Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rods and reels: Forget one size fits all

When a customer walks into Dogfish Tackle looking for a rod and reel combo that "will do everything," Dave Bayes begs them to reconsider.

"It's just not going to happen," said Bayes, who has been working in the Seminole-based fishing supply store for 14 years. "You end up buying a combo that is all right for a lot of stuff but not great for anything in particular."

When it comes to saltwater fishing rods and reels, I have some good news and bad news.

First, the bad news: There is no rod and reel combo that will work in every scenario.

If you want to be an all-around angler, count on buying at least a dozen different rods. You will need a grouper rod to fish offshore, a couple of trolling rods for kingfish, a snook stick to reel in those linesiders, and a light-tackle rig to set that 2-pound test world record for spotted sea- trout. And that is just a start.

Now, the good news: Fishing is a sport that you can do from the time you are young until you are old and gray. There's no rush. Start slow. Take it one rod at a time. You have your whole life to buy equipment.

Method to madness

Before you buy a rod and reel, consider what type of fishing you plan to do.

"If you are going to spend 90 percent of your time fishing with artificial lures, then buy a combo designed specifically for artificial lures," Bayes said. "If you want to catch tarpon, then buy a tarpon rod."

But if you are dead set on taking a "generalist" approach, there is an answer. "That is your basic, inshore spinning rod," Bayes said. "That is pretty much all you need to fish the flats around here."

This combo serves as most anglers' introduction to the local flats fishing scene. You don't need a boat to get to some of the best spots. Just grab a pair of old sneakers and start walking along most causeways.

In general, a 6 ½- to 7-foot, medium-action rod rated for 8- to 12-pound test line will work well for an angler who plans to wade, fish from a seawall, dock or boat, where there are few obstructions.

Most rods come in one- or two-piece models. Many veteran anglers prefer one-piece rods because of their superior strength and flexibility. But beginning anglers will find two-piece rods work just as well, and they are easier to transport. A quality inshore rod and reel combination costs around $150, but less expensive models are available.

Bridges, piers and the open water

They don't make a fishing rod that will hook and land everything swimming around a bridge such as the Sunshine Skyway. If you have a heavy rig and are gunning for tarpon, it's doubtful you will hook a kingfish. If you are after kings, slim chance you'll stop a tarpon.

For years, the standard bridge and pier combo was a heavy-duty glass rod and 4/0 reel. An 8-foot rod with 60-pound test is big enough to bring in just about anything.

But today's fishing equipment is more sophisticated. Lighter, stronger materials have allowed for rods and reels to become more specialized. No self-respecting saltwater angler would dare fish for tarpon, kingfish and grouper all with the same rod.

Offshore fishermen typically have one set of rods for trolling, another set for bottom fishing, and yet another set for specialized pursuits such as live-bait kingfishing.

For example, if you want to drag Islander lures or ballyhoo for dolphin and wahoo you might consider buying a Shimano TLD25 ($180) and a 6 ½-foot stand-up trolling rod ($180-$250).

But if you are after grouper, a bottom fishing combo comprised of a Daiwa Sealine 400H ($130) and a Dogfish Stik 15H ($129) will do the trick. This same combo can double as a snapper and amberjack outfit.

If winning a kingfish tournament is your goal, you'll need a live-bait kingfish outfit, such as a Shimano Torium 30 reel ($200) and a matching Tallus rod ($139).

"There are a lot of rods and reels out there," Bayes said. "But the best bet is to go down to your local bait and tackle shop. Tell them what you want to do. Don't be afraid to ask some questions and be prepared to answer a few yourself."

Next month in our Fishing 101 series: sheepshead.

Rods and reels: Forget one size fits all 02/24/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 25, 2011 9:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  3. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  4. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108