Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:44 pm Post subject: affordable rod & reel for tropical saltwater
I may have my first opportunity at strong tropical saltwater fish this winter i.e. Big Snook, small-med Tarpon, jacks, perhaps some smaller king mackerel/dolphins/albacore if I'm lucky. I am looking to get together a strong and reliable kit and am aiming at #11 (or maybe #12 if necessary) to give strength but still hopefully allow some presentation and avoid rotator-cuff injury if at all possible!
I already have #9 gear for Pike and the rod (Vision GT4 SW med-fast) has proven itself many times with big double figure Pike both on their initial hard run and pulling dead-weight out of weed and snags and I trust it, so this covers my lighter rod.
The key issue here is money - very tight for me at the moment so I need to get gear that won't break the bank, especially as this might be an experiment that I don't repeat. Primarily this means rod and reel as hooks, fluoro etc wont be a problem, I tie my own flies and I hope to pick up some decent lines cheap from tacklebargains.
I am aware that Abel, Tibor, Ross, Nautilus, Danielsson will be recommended for build and drag quality and I understand completely why, but I simply can't stretch to two reels and a couple of spare spools at those prices. So with this in mind I have been doing some research and the two that seem to be most liked are (in their two largest sizes):
Shakespeare Pflueger Trion or President - no one seems to have a bad word to say about these, the design/build tolerance/drag is rated highly by everyone as far as I can see and they available at very reasonable price
Lamson - look great and have a very good drag apparently, though I have read reports of the drag becoming contaminated with grit and otherwise failing which makes me nervous for serious saltwater work
Anyone here have any other thoughts? Good design and tolerances, reliable drag and one-way bearing and (preferably) light weight are at the top of my list.
Aiming at 4 piece 9' and I am very happy to build my own and in fact would prefer to do that to save money and also spec lined rings throughout as I don't really like snakes. So in terms of blanks available at sensible prices:
TFO Axiom, BVK, TiCR, TiCR-X in #10 and the last 2 in #12 with lifetime warranty included which is difficult to ignore
I am told that a company called All Star Austin makes/made blanks in #11 that were liked by many.
If I really stretch I might be able to justify a Sage Xi2 or Xi3 in #11 because they do get highly rated. Or perhaps a British Norwich EV3?
Any others... Beulah? Batson/Rainshadow? CTS? St Croix?
For ready-built rods I have heard good things about the TFO Bluewater Light Duty but can't help feeling that while it is no doubt very strong, might not be so nice to cast with?
Top priority is robustness as I will be a long way from a tackle shop or even a postal service, but something I can cast accurately without a shoulder injury would be nice too! Some feel that the Xi2 is tougher than the Xi3?
Thanks for reading and looking forward to the replies.
Joined: 27 Feb 2006 Posts: 356 Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:56 pm Post subject:
I would go for a TFO rod without hesitation! I have friends who have bought 10 weight TFO's and they are very good rods at a very reasonable price. The specific model must depend on your needs and mood. I prefer medium fast rods while most saltwater anglers like fast or even ultra fast rods. I would personally stop at a 10 weight, which will take you pretty far and not be that tough to cast.
Regarding reels I can (as always) recommend Okuma Helios, which is as much reel as you can get for your money from any brand. It has a good brake (needed for saltwater in my opinion) and is durable enough to withstand salt and fish, and looks and works nicely.
It's available in an 8-9 weight version, and should be able to handle all but the really large tarpon, GT's and that league of fish.
Apart from that I have fished Tibors and Lamsons for big fish, and they of course work like a charm, but cost an arm.
Hope this helps... and let us know what you decide.
Martin _________________ Martin Joergensen
The Global FlyFisher
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