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AllAboutThatBass

Help me pick a rod type for my next rod/arsenal

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So with all the summer closeouts going on I've been debating grabbing a new rod. I'd like to stick around $100 or less and I've been eyeing the Fenwick Aetos which seems like an awesome deal. Also been eyeing the blackout but i heard those have guide problems. I'm open to other rod sugestions. Also been considering st croix, dobyns, powell, and Ethos. I plan to pair it with a Lews speed spool, ratio depends on what i use it for. I've mainly fished ponds, small lakes, and canals while in miami/southflorida for school. Just moves back home to texas so i'll be fishing lakes and deep water more. My main lures are Frogs, spooks, chatterbaits, senkos, light texas rigged worms/creatures and I'm just getting into squarebills. I'd like to get into jig fishing more. 

My current arsenal is as follows:
1) 7ft MH Berkley Lightning Shock + Lews 7.5:1 Speed spool LFS + 40lb braid
Use it for mainly Frogs and chatterbaits. Fluro leader with the chatterbaits or straight braid if im lazy. I've never caught anything on chatterbaits with straight braid though. 

2) 6'6" M/ModFast Blackmax3 combo 6.4:1 w/ 15lb mono
Currently have this spooled with 15lb mono and I've mainly used it for topwater spooks, squarebills, and texas rigged worms and senkos. I have a hate love relationship with this reel. 

3) 6'8" M/F Academy Ethos spinning + Shimano Sienna + 20lb high vis braid w/ fluoro leader
Use it for more finesse presentations: shakey head, weightless senkos and soft plastics, ned rig. 

What main techniques and setups for those techniques am i missing?
I'm considering a new setup for
1) Jigs and heavier texas rigs. I'd like to start skipping docks and pitching/punch cover more. I'm considering a MH rod with either a fast or XF action. 6'8" or 7'? (im short 5'6") 
2) Dedicated Frog set up. I'd use my Lews 7.5:1 Speed spool. I'd then pick up a Lews 6.8:1 to go with my Lightning shock spooled with fluoro for chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. 
3) Dedicated swim jig/spinnnerbaits. Maybe a cheaper rod, Ethos MH/mod? I'd then use my lightning shock for frogs and jigs. 


Also, I have a love hate relationship with my Blackmax. The reel frustrates the hell out of me but it's also my most productive setup so i dont feel like i need to replace it now. Casts a mile with spooks and cranks. Reviews say its a crappy rod (and it might be sensitivity wise) but for a combo rod it has surprised me. Hooked up with a 28" channel cat with it this past weekend on a squarebill. Im guessing weighed about 8-9lbs, 2" short of the lake length record. I remember thinking i wish i had my lightning shock while fighting him. Fight took a minute or two (seemed like forever) and i thought he was gonna break me off. I've never caught a big cat before so i'm not sure how they fight compared to bass but he was taking plenty of drag so i didnt want to crank him in. I feel like if that was a bass, I wouldve needed more backbone or he wouldve dove for cover and broke me off. 
It could be the cheap Eagle claw mono i have on it but it the line constantly unravels on the spool. Usually early on during the cast, i can feel it. If i let the lure drop to the ground, it will unspool about 10 turns, even with the cast control and magnetic brake up (falling at a snails pace literally). If i turn up the cast control I lose distance. I usually dont have a problem since im aware of it and use my thumb but its annoying because the line will still get "loose-ish" on the spool. Any way to fix this or is it just the black max 3? I've been considering switching the line to Yo zuri hybrid. I think it will still be useful for shallow cranks and topwater spooks.

Thanks in advance for the help and opinions!

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:fishing-026:

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Been using the Aetos for about 3 weeks now, love it. Look for a longer/heavier cranking rod, maybe a mod fast that could also handle chatterbaits/spinner baits!

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First lets address the black max reel. I would look at getting a Diawa Exceler, these are real workhorse reel. They retail for $100 and easily be purchased for $75 or less. I bought two earlier for $60. This reel is the Diawa Tatula's little brother. The Tatula and Tatula CT reels are terrific too. That is how I would fix the Black Max reel.  I would use it with the Black Max rod or pick up a rod like the Powell Inferno or for less money look at  a Falcon Bucoo Trap Master, it is a 7 ft. medium  moderate tipped rod. I like mine for small to medium crankbaits, rattletraps, and even smaller plastics. I am sure it would handle the chatter baits and spinnerbaits as well.  I also like a Quantum Escalade in the 7 foot MH. Sometimes Dicks Sporting Goods has these, that is where mine came from.  Incredibly light rates for 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounce lures, great for all plastics, jigs, bigger cranks probably handle your topwaters  and I use it for carolina rigs as well. If your Dicks does not have it look online at Field and Stream outdoors. Both of these rods can be found on sale at times for less than $60 each.   If it were me, I would replace the Black Max setup with a Diawa Exceler 6.3-1 and then put it on a Falcon Bucoo trapmaster. Keep the black max as a backup combo.  Now I would look at either the same reel in a 7-1 and the Quantum or I would look at the new Lew's Mach 1 Speed Spool baitcasting combo. It is a 6'10 mh fast action rod rated for 3/16 to 3/4 ounce lures. It would make a good jig rod, dock pitchin rod, a tx rig plastics rod, and a lot more.  The rod is IM8 and the reel is a 10 ball bearing 7-1 model.  It retails for $149 for the combo. They sell the reel for $119 by itself. I think it is one of the best bang for a bucks deal out there. In September a left handed version will be released.

Do yourself a favor spool all of your reels with 14 pound mono 1/2 way then add your braid or fluoro. This does 2 things. The mono will tighten down tight and not slip on the reel arbor. It also will lay nice on the reel giving you a good bed for the braid. Make sure you tie a good tight arbor knot and tie a good uni to uni knot between the mono and braid or fluoro.  It also cut the cost of spooling reels. If god forbid you have a major malfunction all you do is respool 1/2 a spool of braid or fluoro not 150 yard worth.  I like Stren Clear Blue or Bass Pro Excel but any good quality mono will work. I was striper fishing a few years back and a  18 pound Blue Cat bit my rattle trap. That crazy cat nearly spooled me twice. es a cat can pull a bass inside out. 

I am not sure, but I think your mono may be slipping on the Black Max. I would tie the end of my line to a fence or other support, then walk off the line by walking backwards till you get to the end.I would cut my line off and retie or better yet put some better mono if that is what you want. Try some Sufix Siege in 14 pound test. 

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Fishnkamp, thanks for the tips. I was actually looking at the tatula reels today. The CT looks nice. Also thanks for the heads up with that lews combo. I'll have to check it out. 

And I currently have all my braid reels backed with mono. Thanks for the tip though. I'm gonna respool the blackmax with Yo zuri and see how it performs. Waiting on some KVD line&lure to come in first. 

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I fish a bunch of Diawa Excelers, Tatulas and Tatula Type Rs and my next one will be CT. I am quickly replacing my Bass Pro Extremes. I have a friend that I consider a torture tester, he fishes at least 4 times a week on the Potomac and Upper Bay. He regularly encounters huge catfish, carp ans snakeheads. He got me started with Diawas. here is a pic of one of his snakeheads, it weighed over 13 pounds. It was caught with 10 pound P Line Cxx in moss green ( a  line he uses a lot0 it hit a spinnerbait. The reel was a Lexa 100 but he uses a bunch of Excelers, Lexas Tatulas and Tatula HDs.  I figure if the equipment holds up for more than a year for him I will get a lifetime of use with it. I kinda get a mental picture of the monkeys testing the samsonite luggage! LOL Yopu have to be old enough to remember that commercial.

Potomac%207%201%2016%20snakehead%201_0.p

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