While looking around for another surf rod this summer for light tackle spin action on schoolies, cocktail blues, fluke and hopefully a few bonito later this month, I decided to give the Okuma Rockaway Surf 8-footer (RA-S-802MH) a shot. I’m glad I did!
First of all, for under $100 you can’t beat the price. The rod is super light and sensitive, constructed on 24-ton carbon blank with XQ series angled Sea Guide 316-stainless steel frames. Rated for 12- to 20-pound line and 3/4- to 2-ounce lures, this particular 8-foot Rockaway Surf is a good selection for light jigs and tins for summer action.
The tapered shrink tube ‘non-slip’ grips are comfortable for slinging lures, and there’s a rounded EVA butt cap for a little extra leverage when casting. It’s a great rod to match with a 4000 series spinning reel loaded with 20-pound braid; it provided a lot of distance on my casts during my first sessions of testing using a 1-ounce diamond jig on a dozen 3- to 5-pound cocktail blues just over the bar. In fact I may look for a 10-footer to try when going to heavier plugs in the fall to see how it handles larger stripers (a 12-foot model is just $115). In terms of fluke or speedsters, I think the Rockaway Surf rated for 10- to 17-pound line might be more appropriate.
As far as the tip-over-butt ferrule design it’s a pretty snug fit between the top and bottom pieces. Okuma has been developing more products with the Northeast market in mind (The Makaira lever drag reels launched in 2010 for example, followed by the 2016 release of the 30,000 series Makaira spinning reel with 66 pounds of drag), and the Rockaway Surf model fits that mold.
Of course, we can be honest with each another, right? Many surfcasters would rather be caught dead than seen carrying around anything less than a $500 custom one-piece rod (of course, one-piece models of 8 feet or more are harder and harder to come by each day); but I have to say the Okuma Rockaway Surf I’ve been using to start my summer surf sessions is a darn good rod at a simply unbeatable price.
Learn more at okumafishingusa.com.