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Forrest Miller

All around Spinning Rod and Reel for Smallies

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Hi everyone. I have only ever fished for smallies with a fly rod. I am thinking that for kayak fishing the spinning rod may be a bit easier. What would you recommend for a good "all around" smallie spinning rod? I am particularly looking for length and action, not necessarily for a name brand. Growing up all we had was Garcia reels, so I will probably stick with what I know and go with Garcia. Thanks!

 

-Forrest

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I'm going to have to mention brands but as reference point not a sales pitch. I have a older St. Croix Premier 6'6" M. I also have an Avid 6'9" MLXF. I think the sweet spot lies somewhere in between...

 

The Avid loads up a bit too much when trying to throw or retrieve a larger buzz bait or spinner bait however is great for everything else. The XF can also be almost too fast for some techniques. You can compensate with looser drag... The Premier is just a little short in my opinion but the action seems to be better balanced and would probably be outstanding on the Avid blank.

 

So for me something around the the 6'8" MF arena woudl be ideal depending of course on the true character of the rod. Some people say St. Croix runs a heavy. I've read that some like a shorter rod in the yak... so maybe a St. Croix 6'3" would be something to also handle for a reference.

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What would you recommend for a good "all around" smallie spinning rod?

-Forrest

 

 

No such thing. But if you like to throw light plastics, like flukes and assassins, smallish topwater like poppers and walk the dog type stuff and rapalas and smallish cranks then something like a ML would work.

 

The actual rod length is kind of meaningless, because the placement of the reel seat dictates how much rod length you actually get. Personally I hate a long rear grip when I throw topwaters and I think it's particularly clumsy in a kayak. But not something I can't work around.

 

St Croix is making a line called Avid X that has a short rear grip, and I am probably going to get the 6'9 or build a rod similar.

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Now that I think of it I have a 6 1/2 foot Medium (SJR782) Loomis IMX that I was going to hack 3" off the rear grip and turn it into a short rear grip, 6'3". It's a super sensitive blank, outrageously light and totally beautiful American craftsmanship. i used it like 5 times and it looks like it, the cork is still DNA free, without ever being cleaned. I'll give you a great deal if you are interested. I have a 6 foot ML SJR721, an old one which has a very short rear grip, that's one of my favorite rods. I was going to have Eric at Corens shorten the rear grip, to match the 6 footer, but if someone bought the rod off me i would recommend fishing with it first.

 

Speaking of fishing with it first. I bought my son Max this really nice Gander Mountain 6 1/2 medium rod "Vortex" and I got him this GM reel to go with it. I paid $30 bucks for the rod and another $30 for the reel. They are normally like 60 but you just have to catch the sales.

I borrowed it from him on occasion to fish at lunch when at work. Seriously, for the type of fishing I described, it's outstanding especially if you use a light braided line. I don't know how long the reel is going to last, but fishing with it is pure joy.

Thats probably your best bet, figure out what you like and don't like.

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Hi everyone. I have only ever fished for smallies with a fly rod. I am thinking that for kayak fishing the spinning rod may be a bit easier. What would you recommend for a good "all around" smallie spinning rod? I am particularly looking for length and action, not necessarily for a name brand. Growing up all we had was Garcia reels, so I will probably stick with what I know and go with Garcia. Thanks!

 

-Forrest

 

So have you decided what you are going to build yet?

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I love the E6X series of rods by G. Loomis. They run in the $180-$200 range. If that's too expensive, look into Fenwick's HMX series, or 13 Fishing's Omen rods, or even 13's new One3 Fate series they just released at iCast. Get a MH for any flipping/pitching, heavier current, and heavier lures. I'd suggest fishing squarebills in current or larger topwater such as the Whopper Plopper 90. Get a M for basic applications such as cranks and spinners. ML works best for finesse, such as tubes and ned rigs, and jerkbaits. I generally fish skinny water, so I suggest a shorter rod for maximum accuracy with those topwaters, say 6'3"-6'6", a mid-length rod for all your cranks and spinnerbaits (6'6"-7'), and anything over 7' for the flipping, pitching, and finesse tactics.

 

As for reels, a 2500-sized reel is your best all-around bet, and can work with anything smallie-related. I am a Shimano guy, and my favorites are my Ci4+ (at $220 regular price) and my Saros ($150). A cheaper option, and in my opinion the best value reel, is the Pfleuger President, which starts around $60 now I believe. This kind of fishing can be rough, so maintenance on your equipment is essential.

 

I highly suggest having 3-4 setups. I always have my topwater setup (6'6" Medium Heavy-Fast E6X w/Saros), my crankbait setup (7' Medium-Fast Omen 2 w/Ci4+), and my tube setup (7'3" Medium-Extra Fast E6X w/Ci4+) with me, with a utility rod in case my three go-to's aren't working and I'm in unfamiliar territory.

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I wade fish and only carry one road at a time . I generally use a 7 ft medium action with a 3000 reel . Not sure how that would translate to a kayak .

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