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Penn Battalion Surf Rod Review

Penn Battalion Surf Rod Review

If you’re looking to hit the surf for some great fishing, but you’re unsure where to turn for your next rod, you’ll benefit a lot from this Penn Battalion Surf Rod Review.

The Penn Battalion is an excellent surf rod that is moderately priced yet still packed full of features that will help you tackle those tough surf fishing situations. 

Penn is a big name in the fishing world, and they’ve been cranking out great products since 1932. We respect Penn tremendously for their rods and reels, and there aren’t too many products they come out with that don’t impress us. 

The Bottom Line

  • An excellent value for a medium priced surf rod.
  • Great strength and sensitivity
  • Perfect for heavier bait and large, heavy plugs
  • Quality construction throughout.

The Penn Battalion Surf Rod is a great rod and is available HERE.

The Penn Battalion is a step up from the Penn Prevail surf spinning rod that is priced about $40-60 cheaper, but it also lacks in some of the outstanding features that we love about this rod. 

Let’s take a look at some of the things that impress us the most about the Penn Battalion surf rod.

First, let’s take a look at the blank that the Penn Battalion surf rod is built on. It’s made of a graphite composite material, which means there is a mixture of graphite and fiberglass. The rod is 70% graphite with 30% fiberglass. This combination is ideal because it provides you with the perfect mix of power, strength, and lightweight performance. 

The graphite is lightweight and sensitive, which helps you feel the bite on such a large surf rod. The fiberglass helps complete the rod with the strength and power you’ll need to pull fish through the surf and over the sandbars . 

Next, we’re looking at the gripping ability of this rod when you’re battling a fish. The grips are a rubber shrink tube material, which is ideal for surf rods.

The shrink tubes are durable, they maximize performance on the rod, and they are easy to grip when your hands get wet and slippery from your last catch in the surf. You won’t have to worry about losing your grip and compromising your retrieval with the Penn Battalion surf rod.


2 piece graphite composite blank – This rod features a 2-piece graphite composite blank. It incorporates the best of both worlds. With the Battalion, you get the strength and durability of a fiberglass rod (30%) with the sensitivity of a graphite rod (70%).

The rod comes in two pieces, which is optimal for transportation and protection. I generally keep my 12′ Penn Battalion surf rod tucked behind the rear seat of my pickup so I am always ready when the opportunity presents itself.

Fuji® aluminum oxide guides – The stainless steel structure of the guides are strong and durable. They’re made with aluminum oxide, which allows for the line to smoothly run through each guide without too much friction. These aluminum oxide guides provide smooth retrievals and casts for both mono and braided lines. 

Fuji® reel seat – The seat on this reel is durable, strong, and lightweight. It’s made with Fuji’s DPS material in black and encompasses stainless steel hoods for security and stiffness. You want something that won’t move around or shift during each cast and the Fuji reels seat has a proven track record of performance.

Rubber shrink tube handles – One of the most outstanding features of this surf rod is the rubber shrink tube handles. These handles provide the maximum amount of grip during wet and slippery conditions.

When you’re fishing the surf, you’re bound to get wet at one point or another and if you are having a good day, you are bound to get plenty of fish slime on your rods handle.  To ensure that you maintain a solid grip on the rod regardless of the conditions, Penn has used this material, which is both durable and long-lasting over the life of the rod.

 Features at a Glance

  • 2 piece graphite composite blank
  • Fuji® stainless steel and aluminum oxide guides
  • Fuji® DPS reel seats
  • Rubber shrink tube handles for superior grip

So, at this point, you might be wondering if this is the right rod for you. If you’re asking yourself who this rod is for, let me help you answer that question.

First, if you’re an occasional surf angler who doesn’t care too much about options and features, you might prefer to go for a cheaper option like the Penn Prevail surf rod, read the full review HERE

Secondly, if you plan on taking your surf fishing game seriously, you could even step it up a notch to the Penn Carnage II surf rod. This one has a spiral graphite construction and has higher end Fuji K guides with titanium frames and alconite inserts. The Penn Carnage II is the top-of-the line surf rod from Penn. 

So the Penn Battalion surf rod is perfect for the fisherman or fisherwoman who fishes on a regular basis and wants gear that is going to perform without having to break the bank.

For spinning rod applications, you might want to pair the Penn Battalion with the Penn Spinfisher VI or the Penn Slammer III. Each of these reels are of the highest quality, and they pair perfectly with the Penn Battalion for surfcasting. Typically, I would be fishing a 10′-12′ surf rod and I would pair it with a 4500 or 6500 size reel for most circumstances.

There are 11 different models of the Penn Battalion, with seven of them being spinning rods and 4 being conventional rods. The sizes range from 8 feet to 12 feet for some of the casting rods. For the most part, these are medium- to heavy-power rods.

The heavier the power of the rod, the larger fish you will be able to handle.  Learn how to choose a fishing rod HERE.

Field Test

I paired the BATSF2040S12 12′ spinning rod and put it into action with the Penn Spinfisher VI 6000. I loaded this front drag reel with 350 yards of 30-pound braid, and I was ready to hit the water. Let me tell you how thankful I was that the rod comes in two pieces because I had my wife’s small Toyota Corolla and there is no way I’d be able to fit a 12-foot rod in that car easily. 

Where I was surf fishing, there was a ton of brusj along the shore so I decided to use one of my favorite lures from my friend Crazy Alberto Knie’s company, Tactical Anglers Jr. BombPopper so I could get out to where all the fish were stacked up. With the combination of this 12-foot rod and a medium weight topwater lure, I was able to cast extremely far and right where I wanted.

The combination of graphite and fiberglass in the construction of the rod allowed me to really load up the rod and just launch the lure every time without a lot of effort.

That afternoon, the Spanish were running heavy, and I was able to easily fish all afternoon with the lightweight rod. The rod was very comfortable and the rod seat provided a very secure attachment for my Penn Spinfisher reel.

I always feel like the Fuji reel seats allow for you to feel the bite much easier.  The Fuji guides also seem to allow the heavier braided line to flow smoothly from the spool on all my casts.

Throughout the day, I landed a number of spannish in the 18″-26″ range.  Later in the evening, as the sun was starting to set, I was able to get a few reds to take the topwater.  If you have ever had a redfish smash a topwater lure, then you know just how much fun that is.


  • Lightweight and durable surf rod
  • Great for beginners and experts
  • Affordably priced


  • Features don’t stand out much from the Penn Prevail II


If the Penn Battalion doesn’t seem like the right surf rod for you, don’t worry because there are plenty of other options out there. First, let’s take a look at the Penn Prevail. This rod is a step down from the Battalion in price, but it doesn’t step down too much in features. 

The Prevail still comes in a two-piece graphite composite blank with rubber shrink tube handles. It also has aluminum oxide and stainless steel guides. Cutting the price nearly in half is starting to look good. For the Complete Penn Prevail Surf Rod review, CLICK HERE

If I wanted to stay with the Penn brand and I wanted a slightly nicer rod, more sensitive, and with slightly higher-end components such as titanium guides and an EVA-backed, shrink wrapped handle, then I would suggest you take a look at the Penn Carnage II surf rod.

Our last comparison and one of my favorites, is the St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rods. These are premium SCII carbon fiber graphite with lightweight zirconium guides, Fuji DPS reel seats and an xwrap cork tape handle. St. Croix rods are engineered to last, and we love them here at Salted Angler. The price of the St. Croix is about 50% more than the Penn Battalion but we think it is worth it for a hand crafted rod.

In Conclusion

The Penn Battalion brings a lot to the table, and overall, I love this rod. I think it’s incredibly comfortable, easy to fish with, and it pairs well with a couple of different reels like the Penn Spinfisher VI or the Penn Slammer III.

The main issue I have is that I can’t see a significant difference between the Battalion and the Prevail for the additional price if you are an average person fishing only once or twice a  month. 

While there may not be much difference between the two, the superior Fuji guides and reel seat do make a difference if you fish on a regular basis and are going to be putting the rod through its paces day in and day out.

In conclusion, this is a very good rod for the price and you would not be disappointed to add it to your fishing arsenal.