Gear Guide: Capt. Mike’s Inshore Rod Collection

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.An inshore rod should be versatile and able to be used in various fishing situations.

*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
    Flouro Leader

STRIPERS

Casting

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Jigging

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Trolling

  1. 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.
  2. 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
    striper plugs.

Surf

  1. 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
    reason.

ALBIES

Casting

  1. 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
    machine.
  2. 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.

Trolling

  1. 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.

Surf

  1. 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.

BOTTOM FISHING

  1. 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’
  2. Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′*: I said it above, I keep coming back to a rod
    this size and weight. Depth 40-80’
  3. 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’+
  4. 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.

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