Striped Bass Spinning Rods (3)
I carry three different outfits that allow me to cast the entire spectrum of striper lures. I may use each of the three on the same trip as I might be trying to imitate different baitfish in different situations I might encounter during a single trip. I have had these same three outfits for years and have a strong understanding of how and when to use them. You’ll notice I switch between fast and moderate action to accommodate for how I am fishing the lures I would use with that rod.
7’ Spinning Rod: Medium
Having a good light weight spinning rod as part of your three main boat fishing outfits is a good idea since you will probably get as many miles out of this outfit as any other in your collection. This outfit is suitable for spring schoolie fishing when you are likely to be using small soft plastics, metals, Epoxy Jigs and bucktails near the shoreline but will also let you cast small plugs and medium soft plastics. This rod is a good candidate for a fast action where you can be casting light lures off the tip and ensure a good hook set at long range or need quick access to backbone when setting the hook on a fish that takes a top-water plug. Other uses for this rod would include freshwater fishing, light bottom fishing, small snapper blues and, OF COURSE, albie and bonito fishing!
Reel Size: 4000 to 5000 Class
Typical Line: 30lb Braid
Leader: 36” of 15lb Fluorocarbon Leader
Mike’s Outfit: St. Croix Extreme XIS70MHF (7 foot/medium-heavy power/fast action) – Just about every angler will get a ton of utility from this rod. It’s perfect for schoolies, albies and also large keeper bass. While this particular rod is quite expensive, there are plenty of other options in this size class that cost less and perform well. 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 cast Hogy Epoxy Jig from 3/8oz to 1.25oz, which makes it extremely versatile. I match this rod up with a Shimano Saragosa 5000.
7’ Spinning Rod: Medium Heavy
This rod will be your workhorse for when the keeper size stripers show up and you start using larger lures to mimic the larger baits they are feeding on. This rod is great for casting larger soft plastics, metals, Epoxy Jigs and plugs. This rod should be rated (or capable) to cast up to two ounces comfortably. I like a moderate rod action for a rod in this class as it will give me the flexibility to lob bigger lures and will handle vertical jigging with ease and comfort.
Power: Medium Heavy
Reel Size: 5000 to 6000 Class
Typical Line: 40lb Braid
Leader: 36” of 30lb Fluorocarbon Leader
Mike’s Outfit: St. 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 you can feel the flex in the blank right through your hands. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. A) It can handle a lure that is a little too 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. Action: The Saragosa SW in the slightly larger 6000 size balances well the weight of this rod, although the 5000 certainly works as well. Unfortunately, this rod is no longer available via Shimano.
7.5-8’ Spinning Rod: Heavy
I like to have a heavy truckster in the mix for big plugs, heavy jigs and weighted soft plastics. This rod can cast heavy lures up to 3oz. This rod will also do double duty on tarpon and small tuna up to 85-pounds.
Power: Medium Heavy
Reel Size: 6000 to 8000 Class
Typical Line: 60lb Braid
Leader: 48” of 40lb Fluorocarbon Leader
Mike’s Outfit: St. Croix Avid VIS8HF S (8 foot/heavy power/fast action):This rod will feel like a spear when you first pick it up. It’s heavy and it’s fast. The rod rating says it can handle up to two-ounce lures, but my experience has shown that this rod can comfortably handle up to three-ounces. I have this rod paired with a Shimano Saragossa 6000 with 60lb. braid.