Best Spinning Rods for Inshore Fishing

Budget-friendly spinning rods for inshore fishing.

new inshore spinning rods
Your new favorite inshore spinning rod doesn’t have to break the budget. Check out the affordable options below.Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com

A go-to inshore spinning rod doesn't have to break the budget, but it might take a bit of sleuthing to find the right one. To be clear, there will always be a strong correlation between rod price and quality; anglers can expect a $250 or $300 inshore rod to incorporate exceptional components and a primo blank. The trick is to find a lower-priced rod ($160 or less) with many of the same qualities that are found in the best spinning rods available. In fact, more than one rod maker has told me the benefits in more expensive rods actually plateau at a certain point.

"Higher-priced saltwater spinning rods often have a higher graphite content when compared with lower-priced rods with fiberglass or a combination of graphite and fiberglass," says Stephen Britt, senior product manager for Penn fishing rods. "A higher-priced rod with a blank composed primarily of graphite often will be lighter, have a thinner-diameter blank and be more sensitive. The fiberglass rod most likely will be heavier but offer greater durability than a high-graphite-content blank."

Luckily, the same saltwater spinning rod makers that produce the most expensive and best saltwater spinning rods on the market also meticulously design and build inexpensive models.

"If properly cared for, less-expensive rods can last the angler most of their lifetime," says Bruce Holt, of G.Loomis. "The life of the components is probably shorter than that of the blank, but sticking with high-quality components extends their life as well."

Seaguar and redfishing
A fast-action rod bends mostly in the top third of the blank, especially evident during a cast. The pressure of a straining fish (above) can cause the rod to give further.Sam Hudson / sportfishingmag.com

To explore some top options for affordable inshore fishing rods that handle 10- or 15-pound braided line comfortably, we reviewed the market for the best spinning rods for the money. These are the best rods for trout. These are the best rods for redfish. Understand that several of the best spinning rods listed below are rated higher, for 15- to 30-pound-test, and others are rated lower at 6- to 12-pound-test or 8- to 15-pound-test. Still, we picked these rod options because they fall into the nearshore- and inshore-spinning-rod category that's popular along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts.

1. 13 Fishing Omen Green
2. Daiwa Back Bay
3. Fenwick Elite Tech Inshore
4. Okuma Fishing Tackle Shadow Stalker
5. Penn Battalion
6. Quantum Smoke Inshore
7. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Inshore Select
8. Shimano GLF
9. St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore
10. Star Rods Sequence

Throughout this guide, you might notice terms like “fast action” or “medium power.” Most anglers know these terms, but some might appreciate a quick refresher. The action, or taper, of the rod indicates how much bend is in the rod tip. A fast-action rod bends in the top third of the blank; medium action often bends in the top half of the rod, and slow action may incorporate bend throughout the majority of the rod.

Rod power, sometimes called backbone, refers to a stick’s lifting power. The power of the rod works in conjunction with the line weight of the rod. Fishing a grass flat with no structure might entail light line and little power in a rod, but casting near heavy structure, such as a jetty or pier, requires heavier line and more power to force hooked fish away from tangles.

"Higher-end rods can be lighter in weight and more sensitive, but they need to be babied, as they can be fragile," says Okuma's John Bretza. Consider the rod options below to find your blue-collar spinning-rod workhorse.

Check out these affordable inshore spinning rods for $160 or less.

13 Fishing Omen Green

13 Fishing Omen Green
Omen Green (OG2S72MH)Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com
  • Length: 7 feet 2 inches
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 20-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 4.9 ounces

Overview: The Omen Green was designed to be a long-casting, fast-loading rod with a smooth yet powerful taper capable of delivering accurate casts to anything an inshore angler might encounter. Key components include Japanese 30-ton Toray graphite, poly vector graphite construction, Alps 316 stainless-steel guides with zirconia inserts and Portuguese cork. A unique hook keeper is completely snagless and prevents the line from catching during a cast.

Daiwa Back Bay

Daiwa Back Bay (BB76MHXS)
Daiwa Back Bay (BB76MHXS)Daiwa
  • Length: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Extra Fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 20-pound-test

Overview: Daiwa's Back Bay series of inshore spinning and casting rods were designed for fishing East Coast's many inshore back bays. These spinning rods were designed with heavier power ratings to allow both live bait fishing and casting lures. Features include light and sensitive extra-fast blanks with backbone, one-piece cork handle and FAZ LITE ring guides.

Fenwick Elite Tech Inshore

Fenwick Elite Tech Inshore (ETIN70M-FS)
Elite Tech Inshore (ETIN70M-FS)Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 30-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 4.8 ounces

Overview: Fenwick's Elite Tech Inshore rod series starts with a high-modulus blank and skeletonized Fuji reel seat. High-grade cork handles give each rod a comfortable nonslip grip finish. Deep-pressed titanium guides help eliminate inserts from popping out. The Elite Tech Inshore rod series incorporates 10 different models.

Okuma Epixor Inshore

Okuma Epixor
Okuma Epixor (EPI-S-761H)Okuma
  • Length: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Power: Heavy
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Line Weight: 15- to 30-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 15- to 30-pound-test

Overview: Okuma's Epixor rods feature 30/36-Ton carbon, ultra-light, slim and balanced blanks and unique use of Bopp (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene) blank protect film from damage during use and transportation. Other features include Seaguide XO anti-tangle 316-stainless steel guides, Zirconium guides inserts and ergonomic touch blank reel seats.

Penn Battalion

Penn Battalion (BATIN1017S70)
Battalion (BATIN1017S70)Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Extra fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 30-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 5.1 ounces

Overview: The one-piece, 30-ton 100 percent graphite blank is incredibly sensitive in Penn's Battalion lightweight inshore rods, providing flex, sensitivity and pulling power. Seventeen inshore spinning models range in length from 6 feet 6 inches to 8 feet. Extra-light, light, medium-light and medium rods feature split and full-cork grips with a Fuji skeleton reel seat. To optimize casting distances, spinning models feature Fuji SV or Y stainless-steel frames with aluminum-oxide inserts.

Quantum Smoke Inshore

Smoke Inshore S3 PT (SMSI765F)
Smoke Inshore S3 PT (SMSI765F)Quantum
  • Length: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 8- to 14-pound-test

Overview: Building on the success of their current Smoke Inshore rod series, Quantum's S3 (Series Three) family of products is full of PT technology. The HSX64 graphite construction this blank is a special blend of premium Toray graphite for strength, sensitivity, durability and action for Inshore applications. Premium components like Fuji SK2 reel seat and our exclusive PT Guide System provides the perfect placement and size of aluminum oxide guides for ultimate performance.

Ugly Stik Inshore Select

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Inshore Select (USISSP701MH)
Ugly Stik Inshore Select (USISSP701MH)Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 25-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 7.8 ounces

Overview: Ugly Stik's Inshore Select series rods include Ugly Tech technology and Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless-steel guides for increased toughness and dependability under saltwater conditions. Offered with full-cork grips, in five spinning models, all rods retail for just $60. The tapered actions cast artificial or live bait with equal ease.

Shimano GLF

Shimano GLF Spinning (GLFS76M)
Shimano GLF Spinning (GLFS76M)Shimano
  • Length: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 8- to 14-pound-test

Overview: Shimano's GLF inshore rods, a series of four casting and four spinning rods, were built to catch speckled trout, redfish, flounder and other coastal Gulf species. Made with 24- and 30-ton carbon blanks and featuring a Titanium Oxide semi-micro guide train, the split-grip GLF rods have comfortable cork mid grips, high-density EVA front and rear grips, along with Shimano custom reel seats.

St. Croix Mojo Inshore (MIS70MF)
Mojo Inshore (MIS70MF)Zach Stovall / sportfishingmag.com
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 8- to 17-pound-test
  • Rod Weight: 4.9 ounces

Overview: The St. Croix Mojo Inshore MIS70MF is a medium-power, fast-action blank designed with St. Croix's popular SCII graphite. All spinning rods measure 7 feet or 7 feet 6 inches. Features include a Fuji DPS reel seat, hard aluminum-oxide guides with corrosion-resistant frames, premium-grade cork handles and a five-year warranty. "The fast-action design is best suited for fishing artificials, including soft plastics, on ¼- to ½-ounce jig heads, poppers, walk-the-dog baits, popping or rattling corks, weighted paddle tails and spoons," says Jeff Schluter, St. Croix's vice president of brand management.

Star Rods Sequence Spinning
Star Rods Sequence Spinning (SKT1020S77)Star Rods
  • Length: 7 feet, 7 inches
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Line Weight: 10- to 20-pound-test

Overview: Star Sequence rods feature an extra layer of graphite for added strength and durability in a fast-action taper. The inshore series features cushion cork grip. All rods in this series feature quality Fuji components including Fuji K-guides.