Best Saltwater Casting Rods Reviewed and Rated

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Shakespeare USCA662MH
Test Winner: Shakespeare USCA662MH
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The fishing rod market is so varied and cluttered with options that it’s difficult to single out what you need as an angler; let alone what rods may be best for you. Saltwater rods require that components have some degree of corrosion resistance in order to continue to function reliably. This is the first consideration for rod selection; with reference to reel seat and line guide construction. Choosing rods with corrosion-resistant components makes for a more suitable saltwater rod. Casting rods are designed to be fitted with conventional baitcasting or overhead reels – the line guides face the sky when the rod is held and the reel sits on top of the blank. These rods are great for powerful fighting with big fish and are often designed to provide great accuracy in casting. Check out our buying guide below to find your perfect rod.

Standout Picks

Shakespeare USCA662MH
The USCA662MH is renowned as an ultra-tough fishing rod. In fact, many believe that USCA662MH Ugly Stiks are unbreakable. They make great rods for those starting out; as well as anyone that wants plenty of power and reliability in their fishing gear.
Amazon Link
$39.95
Daiwa Exceler
The Exceler range from Daiwa provides the budget-minded angler access to great rod technology from a leading manufacturer.
Amazon Link
Shimano Trevala Med-Heavy
The Shimano Trevalla steps into the big fish league and is part of a range of jigging rods. This rod has plenty of backbone, but the medium-heavy action 6’6” model is still suitable for casting lures. Its solid design gives it power to lift heavy weights off the bottom; and will work just as effectively running out baits.
Amazon Link
$179.99
Daiwa Tatula
Daiwa continues to offer innovative rod designs and high quality products. The Tatula range of casting rods continues this trend, offering a range of rods to suit specific needs.
Amazon Link
Shimano FXC-2
The Shimano FXC-2 is a great rod for a variety of inshore applications; from drifting baits for sheepshead through to lure casting the mangroves for snook and snapper.
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Entsport 2 Piece 7’
The Entsport 2 piece offers a little extra versatility as a casting rod, having two interchangeable top-halves with different power ratings. This provides two rods for the price of one.
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Fenwick HMG
The Fenwick HMG offers high quality casting rods in a variety of lengths and power ratings – making this a great selection for those looking for quality gear to suit their specific fishing needs.
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St Croix Mojo Inshore
Mojo Inshore casting rods by St Croix are one of the new models on the block and feature quality manufacture and components in a rod specifically designed for saltwater use.
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St Croix Mojo Surf
The Mojo Surf casting give land-based anglers a great rod option. Coming in lengths of 10’6” and 11’, these rods will throw lures the extra distance when targeting fish in the surf.
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G. Loomis E6X
G. Loomis has long been the epitome of fishing rod manufacture. The E6X Inshore options provide saltwater anglers with top quality rods for a variety of applications.
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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

The vast majority of saltwater fishing is centred on inshore areas targeting mid to large sized fish. For this reason, rods were selected which best suited these applications. Some rod options; such as the St Croix Mojo Inshore series, provide options suitable for varied applications including some offshore use. Selecting the right rod for the target species has to take into account the specific techniques used to fish them and the size of the fish. Other more specialised circumstances, such as surf fishing, were catered for through the St Croix Mojo Surf rod series. A saltwater rod requires components that are corrosion resistant; otherwise, the rod will soon lose function. Most rods are designed with components that are capable of use in both fresh and saltwater environments, but the particular selection of saltwater rod components was favoured where applicable.

Style

Rееl dеѕіgn drіvеѕ rod selection, so you rеаllу nееd to knоw whісh іѕ аррrорrіаtе fоr уоur specific application. Saltwater rоdѕ are dіvіdеd іntо twо main саtеgоrіеѕ or families; bаіtсаѕtіng and spinning, but tесhnісаllу thеrе аrе numеrоuѕ ѕubdіvіѕіоnѕ ѕuсh аѕ bоttоm fіѕhіng, ѕurfсаѕtіng, inshore, offshore аnd оthеrѕ.

Baitcasting reels аrе positioned оn tор of a bаіtсаѕtіng rоd, mоuntеd in a reel seat. Most bаіtсаѕtіng rods hаvе a trіggеr grip thаt allows the аnglеr to ѕесurе thе rod wіth a fоrеfіngеr whіlе casting аnd rеtrіеvіng lіnе.

Spinning reels аrе positioned оn a rееl ѕеаt underneath thе rоd hаndlе. Inѕtеаd оf a trіggеr grір, anglers ѕесurе a ѕріnnіng rоd bу placing the rееl ѕhаnk bеtwееn twо fingers of thеіr rod hаnd tо рrеvеnt slippage. Lіnе guіdеѕ аrе аlѕо mounted оn thе bottom side оf thе rоd аt аn interval thаt dіѕtrіbutеѕ thе stress еvеnlу across thе rod blаnk. Thе rоd hаndlе is аn іntеgrаl раrt of thе dеѕіgn and hеlрѕ bаlаnсе the wеіght against thе length, аѕ well аѕ providing a longer ріvоt fоr leverage durіng a fіght.

Size

Onсе уоu’vе mаdе thе spinning/casting dесіѕіоn, уоu’ll need tо consider lеngth, weight аnd hаndlе configuration. These рhуѕісаl сhаrасtеrіѕtісѕ are determined bу thе ѕіzе оf thе fіѕh you аrе tаrgеtіng, the size оf thе lurе уоu need tо саѕt аnd the tесhnіԛuе intended. Fоr еxаmрlе, bottom fіѕhіng frоm a boat for grоuреr only rеԛuіrеѕ a stiff rod оf moderate lеngth that саn muscle ѕеvеrаl hundrеd pounds оff оf thе bоttоm before you’re brоkеn off on thе rocks or other debris. Surfcasting requires a vеrу lоng rоd wіth a moderate tо hеаvу action thаt will lаunсh large bаіtѕ a lоng dіѕtаnсе. Nаturаllу, trоllіng for bluеѕ requires a different rоd thаn ѕаіlfіѕh оr mаrlіn.

Anоthеr іѕѕuе relative to rod lеngth іѕ leverage. Longer rods give уоu mоrе lеvеrаgе, аnd thеу аlѕо bеnd mоrе which tempers the bаttlе a lоt, tаkіng ѕоmе of thе stress off of your lіnе. Mоrе lеvеrаgе is dеfіnіtеlу an advantage fоr any job, especially whеn you’re uр against a heavyweight. Lоngеr rоdѕ are also a lіttlе еаѕіеr оn уоur back because you’re fіѕhіng furthеr out and up, іnѕtеаd оf ѕtrаіght dоwn.

Materials

Tоdау, most rods are mаdе оf еіthеr fiberglass or grарhіtе, аnd ѕоmе аrе made of a combination or соmроѕіtе of both mаtеrіаlѕ. Grарhіtе hаѕ bееn hіghlу rеfіnеd, аnd іn thе lаѕt fеw years, some of the mоѕt аmаzіng rods have hіt the mаrkеt. They’re lighter, mоrе flexible, hіghlу sensitive аnd much mоrе durаblе thаn earlier vеrѕіоnѕ. Fiberglass is аn old wоrkhоrѕе that рrоvіdеѕ extreme durability but fаllѕ ѕhоrt іn thе wеіght, flеxіbіlіtу аnd ѕеnѕіtіvіtу сhаrасtеrіѕtісѕ whеn соmраrеd to grарhіtе. The upside to fіbеrglаѕѕ іѕ that іt costs much lеѕѕ, and lаѕtѕ fоrеvеr. Thе downside would bе that уоu wіll have a mоdеrаtеlу effective rod for a vеrу lоng time. Cоmроѕіtеѕ are a blеnd оf both рrоduсt fеаturеѕ that occupy thе middle оf the rоаd on рrісе аnd реrfоrmаnсе.

Top 10 Picks

1. Shakespeare USCA662MH

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$39.95
Shakespeare USCA662MH
Amazon Link

The USCA662MH is renowned as an ultra-tough fishing rod. In fact, many believe that USCA662MH Ugly Stiks are unbreakable. They make great rods for those starting out; as well as anyone that wants plenty of power and reliability in their fishing gear.

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One Name in Toughness

The Ugly Stik is well-known as a super tough rod. The USCA662MH keeps with this tradition; and offers a rugged piece of fish-wrestling equipment. You can’t really go wrong with an Ugly Stik.

Features and Specifications

Graphite/fibreglass composite rod blank
2 piece construction
One-piece stainless Ugly Tuff guides
Lightweight EVA grip
Length:6’6”
Medium-heavy power

Price/Value

This is an unbreakable rod at an unbeatable price. This rod is well worth having; either as someone starting out in fishing or as an angler looking for a tough rod.

Verdict

The Shakespeare USCA662MH is a great casting rod for a wide variety of applications. It’ll perform well as a bait-fishing rod or as a lure caster; though it won’t work as effectively with very light lures – but this rod is made for big fish anyway!

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$39.95

2. Daiwa Exceler

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Daiwa Exceler
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The Exceler range from Daiwa provides the budget-minded angler access to great rod technology from a leading manufacturer.

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Top Quality, Low Cost

The Exceler7’ 1 piece casting rod keeps a lot of Daiwa’s high-end components at a low cost. Incorporating IM-6 graphite and aluminium oxide guides; this is a great rod.

Features and Specifications

IM-6 graphite blank
Aluminium oxide guides
Daiwa custom reel seat
7’ length
Med-heavy

Price/Value

This is a great, low-cost option for a graphite rod; and when you buy Daiwa, you know you’re buying quality.

Verdict

The Daiwa is a fantastic choice for an affordable graphite rod. Its medium-heavy power means that it’s capable of landing trophy fish in the salt water.

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3. Shimano Trevala Med-Heavy

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$179.99
Shimano Trevala Med-Heavy
Amazon Link

The Shimano Trevalla steps into the big fish league and is part of a range of jigging rods. This rod has plenty of backbone, but the medium-heavy action 6’6” model is still suitable for casting lures. Its solid design gives it power to lift heavy weights off the bottom; and will work just as effectively running out baits.

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Lightweight Power

The Trevala is designed to provide plenty of force when fighting large fish. It accomplishes this while keeping the physical weight of the rod low; allowing for ease of use when in the boat all day.

Features and Specifications

TC4 graphite rod blank
1 or 2 piece construction
Fuji concept alconite guides
Fuji reel seat
Custom shaped EVA butt and foregrip
Length:6’6”
Medium-fast action; medium-heavy power

Price/Value

The Trevala is an affordable graphite rod complete with quality Fuji components – which are known to be the best in the field for rod guides and reel seats. This rod gives plenty of bang for your buck.

Verdict

The Shimano Trevala is an affordable quality casting rod that’ll perform well as a jigging/casting and/or bait fishing rod. It’s capable of wrestling big reef dwellers that test the limits of tackle.

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$179.99

4. Daiwa Tatula

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Daiwa Tatula
Amazon Link

Daiwa continues to offer innovative rod designs and high quality products. The Tatula range of casting rods continues this trend, offering a range of rods to suit specific needs.

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Performance Parts

From the SVF graphite used in the rod blank through to a custom reel seat and machined aluminium reel clamp nut, the Tatula range delivers maximum performance. Fuji alconite guides finish out the components of these rods.

Features and Specifications

SVF (Super Volume Fibre) graphite blank
Fuji alconite guides
Daiwa custom reel seat
EVA split handle

Price/Value

The Tatula range of casting rods is moderately expensive but won’t break the bank. For the price, these rods probably pack the most performance technology into their products.

Verdict

Daiwa continue to offer industry-leading fishing equipment, and the Tatula range is no different. These are great rods for serious anglers who depend on the performance of their gear.

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5. Shimano FXC-2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Shimano FXC-2
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The Shimano FXC-2 is a great rod for a variety of inshore applications; from drifting baits for sheepshead through to lure casting the mangroves for snook and snapper.

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Simple and Reliable

Shimano has stuck to the basic principles of rod building here and provide a tough and reliable rod for a great price. For a variety of applications and target species, the FXC-2 will fit the bill. An added bonus is the two-piece construction of the blank; allowing easy transport of the rod.

Features and Specifications

Aeroglass rod blank
2 piece construction
Reinforced aluminium oxide line guides
Locking graphite reel seat
EVA handle
Lengths: 6’, 7’
Fast action; medium power

Price/Value

The FXC-2 is an extremely affordable rod and for that you get a durable piece of equipment that’ll stand up to the rigours of travel to your favourite fishing spots; and handle fish with ease.

Verdict

This is an affordable rod for saltwater anglers looking for a durable workhorse. With a fast action, this rod is suitable for casting a variety of lures and baits with precision; and the medium power blank is suitable for a wide variety of inshore fish.

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6. Entsport 2 Piece 7’

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Entsport 2 Piece 7’
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The Entsport 2 piece offers a little extra versatility as a casting rod, having two interchangeable top-halves with different power ratings. This provides two rods for the price of one.

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Affordable Graphite Rod

The Entsport offers the equivalent of two graphite rods for the price of one; coming with two top halves of different power. Graphite rod blanks give enhanced sensitivity to the rod; and this is a great value blank.

Features and Specifications

Graphite rod blank
2 piece construction
Two upper halves with different power rating
Stainless steel guides
EVA split grip
Length:7’
Medium-heavy

Price/Value

This is a great value graphite rod, and offers an extra top half for the rod in case worst comes to worst out on the water.

Verdict

The Entsport is a lesser-known rod brand but offers great value for money for a graphite rod. The two piece assembly is great for transporting the rod, and the extra top half makes this rod even more versatile.

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7. Fenwick HMG

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Fenwick HMG
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The Fenwick HMG offers high quality casting rods in a variety of lengths and power ratings – making this a great selection for those looking for quality gear to suit their specific fishing needs.

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TAC™ Handle

The HMG series is fitted with a TAC™ (Technically Advanced Construction) handle – which looks and feels similar to cork while having increased durability and grip even when wet. The grips are further enhanced through the addition of EVA for extra comfort.

Features and Specifications

Graphite Carbon Bound blank
TAC™ handle
Titanium guides
Fuji reel seat
Models available: 6’6” – medium, med-heavy; 7’ - medium, med-heavy; 7’2” – medium, medium heavy
Limited lifetime warranty

Price/Value

The Fenwick FMG is a moderately expensive rod; but quality comes with the price. This is a great value rod for serious anglers.

Verdict

It builds on the reputation of the original FMG models and has added new technology to make an extremely responsive rod. Longer rod choices provide lure casters with extra distance and power for throwing heavy presentations.

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8. St Croix Mojo Inshore

Where to buy
Amazon Link
St Croix Mojo Inshore
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Mojo Inshore casting rods by St Croix are one of the new models on the block and feature quality manufacture and components in a rod specifically designed for saltwater use.

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Cork Handle for Sensitivity

Cork is a great handle material for rods as it is comfortable in the hand and transmits vibrations through the rod to the angler like few other handle materials. This sensitivity equals more hook-ups. Mojo Inshore rods come with split grip cork handles, cutting back on bulk while keeping grip where it’s needed most.

Features and Specifications

SCII Graphite blank
Cork split grip handle
Aluminium oxide guides
Fuji reel seat
5-year warranty
Models: 7’ – light, mod. action; med-light, mod. action; med-heavy, fast action; heavy, fast action – 7’6” – med-light, moderate action; med-heavy, fast action; heavy, fast action

Price/Value

These are expensive but equate to a state-of-the-art fishing rod. These rods are great value for anglers who demand the best from their gear.

Verdict

The Mojo Inshore series includes some great casting rods specifically designed for the trials of saltwater fishing. They are great rods for anyone willing to spend a little more money.

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9. St Croix Mojo Surf

Where to buy
Amazon Link
St Croix Mojo Surf
Amazon Link

The Mojo Surf casting give land-based anglers a great rod option. Coming in lengths of 10’6” and 11’, these rods will throw lures the extra distance when targeting fish in the surf.

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Saving Weight in Guides and Handle

Surf rods can feel heavy after a long casting session; and St Croix has taken this into account through the use of specialised zirconium ring guides to cut down on weight while maximising casting distance. The ‘X-Wrap’ handle keeps the slim lines of the rod while providing good grip and durability.

Features and Specifications

SCII Graphite blank
Specialised surf guides with zirconium rings; sloped frame to avoid line tangles
2 piece construction for ease of transport
Fuji reel seat
5-year warranty
Models: 10’ 6”; 11 – med-heavy, mod-fast action;

Price/Value

These are expensive but provide many innovative features. For the surf fisherman looking to spend a lot of time casting lures, this rod is a good choice.

Verdict

The Mojo Surf rods use a few unique features to set them apart from other options available. They are great quality rods backed by St Croix’ warranty and customer service.

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10. G. Loomis E6X

Where to buy
Amazon Link
G. Loomis E6X
Amazon Link

G. Loomis has long been the epitome of fishing rod manufacture. The E6X Inshore options provide saltwater anglers with top quality rods for a variety of applications.

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Quality from Butt to Tip

G. Loomis E6X rods are made to high standards. With the graphite blank’s multitaper technology building the backbone of the rod; the Inshore options are fitted out with quality components and high-grade cork handles.

Features and Specifications

Graphite blank
Multi taper technology
Full cork handles
Limited lifetime warranty
Models: 6’6” – medium/fast; med-heavy/fast – 7’ – med-light/mod-fast; medium/mod-fast

Price/Value

G. Loomis rods are known for their quality; but also for their cost. The E6X is not for the on-and-off angler. Paying for one of these rods needs a commitment to fishing, but you get great quality for the money.

Verdict

G. Loomis E6X Inshore casting rods offer the ultimate in rod design and quality, and provide options for varied saltwater fishing scenarios. These rods are expensive, but if you’ve got the money to spare – are very nice to use.

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