Choosing The Best Rod for Speckled Trout and Redfish
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Choosing The Best Rod for Speckled Trout and Redfish

Choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish means knowing these details to help you get the best rod for your inshore needs.

Note

Scroll to the end of the article to see my cheat sheet.

Comment below if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.

He was going on an adventure.

Nothing could stave his enthusiasm as he took off for the outdoors section of the retail giant. He was going fishing the next day and needed a rod and reel combo to make it happen.

Meanwhile, I bought other fishing necessities, such as canned Vienna sausages and extra water.

The Vienna sausages were mostly for my billy-goat diet I enjoy on fishing trips, where the fishing comes first and everything else second, including lunch.

I navigated towards check-out, wondering where my fishing compadre was, when I cleared the corner and saw him coming down the aisle.

He had a huge rod and reel in his hands, complete over-kill for the speckled trout we hoped to catch in the morning. Seriously, the thing was fit for an offshore fishing trip!

Smiling, I laughed and shook my head. “Hey man, you don’t need to buy that thing, you can just use one of my fishing rods.”

I laughed because he literally grabbed the first rod and reel combo he saw, eye-balled it, figured it was “good enough” and pressed on.

This is the way things are when you are on your first fishing adventure!

Choosing the Best Rod for Speckled Trout and Redfish

That day was nearly seven years ago. We went fishing and didn’t limit out, but we still caught fish and had a good time.

In those years I couldn’t tell you the difference between a medium and heavy fishing rod. I just knew what I grew up with and that is what I used.

It didn’t keep me from being successful, but as I grew I learned the finer points of rod specifications and how they are relevant to my inshore fishing needs.

This article serves to cover some of those finer points for choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish without falling into the deep abyss of rod building.

Why have a good fishing rod?

The term “good” is subjective, so I will make this painfully obvious:

Without the right fishing rod you will not effectively use your tackle to land speckled trout and redfish.

A good fishing rod, when paired with the right lure weight, fishing line and reel, will be able to cast as far as possible (30-40 yards is great) and set the hook and fight the fish you are targeting without causing great fatigue to yourself.

Certain lures, fishing tackle and techniques require a certain rod length, strength and action.

Chances are you have never paid attention to these specs and simply used whatever rod it is you have always used and became accustomed to it.

Even if you only fish with a popping cork and live bait it is important to know these specs, otherwise you are leaving fish in the water.

Or scroll to the end of the article to see my cheat sheet.

What are some basic rod specs?

Basic rod specifications include:

  • action
  • power
  • length
  • line rating
  • lure rating

Let me cover each one.

Power

Sometimes referred to as the rod’s “weight”, the power of the fishing rod is the rod’s ability to handle different sized fish. More accurately put, power represents how much force is needed to flex the rod.

There are various power ratings, to include:

  • Ultra-Light
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Medium-Heavy
  • Heavy

Those are common variants, but there are more. An ultra-light rod is built to handle smaller fish, like panfish. An ultra-light rod is so light and sensitive it makes feeling the bite of a small fish easy and fighting it practical.

On the other hand, a medium-heavy rod would be used to fight a big redfish. You need the extra “oomph” in a medium-heavy rod to practically fight and land a fish of that size. If you used an ultra-light rod to fight a redfish that big you would have virtually no power over the fish and chances are he would break the rod.

Conversely, using a medium-heavy rod on a blue gill makes feeling the bite difficult and, assuming you are using a light line, can break the line as the rod is not absorbing any impact from the fish.

Using a medium-heavy rod on perch is like using an elephant gun on a squirrel.

Action

Action refers to the speed from which the rod returns to its neutral position from a flexed position.

It is a specification that is also used to describe how much the rod will bend. A rod with an extra fast action will only bend towards the tip whereas a moderate action may bend along the entire rod length.

Note:

How much a rod bends is really referred to as the taper.

Manufactures lump this spec into the action of the rod in order to make purchase decisions easier for consumers.

A moderate action rod can bend less than another moderate action rod, though their rod tips will return to the neutral position at the same speed.

But taper specs are not listed on rods. Since taper and action are so similar, I am not including taper in this article.

Some basic rod action types include:

  • Slow
  • Moderate
  • Fast
  • Extra Fast

A slow action rod is great for slinging big baits over long distances, but offer little in sensitivity. A fast action rod would be better suited for jigging and feeling those soft trout bites during winter.

A very fast action rod would be better to horse redfish or bass out of thick weed mats, but may not be suitable for making very long casts.

Of course, other factors play roles in casting distance like lure weight, reel and fishing line.

Length

Understanding rod length is key when choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish. Here are some examples:

Jigging

You don’t want a rod that is too short or too long. I know when I am jigging for speckled trout I like to use a 6’2″ rod because it easier for me to manipulate the jighead. A seven foot long rod is simply too much, causing unnecessary fatigue.

Fishing structure like the Hwy 11 bridge and Trestles in Lake Pontchartrain calls for low roll-casts. This kind of casting under the bridge brings my rod tip low to the water’s surface, so that is another reason I prefer a short rod in the scenario.

Corks

However, when I am throwing a popping cork I like to use a longer rod so I can exert more power over the fish and cast longer distances.

A longer rod means longer casting distance.

I don’t have to work the rod with my wrist like I do when I am jigging, so it is easier to manage the length and weight of it.

Sight Fishing

When I go sight fishing for redfish I also like to use a 7 ft rod. A lot of my casts are not that far away, usually within 20 yards, but every once in awhile I need to make that “Hail Mary” cast to a distant redfish pushing away from the boat.

The chief reason I prefer a 7 ft rod is to keep the fishing line off of the boat and control lure depth.

If a redfish runs under the boat I don’t want the line rubbing against the chines as it could break.

With a longer rod I can get the rod tip into the water and get the line off the boat and even work it around the trolling motor or anything else protruding into the water.

Keep in mind that I am fighting the redfish from a 4 ft stand on the bow of my boat, so every inch is helpful.

I have also considered going to a longer 7’6″ rod.

When sight fishing from a stand, I may need to work my lure around grass piles. The lure will go up, over the grass and then back down. To keep the lure down into the water it is crucial to have a long rod that reaches almost to the surface from my perch in the stand.

Line Rating

I don’t pay attention to this spec on fishing rods. I usually end up using fishing line way stronger (heavy braided line) than the specified weight and, in my experience, it has not been to my detriment.

For example, on my DUCE SIM 7 I am running 65lb braided line but the rod is technically rated for 8-14lbs.

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Warning

There are pros and cons to using line outside of the manufacturer’s recommended rating:

  • line too weak for a fishing rod can be broken when setting the hook or fighting a fish
  • line too strong can break the rod and give the manufacturer reason to not warranty the rod

Lure Rating

This is very important to pay attention to! It’s the easiest spec to understand what that rod is useful for and choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish.

Lure ratings are expressed in weight like fractions of an ounce or ounces.

For all my needs I typically use ratings of a 1/4 oz to 5/8 oz.

That covers just about everything I ever use in the inshore world, but heavier fishing tackle like big jigheads or a Seabrook Rig will require a heavier lure rating as they can be anywhere from 3/4 oz to 1 oz.

Otherwise casting performance can be seriously harmed.

Conclusion

Learning all of these specs can be confusing, so let me offer you this “cheat sheet” to help you make a good decision.

Devin's Cheat Sheet

  • My favorite rod for jigging speckled trout is a medium power, fast action 6’2″
  • My favorite rod for sight fishing redfish is a medium-heavy power, fast action 6’8″
  • My favorite rod for throwing a popping cork is a medium power, fast action 7′

If you have any questions or comments, please scroll down and post them. No signing up necessary.

  • Charlie says:

    It wasn’t until recently that I learned there is a difference in rod performance. Thanks for this post!

  • Devin Denman says:

    Thanks for commenting, Charlie! I appreciate you.

    Comment anytime on any of my articles. Tight lines

  • nate says:

    Great blog! Been looking at getting a rod just for popping corks. Just curious about your thoughts on a 7’6″ medium power mod action. Mod action to possibly compensate for a better hook up ratio on those trout bites that dont seem to quite fully commit. mod action to allow for that lure to stay in the trout a just little longer over a fast action. Thanks!

  • Devin Denman says:

    Hey Nate, thanks for commenting!

    Ok, just to be clear, this rod will be used strictly for throwing a popping cork?

    If so, that would work.

    If you’re also talking about artificial lures, then that’s a whole different animal, as there are many different kinds of lures and techniques.

  • Heath Long says:

    Thanks Devin for the awesome article!! What rod specs do you recommend for wade fishing for reds and speckled trout along the Texas coast?

  • Devin Denman says:

    Thanks for commenting, Heath!

    I think the rod selection would matter more for the lure you were throwing, and if you wanted casting or spinning, but if I had to pick one it would be a Duce EM68 (casting rod) or Duce EMS7 (spinning).

  • Jordan says:

    Thanks for the info, I’ve been looking at getting an inshore rod for trout, reds, and flounder and I was curious if you had any recommendations on power, length, and action? I use mostly live baits.

  • Devin Denman says:

    Well, really depends on what you’re doing, but I assume you’re throwing a popping cork.

    The Duce Element EMS7 fits your needs perfectly.

    Remember to use LAFISHBLOG17 to get 20% off. Thanks, Jordan.

  • Donal Elliott says:

    Wade fishing Texas bays, prefer medium/fast 7 ft to 7 ft 6 inch. Mostly blind casting1/16 – 1/4 jig heads with paddle or eel tails, or gulp. Occasional sight cast. 15-20 lb Windtamer works well (floro leader 20 lb). Can handle Reds up to 40 in. and still feel the bumpbump of lower slot trout

  • Mike says:

    Devin

    Do you have a recommendation for a rod and reel for both Red and Specs? I have limited room on the boat and can’t carry extra gear. What is your all around recommendation that would fit the bill.
    Thanks
    Mike

  • The Estrogen Ocean says:

    Suggestions needed please. We fish ALOT. And this ‘we’ consists my disabled husband (with his rediculous bait casters), myself (5 ft tall with 20% hand numbness) and our 4 girls (age 13,13, 10, 5).
    We fish out of Intracoastal City in & around Vermilion Bay. What rod size/strength & and line strength for Reds & Specs would you suggest for the girls & me?

  • Devin says:

    Hey there, thanks for commenting!

    To answer your question:

    I think a 7ft medium power, fast action spinning rod paired with a size 30 (aka 3000) spinning reel would be great!

    That and 20lb test Power Pro braided fishing line.

    You should also get different colors of Power Pro for each rod/reel combo, so it’s easy to identify who’s is who’s and untangle lines (should that happen).

    Duce does make spinning rods with a moderate fast action, which tend to be more forgiving: https://ducerods.com/products/ELEMENT-Series

    Thank you! And be sure to comment again if you’d like.

  • Devin says:

    I’m assuming you are referring to spinning rods and not casting rods.

    If so, I’d recommend a Duce EMS7

    https://ducerods.com/products/ELEMENT-Series

    Thanks, Mike!

  • OysterRash says:

    Devin,

    I’m between two DUCE rods for sight fishing redfish. I would primarily use this rod for jigs/craws/some plugs. I want a medium/heavy for the backbone and to pull fish out of docks. I’m between the 6’8″ Med Hvy and the 7’1″ Med Hvy Casting Rod. I would think I’d want a fast tip, but the lure rating on the 7’1″ is 3/8-1oz. I know you usually look for a rod with a 1/4-5/8 rating. What say you? The 6’8″ MH on Tackle Warehouse has a mod fast tip – isn’t that more of a cranking rod?

  • Devin says:

    Hey Jason, good to see ya on LAFB!

    Yes, you’re correct, the ECMH68MF is a cranking rod, not really best for jigs and flipping docks.

    I’d use this rod for throwing lipless crankbaits like a Rattle Trap.

    As for the ECMH71F, if you’re flipping docks and throwing jigs, you’re almost always going to be tossing 3/8 oz or more.

    Does this answer your question?

  • a random guy says:

    A spinning rod is great, but you need the right reel. An open face spinning reel will work excellent.😊

  • Devin says:

    Agreed. Thanks for commenting.

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