quick table telling you everything you need to know about rod action.

Table To Explain The Different Types Of Rod Action

Sea Fishing Rod Action Rod Bend The Rod will Feel Best For
Fast Mostly the Tip Soft Light weights and smaller species on clean ground
Moderate/Mid Middle to Tip Slightly Flexible A good all-rounder for most species and mixed ground
Slow “Through” Action mid bend Stiffer with little flex Heavy weights, big species and rough ground

If you want to learn more about how rod action works, here’s a quick video showing you how certain rods bend in different ways: -

How Do You Cast A Sea Fishing Beachcaster Rod?

The best sea fishing rods for beach casting are well balanced to make the whole casting procedure easier and, as such, allows you to cast further.

We could go through a lengthy description. But learning how to cast a beach rod is one of those things that you are better off seeing.  

Here's a quick 5 minute video showing you the process from start to finish...

What Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sea Fishing Rod

Choosing a rod isn’t an easy task. We should know, we’ve got lots. However, with a little careful thought and a good idea of how you will go about your task, it gets a lot easier.

Here are the things we like to think about when choosing the best sea fishing rods.

Location or Venue

Where you are going to fish will be a dominant factor in deciding which rod to choose. If you intend to fish off a pier, you aren’t going to need a rod capable of firing an 8oz lead over the horizon.

Conversely, if you are fishing on a large beach, an LRF spinning rod will not get you past that ‘third breaker’.

Here’s my point.

You need to let your chosen location or venue lead your decision in the type of fishing you intend to undertake.

Pick a rod that will be useful in the areas you wish to fish.

Your Preferred Method

Now that you’ve thought about location, it's time to decide on a method.

Are you the kind of angler who is happy sitting watching a rod tip all day, reclined in a chair? Or, do you prefer to be more active, hopping from rock to rock and delving underwater features with a lure or jig?

Perhaps float fishing is something that appeals?

Not all rods are suited to all methods. Spinning with a beachcaster is extremely tiring and really impractical. Choose a rod based on the method you’ll use to fish, based on your mark or venue.

What Ground Are You Fishing On?

You need to think carefully about the ground you are fishing on.

When we say ‘ground’, we mean what’s on the sea bed. You can use any rod action for clean ground without too much difficulty.

For mixed and rough ground, you will need something with the strength and power to haul yourself out of snags and tangles. Here are some general rules of thumb regarding ground and rod action: -

Table To Show What Rod Action To Use On The Different Grounds

Ground Action/Rod Weight
Clean Any rod action and weight
Mixed Consider a mid-action or mid-fast
Heavy Heavy, slow rod action and casting weight


The species you seek will play a crucial role when choosing the best sea fishing rods. Certain methods are more effective than others, and those methods rely on a certain type of rod.

For flatfish and rays, bottom fishing is the way to go 99% of the time, so you’ll need to pick a sea fishing rod that allows you to do this.

For midwater species like mackerel, you will need a rod best used with a lure, feathers, or float fishing.

For Bass, you can catch on the top and use bait on the bottom, so this may be dictated by venue and your preferred style.


Action in the best sea fishing rods is important for a few reasons. Aside from the ground, which we discussed above, there are a few other reasons why you need to make some careful decisions: -

  • Casting Weight – If you intend to fire big baits into the distance, you are going to need a rod that performs optimally based on the weight you intend to fish. You might be able to go slightly over or under the rated weight, but it is better to start with the best rod straight off the bat.

Think about how you intend to fish. The weight you’ll be using to do it, and then choose a rod accordingly.

  • Rod Behaviour – If you fish in an area with strong tides or currents, you will need a rod that doesn’t register false bites, so you might want something a little stiffer with less tip action. Alternatively, if you are fishing for smaller species, you want to see the bites, so it may be worth choosing a rod action that is a little livelier.

Smaller Details

The above features are all ‘big picture’ things. But you also want your rod to be enjoyable and easy to use. Here’s a list of some features that can all combine together to make a good sea fishing rod into one of the best sea fishing rods: -

  • Lined rod rings
  • Locking reel seats
  • Shrink-wrapped rod handles
  • Lighter weight carbon blanks
  • Fibreglass tips
  • Included carry bags
  • Multipiece construction
  • EVA foam handles


Let’s not kid ourselves. The cost of a good sea fishing rod is a major deciding factor.

The relationship between cost and performance is not linear, and you’ll find diminishing returns the more you spend. Our advice is to set a budget in advance and create a ‘checklist of features you ideally need.

Work your way down a list of viable rods and see which ‘ticks the most boxes’ before making your purchase.

The Best Sea Fishing Rods for 2024 | Our Top Choices

Now you’ve read the above, you will want to know what’s out there. Here are our selections based on the above criteria: -

Best Sea Fishing Beachcasting Rods

Best Overall Beachcaster
best beachcaster rod

PENN Tidal XR Beachcaster Rod

Who's it ideal for: 

This is one for serious beach anglers. It looks like a beautiful piece of kit

Key Features:

  • Highlighted tip
  • Fuji Alconite SW proof guides
  • Full shrink handle for extra grip
  • High Modulus 40T lightweight carbon blank
  • Sliding reel seat

This would be pretty great for a jack of all trades type of rod (and master of all).

You’ve got the casting power hidden in the mid-action blank, plus the necessary grunt to dabble in a spot of mixed ground fishing should you require it.

We’d even say that you could also chance a trip to some rougher areas.

Penn are a really great name in sea fishing, and provided beach casting is your thing, this rod should perform really well.

While powerful, it’s got sensitive bite detection. The highlighted top section looks pretty swish at the end of the black and silver high modulus blank.

With a locking reel seat and a smart shrink-wrapped handle, this is a great go-to choice if you want something premium.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • Good for long-distance casting
  • Can fish on all types of ground, from clean to rough
  • Great responsiveness
  • Very good looking


  • Not the cheapest however we feel its absolutely worth every penny.
Best Budget Option
Shakespeare Agility

Shakespeare Agility Beachcaster

Who's it ideal for: 

Ideal for beginners or those who beach fish infrequently

Key Features:

  • Fast action slim carbon blank
  • Spigot joints & highly visible, sensitive tip
  • Eva/shrink wrap handle & aluminium reel seat
  • Zirconium Oxide guides (ZOG)

If the above is a little too steep, Shakespeare produces a range of lovely rods that are great for the money.

We used this rod for years, and it is just as capable as some of the ‘big players’ in giving a great performance.

The blank is a little soft, so don’t expect colossal distance in the cast, but you’ll still be able to get considerable distance with a solid ‘off the ground’ thump.

In three parts, this rod is easy to transport. You’ll easily cast between 4 – 8oz giving you plenty of flexibility in the sea fishing rigs and marks that you fish.

As with more expensive models, it also has shrink-wrapped handles, lined guides and a locking reel seat.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • Its performance far exceeds its price
  • It’s a beautiful looking rod
  • Excellent bite detection and solid casting performance


  • Slightly heavy compared to other rods

Best Sea Fishing Rods For Boats

Best Overall Boat Rod
Best Overall Boat Rod


Who's it ideal for: 

At this price point, it’s a premium rod for serious boat anglers

Key Features:

  • Powerful, 2 piece, premium carbon blank
  • Sensitive tip action for improved bite detection
  • V-Joint technology
  • Specially designed EVA Powerlift fore grip for improved handling and comfort
  • Fuji ‘O’ ring Zirconium ceramic guides throughout for use with mono or braid

If you are wondering which to go for, the 7’6” 20 – 30lb will cover you for pretty much every type of boat fishing you could undertake in UK waters.

This rod, by Daiwa, is just strong enough to handle wrecks but light enough to allow you a day of sport bashing dabs and mackerel too.

The blank would be powerful enough to fish up to about 9oz but has an action that is still soft enough to let you see bites, both big and small.

The EVA rear grip looks really comfortable to hold. The zirconium glass-lined guides will allow you to get down to the bottom and back up really smoothly.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • Its good looks are matched with the performance of the rod
  • It’s just the right length and weight to tick a lot of boxes
  • It's light enough to hold all day on a boat


  • Blank is slightly thicker than other rods
Best Budget Boat Rod
Best Budget Boat Rod

Shakespeare XT SALT Boat Rod

Who's it ideal for: 

A great budget option, this would be perfect for new entrants to the sport and old hands alike.

Key Features:

  • Super slim diameter carbon blanks
  • SW Proof K-type guides
  • Easy to clean high density EVA grip
  • X-shrink rear handle
  • Rubber bulb

Boat fishing tends to cost a bit more, so it isn’t surprising if you want to cut your outgoings. Something like this by Shakespeare would be absolutely ideal.

With a sensitive tip section leading down to a rather slender yet powerful blank, a rod such as this is your best option for some budget boat fishing at sea.

Shakespeare has added a few nice features. Lined anti-corrosive guides will prevent saltwater induced rust, and they’ve even been so kind as to include an extended forward handle. This means you can use the rod for big fish and small.

A nice feature to see is the ‘K’ guides. These prevent a strong sea fishing line from looping around your rod rings, so if you get stuck on the bottom or if the boat moves, you aren’t going to damage your rod.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • The blank is slimmer than other budget boat rods
  • Nice soft EVA grip
  • 7’6” 20 - 30lb is a perfect all-rounder


  • Slightly heavy compared to other rods

Best Sea Fishing Rods For Spinning

Best Overall Spinning Rod
Best Overall Spinning Rod

Daiwa Wilderness Spinning Fishing Rod

Who's it ideal for: 

Perfect for experienced lure fishermen and also great for beginners.

Key Features:

  • Medium fast action blank
  • Low glare matt tape finish for improved weight and crisper actions
  • Stainless steel frame guides with lightweight LS rings
  • Fuji DPS reel seat
  • Hook keeper

When we wrote our guide on spinning rods, this was exactly the kind of thing we had in mind.

This rod is pretty light, making it easy to cast all day, yet has enough backbone to really put some pressure on if you hook something decent like a bass.

The 11ft 20 – 60g model is right in the ballpark to cast all different types of lures, both big and small, and the rod comes with a locking reel seat for rock-solid stability.

The rod has a medium to fast action, which makes it so versatile, allowing you to fish in various styles. It would also be pretty amazing to use for float fishing too!

We would include the best budget spinning rod for sea fishing, but this rod will tick both boxes. It’s really affordable, and you will get premium performance making it worth the little extra it costs above the budget models.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • The cork handle is a nice touch
  • Really solid construction, which you’ll need if fishing around rocks
  • Perfect action for casting both big and small lures


  • There are stronger rods out there, but this is perfect for light to medium work

Best Uptide Rods for Sea Fishing

Best Overall Uptide Rod
Best Overall Uptide Rod

PENN Regiment III Uptide Boat Rod

Who's it ideal for: 

This is one for the big boys. If you want to upgrade from beginner gear, this is a superb choice.

Key Features:

  • Extra Fast Action
  • High Modulus 30T carbon blank
  • SW Solid Sea Guide Rings
  • High density ergonomic EVA handles
  • Rubber end cap

Is the Penn Regiment III uptide rod worth it?


If you chose something like this, you wouldn’t need a separate boat rod, as it ‘wears both hats’, whether uptiding or fishing straight down.

The 30-ton high modulus blank is plenty powerful to kick out a sizeable weight. This would be perfectly suited for pairing up with a nice multiplier.

The finish looks pretty exquisite, and the high-density EVA handles should be nice in hand and even easier to clean (a feature you will be thankful for on a boat rod).

The fast action will let you feel all the fish's fight and make it sensitive enough for great bite detection. We wish this one was just a little shorter, but it’s not too excessive.

Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


  • The finish and components are all rock solid
  • Perfect action. For uptiding, it’s spot on!
  • Ideal for 6-10oz leads


  • Ideally this rod would be a little shorter
Best Budget Uptide Rod
Best Budget Uptide Rod

PENN Squadron II

Who's it ideal for: 

While a little more ‘budget’, this is actually a worthy contender for both beginners and those looking for a change

Key Features:

  • Blank made of carbon composite material.
  • Comes in a fabric bag.
  • Includes high-quality rod rings
  • EVA handle
  • This is the rod that we personally use. At 12 - 20lbs, it’s a bit lighter than the Penn Regiment, but we’ve still had Bass (and an 18lb smooth hound, just saying…), which it handled with aplomb.

    Due to the lighter weight and slightly shorter size, this rod has more of a ‘mid-action, but it is still good for getting a cast away up into the tide.

    This is one seriously good-looking rod. When we pair it up with an ABU Ambassadeur, it certainly feels and looks premium.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


    • It’s a great performer and can even handle rough ground
    • It’s really lightweight
    • The red, white and black look is really eye-catching


    • Not as strong as the Regiment III

    Best Sea Fishing Rods For All-Round Use

    Best All Round Sea Rod
    Best all round sea rod

    Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite

    Who's it ideal for: 

    The 10ft version gets our vote. With a max casting weight of 50g, it’s the perfect all-rounder

    Key Features:

    • Medium action 2 piece Rod blank
    • Eva Cork handle
    • Ugly TUFF guides
    • Length: 2.40m / 1.25m when transporting

    Still can’t decide? Or, are you looking for something that will allow you to try a bit of everything?

    The Shakespeare Ugly Stik range has been around for years, and for a good reason. It’s probably one of Shakespeare’s most successful rods of all time!

    Whether you want to try a bit of bottom fishing, throw a float on or just try your luck with a string full of feathers, this rod would fit the bill nicely.

    It looks like Shakespeare thinks so, too, as the rod is fitted with a bright and easy to see bite indicating tip, which they wouldn’t have done if it was purely for lure fishing.

    This one is for fixed spools only, but match it up with a 4000 sized reel, and you’ll be good to go.

    It is a little long for a boat, but with the budget options above, we’ve got you covered there too!

    Here is what we like and dislike about the rod based on our own experiences...


    • An ideal ‘holiday rod’
    • Perfect for mackerel fishing, big Bass and bottom fishing on clean ground
    • Surprisingly lightweight
    • We love the traditional cork handle


    • Not ideal for real heavy duty work

    Best Sea Fishing Rods - FAQs

    Still, got questions?

    Don’t worry, a rod is a big investment. Here are some of the things we most commonly get asked.

    What is the Best All Round Fishing Rod for Sea Fishing?

    If you are looking for a rod that will allow you to fish in most circumstances well, it’s best to opt for a heavy spinning rod.

    This will allow you to lure fish but has the necessary strength and power for a few other disciplines, such as bottom fishing. A 50g rod will allow you to cast up to a 2oz lead.

    What is the Best Size Rod for Beach Fishing?

    Generally speaking, around 13 ft is the optimum length for a beach caster. This length will allow you to easily cast big weights up to around 7oz (and more). It is still short enough to manage, and storage won’t be an issue either.

    What Type of Rod Do I Need for Mackerel Fishing?

    A spinning rod is your best choice for mackerel fishing. Around 10 – 11 feet will give you the casting distance to reach them and provide the necessary blank strength to haul in a string with ease.

    It can also double up as a bass rod when the mackerel goes a little quiet.

    Which Rod Action is the Most Sensitive?

    The most sensitive rod action is any rod with fast action. This means that the rod flexes most towards the tip.

    Sensitive, fast action rods are great for fishing on clean ground, small species, or when you don’t require large casting distances. For heavy work, slower rods are better.

    Can I Use a Freshwater Rod for Sea Fishing?

    You could use a freshwater rod for sea fishing, but it isn’t ideal. The best sea fishing rods are specially treated to prevent the corrosive effects of seawater.

    They are often more solidly constructed to stand up against the rigours of a coastal environment.

    Some anglers do use carp or pike rods for sea spinning.

    Final Thoughts

    The best sea fishing rods will perform well for their given role, but often give you the option for a bit of diversity when you need it.

    For sea fishing you have to make the rod fit the situation, and as with the sea itself, this can potentially change from day to day.

    Having enjoyed sea fishing in Scotland over a number of years we have found that a diverse approach often pays off!

    Thanks for reading.

    Tight Lines!

    All of the fishing tackle featured in this article can be found at most fishing tackle shops.