One of the first things any angler learns is that you have to choose the right rod for the right situation. You’ve no doubt seen the enormous surf-casting rods at your local sporting goods store. While these are ideal for saltwater fishing from the shore, they’d be useless on a mountain stream. There are many different factors that must be considered when shopping for fishing rods, but here we’re going to focus on the best fishing rods for casting distance.
The casting distance a rod can handle is a function of the length and flexibility of the rod itself, and the specific casting distance you want is determined by where you’re fishing and what you’re fishing for. The rods with the best casting distance are, invariably, surf casting rods. These rods are made for casting lures out into deeper water while you stand on the shore.
There are other factors to consider in choosing a rod, but for casting distance, length is probably the most important. We’ll list other features, as well, since all of the rods come in similar lengths and choosing between the rods listed here will likely come down to other considerations like rod material.
Best Fishing Rods for Casting Distance
In a hurry? Here are our 2 top picks!
- Premium choice – TICA UEHA Surf Spinning Fishing Rod
- Value choice – Okuma Tundra Fishing Rod
1. Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rod
- Comes in 4 different lengths
- Spin and cast models available
- Graphite rod
- Cork wrapped grips
- 2-piece blanks
This rod from Okuna can be bought as short as 8 feet and as long as 12 feet. The graphite blank gives the ideal combination of strength and sensitivity, so you’ll feel every bite without sacrificing strength. The longer, 12 foot model is ideal for surf casting and will give you the longest cast distance. 12 foot rods can be cumbersome, but this one is a two-piece blank, which makes it much easier to carry and store.
2. Okuma Tundra Spinning Surf Combo
- Reel included
- Multi-disc oiled drag system
- EVA foam grips
- 10 foot rod
- Fiberglass blanks
The Okuma Tundra only comes in one length, but this 10 foot rod likely represents a solid middle ground for many anglers looking for a rod that will cast far but also be a bit more versatile than a 12 foot surf casting rod. It comes with a reel included, too, which will save you a lot of money. The fiberglass rod isn’t quite as sensitive as graphite, but it’s enough for most anglers and it’s a more affordable material. The white color is great for visibility- you’ll be able to see the rod tip easily even in low-light conditions. That’s critical with a fiberglass rod, since you’ll need to watch the rod tip closely to be sure you’re detecting every bite.
3. Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Fishing Rod
- 7 different models
- 6 different lengths
- Graphite and fiberglass construction
- Lightweight EVA grips
Ugly Stik is one of the most trusted names in fishing rods, and anglers all over the world love their products. This rod comes in 6 different lengths, with two different 7 foot models. The 10 foot medium-heavy rod is probably the most popular, but for extra casting distance you can go up to 12 feet. The rod is a blend of graphite and fiberglass, providing some of the flexibility and strength of graphite but keeping the price down a bit by adding in the fiberglass.
4. TICA UEHA Surf Spinning Fishing Rods
- Graphite construction
- Titanium oxide ring guides
- Cork tape handle
- Graphite reel seat
Made with all premium materials, this rod is a little expensive, but it’s definitely a joy to use. The graphite blank is sensitive enough to detect the most gentle bites. The 12 foot length maximizes casting distance, and many users report that it outperforms much more expensive premium rods they own. That’s a big consideration because, while it’s one of the more expensive rods on this list, it’s far cheaper than many of the big-name, premium brands out there that are mad with the same materials. It’s hard to do worse than this offering from TICA. While it doesn’t come in any length shorter than 12 feet, this rod will definitely maximize casting distance.
5. Okuma Rockaway LightWeight Carbon Saltwater Rods
- 10 different models
- Zirconium inserts so you can use braid or mono
- Graphite construction
- Very light weight
This rod from Okuna has the most variety, with ten different models. It comes in five lengths, offering a medium and medium-heavy blank for each length. All the blanks are made of graphite, and the zirconium inserts in the ring guide make it compatible with both braided and monofilament fishing line. These rods are made for spinning reels, but can also be used with baitcasting reels.
Choosing a fishing rod with casting distance in mind
The single biggest factor influencing casting distance is the length of the rod. All other factors being equal, a longer rod will cast the line farther. So, if distance is the biggest factor in your decision, a 12 foot rod is the best choice.
You may not always want the longest possible rod, though. A 10 foot rod won’t lose much casting distance, but it’s a lot easier to carry, use, and store a smaller 10 foot rod. A lot of people would say that a 10-foot rod is the ideal size, giving them great casting distance without being too unwieldy.
Many of the rods listed here come in both 12 foot and 10 foot sizes, with some coming in even shorter lengths. Your choice of 12 or 10 foot lengths depends on if you want to maximize casting distance, or if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of distance for ease of use.
Composition – fiberglass or graphite?
You also need to consider what the rod blank is made of. Many of these rods are made of graphite, which is seen by some as the gold standard of rod material.
- Graphite is very strong, but also lightweight and flexible, providing a lot of sensitivity. That sensitivity is especially useful for detecting bites, as you’re more likely to feel even the gentlest bites with a graphite rod.
- Fiberglass is a more common, and more affordable material. It can’t match the sensitivity and flexibility of graphite, but it’s much more affordable. It also has some advantages, as the stiffer material can make it easier to set the hook.
Some people may find the extra flexibility of the graphite rod to be a hindrance when setting the hook.
Both fiberglass and graphite are strong materials that can stand up to a lot of abuse, and while graphite may have a slight edge in strength, the biggest difference is flexibility and sensitivity. Most fishing rods are made of fiberglass, which means that most fish are caught on fiberglass rods. So, there’s nothing wrong with fiberglass rods.
The only reason some people prefer graphite is that it’s easier to detect bites with graphite. That’s no small consideration, but it does mean that you shouldn’t ignore the fiberglass rods.
People will debate grip material to no end, but honestly it shouldn’t be a huge consideration. Cork looks nicer, can be a bit more comfortable, but it’s usually less durable than EVA foam. It’s really not a huge difference, so don’t get hung up on that. What you might want to do is head down to your nearest sporting goods store and pick up a few rods with different grip materials to get a feel from. Just don’t buy them there- you’ll find much better prices online.
Likewise, the type of reel the rod is made for is also largely a matter of personal preference. Bait casters tend to be more popular amongst professional anglers, and therefore with many serious hobbyists. But there are plenty of pros who use spincast reels too, and they’re probably the most common out there. Whichever one you prefer is fine.
They each have advantages and disadvantages. Many people find spincasters easier to use, especially for beginners, while baitcasters are better suited for certain fishing styles like jigging. If you’re surf fishing, neither has a major advantage.
It’s hard to beat the TICA UEHA Surf Spinning Rod. It’s made from the best materials, so it has an ideal blend of strength and sensitivity. You’ll never miss a bite, and you’ll never have to worry that your rod isn’t up to the task of reeling in your trophy. The 12 foot length is a bit unwieldy for some, but it will give you unrivaled casting distance.
If you’d rather have a slightly shorter rod, the Okuma Tundra is an excellent choice. It’s sold as a rod and reel combo, and that’s a huge money-saver. The white color is also nice; since it’s made of fiberglass, you’ll really need to watch the tip of the rod close to detect bites and that white color gives it a lot of visibility.
Ultimately, choosing a fishing rod is a personal decision. What one person loves in a fishing rod may be something you hate. Some people love cork grips, others can’t stand them. Some people love the sensitivity of graphite, others prefer the stiffness of fiberglass. We’ve recommended the best rods we can find, but in the end you need to know your own preferences before you buy a rod.