Best Spinning Rods For Inshore Fishing: 2021 Buyers Guide

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: 13 Fishing Omen Black (click to see)
“The Omen Black is incredibly lightweight and balanced, has a full cork handle for comfort, and is durable enough to last you for years. It might be what every inshore angler is looking for.”

Best Premium Option: St. Croix Mojo Inshore Fishing Rod (click to see)
“The St. Croix Mojo has an EVA and cork handle, which makes it incredibly comfortable for long days of casting. It is made from premium SCII carbon and is double-coated in a slow-cure resin for durability.”

Best Budget Option: Berkley Inshore Spinning Rod (click to see)
“The Berkley Rod has a split handle which helps reduce weight and balance out the rod. It’s a great option for any fisherman who spends long days on the water but wants a rod on a budget.”

Check Other Inshore Spinning Rods

Fishing the bays, inlets, grass flats, and near-shore waters brings with it some of the best and most accessible sport fishing in the world. But to get the most out of your experience, you need great fishing rods to handle the fierce sportfish you’ll encounter. 

Your fishing rods should have comfortable grips and be lightweight, making them feel good in your hands when using them. In addition, it should be responsive, sensitive, and flexible to feel bites and throw pinpoint casts where you want them. 

You have many inshore spinning rods to choose from, but not all of them are up to the challenge. In this guide, we’ll go over the seven we rated the best, so you can make an informed buying decision for your next inshore spinning rod.

Sources researched
13
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,269
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
7
Products tested
Product Name
Best for Most Anglers
Best Budget Option
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
13 FISHING - Omen Black - 6'7" M Spinning Rod (Full Grip Handle) - OB3S67M-FG
St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod
Berkley INSHORE Spinning,7.6-Feet/Medium-Heavy
Our Grade
Our Rating 96/100
Our Rating 92/100
Our Rating 88/100
Feature 1
Full cork handle for comfort
EVA and cork handle is incredibly comfortable
Split-grip cork-wrapped handle for comfort and balance
Feature 2
Incredibly lightweight and balanced rod
5-year warranty
The super-strong graphite rod blank
Best for Most Anglers
Product Name
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
13 FISHING - Omen Black - 6'7" M Spinning Rod (Full Grip Handle) - OB3S67M-FG
Our Grade
Our Rating 96/100
Feature 1
Full cork handle for comfort
Feature 2
Incredibly lightweight and balanced rod
Best Premium Option
Our Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
EVA and cork handle is incredibly comfortable
Feature 2
5-year warranty
Best Budget Option
Our Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Berkley INSHORE Spinning,7.6-Feet/Medium-Heavy
Our Grade
Our Rating 88/100
Feature 1
Split-grip cork-wrapped handle for comfort and balance
Feature 2
The super-strong graphite rod blank

Best Inshore Spinning Rods 2021

  1. Best Overall: 13 Fishing Omen Black
  2. Best Premium Option: St. Croix Mojo Inshore Fishing Rod
  3. Best Budget Option: Berkley Inshore Spinning Rod
  4. Classic Rod: Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
  5. Overlooked Powerhouse: Fenwick HMX Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Rod
  6. Best Light Option: Daiwa Saltist Coastal Inshore Spinning Rod
  7. Best Travel Option: Okuma Citrix Travel Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black

Best for Most Anglers: Fantastic balance, sensitivity, and durability make it an excellent choice for any inshore angler.

13 FISHING - Omen Black - 6'7' M Spinning Rod (Full Grip Handle) - OB3S67M-FG
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KEY FEATURES

  • Custom reel seat
  • Full cork handle for comfort
  • Incredibly lightweight and balanced rod

The Omen Black is a fantastic option for an inshore rod, thanks to its ridiculous sensitivity and balance. The medium-action rods will handle any fish you can hook inshore and are durable enough to last you for years. They’re a perfect option for any inshore fishermen, and you won’t have to break the bank to get your hands on one.

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Rod Specifications

This inshore spinning rod checks in at 6’7’’, with a medium action and stainless steel rod guide. Each guide has a zirconium insert to keep your rod moving smoothly through them without rusting in salt water, and the action is excellent for medium-range casting. It features a full grip handle made from high-quality cork material and a proprietary reel seat to lock in your reel.

The rod blank is made from 36-ton Japanese graphite and only weighs 5.9 ounces. So you won’t have any trouble carrying the rod around all day, and the low weight and balance make it smooth to cast. 

What Makes It Stand Out

What makes it the best inshore spinning rods is its balance and sensitivity. They feel good in your hands, move through the air smoothly, and let your line out through the guides without catching at all. Also, while listed as a medium action rod, they tend to be a little stiffer than others, making them better at casting than other medium action inshore spinning rods.

St. Croix Mojo Inshore Fishing Rod

Best Premium Option: Perfect balance and sensitivity to feel any nibble that comes along.

St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod
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KEY FEATURES

  • Ultimate sensitivity
  • EVA and cork handle is incredibly comfortable
  • 5-year warranty

St. Croix has a history of making high-quality fishing rods. The Mojo Inshore Rod is designed specifically with inshore fishing in mind, from its weight to its action and flex, the rod is a great option for any fisherman who picks it up. As soon as you do, you’ll know how great this rod feels in your hands.

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Rod Specifications

With a length of 7’6’’ and weighing in at 4.1 ounces, the Mojo Inshore is easy to handle and great for long days of casting. The handle is wrapped in an EVA foam and cork combination that stands up to saltwater and feels good in your hands.

The rod blank is made from premium SCII carbon and is double-coated in a slow-cure resin to make sure it’s plenty durable. These inshore fishing rods have a medium/fast action, making them great for zipping lures into tight spots around grass or mangroves while still retaining plenty of flex for hard fights like snook and redfish.

What Makes It Stand Out

St. Croix rods will always stand out thanks to how light and sensitive their rod blanks are. In addition, their rods tend to exude quality. From the excellent balance, great sensitivity, and comfortable handles to its five-year warranty and years of success, St. Croix is the best inshore spinning rods for any angler, and the Mojo Inshore is no exception.

Berkley Inshore Spinning Rod

Best Budget Option: A comfortable rod you can cast all day.

Berkley INSHORE Spinning,7.6-Feet/Medium-Heavy
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KEY FEATURES

  • Split-grip cork-wrapped handle for comfort and balance
  • The super-strong graphite rod blank
  • Ergonomically shaped handle

The Berkley Inshore Spinning Rod is one of the most comfortable-to-use rods you can find. The lightweight rod features a very comfortable handle which is perfect for long days casting lures. It’s a great option for any fisherman who spends long days on the water but wants a rod on a budget.

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Rod Specifications

The rod’s length comes in at 6’6’’, making it a little on the short side, but its medium/light action more than makes up for its shorter length when it comes to casting. The biggest draws of the inshore spinning rod are its price and comfortable handle.

The inshore spinning rod has a split handle which helps reduce weight and balance out the rod, giving you a fulcrum point when casting. The rubberized cork wrapping feels great under your hands and won’t crack or peel in the salt. It also has an ergonomic reel seat that comfortably lines up your reel with where you’ll be keeping your hands.

What Makes It Stand Out

Like we’ve said, the spinning rod is incredibly comfortable to use, easy on your hands, and comes at a pretty low price for the quality. It also has nine guides on the rod, which is more than average, but this contributes to its ability to feed line out much smoother than other rods and with less line twist.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

The Tried and True Classic: Ugly Stik has made solid and durable rods on a budget for a long time, and the Elite is no exception.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc
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KEY FEATURES

  • Clear Tip for extra strength and visibility
  • One-piece guides remove insert pop-out issues
  • Cork handle and graphite blend blank

Ugly Stik rods are a great choice for anglers who want a durable rod on a budget. The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is strong, light, and plenty sensitive, making it a great inshore rod. Like their other rods, the Elite is also backed by a 7-year warranty from Ugly Stik.

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Rod Specifications

The Elite stands at an even 7 foot in length, with a medium/heavy action. It’s plenty flexible for tough fights but still has enough backbone to cast long distances. It has one-piece guides, removing the need for inserts and the worry that they can come out. As with nearly all Ugly Stik rods, it features their Clear Tip design that adds strength, sensitivity, and visibility to your rod.

This inshore spinning rod is heavier than others on the list, but it is a graphite blend instead of full graphite. The Elite gets the best out of both worlds, blending graphite and fiberglass to make a durable yet sensitive rod. 

What Makes It Stand Out

The biggest standout for the Elite is its durability at a low price. The spinning rod is plenty strong and will take a beating, even to the point that without maintenance, it’s made to last. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for anglers who want a workhorse of a rod, and it’s backed by Ugly Stik’s 7-year warranty as well. 

Fenwick HMX Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Rod

The Overlooked Powerhouse: Steelhead rods make perfect inshore rods thanks to their action, sensitivity, and rod power. 

Fenwick HMX Spinning Fishing Rod, 6'6' - Light - 2pcs
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KEY FEATURES

  • Resin blank keeps the rod light
  • Tapered cork handles fit the hands nicely
  • Fast action is ideal for casting

Salmon and steelhead rods are often overlooked along the coasts where these fish aren’t common, but the sheer power and action of the rods make them an ideal choice in an inshore rod. The Fenwick HMX Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Fishing Rod is a great choice thanks to its sensitivity and overall durable construction.

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Rod Specifications

The inshore spinning rod itself is 6’6’’ with an extra fast action, bending very close to the rod tip. The reel seat is made from a combination of hardwood and aluminum, giving it a stylish yet strong base for your reel. 

The handle is made from tapered cork and fits nicely into your hands, stopping them where you want them to be. The rods are made from a custom resin that keeps them lightweight, durable, and extra strong. 

What Makes It Stand Out

The HMX stands out primarily because the rod blank reacts to casting and fish on the line. It’s extra stiff while allowing for flexibility with a fish on the line, giving you fantastic casting and feel in your hands.

Daiwa Saltist Coastal Inshore Spinning Rod

A great light-action option: Lighter-power rods are great for getting a good fight out of smaller inshore species.

Daiwa STIN70MLXS Saltist Inshore Spinning Rod, 7' Length, 1Piece Rod, Medium/Light Power, Extra Fast Action
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KEY FEATURES

  • Extra light for better fights on smaller fish
  • Fast action lends itself to distance casting
  • Hybrid handle feels great in your hands

Some anglers target smaller fish but still want a good fight, and with many rods, it’s easy to overpower the fish and lose that thrill. Not so with the Daiwa Saltist Rod, as its medium-light power is perfect for anglers targeting slot redfish, trout, and other smaller species on the backwaters. 

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Rod Specifications

This 7’ spinning rod has an extra fast action that is great for distance casting, while it retains a medium-light power that won’t overpower smaller fish. It’s got aluminum oxide guide eyes that won’t corrode due to saltwater and is made from a high carbon count graphite material that keeps the rod weight low.

The handle is made from an EVA and cork blend that feels great in your hands and stands up to being wet and salty. The weight of this inshore spinning rod is distributed evenly, giving it outstanding balance and sensitivity.

What Makes It Stand Out

The rod’s fantastic durability and sensitivity only help make it an easy choice for anglers who aren’t after monster fish. The spinning rod may have an extra fast option, but it has a lower power. Meaning, it can cast a mile, but it won’t overwhelm the smaller fish you hook into and let you get a better fight out of them.


Okuma Citrix Travel Rod

Best Travel Option: Fish while away from your home without the hassle of carrying and protecting a one-piece longer rod.

Okuma Citrix Travel Rod 4pc Spinning 6' 6in ML W/Case
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KEY FEATURES

  • 4-piece rod is great for packing on trips
  • Graphite blank keeps weight low
  • It comes with a tube for travel storage

Travel rods get a bad rap because many of them are quite simply junk. Unlike those though, the Okuma Citrix is made from high-quality materials, meaning you won’t be sacrificing quality for portability. This rod is ideal for anglers who get the inshore fishing itch when they’re out traveling around

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Rod Specifications

This inshore spinning rod comes in four pieces, which, when assembled, make the rod 6’6’’. It is incredibly light, thanks to the blank being made entirely from graphite. In addition, it features stainless steel guide frames with zirconium inserts and a custom reel seat made to reduce weight.

The handle is made from EVA materials and is split to reduce weight further. It even comes with a convenient travel tube for storing it when on the go. 

What Makes It Stand Out

The best thing about this rod is how portable it is. It’s easy to take on vacations or trips with you, and thankfully you won’t be sacrificing quality for this portability. It stands up with the others on this list in terms of overall quality, with an extra ability to fit in a duffel bag.

What To Look For When Buying An Inshore Rod

Sensitivity

Many of the fish you’ll be targeting can have some tricky bites to detect when it comes to inshore fishing. Flounder, for example, may grab your lure without pulling it and chew on it a minute before they swallow it. Therefore, you want a rod with plenty of sensitivity so you can detect even the tiniest nibble on the end.

Some fish like trout and redfish will smash your lure, and you’ll definitely feel it, but some like to play around with it first. If you aren’t sight casting and you’re throwing some exploratory casts into promising areas, you want extra sensitivity to feel any test nibbles that will tell you a fish is in the area.

Comfort

One of the biggest things to consider when buying an inshore rod is how comfortable it is to use. You’re going to be carrying the rod around a lot and making hundreds of casts a day (if you tend to fish more than an hour or two).

Lightweight rods with comfortable handles are best for this, as it takes less out of you to continually cast them. The same is true when it comes to how well the rod is balanced or how well the weight of the rod is distributed. Finally, it should feel smooth in the casting motion and not slide around in your hands even when wet.

You’ll also want to consider what kind of handle wrapping the rod has. Cork and EVA handles are usually very comfortable, offer solid grip, and are durable in the face of saltwater. Try to avoid squishy foam, as these will soak up water and mildew themselves to death.

Also, make sure to pair your rod with an appropriately sized inshore spinning reel for maximum effectiveness!

Action

Most anglers will recognize what we mean when we talk about the action of a rod, but we’ll do a quick refresher just in case. The rod’s action refers to how it bends and flexes in the rod tip and is usually denoted by fast, medium, or slow.  

Typically, a fast action rod bends in the top third of the rod, a medium action rod bends at around the halfway point of the rod, and a slow action typically distributes bend throughout the rod. Therefore, mixtures of terms such as medium/fast mean an in-between point between the two types of a bend. 

While the action in many cases comes down to an angler’s personal preference, fast actions and medium/fast actions are the most popular for inshore fishing. This is because they typically are more sensitive and give a more accurate cast than slower actions.

Materials

Most rod blanks are made from either graphite or fiberglass. Graphite rods are incredibly light, more sensitive than other rods, and have a thinner diameter. On the other hand, a fiberglass rod will be much heavier than a graphite one, offering slightly better durability.

You’ll generally want to go with a graphite rod, even though they tend to be a bit more expensive. This is just because of how much you’ll be casting and how much you’ll be carrying the rod around. The lighter weight also lends to being better balanced, and the lighter rods will tire you out much slower than heavier ones.

Questions & Answers

What are common species to catch inshore?

Redfish, trout, snook, pompano, tarpon, striped bass, and flounder are popular inshore fish to target. Many of them spend time in and around mangroves, grass flats, boating channels, and estuaries that are all easily accessible. In addition, all kinds of gamefish can be caught inshore.

What size reels go best on inshore rods?

For the most part, you can use any spinning reel you like for inshore fishing. However, if you want more of a challenge, try using smaller 3000 size reels to get a better fight out of the fish you’re after. Of course, if you target larger fish like tarpon, you’re going to need to use much larger and stronger reels around the 8000 size.