My Offshore Spinning Outfits
I always bring the same spinning rods with me when trolling offshore. A medium grade outfit for casting at high flyers for Mahi, small breaking tuna or to catch bait and a large outfit for big fish or sharks.
Big Spinning Rod: This outfit is really geared for tuna ranging form 50 – 250lbs. It’s heavy duty and can easily cast lures up to 6oz. I have this outfit ready for running and gunning larger tuna, particularly Bluefin tuna.
- Rod: Shimano Terez TZS-70XH-BLK 7′, 65lb. – 200lb. Fish – This rod has no problem casting 4oz and 5oz jigs and plugs. Like all the Terez rods, it is extremely rugged. The rod itself is very parabolic, which means it’s very forgiving. If you take a misstep with a boat side fish, it is hard to break. The rod absorbs a lot of energy, making it easier on your arms to fight big fish. This rod can absolutely handle 25lbs. of drag. I will say the rod can limit out if you need to put the boots to very large fish pushing maybe 300lbs.
- Reel: Stella 18000 – This rod holds about the same amount of line as the 20,000 and has the same drag capacity. The main difference is the higher gear ration, which makes it better for fishing faster retrieve plugs, metals and Epoxy Jigs.
- 57:1 Gear Ration
- 30.9oz. in weight
- 51″ line intake per crank
- 320 yards of 100lb. hollow core
- 55lb drag.
- Line/Leader: I fish the same wind-on set up the same way I do as my jigging set up, but with 100lb. hollow core to 100lb. fluoro leader with the only difference being a shorter wind-on leader. I prefer a 12′ leader on my tuna spinning outfits due to less friction going through the guides.
- Connection: Crimped
Small Spinning Rod: I use this outfit when offshore. This outfit allows you to cast very light lures, as light as 1.25oz. and has the brawn to handle a large fish, but not a fish over 80lbs. If I hook a big fish, I take the sporting approach and break it off quickly because the outfit isn’t strong enough to hold onto the fish for a very long time. No sense in risking injury to a fish you know you aren’t able to land.
This shorter and lighter outfit is the outfit I use for casting around high flyers, mainly for mahi. I have never seen a mahi bigger than 25lbs. around the high flyers, so this outfit is perfectly fine and fun for these fish. If Mahi are spooky from abundant pressure, I’ll rig this outfit with a long 15lb. fluoro leader.
- Rod: Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′ – I use this rod as a heavy-duty striper rod but it’s also my ultra-light tackle tuna spinning rod. It’s heavy and has some fiberglass in it. I have landed tuna up to 80lbs. on this rod, though I suspect I could have seen 100lb. with it but never had the chance. This rod will cast the smaller Epoxy Jigs and lighter Hogy Pro Tail Eels and if you get but by a larger fish, you just may have a chance.
- Reel: The Stella 14,000 – This reel is about the same physical size as the Stella 10,000 but has a bigger drag system and a little more line capacity. Plenty of drag that will transcend that of the rod I’m using.
- 5.7:1 Gear Ratio
- 30.9oz in weight
- 51″ line intake per crank
- 320 yards of 100lb hollow core
- 55lb drag.
- Line/Leader: 40lb. power pro with a 30lb. fluorocarbon leader tied directly with a loop knot.
Species Specific Casting Tips
White Marlin Tips: Over the past several years these waters have been frequented by many white marlin, pretty close in too. White marlin are great candidates for throwing large soft baits. It is easy to get them to follow your lure, but the hard part is getting them to commit. I use a 6-foot, 40lb. test fluorocarbon leader, which is a lighter and longer leader than you would normally think to use as these fish are incredibly leader shy. I run a small center console, so I can chase after them. A medium retrieve is ideal. Fish with the rod tip pointed toward the water and retrieve with a series of twitches.
Mahi Tips: These fish really do get pounded with boats trolling by high flyers. To avoid spooking them, approach the high flyer very slowly. Many anglers often charge right up to take a look-see. Even though the fish will stick around, they will become very hard to catch if you do this. Approach from the up-wind side, so you have the wind at your back for added casting distance. If you hook up, have another angler cast toward your hooked fish, as others often follow the hooked fish. Fish the 7-inch Hogy Original with the tip of your rod pointed towards the water and retrieve with a series of twitching motions.
Breaking Tuna Tips: Through not as common as the Bluefin near Chatham or Cape Cod Bay, you do see breaking fish fairly regularly in this area. The best way to present to these fish is to cast from as far as possible but land the bait in the school. These fish go down fast; often you’ll have just a 30-second window to button the fish up. Keep your rod tip pointed to or even in the water and reel as fast as you can.