April 28, 2016

Choosing The Best Rod for Speckled Trout and Redfish (Complete Guide)

Choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish is easy when you know what to look for. This blog post will help you find the best fishing rod for your inshore needs.


Quick Note

This blog post is a little long because it dives into rod specifications, but it does so in a way that's easy to understand.

But, if you're short on time, you can click the button to scroll down to the cheat sheet for choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish.

Choosing the Best Rod for Speckled Trout and Redfish

Years ago I couldn’t tell you the difference between a medium or heavy power fishing rod.

I just had whatever it was I had and that worked well enough.

But as I gained experience it became evident that poor rod selection often led to poor rod performance:

  • fish coming off the hook
  • line breaking
  • reduced casting performance
  • missed hooksets
  • poor lure action
  • and more

I eventually learned the finer points of rod specifications and how they are relevant to my inshore fishing needs (and yours, too!)

After investing in the correct rod, things got better and I began catching more fish:

  • no more fish coming off the hook
  • doors were opened to new techniques
  • casting distance increased
  • no more missed hooksets
  • improved lure action
  • and more
choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish

Catching limits of speckled trout is easier when you have the right fishing rod.

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

In fact, taking a look at cars and trucks is a great way to begin understanding fishing rods!

The Really Simple Car Analogy That Perfectly Explains Fishing Rods

Fishing rods and cars are a lot alike for two reasons:

  • there are many types
  • each type serves a purpose

Sedans, pickup trucks, minivans and sports cars all have wheels and take you places, but they all do so differently to match the various needs of different people.

For example, a smart car is great for saving money on a car note (and fuel).

But it would never do well for transporting a team of cheerleaders!

fishing rod and car analogy 3

There's simply no room and the engine isn't big enough to handle the added weight.

Fishing rods are no different! 

Look down the aisle of any tackle store and you'll see many rods of different thickness and length that make it tough to know which one is the best rod for speckled trout and redfish.

They all vary to serve one style of fishing or another, and knowing what those variations are is key to knowing which one is perfect for you.

So let's jump into those rod specs!

What are some basic rod specifications?

There are three you need to know by heart:

  • Power
  • Action
  • Length

An easy way to remember these is to know that they are your pal, or PAL  ;)

Let's go over each.

Fishing Rod Power

The power of the fishing rod is the rod’s ability to handle different sized fish.

Accurately put, power represents how much force is needed to flex the rod.

Here's a range of power ratings:

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

An ultra-light rod is built to handle small fish, like bluegill, because it is so light and sensitive it makes feeling the bite of a small fish easy and fighting it practical.

On the other hand, a heavy power rod would be used to fight a big redfish. You need the extra “oomph” in a heavy power rod to practically fight and land a fish that size. 

An ultra-light rod would give you no power over the fish and chances are he would break it.

Flip it around, and you'll discover that using a heavy rod to catch bluegill is tough because you couldn't feel its tiny bite.

That and, assuming you are using a light line, a heavy power rod will break your line as it is not absorbing any impact from the fish.

Using a heavy power rod to catch a bluegill is like using an elephant gun to hunt a squirrel.

Fishing Rod Action

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

It is a specification 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.

Rod action types include:
  • Slow
  • Moderate
  • Fast
  • Extra Fast

A moderate-fast action is great for "chunk and wind" baits in open water (like a gold spoon), or casting big baits over long distances.

An extra-fast action is better suited for deepwater jigging speckled trout, and feeling those soft trout bites during winter.

In a nutshell, a faster action is more sensitive and a slower action is more forgiving. 

Fishing Rod Length

Rod length is even more diverse than rod power and action, being as short as a couple feet or as long as ten feet!

Shorter rods tend to be more accurate and weigh less, but don't cast as far or pick up as much slack as longer rods.

Longer rods are able to quickly pick up slack and sling baits farther, but tend to be less accurate and weigh more.

See how there is always a tradeoff when choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish?

Combining Power, Action And Length To Identify The Best Rod For Speckled Trout And Redfish

Now that you understand the three most important fishing rod specs, let's put them together for different techniques we use to catch speckled trout and redfish.

Jigging Speckled Trout

Power: medium-light to medium

Action: fast to extra-fast

Length: 6'2" to 6'6"

Daiwa's Tatula 6'3" medium-fast casting rod is a great choice.

Sight Fishing Redfish

Power: medium-heavy

Action: fast

Length: 7'

Daiwa Aird Coastal Inshore Fishing Rod 

This is the model number you're looking for ACIN701MHFB

Popping Cork Rod

Power: medium to medium-heavy

Action: fast

Length: 7'-7'6"

Daiwa's Aird Coastal Inshore is a great pick, and one rod I fish with regularly.

The exact model number you are looking for is ACIN701MXS

Note: The "X" designation in the above model number stands for "extra fast", referring to the action. I fish with this rod and can tell you that it handles more like a fast action, than an extra fast.

Drop Shot Rod (speckled trout only)

Power: medium-light to medium

Action: extra fast

Length: ~ 7'

Daiwa Tatula TTU731MXS is a great drop shot rod.

Extra Details To Help You Find The Best Rod For Speckled Trout And Redfish

Power, action and length is something you should know by heart, but that doesn't mean overlooking these specs to find the best rod for speckled trout and redfish:

Line Rating

It's important to pay attention to line rating so you don't overload your rod and break it.

Yes, most rod companies use line ratings that are way too light for the use of heavier braid most inshore anglers use, but you should know that Daiwa builds and rates certain rods for use with heavy braid.

A good example is their Saltist Inshore STIN70HFS, a 7' heavy power, fast action spinning rod rated for 30-55lb braided fishing line.

Intentionally fishing a rod outside of its line rating could void its warranty!

Lure Rating

The easiest spec to understand when choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish, lure rating recommends the optimal lure weight for a particular fishing rod.

Lure ratings are expressed in weight like fractions of an ounce or ounces and, like most rod information, is easily found printed above the reel seat. 

Throwing a lure too heavy or too light will result in reduced casting performance and possibly break the rod.

Spinning vs Casting Rods

Spinning rods are built for spinning reels and casting rods are built for casting reels, or baitcasters.

Spinning rods have large line guides that hang down, whereas casting rods have smaller ones that face up.

Fiberglass vs Graphite

Fiberglass rods have a niche within the world of bass fishing, so it's worth noting the difference here.

In short, you really only need to use graphite rods for inshore fishing, because graphite is lighter and more sensitive than fiberglass.

I do use fiberglass rods, but only for bass fishing techniques like deep cranking, techniques that aren't all that useful in inshore fishing.

What About Taper?

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

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.

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

That's a wrap!

Now you know what to look for when choosing the best rod for speckled trout and redfish.

This is good because you will find yourself opening up to more techniques like roll casting under bridges, and fishing concepts like 3% Theory.

These things catch more fish and there's plenty of video to prove it on my YouTube channel.


Did you find what you learned here to be useful? Consider joining my newsletter to be notified when more like it publishes. 

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • What is the best PAL rod to use when using a baitcast reel when you are wade fishing in the surf, mainly for speckled trout?

  • Hey Alex, thanks for taking the time to comment, but I’m afraid that freshwater trout are out of my expertise.

    I know that for speckled trout (spotted sea trout) we typically use a 7′ medium power, fast action spinning rod for all around use.

    Maybe that would prove beneficial to you but, as mentioned before, your style of fishing and the species you are fishing for are outside my experience.

    Good luck!

  • Would really appreciate some input on rod choice. I have the Daiwa Tatula LT 2000. I’m after rainbow and brownies using 8/10lb braid. I want to have the option to cast streamers or dry fly with a bobber/split shot as well as spinners. Which Power/Action choice would be the most effective a 6’6″ ML Extra Fast or 6’6″” L Fast rod. Looking at the new St.Croix Trout Series. Appreciate your time with this, Devin

  • You’re definitely overthinking it, but I am glad you’re putting so much thought into this because it tells me (very loud and clear) that you care and want to make the best decision possible.

    Also, it sounds like someone made a copy/paste error in the catalog.

    I agree with you that 1/2oz to 1.5oz seems a little heavy for a MH power, but think those rod specs are spot on for what you want to do.

  • I’m looking to put together a better redfish setup with a more stout, Medium-Heavy Fast Action, rod. I’m going to be pairing it with a Curado 200HG that I currently have on an old medium action 6.5′ Falcon Original rod.

    I picked up the Aird Costal Inshore, ACIN701MHFB, thinking it would be a good fit, as recommended above. However, I’m noticing is showing a “cast weight” of 1/2-1.5 oz printed on the rod. I thought that seems a lot heavier than expected.

    I checked on Daiwa’s website (https://daiwa.us/products/aird-coastal-inshore-rods) and they’re showing the specs for that rod with a lure weight of 1/8-3/4 oz which is more of what I was expecting.

    However, the Academy & Tackle Warehouse web sites are showing 1/2-1.5 oz for the same rod. Definitely some inconsistencies on the specs. Is there a chance they changed up the specs on that rod? Am I overthinking it?

    I definitely liked the price point of the Aird, but had also looked at these as additional options when I have a few more $ to spend on fishing gear.

    Duckett Fishing Silverado Casting Rod – DFSV70MH-C
    Lew’s Inshore Speed Stick HM40 Casting Rod 7′ MH
    St. Croix Premier Split-Grip Casting Rod – PC70MHFSG

  • Hey John, thanks for asking. You’ve provided detailed information and I appreciate that because vague/broad questions are tough to answer.

    To suit your needs I’d say that a 7′ medium power, fast action spinning rod would work fine.

    Daiwa makes one in their Aird-X and Aird Coastal lineup of rods, I’ve fished with both and they’re excellent choices.

  • Hey Capt.Devin, I’m a teenager who can really only afford one quality set up. Because of this I want to make sure I have something that could work well as an all around rod. What specs should I go for to get the best bang for my buck while still having an all around multipurpose rod? This article is packed with great info so thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, tight lines!!

  • That’s a vague question for which I do not have an exact answer.

    A 1.5′ tide in relation to what? Water levels? Water movement?

    Just because it’s predicted to be 1.5′ doesn’t mean it’s going to move 1.5′.

    I think you really need to learn what’s in these blog posts, and you’ll find your answer and more after taking the time to digest them:



  • Yea Devin what’s your take on tides when they get up to around 1.5? I was looking on RodnReel for next week and it was predicting some big tides. Thx

  • I appreciate you commenting, but I think you’re missing the point of this blog post: rod selection isn’t about name brand or price point.

    It’s about selecting the right rod based upon its power, action and length to meet your needs, whether it’s catching speckled trout or bigeye tuna.

    You could use an Ugly Stik Tiger Model # USTDR1230C802 for jigging trout and not catch a single fish because it’s the worst PAL combo for jigging speckled trout. ;)

    Brand name is irrelevant.

  • There was a time in history I used expensive rods and reels … I take many people fishing and not being experienced, they destroyed equipment… about 8 years ago I switched to Ugly Sticks… they step on a rod and break it, no big deal… and I don’t have complaints about number of fish caught

  • Hey Andrew, thank for commenting! It’s great you want to come to Louisiana and fish for redfish, there are plenty of opportunities for that here.

    Honestly, by the time you make it down to Venice you would’ve passed up a lot of fish.

    Why not try Bayou Bienvenue? Hopedale? Or Delacroix?

    They’re easier to navigate, hours closer and missing a lot of the hazards associated with Venice, like growing land, shipping lanes, and oilfield trash.

    As for the guide, if you have to ask then the answer is “yes”.

    Tight lines, Andrew.

  • Great read with practical information! Since you are from La, thought I would ask a Venice question. Always will anted to go there and fish for reds. Do you recommend getting a guide or can I take my boat and have success on my own?

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

  • 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?

  • 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?

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

    If so, I’d recommend a Duce EMS7

    Thanks, Mike!

  • 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:

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

  • 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

    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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

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