There are a huge range of fishing rods on the UK market ranging from rough ground rods, LRF (Light Rock Fishing) rods, beachcasters, tournament rods, telescopic rods, specialist bass and flatfish rods as well as a whole range of boat rods – all of which can make choosing the right fishing rod a difficult and confusing decision. The good news is that a single well chosen sea fishing rod is able to handle a wide range of fishing situations, and can be used to fish the vast majority of marks in the UK. Most anglers start off with a single all-round fishing rod and then diversify into buying more specialist equipment once their knowledge and interest in fishing increases.
Sea Fishing Rods: Length and Casting Weight
A beachcaster is a generic term for a general purpose sea fishing rod is far and away the most popular rod for sea fishing with bait in the UK. For many years the standard length of a beachcaster was 12ft but recent years have seen most manufacturers offer 13 – 14ft rods and Continental style 15-16ft rods are becoming increasingly common. The reason for this is simple: casting distance. The longer a rod is then – theoretically – the further it can cast. Rods are also rated by the weight they can cast. Most beachcasters are rated to cast 4 – 8oz. It is fair to say that 4oz is the minimum a beachcaster should be able to cast as any less than this and it wont have the necessary strength to handle rough seas or mixed/rocky ground. Rods for light ground work such as bass, flattie or estuary rods, generally cast 2 – 4oz, and specialist rods for LRF (Light Rock Fishing) can cast lures weighing as little as 0.5 gram. Rods designed for lure fishing with spinners are generally 7 – 10ft long and cast weights of 1 – 2oz.
Fishing Rod Design
Fishing rods usually come in two sections: a tip section and a butt section.However, longer rods may come in three sections and smaller rods can be a single piece telescopic design. Usually beachcasters are designed for use with either a multiplier reel (and will have M or MX in its name) or a fixed spool reel (F or FS in its name). This is because rods designed for multiplier reels have a higher number of smaller rings, as the reel sits on top of the rod and the additional rings keep the line up and off the rod. Rods designed for use with fixed spool reels have a fewer number of smaller rings which break down line as it comes off the reel in loops. However, a growing number of modern rods, such as the Sonik SKS Black(see below) have rings designed in such a way that they can be used with either multiplier or fixed spool reels. Click here for further information on multiplier reels and here for information on fixed spool reels.
The sections below give additional information on the different types of rods that are available. Where possible there are affiliate links which will click through to Amazon where these rods can be viewed and purchased (links will open in a new window).
Telescopic Rods: Telescopic rods are easy to transport and carry, making them popular with holiday anglers. The vast majority of telescopic rods are spinning rods of 6 – 10 feet in length, and most are used with spinners and daylights to fish for mackerel, although larger telescopic rods can be used for light bait fishing. The telescopic design means that some compromises need to be made to the casting performance of these type of rods, but this is a price many casual anglers are happy to pay for the convenience and ease of transport and storage that telescopic rods offer. See the full range of telescopic rods available at Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.
Budget Sea Fishing Rods: Many people starting sea fishing, or those who only go sea fishing on an occasional basis, are happy with a basic and inexpensive sea fishing rod. Although these rods do not reach the build quality of more pricey models – and will struggle with very rough ground fishing or casting extreme distances – they will still catch fish, and work well with simple casting styles. The rods featured below are made by manufacturers who offer decent build quality and fishing capability for a very reasonable price.
- Fladen Charter Beachcaster Range– Very good value general-purpose sea fishing rods. They can be purchased in 12ft, 13ft and 14ft lengths and feature a composite construction, coloured tip and ceramic guides. While Fladen claim these rods can cast up to 250 grams (8¾ oz) they are much happier casting weights up to 6oz. A good choice entry-level sea fishing rod available for £22 – £35 depending on model chosen.
- Shakespeare Beta Beachcaster– A classic beachcaster when chosen in the 12ft, two section version (a 10ft version is also available). This rod casts 4 – 8oz and has titanium oxide guides, cushioned reel seats and an attractive blue/black design. Best used with simple overhead or off-the-ground casting styles this rod is an ideal entry level beachcaster. Available from as little as £22 from Amazon.
All Round Beachcasters: For a decent all round beachcaster anglers have to be prepared to pay a little more. However, rods in this price category can cast further, handle a wide variety of fishing marks and the build quality will be of a higher standard. These rods are ideal for anglers who want an all-round fishing rod which can handle a range of sea fishing marks. An off the ground casting style will see these rods develop reach the distances they are capable of, while most of them will be able to handle a pendulum cast as well.
- Shakespeare Agility Surf Rods– These rods offer a good combination of quality, casting distance and value. While there is a huge range including bass and travel rods the best choice for all round sea fishing is the 12ft 9ins version which comes in MX (multiplier) or FS (fixed spool) configurations. Both cast 4-8oz and are available for around £65 – £80 from Amazon.
- Sonik SKS Black Shore Rod– This new range of beachcasting rods from Sonik offer very good all round performance for an excellent price. There are 12ft and 13ft versions which cast 4-6oz, and a 14ft version which can handle weights of 5-7oz. These are serious fishing rods able to reach good distances and handle mixed ground, and can also take both multiplier and fixed spool reels. An excellent choice at £65-85.
- Daiwa Theory Beach Rod– Another range which offers a number of different rods ranging from bass rods to long continental rods. Anglers looking for an all round beachcaster will be mostly interested in the 12ft and 13ft versions which both cast 4-8oz and are available in both multiplier and fixed spool configurations. These are excellent all round beachcasters with offer high build quality, and long casting distance with relatively straightforward casting styles making them an excellent choice for anglers looking for a serious fishing rod for fishing a range of different marks and venues.
Bass, Flattie and Estuary Rods: When targeting smaller species such as flounder and plaice, or when using tactics which require subtlety and stealth, many anglers use lighter equipment – usually specialist bass or flatfish rods. These rods are usually 11ft long, rated to cast 2 – 4oz and allow the angler to fish subtly, gently lobbing out carefully presented baits just behind the breakers to catch bass, or fishing in calm estuaries for flatfish. The lightness of these rods means they can be held more comfortably for longer periods, something which is not possible with heavier beachcasters. These rods respond best to a simple overhead cast and most are designed for fixed spool reels, but most would work with small multipliers. Bass rods are very adaptable and can also be used for other types of fishing such as spinning and float fishing.
- Fladen Eco Bass RodFladen Eco Bass Rod– This rod is a great all round bass rod which has everything needed for all-round light fishing around the UK including bait fishing, float fishing and spinning/plugging. This rod is 10ft long and casts up to 150 grams (just over 5oz) and is available in a two section version. Available from Amazon for around £30.
- Shakespeare Agility Bass– This is an ideal rod for anglers looking for a lighter rod which is both sensitive to bites and comfortable to hold all day. This rod is 11ft 6ins long and casts 2 – 4oz. It also comes in three sections which makes it extremely easy to store and transport. Available from Amazon from around £50. A separate flattie version which casts 1 – 3oz is also available.
- Abu Garcia Rocket Bass Rod– This rod is the classic bass rod length of 11ft 6ins and casts the usual 2-4oz. It features Fuji grips, EVA grip and provides anglers with the ideal combination of casting power, lightness and bite detection. It also breaks down into three sections making it easy to store and transport.
Spinning Rods: Dedicated spinning rods are even lighter than bass rods – they are usually 7 – 10ft long, come in two sections and are rated to cast 1 – 2oz. Few experiences can beat hooking a bass or pollock on light spinning gear, and even fishing for the humble mackerel can be great fun on rods this light. Spinning rods are usually paired with fixed spool reels and can also be used to float fish.
- Abu Garcia Devil Spin Range– These are a great range of small spinning rods, ranging from a tiny 5ft 6ins version rated to cast just 10 grams and also includes 7ft, 8ft and 9ft versions which offer increasing levels of casting distance and power. These rods feature excellent build quality for the price, being made with a carbon composite blank and featuring cork handles. Priced between £20 and £35 depending on the version chosen they are superb value for money.
- Shakespeare Beta Spin Range– This range offers everything anglers need to spin for mackerel (as well as species such as bass and pollock) around the British Isles. There are 8ft and 9ft rods which cast up to 80 grams (2¾ oz) and a 10ft version which casts up to 100 grams (3½ oz). A smaller telescopic version is also available.
Other Types of Sea Fishing Rod
Continental Style Rods: Continental rods are longer than standard beachcasters, usually 15 or 16ft in length. They are based on the rods used by European anglers to fish the calm waters of the Mediterranean, and offer lightness and sensitivity as well as extra casting distance due to the additional length. The combination of a Continental style rod and fixed spool reel loaded with braided line is becoming increasingly popular around much of the UK. A detailed article on continental style rods and UK sea fishing, which includes suggested fishing rods, is available by clicking here.
LRF (Light Rock Fishing) Rods: This type of fishing originated in Japan and involves using very small lures to catch mini-species such as gobies, blennies and rockling which anglers may have previously ignored. This type of fishing is growing in popularity all over the UK and there is a full article on LRF available here.
Pier Rods: This type of rod was generally shorter than a beachcaster (usually 9-10ft) and were very stiff and sturdy so that fish could be winched up a pier wall. These days pier rods have faded in popularity and most anglers fishing from a pier simply use a standard beachcaster if they are bait fishing from a pier.
Multi-tip Rods: There are a limited number of sea fishing rods which come with a range of different tips which can be changed depending on the fishing situation. For example they may come with a softer action tip for fishing clean ground, and a stiffer tip section for fishing rough ground. The vast majority of anglers, however, prefer to have a specific rod for each situation.