Choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish means knowing these details to help you get the best rod for your inshore needs.
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!
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.
The term “good” is subjective, so I will make this painfully obvious:
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.
Basic rod specifications include:
Let me cover each one.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Understanding rod length is key when choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish. Here are some examples:
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are pros and cons to using line outside of the manufacturer’s recommended 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.
Learning all of these specs can be confusing, so let me offer you this “cheat sheet” to help you make a good decision.
If you have any questions or comments, please scroll down and post them. No signing up necessary.
Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.
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