Capt. Mike’s Minimalist Collection of Rods for Inshore Fishing on Cape Cod
This is the collection of inshore rod and reel models I use on Cape Cod but applies to the
entire Northeast. I also have an offshore collection you can find here. There are 7 different outfit profiles below which includes a couple of more “advanced” options. I’d also like to note that I am not an
avid shore angler nor avid kayak fisherman. This collection of outfits assumes
a similar fishing profile to mine which is about 90% or more boat fishing on the Cape.
*My Three Workhorses:
At the end of the day, I use 3 different outfits
collectively 90% of the time. Some of these models may be discontinued but
there are many similar outfits on the market that will serve the same purpose.
- St. Croix Extreme XIS70MHF 7′ M* with Shimano Saragossa 5000 class
reel + 30lb Braid + 15lb Flouro Leader
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′* with Shimano Saragossa 5000 class reel +
40lb Braid + 30lb Flouro Leader
- Hogy Hybrid Rod 5′ 6”* with Avet JX or LX class reel + 65lb Braid + 60lb
- St. Croix Extreme XIS70MHF 7′ M*: Just about every angler will get a ton
of utility from this rod. It’s perfect for schoolies, albies and even
freshwater. While this particular rod is quite expensive, there are plenty
of options in this size class. The “Extreme” upgrade adds a few feet of
casting distance but is not necessary in most inshore situations. I
particularly like this rod as it can through every epoxy jig from 3/8oz to
1.25oz which makes it extremely versatile.
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: This rod will feel like a clunker when you
first pick it up. It’s heavy and has some fiberglass in it. THAT SAID, this
is perhaps the most versatile rod on the market. I have caught everything
from schoolies to 40lb YFT on this rod. It has a very slow action,
meaning that it’s very parabolic. This is helpful for a couple of reasons.
A) It can handle a lure that is a little to big for the rod with a lob cast and
B) it allows for good hook sets in rocky boat conditions. This is also a
decent rod for light tackle surf fishing or live eels.
- Technical Option: St. Croix Legend Tournament LTIS80HF* with 8000
class Shimano Saragossa I think that this rod is technically a tarpon rod for very large tarpon but it is a great rod for throwing the largest of
striper plugs and can handle a 4oz plug with NO PROBLEM. I use this
outfit with our 3.5oz 7” Poppers and 4oz Sliders for big stripers keyed in
on pogies or “plugging” boulder fields in search of very large stripers.
This rod also happens to be a great South Of MV tuna casting rod for
tuna under 100lbs.
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: I mentioned above that this rod has a very
slow action… As you might gather from my videos, I am a big fan of slow
vertical jigging with soft plastics. This rod imparts a deadly action on the
jig. It’ can also handle jigs up to 4oz without any loading issues.
- Technical Option: St. Croix Mojo Jigging MJJS66MMF 6’6″*: I bought
this rod on a whim after seeing it in the 2016 ICAST. It has a relatively
moderate action, but not too much. I would call this rod more of a hybrid
in that it is a little shorter than average for casting and a little longer
then average for jigging. It does both pretty Well. The rod is perfect for
casting 1 to 2oz soft plastics or similarly weighted epoxy jigs.
- Hogy Hybrid 5′ 6” *: This rod is a little bit unusual for modern day
inshore trolling but really does an amazing job with either lead-core or
braid with a trolling sinker. This rod is rated for 30 to 65lb braid but I put
65lb braid on it so that it can double play offshore for vertical jigging for
cod and haddock as well as it can troll light bars for school sized tuna.
The Hogy Hybrid Rod is super light and feels maxed out with a 50lb 65 lb
tuna. Anyway, it is a perfect inshore trolling outfit because it has a soft
parabolic action meaning that if you get a hit on the troll the stiffness (or
lack thereof in this rod’s case) won’t snap the lure out of the fish’s
mouth. (Particularly important with tube and worm fishing. I should also
mention the reel I like for the Hogy Hybrid Rod. I am smitten with the
AVET series. I have had mine for double digit years. I have two shapes in
the same size. The JX series which has a narrower profile which makes
the reel lighter but less forgiving for trolling and the LX which is wider
allowing for more line capacity and more forgiving line placement on the
retrieve. (Some anglers complain of “bunching” on one side with their
less experienced guests on the JX. I strongly prefer high gear ratio reels
(amount of spool revolution per line crank) which amount to super-fast
weed checks where you often have very short trolling spans, so timing is beneficial.
- Technical Option: St. Croix Musky KD01910 8′*: I think that musky rods
are the best-kept secret in saltwater fishing. In this case, I like musky
rods for trolling on boats with outboards as the added length helps clear
propellers. They are also great for clearing lobster post when trolling in
fishy areas. Another nice feature is that they are light and have long butt
sections which make it easier for youngster to sit down and fight a fish. I
pair my musky rod with lead core line, but they play great double duty
rods for bottom fishing, live bait for stripers and throwing large wooden
- Technical Option: St. Croix Legend Surf HF10153 9’* with Shimano
Saragossa 8000 class reel with 30 or 40lb Braid: I don’t surf fish much,
but I do tend to hit all the local haunts at least once per year on the Cape.
Apart from throwing heavy jigs in the Cape Cod Canal, I have never been
in a situation where this rod didn’t kick ass. It has amazing range,
sensitivity, and can fish any plug or soft plastic on the market, within
- St. Croix Extreme XIS70MHF 7′ M*: This rod is a rocket and as I
mentioned above, does really well with lures from 3/8 to 1.25oz. This rod
is a blast on albies. Not much else to say about this rod as an albie
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: Sometimes you just get outgunned by the
strong SW in September and you need heavier lures, maybe a 2oz Heavy
Minnow. If I need to go with big lures (on albie scale) this is y rod. Mainly
because I have it in my arsenal, but it does the trick.
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: I keep coming back to this size rod! It
literally does everything, including trolling for albies. I either rig a
1.25oz Hogy Epoxy Jig, a 2.5oz Sand eel jig or a deep diver swimmer, set it
and forget it.
- Technical Option: St. Croix Legend Surf HF10153 9’*: If I know I am albie
fishing from shore, I will drop down to 30lb test braid. This rod pairs
perfectly with a Hogy 2oz heavy minnow, a 2oz Peanut Bunker Jigs and a
1.25oz Epoxy Jig.
- St. Croix Extreme XIS70MHF 7′ M*: This rod is my lightest tackle
spinning outfit I have that I use for small stripers and albies. I also use
this outfit for shallow water ground fishing for fluke, sea bass, tautog,
and scup. This particular unit is a bit high end for this style of fishing but
it’s just easier and cheaper for me in the long run to have fewer outfits
that serve multiple tasks. Depth: under 40’
- Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: I said it above, I keep coming back to a rod
this size and weight. Depth 40-80’
- Hogy Hybrid 5′ 6”*: This rod is an unusual design for modern day
vertical jigging where the trend is for super narrow diameter blanks. This
version outfit is the opposite of that. Soft happy and easy and hard to
break. Paired with either the AVET JX serries or the LX series you’ll have
a ton of line capacity. Whatever you braid set up is for trolling will work
just fine here. Depth 80’+
- Technical Option: St. Croix Mojo Jigging: Any of the spinning rods above
will work for bottom fishing but the St. Croix Mojo Jig Rods really do a
particularly nice job. They are short enough for ease of use, but long
enough for a sweeping hook-set. A long butt section makes the rod easy to
tuck under your arm for jigging or even a kiddo slugging it out with a 4lb
sea bass. Depth: 40’ to 180’ St. Croix Mojo MJJS66MMF 6’6″ for Fluke,
Scup, sea bass and tog St. Croix Mojo MJJS58XMF 5′ 8″ for Cod.