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bwjay

Ideal short casting rod for bass, pike, walleye?

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Does anyone have any recommendations for a short (6' to 6'6") baitcasting rod for catching not only bass, but also northern pike, walleye, and lake trout? I don't think there is going to be a huge variance in the strengths needed to catch any of these fish, but I'm wondering what a solid middle ground would be.

 

Bonus points if the handle is under 14".

 

Looking to spend $100, no more than $150, as it will be my first casting rod (grew up with spinning) and don't want to break the bank right away.

 

Thanks!

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It'd help to know what you're willing to spend...

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4 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

It'd help to know what you're willing to spend...

Very good point. I didn't even specify casting or spinning either. Whoops! I've edited the OP, thanks!

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I guess it really depends on the size of the lures you using and the size of fish your targeting. 

 

But in general terms a stout medium, fast action rod should cover you pretty well I would think. I am a fan of st Croix, they have shorter handles that your looking for, pick your price point. 

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Quick search at TW turned up this one - from all the recommendations here, the brand is top-notch.

 

https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Dobyns_Fury_Casting_Rods/descpage-DFC.html

 

You'd be looking at the Medium Heavy, 6'6"

 

There are a few others in that price range, but none I recognize

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6’6 bps carbonlite 2.0  mh/f $120 maybe on sale next week not sure though. Great short rod. 

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Just now, LCG said:

I guess it really depends on the size of the lures you using and the size of fish your targeting. 

 

But in general terms a stout medium, fast action rod should cover you pretty well I would think. I am a fan of st Croix, they have shorter handles that your looking for, pick your price point. 

I only own up to 1/2oz lures right now. I may use a weight to deep troll spoons for lake trout but I won't be casting that setup and I might use my existing 6'3" MXF Eyecon spinning rod for that. As for fish size, I don't expect to hook into anything heavier than 7lbs, probably... and that would be a big pike or laker, a size I have never caught, but have the opportunity to catch in the Boundary Waters. Average fish size will probably be around 3lbs if I had to guess, no matter where I'm fishing (around Minnesota). I'm not targeting giants (for now).

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I personally use a St Croix Avid X 6'6 Mh-f casting rod, great rod but micro guides so that may be an issue. The Carbonlite 2.0 is a nice rod, Dobyns gets good reviews as well. Shimano has the new SLX that feels pretty good. Lots of good options out there. 

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The rod power is more for the lure than the fish....if you want to toss heavier lures, need the heavier rod.

 

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If you could find one Team All Star MH 6'4". Otherwise a MH 6'6" St Croix in a Premier. 

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Well it seems many people came to the same conclusion as me. I was looking at the St Croix 6'6" MHF Premier or the 6' MF Premier. I really wanted MH instead of M since I have a MXF spinning rod right now and I want to be able to throw heavier lures with the baitcasting setup. I went to Cabela's yesterday and reeeeally liked the 6' rod. It's so short and maneuverable! The handle was nice and short too and I think would be no issue with a PFD on. I was tempted to buy it but I just couldn't bring myself to buy another M power rod. So I said oh well and bought the 6'6" MHF. I also got my Shimano SLX spooled up with 20lb PowerPro so I'm ready to start practicing my cast with 1oz weights. This rod cost more than the Eyecon and I may end up using the spinning setup more, but I'm willing to invest time and effort into mastering baitcasters and figured I can sell the rod if I end up not liking it or whatever the reason may be. I'm really looking forward to getting out with it.

 

Thanks to everyone for their input! I welcome further recommendations so people who find this thread in the future have some more options to look at!

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You really can't go wrong with the Dobyn's Fury. It's an amazing rod for the price.

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27 minutes ago, bwjay said:

Well it seems many people came to the same conclusion as me. I was looking at the St Croix 6'6" MHF Premier or the 6' MF Premier. I really wanted MH instead of M since I have a MXF spinning rod right now and I want to be able to throw heavier lures with the baitcasting setup. I went to Cabela's yesterday and reeeeally liked the 6' rod. It's so short and maneuverable! The handle was nice and short too and I think would be no issue with a PFD on. I was tempted to buy it but I just couldn't bring myself to buy another M power rod. So I said oh well and bought the 6'6" MHF. I also got my Shimano SLX spooled up with 20lb PowerPro so I'm ready to start practicing my cast with 1oz weights. This rod cost more than the Eyecon and I may end up using the spinning setup more, but I'm willing to invest time and effort into mastering baitcasters and figured I can sell the rod if I end up not liking it or whatever the reason may be. I'm really looking forward to getting out with it.

 

Thanks to everyone for their input! I welcome further recommendations so people who find this thread in the future have some more options to look at!

 

20lb braid is too light IMO for a baitcaster especially if you are throwing up to 1oz weight.  you're going to lose lures on any backlashes and you'll probably get them frequently since that line is so thin and you are new to baitcasting.  personally i'd go with 40lb on a MH rod

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5 minutes ago, Allen Der said:

 

20lb braid is too light IMO for a baitcaster especially if you are throwing up to 1oz weight.  you're going to lose lures on any backlashes and you'll probably get them frequently since that line is so thin and you are new to baitcasting.  personally i'd go with 40lb on a MH rod

This is the first time I've ever heard this advice. I plan on using tight spool tension and maybe 4on2off brakes, and mastering thumbing the spool before I think about backing it off. I don't have any 1oz lures right now, I think just 3/4oz. Still, I haven't seen any recommendation that you need 40lb braid on a baitcaster. If you have any resources/links where I can read more about why it's necessary, I would really appreciate it.

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11 minutes ago, bwjay said:

This is the first time I've ever heard this advice. I plan on using tight spool tension and maybe 4on2off brakes, and mastering thumbing the spool before I think about backing it off. I don't have any 1oz lures right now, I think just 3/4oz. Still, I haven't seen any recommendation that you need 40lb braid on a baitcaster. If you have any resources/links where I can read more about why it's necessary, I would really appreciate it.

What @Allen Der is taking about is when during the cast the thinner braid is very vulnerable to shock-loading and snapping. What often happens is that the line will dig into it's self on the spool and even that little bit of resistance will shock the braid and snap your lure off.  

 

A week or so ago I decided to see if I could get away with using 40lb PP to throw 6" swimbaits.  With the plastic + weighted hook weighing in a bit over 2oz, I ended up breaking off three lures in maybe 2 hours of fishing.  The same 40lb PP works wonderfully for 1oz total weight jigs.

 

The same break-offs also happen on my UL casting combo with 6lb braid and 4g spoons, there is some ratio of lure weight:line strength where the lack of stretch in the braid becomes too much of a liability.  

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4 minutes ago, fishwizzard said:

What @Allen Der is taking about is when during the cast the thinner braid is very vulnerable to shock-loading and snapping. What often happens is that the line will dig into it's self on the spool and even that little bit of resistance will shock the braid and snap your lure off.  

 

A week or so ago I decided to see if I could get away with using 40lb PP to throw 6" swimbaits.  With the plastic + weighted hook weighing in a bit over 2oz, I ended up breaking off three lures in maybe 2 hours of fishing.  The same 40lb PP works wonderfully for 1oz total weight jigs.

 

The same break-offs also happen on my UL casting combo with 6lb braid and 4g spoons, there is some ratio of lure weight:line strength where the lack of stretch in the braid becomes too much of a liability.  

Thank you so much for explaining. I did some searching and started reading about line digging. Not something I had read about... wish I had. Probably would've gotten the reel spooled with 40lb instead.

 

Where does the line break when that happens? Does it break on line that's still a few turns from being exposed (like 10ft of line into the spool) or does it break on the line that's right on top?

 

I have NO desire to toss my lures into the water never to be seen again, so I want to limit the possibility of this as much as possible. If it means driving another hour round trip to get my line re-spooled and essentially wasting 120yd of 20lb braid then so be it. $15 of braid is cheaper than $60 of lost lures from broken braid. I could use the 20lb braid on my backup spinning reel but most people say 20 is the absolute max, and I probably would want to go with 15 or 10lb even, but I don't really want to waste the 20.

 

I'll still try casting a little with the 20lb I think, just to get a feel for casting, and if I end up backlashing a few times and waste a couple dozen yards of braid, I'm not gonna cry about it.

 

So would you recommend if I'm gonna be throwing 1/4oz to 3/4oz cranks (lipped and lipless), but my average lure weight will be 1/4 to 1/2oz, to still go with 40lb? Is there really any disadvantage other than maybe not being able to throw 1/8oz lures with the heavier line, which I can do with my spinning setup anyway?

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The line breaks right at the lure every time it has happened to me.  

 

You can mitigate it by keeping the drag a little loose and giving the line a little tug after every fish, snag, or after a dozen or so casts.  You will get a feel for it pretty quickly.  I think 20lb will be fine for 3/4oz so long as you check the spool.  For lighter lures the dig-in will not snap the line, but will backlash the spool.  I am going to try 20lb braid on my topwater rod this year and I throw up to like 5/8oz walkers and think it will be ok.  

 

Also, even if you want to switch later to 40lb or 30lb, there is no need to trash the 20lb.  Braid has no memory and you can just wind it onto an empty line spool or even a pencil and reuse it once you find a need.  

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42 minutes ago, fishwizzard said:

The line breaks right at the lure every time it has happened to me.  

 

You can mitigate it by keeping the drag a little loose and giving the line a little tug after every fish, snag, or after a dozen or so casts.  You will get a feel for it pretty quickly.  I think 20lb will be fine for 3/4oz so long as you check the spool.  For lighter lures the dig-in will not snap the line, but will backlash the spool.  I am going to try 20lb braid on my topwater rod this year and I throw up to like 5/8oz walkers and think it will be ok.  

 

Also, even if you want to switch later to 40lb or 30lb, there is no need to trash the 20lb.  Braid has no memory and you can just wind it onto an empty line spool or even a pencil and reuse it once you find a need.  

I never lock down my drag on my spinning reels. Never felt the need. Is this another thing that's different for baitcasters? Does everyone always lock down their drag? I always thought locking it down was bad unless you literally can't get a snag free.

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6 minutes ago, bwjay said:

I never lock down my drag on my spinning reels. Never felt the need. Is this another thing that's different for baitcasters? Does everyone always lock down their drag? I always thought locking it down was bad unless you literally can't get a snag free.

I keep the drag on my spinners set to just a little under the line test I'm using if the max-drag on the reel is higher than the line test - use a digital fish scale to measure. Even if the max drag is lower than the line test, I keep the drag a bit looser as to not 'lock' the line in place - gotta have some play in there.

 

I've also never locked the drag on a BC.

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6 minutes ago, bwjay said:

I never lock down my drag on my spinning reels. Never felt the need. Is this another thing that's different for baitcasters? Does everyone always lock down their drag? I always thought locking it down was bad unless you literally can't get a snag free.

I am not a good person to ask as I believe I run my casting reel drags far looser then most as my palming grip puts my thumb on the spool so I can add "drag" as needed.  On spools with braid I keep the drag loose enough to let me pull line by pinching it between my thumb and pointer finger, so far this has been tight enough that I have never had hook-set issues but again I ride the spool with my thumb and my hand naturally tenses up when I detect a bite and go to set the hook.  

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dont waste the 20lb braid you bought.  you can use it on a spinning reel.  i love 20lb on my 30 size pfluegers.

 

braid test is more about diameter and shock than the actual weight of the fish you are catching.  i use 80 and 100 lb braid on musky reels.  40-50 for bass and pike.  10-20 on spinning reels for bass, walleye, panfish.  i use light mono or fluoro leaders if needed

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