Gear Guide: Capt. Mike’s Entire Rod Collection



  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 epxy 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 perhabs 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.


  1. Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′ AGAIN: 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. 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 to 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 than average for jigging. It does both pretty Well. The rod is perfect for casting 1 to 2oz soft plastics or similarly weighted epoxy jigs.


  1. Ocean Master OMSU-OB 5′ 6” This rod is a little bit unusual for inshore trolling. But really doe and amazing job. Although it is a tuna stand up rod, it is only rated for 15 to 30lb. It is super light and feels maxed out with a 50lb striper! Anyway, it is a perfect lead core trolling outfit. I should also mention the reel, which is the Daiwa Saltist with 7:1 ratio. This is really beneficial as it allows for super fast weed checks where you often have very short trolling spans so timing is beneficial.
  2. St. Croix Musky KD01910 8′: I think that musky rods are the best-kept secret in saltwater fishing. In this particular 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 sfeature 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.


  1. St. Croix Legend Surf HF10153 9’: I don’t surf fish much but I do tend to hit all the local haunts at least once per year on the cape. With the exception of 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, sensitivy, and na fish any plug or soft plastic on the market, within reason. This rod is so sensitive that it



  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 heaier 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.


  1. Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′: I keep coming back to this 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.


  1. St. Croix Legend Surf HF10153 9’: IF I know I am albie fishing, I will drop down to 30lb test braid. This rod pairs perfectly with a higy 2oz heavy minnow, a 2oz Peanut Bunker Jigs and a 1.25oz Epoxy Jig.

Bottom Fishing

  1. 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 hookset. 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.

13. St. Croix Mojo MJJS66MMF 6’6″ for Fluke, Scup, sea bass and tog

  1. St. Croix Mojo MJJS58XMF 5′ 8″ for Cod.




  1. St. Croix Mojo MJJS58XMF 5′ 8″: This is the cheapest tuna rod ever! I have caught a number of tuna close to 300lbs with this rod. While admittedly I would like better components for this rod, te blank is AMAZING. It is like, hard to break and a pleasure to fish with. This rod has enough back bone for ANY tuna you would be willing to catch on stand up. Certainly any jigs you would want to fish. It’s a stiff rod, so don’t skip your kettle ball carries at the gym! I fish this rod most often with a 6oz Hogy Harness jig or 6oz Hogy Pro-Tail Paddle and it casts those lures surprisingly well in a pinch.
  2. TZC-59MHSB-SR 5’9″: Last year was an epic year for jigging BIG BFTS off Cathamn. I have always been a spinning guy as I like the rod action better for jigging soft plastics. THAT SAID: It is so much easier on your body with conventional gear where you can strap into a harness and have a different leverage angle. I think I will be using this outfit more often as I get older. I

School Trolling:

  1. TZC-59MHSB-SR 5’9″: I never would have selected this outfit in a million years on my own… BUT luckily I was turned onto this outfit by the Shimano Rep at a long show I was doing for Hogy Lures. It’s hands down the best tuna outfit EVER. You can load that TAC25 up with 100LB holo-core and a top-shot of 80lb mono. The drag system is comparable to a Shimano TIAGRA 80 but the outfit weighs less than a wire line trolling outfit. I can carry my entire spread to the boat in one trip. I have trolled up tuna to 300lbs in deep water with this set up and have had zero issues. I fish this outfit with a wind on leader to a swivel.


  1. TZS-70XH-BLK 7′: I rig my Stella 18000 for this set up the same way I do as my jigging set up, but with 100lb holo-core to 100lb flouro leader. This rod has no problem casting 4 and 5oz jigs and plugs. Like all the Terez rods, it is extremely rugged.

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