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billmac

Rod / Reel / Line combos

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I'm just getting back into bass (and others) fishing after a long hiatus.  I'm in Northern NY.  

 

If you had to carry only 4 rod / reel / line combos, what would you have?  I don't necessarily care about a specific brands, but generically what type of length and action of rods, style of reel (maybe ratio) and line combinations.

 

Thanks

Bill

 

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What will be your primary target species and where will you be fishing? Smallmouth or Largemouth? Rivers or ponds and lakes? Little of everything? This is important to know. 

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Glaucus,

Good questions.  Let's assume these are rods I'll keep in a boat, and my primary targets are bass (largemouth and smallmouth), walleye, and pike. Bodies of water are big enough to launch a bass boat.  Mostly the St. Lawrence River and lakes / impoundments.

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Another rig or more would be technique specific, like an Alabama Rig,

Jerkbait or deep cranking.

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Rod length is personal preference.  I love baitcasting reels, but you definitely would do well to have a Light power spinning rod for all the rock bass, bluegills, sunnies and perch you can catch.  Something that can handle down to 1/16 oz.  Small Roostertails and BeetleSpins were a favorite of mine.  My biggest Smallmouth came on a small Roostertail.  I fished south of there.  Hide Lake was about as far north as I fished....and where I caught that Smallmouth.

 

A 6'8" M-XF spinning rod is a popular model around here and very versatile.  After that my personal preferences run to baitcasters for everything else.  A MHF in your preferred length is a good all-around rod.  Will you be using a lot of crankbaits?  If so a rod dedicated to that should be in your future.  I used a MF before getting my first dedicated crankbait rod.  Worked okay for me as I fish mostly with a mono or Co-Polymer line.

 

For bottom contact lures and many top water lures, a high gear ratio is preferred by many to pick up slack quicker and to get the lure back faster to the boat for another cast.  Longer rods are preferred for frog and bottom contact lures.  Shorter rods are preferred for other top water lures.  A quick search for will tell you why.  :teeth:

 

If you think you will like fishing frogs, look at something like the ALX Toadface.  Has a softer tip for casting lighter frogs and for walking them, but has nice power once into the backbone for getting the fish out of the slop.

 

And welcome back to the sport.  I quit for 23 years after moving to my current area.  Fishing is that bad here.  Only thing that keeps me going out once I got back into it (when I can) is new or new-2-me gear.  Good luck and have fun.  It always feels good to get out even if the fishing is bad.

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I'd have a plastics and light jig rod.  Med heavy or medium with a fast or moderate fast tip.  7 foot to 7.5 foot.  A fast reel (7 speed or above, 7 speed would make it more versatile for other techniques), and 50 lb yellow braid with a leader.  The rod should be able to throw 3/16-3/8 oz bullet weight plus plastic.

 

Second would also be for bottom contact but would be a little stouter.  Not necessarily heavy power, but if so it should have a lot of tip.  This could be your pitching rod for heavier plastics and jigs.  Same reel and line as first rod.

 

Now you need a couple of rods for moving baits. 

 

Get one that can handle heavier stuff like 1/2-3/4 oz spinner and chatter baits, and 6xd crank baits.  This rod should have a fair amount of muscle, but a fairly bendy tip.  Between  7 foot to 7.5 foot in length.  Put a 6 or 7 speed reel on it with 30-50 lb braid.  Add a leader if you want.

 

Now get a rod just like the one above, but step down in power and length.  Maybe a medium power, fast (but kinda bendy) action.  This should handle all your lighter treble hook lure.

 

If you want 3 rods for moving baits, get rid of the heavier power pitching rod described above.  You can really pitch with any rod anyway.  

 

 

 

 

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I would say:

1.  MLXF spinning rod for drop shot and any other finesse applications

2.  MF spinning rod for weightless plastics and light jigs and such

3.  MHF Casting for moving single hook baits, Heavier T-rigs, 

4.  HF for frogs and jigs

 

Lengths are up to you although for versatility i would stay close to 7 foot.  

7:1 range for the baitcasters for the same reason.

 

I also live in upstate NY.

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3 minutes ago, kbeeb374 said:

I would say:

1.  MLXF spinning rod for drop shot and any other finesse applications

2.  MF spinning rod for weightless plastics and light jigs and such

3.  MHF Casting for moving single hook baits, Heavier T-rigs, 

4.  HF for frogs and jigs

 

Lengths are up to you although for versatility i would stay close to 7 foot.  

7:1 range for the baitcasters for the same reason.

 

I also live in upstate NY.

I'd only make a couple changes and observations to this.

 

1. Doesn't HAVE to be an XF, an F would work fine here too

2. Smaller crank/jerk baits (under 3/8 oz) also would work here

3. This would be your main crank/jerk/spinner/buzz/chatter rod

4. This would also work for flipping/pitching/punching.

 

A 7:1 is fine for #3, but for flip/pitch/punch you want a faster reel...8:1

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10 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

I'd only make a couple changes and observations to this.

 

1. Doesn't HAVE to be an XF, an F would work fine here too

2. Smaller crank/jerk baits (under 3/8 oz) also would work here

3. This would be your main crank/jerk/spinner/buzz/chatter rod

4. This would also work for flipping/pitching/punching.

 

A 7:1 is fine for #3, but for flip/pitch/punch you want a faster reel...8:1

All true haha. 

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Lengths can be +/- a couple inches for personal preference

 

6'8" ML/XF Spinning (ned rig/dropshot/anything for walleye)

7'0" M/F Spinning (Tubes/senkos/smaller swimbaits)

 

and pick 2 of these 3:

7'0" M/F Casting (Jerkbaits/Lipless/Swimbaits)

7'0" M/M Casting (crankbaits)

7'0" MH/F Casting (Jigs/Any bigger pike baits)

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6'6" MH/F baitcaster for Jigs.

6'6" MH/F baitcaster for t-rigged plastic baits with weights over 1/8 ounce.

6'6" MH/M baitcaster for jerkbaits, walking topwater baits, and crankbaits larger than 1/4 ounce

7'0" MH/M baitcaster for spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, heavy topwater baits, lipless cranks, and crankbaits larger than 1/4 ounce.

6'6" M/F spinning for crankbaits smaller than 1/4 ounce, and smaller size topwater baits.

6'6" M/F spinning for t-rigged plastics with less than 1/8 ounce, and weightless plastic worms.

7'0" ML/M spinning for split shot rigs, drop shot, and small swimbaits.

 

I rarely take all of them when I go out on a trip.  I always take the rods for jigs and t-rigged plastics, and one or two others depending on where I will be fishing.

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This may sound crazy but I hate spinning rods / reels.  I have them. I use them, but I've never liked them.  I have always found them awkward.  If there was a baitcaster that worked well with light line and lures, I wouldn't use a spinning reel again.

 

Can you guys help me with the abbreviations? I've been out of the game too long.  I get M/ML/ML, but I don't know what the F or X stands for.

 

new2BC4bass:   I love rooster tails!  I use them when wading rivers for trout or smallmouth.  I was never a fan of the beetle spin but my favorite lure of all time was the mister twister meeney spin.  I've caught more fish on that lure than any other.

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The M, F, or X stands for the action of the rod.  It is where most of the bend occurs.
below is an illustration of the same power rod with different actions. they could all be medium power rods, but they bend differently.
An extra fast only bends in the tip. A slow to moderate, bends across the whole rod
 
Fishing Rods Characteristics - Action
 
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1 hour ago, billmac said:

If there was a baitcaster that worked well with light line and lures, I wouldn't use a spinning reel again.

A properly adjusted BC with lighter line - 10#-12# braid, mono or FC - will cast light lures. Is it as easy as casting light lures with a spinning reel? No. Is it doable with some practice? Yes. You're not going to get the distance you can with a spinner, but you can do it.

 

Now me... I love spinning reels, been using them since I was little. My finesse rig and my light jerk/crank/T-rig setups are spinners...but go with what you're comfortable with.

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1 hour ago, billmac said:

This may sound crazy but I hate spinning rods / reels.  I have them. I use them, but I've never liked them.  I have always found them awkward.  If there was a baitcaster that worked well with light line and lures, I wouldn't use a spinning reel again.

How light are we talking?  Reels for very light lures (say 1/8 oz. and below) can get expensive.  There are aftermarket spools that can be a big help.  Some cost more than many of my reels.  There is a cheaper option that many say work fine...DIY spools.  In my case the rod becomes very important when trying to cast lures that light.

 

There are several cheaper alternatives if light for you is around 3/16 oz.  My older Carbonlite reels do very well with a #5 Shad Rap (3/16 oz.)  One of the older Prolites would do even better.  Used Pixy prices have come down a lot.  My old TD-Z 105Hs have no problem with 3/6 oz.  More experienced casters could do a lot better than I with my reels.  Guy said he could cast 1/16 oz. with the first 105H I bought.  One of the older round Abu reels may also work.  I can cast a small fluke and 3/0 hook on my 1600C (weight unknown, but can't be much).  Can cast it straight into a pretty good headwind with no problem unless I try to bomb it.

 

Can't really help much with the newer reels.  The Daiwa Air Stream was designed to cast 3-5g (.11-.18 oz.) trout baits in short casting distance without fear of backlash.  Shimano Aldebaran is supposed to be a good light lure reel.  Even better with one of the very expensive aftermarket spools available for it.  Daiwa SV spools are said to do well with light lures.  Haven't tried light with mine yet.

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I think these 5 combos can cover most of the bases; but if you tend to fish a lot of shallow heavy cover, you may even want to add a 7-6 or 7-11 for Flipping. 

 

 

6-6 Medium Fast Spinning 

6-10 Medium Moderate Fast Casting

7-0 Medium Heavy Fast Casting

7-3 Heavy Fast Casting

7-0 Medium Heavy Moderate Casting

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12 hours ago, billmac said:

This may sound crazy but I hate spinning rods / reels.  I have them. I use them, but I've never liked them.  I have always found them awkward.  If there was a baitcaster that worked well with light line and lures, I wouldn't use a spinning reel again.

 

Can you guys help me with the abbreviations? I've been out of the game too long.  I get M/ML/ML, but I don't know what the F or X stands for.

 

new2BC4bass:   I love rooster tails!  I use them when wading rivers for trout or smallmouth.  I was never a fan of the beetle spin but my favorite lure of all time was the mister twister meeney spin.  I've caught more fish on that lure than any other.

I agree, I prefer BC reels but spinning reels have their application, ie. casting into the wind. lighter line.

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I know you said you don’t like spinning reels but everyone should have it for the light stuff. Just 1 and make it as universal as you can. To me that would be 6’6”-7” range in a medium fast. I used something in that area for 10 years for everything before I really got into fishing. Still have them for my more finesse applications. For me it’s a avid x 7’ medium fast (looking for a new one but great rod!!)

 

then a 6’8-7’1 medium fast casting rod will cover some of the heavier finesse baits and jerks. Shaky head, senko’s, finesse jigs, flukes and so forth. For me that is a glx 852c (7’1” medium extra fast)

 

the first two could cover 75% of your fishing needs. Sure it might not be the best but before I had a dedicated cranking stick I throw my cranks on the spinner.

 

third I would look at a 7’-7’3” medium heavy fast rod. Personally I’d recommend a dobyns 734c. It’s rated as a heavy but fishes like a medium heavy. That has to be one of the most universal rods on the market. With this rod, I’d throw your buzzbaits, senko’s around cover, light to midweight t-rigs, frogs in open water, jigs, chatterbaits and spinners. Once again it’s not the best for some of the techniques but it would be the closest thing I can think of to cover that many applications.

 

last would be a 7’-7’6” heavy fast rod. This rod would be your jigs, frogs, anything around cover or slop. Something stout with a nice tip in order to launch some of those lighter frogs, but stout enough to pull a 5lbs bass out covered in 3-4lbs of grass. Personally it would be a 7’4-7’6” rod. 

 

Spinning reel id look into shimano nasci or Daiwa feugo. If you stepping up then a stradic from shimano, and a tatula or ballistic from daiwa.

 

for casting reels. Once again I’d highly recommend the shimano and daiwa. I prefer shimano but that’s is just personal preference. I own and fish both. Look into the curado K, curado 70 for the medium casting rod and chronarch mgl from shimano, and feugo again or tatula series (tatula Sv tws) would be where I’d go in the daiwa line up.

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23 hours ago, billmac said:

If you had to carry only 4 rod / reel / line combos, what would you have?

For smallies and largemouth:

 

6'6 ML/F or M/F spinning with 6# copoly for light techniques (weightless worms, drop shot, plastics on light jig heads)

6'6 M/F baitcaster with 12# copoly for soft plastics (TX rig)

6'6 M/F low gear baitcaster with 12# mono for topwater & trebles

6'8 MH/F baitcaster with 40# braid for bottom contact jigs, frogs, deep TX rigs

 

I sometimes like to go for panfish while bass fishing so I might swap the topwater combo for a 6'6 L/F spinning with 6# copoly.

 

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16 hours ago, billmac said:

If there was a baitcaster that worked well with light line and lures, I wouldn't use a spinning reel again. 

Shimano Scorpion BFS

Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG

Shimano Aldebaran MGL 30

 

Daiwa Presso

Daiwa Airy Red Pixy

Daiwa Steez CT SV

Daiwa Alphas CT SV70

Daiwa SS Air

Daiwa T3 Air

 

Abu Garica LTX BF8

Abu Garcia Roxani BF8 ($147)

 

Shimano's w/ Avail microcast spools

Shimano's w/ Yumeya BFS spools

 

Daiwa/Megabass w/ Megabass IS spools

 

Abu's w/ Avail Microcast spools

 

Hedgehog Studio Kattobi Air BFS spool bearings

ZPI Antirust Sic Ceramic Ball Bearing Finesse Concept

 

There's more configurations too. Round reel, DC reels, SV reels, old Abu's. Just isn't cheap.

 

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I forgot. You need a Medium light to light action or BFS rod. 

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