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I need new gear...and a better fishing line!


jim bielecki
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Hi everyone, I am in need of new gear and I can use your advice.

 

I'm looking for a reliable spinning outfit for smallies. But I don't want to spend a lot of money...I'm really hard on my poles and reels. I know I can be more careful but I've tried that and it's like magic...one minute the pole is in one piece and the next minute...two.

 

I'd like something sensitive for jigging, but strong enough for crankbaits...or should I have two setups?

 

Is a 6 foot 6in medium action too much? And how do I match the rod to the reel?

 

It's been a while since I've bought anything so I don't know what's on the market...too much for me to go through. I wish there was a consumer reports on fishing gear. That would be awesome.

 

I've also had problem with fishing line...is there any line out there that doesn't twist...I've come to a point in my fishing career that I'm not going to fight with this anymore...I know how to put line on a reel and that if the line twists you flip over the spool...well...that doesn't always work...I want a line that doesn't twist no matter what you do.

 

Jim B

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Jim, Everyone here has their favorite brand of rod and reel so you are likely to get all kinds of answers to your question. There is no one "best" for the money, there are several combinations that will all work just fine. With so many to choose from, it might still be confusing.

My suggestion is to go to your local tackle store and talk to the person there. These days, almost all the brand name rods and reels are pretty good quality. Stick to a graphite rod. Let the sales guy know what kind and weight baits you like to throw and he'll match a rod that falls in your price range. He can also show you which reels match the rod also in your range. He can probably set you up with a pre-matched combo that will save you a few bucks and still do a good job.

 

Be aware, ALL spinning reels will twist your line. It's just the way they work. It's a lot like a garden hose or an extension cord. Wrap the hose around a spool then instead of unwinding it, pull it off from the side. It twists pretty quickly. Don't believe ads that say such and such a reel won't twist your line. When line does start to twist, if you're in a river, cut off the lure and let the line go in the water with the current. Let out about a casts worth, and wait a minute. Then reel in the line keeping tension by running it back between two finger tips. You can do the same thing in a boat by letting the line out behind the boat while moving. This will untwist your line very easily and it only takes a couple of minutes.

I prefer one of the braided or "superlines" because when they do twist, it does not cause as many problems as mono does. If you let it go too long, braids will wrap around your rod tip which can be annoying.

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Jim I think I would go with a Light Action 6'6" Spinning rod with a good quality Spiining Reel. The line can be a challenge as the Rivers vary on clarity. I think a good Trilene Clear or the new BPS XPS Florocarbon in 6lb would be good. I also used Power Pro 15/6 with good success. Down here in Missouri Table Rock is so clear I am changing over to the Florocarbon Lines in 6 and 10 pound. I will use the 6 early in the year like now til after spawn and the 10 from after spawn til winter.

I always used the 6'6" BPS Bionic Spinning Rod and loved it. The Pro Qualifier is very good also.

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Guest rich mc

stop by and see ken at gat guns or the guys at strickly fishing. i would not get one rod for all. stick with a spinning and a baitcaster outfit. lots of stuff to win at the blowout too rich

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jim b,

 

We all have our favorite! I carry one of these two combos when I'm waing or just strolling a stream.

 

6'6" Fin-Nor Mega Lite, medium-light action rod with a Shimano Sahara 2000 series.

I haven't tried the newer Profiler models.

 

OR

 

6'6" Fenwick HMX, medium action rod with a Shimano Sahara 2000 or Okuma Metaloid reel.

Check out the Okuma Alumina.

 

I generally carry three spools of line, 6 lb Silver Thread, 10 lb MagnaThin or Silver Thread, 10-14 lb Stren Super Braid. I carry florocarbon for leaders in some situations.

 

Check out the previous topic in Gear & Techniques, "How many/type rods needed for your float?" .

It and other past topics may offer ideas from others.

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I'm looking for a reliable spinning outfit for smallies. But I don't want to spend a lot of money...I'm really hard on my poles and reels. I know I can be more careful but I've tried that and it's like magic...one minute the pole is in one piece and the next minute...two.

This is one reason I'm a Loomis man. For 60 bucks they'll replace the rod with no questions asked. You are out 60 bucks but you still have a kick ass rod.

But if you don't want to spend the coin on a Loomis, there are some descent rods for less. Bass Pro makes some. I picked up a Quantum Tour edition in a bargain bin for 40 bucks. It's a really nice stick, but it ain't a Loomis.

Just curious, if this is a rod with short lifespan why devote much thought to it at all?

I'd like something sensitive for jigging, but strong enough for crankbaits...or should I have two setups?

You don't need two rods to fish both baits. However, a rod that would be considered ideal for jigging, one that has a fast action and exceptional sensitivity would have the opposite characteristics as one considered a "crankbait rod". The latter are generally a slower action, meaning they will flex more towards the butt. "Whippier" would be another way to describe "slower". That said, I only carry one rod a 7 ft medium spinning or if I'm going to fish crank baits or spinnerbaits a baitcaster, because it's just more efficient.

"Stronger" is generally not an issue with either baits.

 

Is a 6 foot 6in medium action too much? And how do I match the rod to the reel?

No, it's perfect. Especially if the water you fish has some big fish. Check the line ratings for both rod and reel. They should come close. A good tackle shop can help. But for a 6'6 medium a 2000 or 2500 (Shimano or Daiwa) would probably work.

There is a pretty wide window of rods that will "work". Anything from 6-7 foot would be fine. Medium light to medium. Shorter rods are a little more accurate. Longer rods cover water better. I use a 7 footer because I drift live bait a lot.

It's been a while since I've bought anything so I don't know what's on the market...too much for me to go through. I wish there was a consumer reports on fishing gear. That would be awesome.

Again, if this is a piece of gear that is going to be in the trash can in a season, why sweat it? March into a tackle store with 40 or 50 bucks you should get something fishable. There are a lot of fishable rods in that price range. You are just not going to get a great rod.

If you are going to buy a rod that you intend to fish a long time, I would put some more thought into it.

 

I've also had problem with fishing line...is there any line out there that doesn't twist...I've come to a point in my fishing career that I'm not going to fight with this anymore...I know how to put line on a reel and that if the line twists you flip over the spool...well...that doesn't always work...

I want a line that doesn't twist no matter what you do.

 

No such animal. All lines will twist. Either you put it on wrong (most likely), or something mechanical is causing it.

Scott addressed this pretty well. Superlines handle line twist better. The stiffer the line, the more suceptable to problems caused by twist. But you should still avoid line twist like the plague.

The method you described is terrible for putting on line. By the time you discovered the twist, you already have a mess. Spool up this way and your life will be much easier:

 

Strip off old line. With the reel mounted on the rod attach the new line using an arbor knot. Have someone else hold the spool at the end of the rod maybe a foot or two away. Have them hold the spool directly facing the reel spool.

Trace the path of the line comming off the line spool with your finger. That's right, make little circles in the air in the same direction as the line coming off the spool. Now crank your real. The bail should be going in the same direction as you finger. If it is not, flip the spool over. looks silly, but it works.

Crank up your line with some tension. I use a wet rag.

The direction is correct when the line comes off the spool and winds onto the reel in the same direction. If you do this right there will be no twist.

If you get line twist while on the water, cut off your lure and let the line out in the current. the same distance you can cast. Let it unwind and crank it in. Do that two or three times. I do it every time I go out just before leaving.

 

good luck.

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6'6" medium light fast action

 

15'lb PowerPro

 

Medium grade spinning reel.

 

Mark K has been fishing a long time and fishes a wide fast river (Kank) thus he's come to a 7' which helps on that river and with live bait. That's suits his experience, conditions, and presentation very well.

 

I would say a 6'6" is a perfect all around size most stream situations you'll encounter.

 

Gander carries some inexpensive lines in their Guide series that seem to be OK.

 

A lot of this comes down to personal preference and how much money you want to spend.

 

Some guys spend a 100 days on the water in cold weather, reels get beat, take some dunkings etc. They might need different equiptment (sp) than the guy who goes out a couple of time a month in nice weather.

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When it comes to rods/reels, I feel the above posts covered the subject like a wet blanket. When it comes to line, give McCoy Mean Green a try. While all line does twist on occassion, this stuff seems to be the most anti-twist line I have ever used.

 

I know Strictly Fishing in Plainfield carries it and GAT may carrry it as well.

 

 

 

jonn

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I'm kinda stubborn on my gear- but Power Pro is getting a long look this year for the first time.

 

Falcon Rod- prefer heavy above all else, but the med-heavy will work. A Quantum reel on this one (can't remember the model, but it's balanced real nice).

Pfleuger rod and reel set-up (won it at an ISA raffle at one of the member meetings and I LOVE it!)

Trilene XT 12lb. Green. Always go back to it after "experimenting" with others.

Great for dragging tubes over sharp rocks and yanking big bass from cover.

 

After spending like $500 on rods the last 2 years due to the automatic door thingy on our minivan snapping tips off (don't ask- if you have kids, you already know), maybe I'll just get a bunch of $20 Ugly Stiks from now on.

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A point that hasn't been brought up yet is: I think it's important to match the rod to the kind of line you are using.

 

If you are going to try a superline (fireline, powerpro, etc.) you will want to go with a lighter action rod and make sure they have premium tips and guides. The superlines have no stretch so the rod tip must give a little or you will miss fish when spinner or crank fishing. A heavy action rod could just rip the treble right out of their mouth too. Also if you don't have premium tips and guides, the superlines will wear grooves in them. Superlines will perform much better than mono against twisting but is not invincible to it.

 

If you go the monofiliment route, then you will want a medium to heavy action rod. You will need more power in your hooksets because the line will stretch some especially fishing textposed rigged plastics. You can also get by with a much cheaper rod and reel combo because mono won't destroy your rod tips and reel bails.

 

Everything else has been covered pretty well.

 

Also I would not buy a rod or reel online anymore. Its one of those things you have to pick up, feel, test, and get comfortable with before commiting to using it.

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Also I would not buy a rod or reel online anymore. Its one of those things you have to pick up, feel, test, and get comfortable with before commiting to using it.

You betcha.

For those that are not aware of this trick-

Have a buddy hold the rod tip to his Adam's apple and speak while you hold the grip in your hand.

If you can feel the vibration, it's likely a quality rod.

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I just want to say thanks for the info...it helped.

 

I like to use a lot of small jigs, so I'll probably go with Jim J's suggestion...medium/light fast action rod that's a one piece 6' 6". I also like to throw light presentations...small jigs...small flat fish, floating rapala's, etc. I just picked up some really cool hair jigs! I can't wait to try 'em. I like to drift live bait also so this may be the ticket for me.

 

I've always used Trilene 6lb xl...I've noticed many who responded to this post use lines much heavier...I'm just curious...why do you like the heavy line? Is there something better than what I'm using that's more sensitive?

 

Also...Mark...is your 7 foot rod a one piece or two...I'm guessing it's a one piece Loomis because of the sensitivity. I've got an awsome 7 foot baitcasting rod but I can't throw small baits with it...perfect for spinner baits and large 6-9 inch rapalas, or anything 1/2 ounce or more...like a rattle trap. It can handle even some large buctails...it's aweful for anything small... What do you use for small light weight crankbaits...do you use the same rod or switch to a shorter medium/light baitcaster with a slower action?

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I would have to agree with rich mc. Go see Ken at GAT guns. He won't steer ya wrong. Unless you're nowhere near Dundee. Then go to your local tackle shop. Watch out for the "big box" stores...you might get some kid who doesn't have a clue.

 

I agree with you...Always try before you buy!!! It all comes down to personal preference!! Reputation is second.

 

As for me, I have 2 smallie setups.

1. 6'ML St. Croix w/ an Okuma reel spooled up with 6#mono. Being brand new, I don't know if I like using a 6' rod yet.

2. 6'6"ML St. Croix w/ an ABU Garcia reel spooled up with a 20#superline.

Each cost around $150 at GAT guns.

 

As far as lines go, I like both, so far. Haven't tried flourocarbon.

 

Also...go to www.tackletour.com they review lots of gear.

Basspro and Cabela's have some user reviews online too.

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I won't sugarcoat this:

 

6lb mono is panfish line.

 

Your talking about setting a hook on an 18" strong stream fish with muscle in current. The larger fish have leathery, tough, thick jaws, especially the lower.

 

6lb mono IS NOT 6lb test at the knot.. it's less.

 

6lb mono IS NOT 6lb test where it just passed over some rocks or branches. It's as weak as the abrasion which at that point may be 4lb? 2lb?

 

So you make a longer cast with a jig and grub and as it's settling you feel the thump. You reply with a fast hard hook set, from a distance, with lots of stretch (mono), while the fish is swimming away from you and the possibility of somewhere in your line there's a small abrasion. That pop you hear is the large smallie swimming away with your bait in it's mouth. There are some real good reasons that most good smallie anglers fish with stronger line.

 

If you are only fishing small baits for small fish 6lb mono is OK I guess, but if you encounter some bigger fish, you're at a disadvantage along with the possibility of hurting the fish you really want to catch.

 

10-15lb PowerPro has a 2lb diameter, cast like heck, extreme sensitivity (for plastic fishing) no stretch, and you can set the hook hard on a big fish. What else can I tell you?

 

Oh and it never uncoils off your bail like mono.

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6lb test has done me good so far.

Never had a problem with knots breaking or abrasion.

Until I have a catastophic problem with it (other than the compound panther martin twist) I'll stick with it.

I have spare spools with the 6# mono and spools with 20# braid (6lb dia.) I use both and like each for different reasons.

 

Like I said before, It all comes down to personal preference.

 

Heck, I have a brother who uses nothing but Ugly Stiks. He says they're the best rod going...........that's his preference.

 

 

 

You say tomato, I say tomato...... ;)

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I totally agree that this is personal preference.

 

Guys can catch fish on expensive rods and inexpensive rods.

 

I know that some guys love mono and hate superline and the other way around.

 

Just my two cents on it.

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I totally agree that this is personal preference.

 

Guys can catch fish on expensive rods and inexpensive rods.

 

I know that some guys love mono and hate superline and the other way around.

 

Just my two cents on it.

Jim, the superline you use...when you get hung up how difficult is it to get unsnagged...

I've used spiderwire and it's impossible to break...most of the time I have to cut the line leaving the excess line in the water. Do you have the same problems???

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With a struggle, I can break 10 lb PP but I usually don't have to. Even though I fish plastics a lot, because I'm wading, I just go in to the snag and work it out. Usually a jig snagged in a rock that I can work free.

 

The thing that makes me mad is when I get snagged on a first cast in a great spot. I then have to decide to wreck the spot or break off.

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I have broken off 10lb. Power Pro only because I couldn't get to the snag. It is hard but can be done. I didn't see where anyone mentioned that with a Spinning Reel if you close the bail buy hand instead of with the handle to can eliminate a lot of line twist if not all of it. I have been using the BPS Pro Qualifier Reels and the BPS Bionic Rods with great success and so far like them both. I have switched to a Florocarbon line down here because of the super clear water. When I waded the waters of Illinois I used Power Pro all the time and like it very much for its strength and sensitivity.

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A wooden dowel will get anything out- rip the eye or straighten the hook.

 

Hey- at least we didn't get into the "back reeling versus drag" scenario...LOL

 

Ah, what the hell......

So how many cinch their drag down all the way and use the back reel function to work the fish?

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I haven't had a problem breaking off 4/15(4lb diameter 15lb test) Power Pro, just tighten it down and point your rig at the snag, hold the spool and walk backwards. Get ready to duck though, if you straighten the hook instead of snapping the line the lure can come screaming back at you!. I have never had PP fail when I did not want to break off, I certainly can't say the same for mono.

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6lb test has done me good so far.

Never had a problem with knots breaking or abrasion.

Until I have a catastophic problem with it (other than the compound panther martin twist) I'll stick with it.

I have spare spools with the 6# mono and spools with 20# braid (6lb dia.) I use both and like each for different reason.

You say tomato, I say tomato...... ;)

 

John, you should check out some of the Multiple velocaraptor nests I sometimes get! Gets pretty ugly...depends on my patience. :blink:

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Also...Mark...is your 7 foot rod a one piece or two...I'm guessing it's a one piece Loomis because of the sensitivity.

 

My "Kank Rod" is a St Croix Avid 7 ft medium spinning rod and a Daiwa SS2 2500 spooled with 14 lb Fireline. It's a fairly stick with a strong butt section. I landed a 10 lb cat in current with it. It's a good light saltwater rod too. I mention this only to give you an idea of how beefy it is.

Any smallie over 16" will double this rod over if it gets into deep fast water. An 18" Kankakee river smallie in summer is a major battle.

 

I also have a 7 ft medium light 2 pc Avid, which I bought not for the convenience of a 2 piece, but because it has a fast top section that I like. I use it a lot in Wisconsin. It's beefy enough to get by with on the Kank but heavier is better. The 1 piece version is a very nice rod too, especially the Legend.

 

I have a lot of nice rods, St Croix, Shimano, Loomis, Falcon. I mentioned Loomis specifically because I think the IMX series are the finest rods made for the money. I have two. If I could go back my main river rod would be a 7 (maybe 7/2 foot) medium heavy rod and a Loomis.

 

I've got an awsome 7 foot baitcasting rod but I can't throw small baits with it...perfect for spinner baits and large 6-9 inch rapalas, or anything 1/2 ounce or more...like a rattle trap. It can handle even some large buctails...it's aweful for anything small... What do you use for small light weight crankbaits...do you use the same rod or switch to a shorter medium/light baitcaster with a slower action?

 

In times that I use a 6 1/2 baitcaster on the Kank it is in low clarity conditions and I have found that a white spinnerbait will catch big smallies as well as anything else. So under those conditions that's all I carry, maybe a buzzbait so throwing light cranks isn't an issue. That reel is loaded with 30 lb Power Pro ( a real man's line). What I do is cover water with those big blades pulsing vibration through the water. The rod you have sounds perfect. Incidently when a big smallie crushes a spinnerbait it will damn near rip the rod out of your hands.

 

With regards to throwing small crank baits. Part of that is gear but most of it is technique and you have to practice it like fly fishing. I have a 6 ft Loomis with a Calcutta 150. It will throw small crankbaits. I saw Eric S. once throw a #2 Mepps with his similar out fit. He was incidentally slaying them that day. He is an exceptional baitcaster. I just idiot fish with a baitcaster. sling 'em out and crank 'em back in.

 

I agree that using light line in a river is a matter of preference. Especially if your preference is to lose big fish and a hell of a lot of lures. Snags are a part of river fishing and you are going to lose baits even with heavy line. Apart from a few specialized techniques I can't think of any river smallie applications that it would be necessary. Why unnecessarily stress out fish you intend to release? Is that a matter of preference too?

Light line is a good choice only when it's really necessary and for most river conditions that I have encountered it's way too light. The description I gave of the battle a river smallie can put up is accurate. Is there anyone that will contradict this? To land such a fish with light line, you would have to play it to death...literally.

 

"Preference" Ugh.. I hate that word. It's used so often out of context.

there was a comment made that illustrates this, "Heck, I have a brother who uses nothing but Ugly Stiks. He says they're the best rod going...........that's his preference."

If you judge rods based on criteria such as senstitivity, weight, action etc, typical things one would take into consideration when choosing a bass fishing rod an Ugly Stik would have no redeeming qualities. Zero. So, it may be his preference, but one would have to question why. He may even be a great fisherman, but if you judge those rods based on those criteria he would be plain wrong. If he "prefers" rods that are heavy, whippy and have the sensitivity of..well, an Ugly Stik than his criteria for judging fishing rods is not the same (in fact the complete opposite) as most serious anglers and would therefore be irrelevant.

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