Surf Fishing Cart Buyer’s Guide and Editor’s Top Picks

surf fishing wagon on beach

Surf fishing is a fantastic way to relax, spend time alone or with friends and family, enjoy the great outdoors and have a terrific time while doing it. Those who take the hobby seriously also know that it can be a huge inconvenience trying to get your gear to your favorite spot on the beach or pier. It can require several trips back and forth to the vehicle just to get the basics for a day of enjoying fishing on the beach. Today’s anglers have a great option to make this task simpler.

A good, durable, surf fishing cart can make reaching your favorite spot easier, with less work. It can also open up the option of trying new places that you may have avoided in the past because they were just too hard to reach with all of your gear. As with any investment in gear that you make, you want a work-horse that will perform well for the job you need it to do. You also want something durable and dependable. 

Beach fishing carts come in sizes and prices to fit almost any fisherman’s needs and budget. Before you start shopping, you need to identify what you really need in a cart. To do that, start with what you consider must-have for a day of surf fishing.

7 Top Surf Cart Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying

1. How Many Surf Rods Will You Be Bringing?

How many rods do you take? For most who surf fish, the minimum number of rods you would head to the beach with would be two. One for catching bait, and your surf pole. Many anglers take several rods for various set-ups. In addition, more hooks in the water increase the odds of catching “The One”.

One caveat about surf carts. The ones I have do not seem to be equipped for large surf poles. So, if you use any poles with a diameter greater than 1.75”, you may have to carry it separately. You can also easily build an additional rod holder out of PVC pipe and attach that to the cart specifically for your large-sized surf pole.

2. How Big Is Your Cooler?

How large is your cooler? Is it usually just you, and you just need a few cold drinks for the day, or do you like to have an assortment of beverages on hand for yourself and your friends and family? The cooler will take up the largest amount of space in most carts, so it is an important consideration.

3. Bringing Bait with You or Catching It?

Do you catch your own bait, or bring it along with you? If you catch your own, you probably use some form of casting net along with a bait pole. You want to make sure your cart has a place for these items. If you bring your own bait, then you will need a separate smaller cooler for fresh bait, or if you have a larger tackle box for artificial baits. The kind of bait you use most frequently is also an important factor in whether a built-in bait station is an important feature on a surf cart.

4. Does the Cart Have Space for Your Other Gear?

What other gear do you bring along? Do you bring rod holders for leaving your line out while you take a break in the shade? How do you keep your catches? Do you clean them right away or do you use your bait cooler until you get home? As a side note, always make sure you are familiar with the fish and wildlife rules and regulations in your area. Some areas do not allow for cleaning while you are still fishing.

5. How Far Is Your Fishing Spot and Type of Terrain?

How far, and over what terrain do you need to take your cart? This is a major consideration. If you drive almost to your fishing spot, and you are just looking for a cart to keep your gear organized and mobile once there then your needs are vastly different than for someone who may have to pull their cart over a half of a mile of deep sand.

Anglers also have to consider different types of terrain such as rock and gravel entrances, piers, and a myriad of other obstacles that you might have to navigate to reach your favorite spot. Generally, the deeper the sand the larger and wider tires are preferred. However, some of the types of wheels may not perform as well over gravel and rock.

6. Beach Cart Wheels: Optimal Type and Number?

The importance of your beach fishing cart wheels (tires) cannot be over-stated. Without good, quality wheels made specifically for use on sand, you are not going to enjoy your time in the surf – at least not the parts that involve getting to your fishing spot and returning to the parking lot after a long day of fishing. 

You’ll see carts with various types of wheels on the beach. There are, on the basics side, plastic tires. Small or big, they are comparatively cheaper (as well as inferior) to other types of surf cart tires. They are popular with budget-type carts. Because of their light plastic construction and usually narrow profile, they do not perform well in soft or loose sand. Pulling a cart with narrow plastic tires through the sand can be work. The wheels are often just dragged, without turning, through the sand.

Next, you have rubber tires. They can be pneumatic (air-inflated, tube or tubeless) or solid rubber (no air). These are a step up from plastic and a very common and durable tire well-suited for all types of terrain. They are more suited, however, for solid surfaces. In sand, especially soft sand, they can get bogged down and stuck when weighed down with heavy loads, making you feel as if you are pulling a sled.

The best wheels for surf carts are those made of polyurethane (poly). These balloon-type beach tires are found on more expensive carts. They are perfectly suited for the sand, even very loose and soft sand, because of their over-sized profile/wider footprint and low-pressure design. They’ll get your cart, with all your stuff, to your spot with less – much less – work involved.

Surf carts actually come in two and four-wheeled configurations. The two-wheeled carts require that you have to lift the front of the cart while you are making your way through the sand. The four-wheeled carts are generally pulled wagon-style from the front. Two-wheeled carts can be pushed or pulled where the four-wheeled models have to be dragged.

There are no four-wheel carts on the ‘best on the market’ list below because they just do not seem as durable, or as functional, as their two-wheeled counterparts. Two-wheeled carts generally have sturdier frames and an overall more rugged design. Four-wheeled carts just do not perform as well on deep sand, or up and down steep inclines (which are seen at many entrances to beaches). Still, it is something to consider, especially if you want your cart to do a lot of double duty for other uses.

7. Is the Cart Comfortable and Easy to Use?

Whatever configuration of cart you choose, making sure you can easily pull the carts without hitting the back of your ankles on the frame. Generally, the taller the person the more of a factor this becomes due to stride length. You want to make sure the cart is comfortable for you to use.

So, make sure that the handle is tall enough that you are not having to pull the cart in an almost completely vertical manner. Also, make sure that the handle isn’t so tall that you have trouble lifting the front of the cart high enough to clear the surfaces you will be traversing.

Now that you have identified the most important jobs your surf cart needs to do, let’s take a look at some of the best fishing carts on the market.


Fish-N-Mate SR Cart

Fish N Mate (No Front Wheels) Sr Cart

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • Weighing in at only 24.7 pounds and made out of corrosive resistant aluminum, this lightweight option gives you plenty of room for a cooler and basic gear weighing up to 200 pounds.
  • It has an attached bait station with a plastic basket. This is perfect for thawing out frozen bait or simply sliding the pieces of cut bait you want to keep into the basket.
  • Great consumer reviews. This one seems to be a favorite among surf fishing enthusiast.
  • Fish-N-Mate has a good reputation for customer service.
  • The design does not have a solid bottom, so everything you take will need to be in buckets, coolers and tackle boxes to avoid falling through the slats.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • It does not come with a cart liner, but one can be purchased separately.
  • Plastic wheels and rubber tires. There are some reports of the wheels warping when exposed to extreme temperatures over time.
Buy Fish-N-Mate Sr Fishing Cart on Amazon


Berkley Collapsible Fishing Cart

Berkley Collapsible, Wheeled Fishing Cart

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • Comes in 2 sizes: regular and jumbo
  • Capable of carrying 200 pounds.
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
  • It has a removable fabric liner to keep small things in the cart.
  • It includes a fold-away bait station and has included slots for knife storage.
  • The collapsible design will make it easy to store when not in use. Many carts claim that they have a collapsible design, but look more like you would have to disassemble them for storage. This cart actually collapses for transport and storage with relative ease.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • The rims for the tires are made of plastic, so I would be cautious about storing it outside, in a trunk, or anywhere else that it would be exposed to extreme temperatures for very long. This cart is budget-friendly, so a little extra attention to storage temperature may well be worth it.
Buy Berkley Collapsible Fishing Cart on Amazon


Fish-N-Mate 310 Lg Cart with Poly Wheels

Fish-N-Mate 310 Lg Cart with Poly Wheels (No Front Wheel)

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • Dual polyurethane wheels make this one of the best beach carts for soft sand and will take care of any concerns regarding temperature extremes. They are also durable and have a great reputation for “floating” over deep sand.
  • The solid durability of the tires might be great if most of your fishing is done or accessed from, gravel drives and roads, or you need to pull your cart across rocky or shell-covered terrain.
  • 200-pound load capacity.
  • Large enough to hold a 72-quart cooler.
  • 8 rod holders provide ample room to take all your favorites with you.
  • Bait station, slots for knives and a ruler are all integrated into the design.
  • The terrific record of customer service can’t be discounted with any Fish-N-Mate product.
  • It comes with a limited lifetime warranty against corrosion.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • The cart does not come with a liner – but has an optional liner you can purchase separately if you are concerned about contents falling through the aluminum slats on the bottom.
Buy Fish-N-Mate 310 Lg Cart with Poly Wheels on Amazon


Berkley Sportsman’s Pro Cart

Berkley Sportsman's Pro Cart

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • This compact design comes in smaller than the other carts on the list, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking in features or quality design.
  • It has four-rod holders.
  • A bait cutting board.
  • A built-in seat capable of holding up to 300 pounds. The top of the cart does double duty as a place to rest in between great catches, or maybe if you are just a little out of shape for the long trek to your favorite fishing spot. 
  • The cart is enclosed in durable fabric to protect your gear.
  • It also weighs in at just a little over 20 pounds, making it lightweight and versatile. This cart makes a great option if you don’t need to carry as much gear.  It would also do easy double duty for things like camping trips, baseball fields, and wherever else you might need a cart to lug your basic necessities.
  • A side zipper means that you don’t have to access everything from the top.
  • You could place a small cooler on top, secured with a bungee cord.
  • This is one of the most budget-friendly options on the list.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • Small plastic tires may not be ideal for long distances in soft sand
Buy Berkley Sportsman’s Pro Surf Cart on Amazon


Muscle Carts Fish and Marine Cart

Muscle Carts HDBC-Blue Fish and Marine Cart, 27" Height, 40

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • This cart can handle a whopping 220-pounds of gear.
  • Polyurethane tires that seem to be a favorite among consumers, handling both rough terrain and deep sand. As an added bonus, the tires are 7”, making it easier to pull heavy loads across various surfaces. 
  • It comes with a heavy-duty liner to keep your things in the cart.
  • You get 5 built-in aluminum rod holders. 
  • A wide stabilizer footprint should help keep your cart from sinking into the sand.
  • If you take a lot of gear, and the bait station is not an important need, then this makes a good mid-range cart for consideration.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • Plastic wheels (not tires) could be a drawback because they could crack or warp over time. That said, they are immune to corrosion that is always a problem around saltwater.
  • The bait station is an additional purchase.
Buy Muscle Carts Fish and Marine Cart on Amazon


Sea Striker BRSC-DLX Beach Runner Deluxe

Sea Striker BRSC-DLX Beach Runner Deluxe Fishing Cart with Pneumatic Wheels

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • Lightweight plastic rims and pneumatic tires.
  • Powder-coated finish to resist corrosion.
  • Seven-rod holders.
  • The ability to hold a 54-quart cooler.
  • It also has a taller handle. This is an advantage for taller people or those with bad backs as you are not having to bend over to lift the handle.
  • Assembly tools included for fast, easy setup.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • It does not have a bait station or a liner for keeping your smaller items inside the cart.
  • The tire size may be a little small for the size of the cart making it harder to pull in deep sand.
Buy Sea Striker BRSC-DLX Beach Runner Fishing Cart on Amazon


Sea Striker BRSC Beach Runner Fishing and Beach Cart

Sea Striker BRSC Beach Runner Fishing and Beach Cart

See more cart details on Amazon

Key Cart Features:

  • A more scaled-down and budget-friendly version of the Sea Striker Deluxe Cart, this one also has 7 rod holders.
  • It also has a powder-coated finish that should help avoid corrosion.
  • This one holds a 54-quart cooler as well, but with smaller overall dimensions, you are not going to have room for much else if you go with a cooler of this size.
  • It says it breaks down for easy storage and transport, but in looking at the design, I think it would require tools to break it down. I suppose it depends on your personal definition of “easy”. 
  • It is among the most budget-friendly carts on the list.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • It does not come with a liner.
  • It does not come with a bait station.
  • Plastic tires could bog down in soft sand with a heavy load
Buy Sea Striker BRSC Beach Runner Fishing and Beach Cart on Amazon


Final Thoughts: Surf Fishing Cart Maintenance

Surf fishing carts remind me of the classic wheels on a suitcase scenario: how did it take so long for the fishing community to decide these were a good idea? Whatever choice you make, remember that these are another piece of fishing gear and will require maintenance to keep them in top working order. Follow these simple steps to keep your cart in great working condition:

  • Rinse off salt and sand when your trip is over.
  • Re-tighten any loose nuts and bolts.
  • Many anglers use Rustoleum clear spray on their carts to add an extra layer of protection against corrosion.
  • Keep tire pressures correct on pneumatic tires, and store it out of the elements if possible.
  • You might also want to consider having a patch kit and a small hand pump stored with the rest of your gear. Happy fishing, everyone.

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About Dorado

John Pardal, aka Dorado, is the editor as well as an author for Reel Adventure Fishing. He has fished extensively up and down the U.S. Atlantic coast, throughout much of Florida and a bit of the Caribbean. John loves writing about all aspects of sportfishing and is passionate about conservation and promoting sustainable fishing.

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