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general purpose fishing gear for surf & bank

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Have only fished a handful of times using borrowed gear. I'm looking for a decent general purpose fishing reel. I'll be fishing from shores, surf, river bank as i don't know anyone with a boat. Which reel/rod would you recommend? Not sure height matter for the rod but I'm 5'4". Would like to target catfish, bass, striped bass, maybe sturgeon. budget is ~200 reel ~200 rod, used gear is ok.

I wanted to try baitcasting gear, but does it work well for surf fishing?

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You're not going to find a rod for all that. Bass fishing will require a smaller freshwater rod & reel, where surf fishing, sturgeon, striper, blues, flatfish and the like youll want a longer 8-10' medium heavy surf casting rod with a reel to match. I don't think you'll find a do all for surf and fresh. BUT, you can buy a baitcasting reel for freshwater that's rated for light salt. My buddy and i use 12-25lb on my old shakespeare skp round baitcaster that i gave him and have used a lower quality quantum baitcaster also, on medium 7' rods, for striper, smaller blues (not snapper) and flatfish. I've even snagged bunker on it.

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I fish the surf everyday but I know it's done differently

depending on your area.  I would ask what the predominate wind direction is and is the wind usually in your face?  If yes you may need a rod for casting distance ( in Florida we fish the swash and distance is not too important).  I only use spinning and personally I find it much easier from the surf, I have a number of outfits I use.  The smallest is a 7' med 8/17, 2000 reel, the largest 7'6 mh 10/20 with a 4000 reel, all reels have 15 or 20# braid.  I would have no qualms catching any of the fish you mentioned on my gear.  I catch snook, tarpon, jack crevelles and they pretty much stack up to your fish.  I'd only use a heavier rod if I were using heavier lures, I like to fish on the light side.

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