Best Saltwater Fishing Rods in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Saltwater is not as forgiving as freshwater. Saltwater itself could damage almost anything near it, let alone a fishing rod. In addition, saltwater fish are more fighters than freshwater fish, and they need special rods than can handle them.

Moreover, there are different techniques of saltwater fishing; each technique requires a different rod with different power ratings, lengths, and constructing materials.

This is why I’ve decided to create this list of my top picks for the best saltwater fishing rod, and I’ve made sure to be as inclusive as possible by adding different rods that fit different fishing styles.

So, without further delay, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it within the next few lines.

List of the Best Saltwater Fishing Rods:

  1. Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Overall
  2. Sougayilang Fishing Combo – Budget-Pick
  3. Daiwa Tatula – Best Baitcasting Rod
  4. Fiblink Saltwater – Best Heavy Trolling Rod
  5. Shimano Trevala – Best Jigging Rod
  6. Penn Squall Level Wind Combo – Best Rod and Reel Combo

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Our Top Picks:

RodRod’s StylePower Ratings 
Ugly Stik GX2SpinningUltralight to heavy 
Sougayilang Fishing ComboTelescopicMedium-light 
Daiwa TatulaBaitcastingMedium-light to heavy 
Fiblink SaltwaterOffshore trollingHeavy 
Shimano TrevalaJiggingLight to extra-extra-heavy 
Penn Squall Level Wind ComboJiggingMedium and medium-heavy 

The 6 Best Saltwater Fishing Rods in 2021

1. Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Overall

Ugly Stik GX2

My top pick for the best saltwater fishing rod is the Ugly Stik GX2, as it is quite versatile and can fit most fishing techniques.

GX2 is originally made as a freshwater rod, but that does not stop it from being my top pick. The rod is quite durable, and it can withstand saltwater without any issues. Moreover, it won’t hurt your hand or wrist as it has a foam EVA grip. 

The GX2 rod comes in lengths starting at 4’6” all the way to 9’, which is an impressive range of lengths that not many rods offer. Also, it comes in power ratings starting from ultra-light to heavy. That variety in models guarantees that you’ll find the rod that most fits your fishing techniques.

Moreover, the rod is made from a graphite and fiberglass composite, which provides the rod with high sensitivity, lightweight, and high durability. It also comes with stainless steel guides for ease-of-use.

The usage of high-quality materials provides the rod with high resistance to the rough saltwater fishing conditions, meaning that it can stay as good as new for years and years.

Lastly, the rod also comes with a clear tip that adds accuracy when casting.

Pros:

  • One-piece or two-piece configuration
  • Clear tip
  • High-quality materials
  • Comes in a rod and reel combo
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Possible shipping issues

Final Verdict

I don’t even know where to start with the GX2. It is durable, sensitive, lightweight, affordable, and it easily resists the damages caused by saltwater. I truly believe this is one of the best saltwater spinning rods on the market. If for some reason, that is not enough to convince you, the rod also comes in a combo with a reel.

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2. Sougayilang Fishing Combo – Budget Pick

Sougayilang Fishing Combo

The Sougayilang is a popular fishing combo for its affordable price, yet high-quality materials.

The rod itself is a telescopic fishing rod that offers portability like no other. Telescopic fishing rods, in general, are very portable, but when you add to that the Sougayilang’s lightweight, you won’t even feel it in your bag.

The rod comes in 3 different lengths: 5.91’, 6.89’, and 7.87’, which is an okay variety. All these lengths are quite in the ‘average’ range that suits most fishing techniques. As for power ratings, all models come in a medium-light rating, which suits saltwater smaller fish only.

Being made from a 24-ton carbon fiber and E-glass composite and stainless steel guides, the rod is durable with a sturdy backbone while still holding its lightweight. Moreover, it features an EVA handle, so say goodbye to arm fatigue. 

There’s a misconception regarding telescopic rods, which is that they’re more prone to damage than regular rods, and the Sougayilang completely throws these beliefs out of the window.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Comes in a fishing kit combo

Cons:

  • Only comes in medium-light power rating

Final Verdict

Being on a budget is not a set-back with the Sougayilang on the market. The telescopic rod is portable, lightweight, and durable enough for saltwater fishing. I strongly recommend this rod for hikers or travelers who are looking for convenience in their rods.

3. Daiwa Tatula – Best Baitcasting Rod

Daiwa Tatula

Baitcasting rods can take fishing to a whole new level. They’re easy yet fun to use, and they allow you to cover a much longer casting distance.

The rod comes in a variety of lengths that are all around 6-8 feet range, which is the average length for a saltwater rod. Moreover, it also comes in medium-light to heavy power ratings that are also in the right range to handle most saltwater fish.

The rod is constructed with Daiwa’s Super Volume Fiber graphite technology, which provides the rod with its durability and long lifespan.

It also comes with Fuji Alconite ring guides that provide the angler with accuracy that is much needed in a casting rod.

The rod is lightweight, comfortable to hold, and sensitive to most bites, which is the perfect combination that you need to look for in any saltwater fishing rod.

The only downside here is that the rod only comes in one-piece configuration, which means that it is not very portable.

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Pros:

  • Daiwa’s SVF technology
  • High-quality materials
  • High sensitivity

Cons:

  • One-piece configuration only
  • A little pricey

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for the best saltwater baitcasting fishing rod, you’ve just found it. The Daiwa Tatula is a one-of-a-kind rod with its SVF technology. The rod is lightweight, sensitive, and easy to use. Not to mention, it comes in a decent variety of models for you to choose from.

4. Fiblink Saltwater – Best Heavy Trolling Rod

Fiblink Saltwater

Trolling is a technique of fishing where you draw your bait through water; either if you manually move the rod or you let the boat move it. There’s no doubt that trolling is not an easy technique, but that’s what makes it special.

Finding a good trolling rod is hard enough, let alone finding a heavy-duty trolling rod. Well, Fiblink is here to save the day.

Fiblink is the best saltwater rod for trolling as it is heavy-duty, meaning it can handle bigger saltwater fish that other rods can’t withstand.

The 5’1” rod comes in a heavy power rating and a one-piece configuration, which provides the rod with the ability to withstand heavier fish, especially when trolling.

If the 5’1” model seems too short for your liking, there are also 6’ and 7’6” models that come in a two-piece configuration. Besides, it has a high density EVA foam handle, so you can rest assured that you won’t feel any kind of pain during your trip. 

It is made from a composite of E-glass and graphite that provides the rod with high durability and lightweight. Also, it comes with heavy-duty stainless steel guides to minimize pressure on the line.

Pros:

  • Heavy power rating
  • High durability
  • Affordable price
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Cons:

  • The packaging is not the best
  • Guides feel a little weak

Final Verdict

Trolling is a fishing technique that brings a sense of challenge with it. Either if you troll manually or off a boat, you need a rod that can handle saltwater fish. The Fiblink is a unique heavy-duty trolling rod that can last you a long time without a scratch.

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5. Shimano Trevala – Best Jigging Rod

Shimano Trevala

Jigging is another fishing technique that is not necessarily for beginners. Jigging uses a kind of lure called a jig that goes vertically down through the water.

Jigging is popular when you’re fishing off a boat as you can let your jig go into the water off the side of the boat.

Because jigging is a unique fishing technique, it requires a unique rod and that’s why I strongly recommend the Shimano Trevala for jigging.

It comes in a variety of lengths starting at 5’8” to 7’ and power ratings starting at light all the way to extra-extra-heavy ratings.

That wide selection of models guarantees that you can find the perfect rod to handle any saltwater fish that might cross your way.

The graphite rod is made with a TC4 carbon tip that is lightweight, and it comes with fuji reinforced stainless guides that provide the rod with its high durability in saltwater extending the line’s lifespan.

It is truly comfortable to use thanks to its EVA handle; however, it comes in one-piece only, so it is not easy to transport or store. 

Pros:

  • Light to extra-extra-heavy power ratings
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • High price point

Final Verdict

Despite the high price point of this rod, it is truly worth the investment. You are guaranteed a lightweight, yet durable rod with high-quality materials that will last you a long time, how could you ask for more in a jigging rod?

6. Penn Squall Level Wind Combo – Best Rod and Reel Combo

Penn Squall Level Wind Combo

Last on this list of the best saltwater fishing rods is actually a combo. The Penn Squall Level Wind combo comes with a rod and a reel that are both equally high-quality.

The rod itself comes in lengths 6’ and 6’6”, which is not a very versatile selection, but it’s good enough to suit most fishing techniques.

It also comes in power ratings of medium and medium-heavy that is suitable for most saltwater fish.

The rod is made from a graphite frame and a bronze alloy. Besides, it comes with a one-piece glass blank, which is not the most portable, but it is quite durable. It also comes with aluminum oxide guides for casting accuracy.

While the combo might seem a little pricey at first glance, keep in mind that you’re purchasing a rod and a reel that are quite durable, high-quality, and will last you a long time.

I genuinely believe this combo is worth the investment whether you’re a beginner looking to expand your collection, or an expert trying to find the best high-quality saltwater fishing rod.

Pros:

  • Good value for the money
  • High durability
  • High-quality

Cons:

  • Low portability
  • Limited selection of models

Final Verdict

Finding the best saltwater fishing combo is not easy. Usually, in combos, one of the products is not as good as the other, but that’s far from the case with Penn Squall Combo. Both the rod and the reel are high-quality products that can resist saltwater without any issues.

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How to Pick a Saltwater Fishing Rod

1. Material

The most popular materials that go into the manufacturing of saltwater fishing rods are graphite and fiberglass.

Graphite offers sensitivity like no other, which makes it perfect if you’re aiming to catch small fish that have small bites.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to catch heavy fish, you should go for a rod that has fiberglass as it offers durability to the rod.

However, you’ll most likely find rods that are a composite of both fiberglass and graphite, which I believe combines the best of both worlds.

2. Power Rating

The power rating is a sensitive factor so you can’t just go for the highest possible power and expect it to work with everything.

A power rating that is higher than necessary will not be sensitive enough for you to feel the smaller bites. Similarly, going for a power rating that is lower than necessary is bad news, too, as the rod might break if it’s dealing with a fish that can put up a fight.

3. Length

The rod’s length depends on what you personally prefer. Shorter rods allow for better casting accuracy, which might be easier for beginners to start with.

However, a longer rod will increase your casting distance, which is a little harder to control, but a longer rod will most likely offer a higher power rating.

Going for a rod around 6-6” to 7’ is the mid-way option if you want accuracy, as well as a high power rating.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Use a Saltwater Rod in Freshwater?

The short answer is yes. Saltwater rods are made to withstand harsher conditions than that of freshwater, which allows them to be used in freshwater too.

Double-check that your rod’s power, length, and action suit the freshwater fish you’re targeting, and go for it.

However, keep in mind that using freshwater rods in saltwater is not as smooth; not all freshwater rods can withstand saltwater.

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What ss Different About Saltwater Fishing Rods?

What makes saltwater rods special is their corrosion resistance abilities. Saltwater is a lot harsher than freshwater, and it could cause significant damages if the rod is not made to resist such harsh conditions.

Also, saltwater fish are generally bigger, and they fight harder than freshwater fish, which means that you’d need a rod that is durable enough for saltwater fish.

One-Piece vs. Two-Piece

It depends on what you’re looking for in a fishing rod. One-Piece rods are believed to be more durable and more sensitive, but two-piece rods keep developing that they’re almost identical nowadays.

Two-piece rods are much more portable than one-piece rods because you can break them down into two or more pieces and carry them in your backpack.

Final Thoughts

When choosing the best saltwater fishing rod, you wouldn’t just walk into a store and choose the first rod you see. You need to know what exactly you’re looking for and search for the rod that fits your needs.

For example, if you’re looking for a good saltwater fishing rod that fits most fishing techniques, you should go for the GX2. It is durable, lightweight, and affordable. It’s just generally a good fishing rod that is known for its high-quality.

On the other hand, if you’re on a budget and you want the best possible rod at a decent price point, there’s the Sougayilang combo. It comes with a whole saltwater fishing kit at an affordable price point. Don’t worry about the “you get what you pay for” belief as this rod is a high-quality one that will last you a long time, especially if you’re a beginner.

Moreover, the best saltwater baitcasting rod is the Daiwa Tatula, and if you’re looking for a heavy-duty trolling rod, you need to take a look at the Fiblink rod.

There’s also the Shimano Trevala, which is the best jigging rod that you’ll find on the market. Even though its price is relatively high, it is a premium rod that will last for years upon years without a scratch.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a rod and reel combo, there’s the Penn Squall combo, which offers both high-quality products that are perfect for anyone, really.