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I've got (2) Okuma T15 reels, (2) Okuma Gold T15 reels, and (2) Okuma Gold T30 reels all on beautiful Outer Banks rods that I bought 3-4 years ago to fish offshore with and have only used a couple times. Unfortunately back surgery last year makes the chances of doing much offshore pretty slim. I'll probably sell those rigs and buy some lighter rods and smaller reels for King Mackerel fishing, that maybe can also be used for Old Red Drum and Striped Bass fishing. I thought it would be interesting to poll the membership that is experienced at King Mackerel fishing to get your recommendations on the best rod (size, weight, brand) and reel (brand and model) outfit for King fishing. What do you own or would you buy folks? ;)
 

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Personally I find it difficult to pick for someone else but If I were buying them for you I would get Diawa SLX-30-SHA Reels and put them on custom Calstar GR 700L or 800L blanks. I would build the blanks w/ cork tape (no reel seat) 9 or 10 Fuji guides and black wraps trimmed with metallic gold and possibly metallic red. No fancy but wrap and a NC Angler logo in gold leaf. To tell the truth I think the best option would be to buy 2 of each. Reasoning: the reel is the best choice because it has just the right capacity 300 yds 20# mono has one of the better drags on the market...Is one of the best casting reels...6.1:1 gear ratio Has good parts availability and a rock solid reputation. These reels have been used to haul big stripers, cobia and tarpon out of the surf and are popular with the west coast long range crowd. The rod is a west coast style live bait rod , again with a rock solid reputation. They have an Xtra fast taper with a 7mm tip and a butt dia of approx. .900 and are designed for 17-20 lb test line. Not only are these type rods excellent for catching big fish with small hooks they don't jerk your pogies around as much in rough weather. The soft tip is backed by a very powerful butt. Also the 8's will do double for surf rods. They should top out at 6 oz with a bunker chunk. The best range should be 3-5 oz but you could cast 2 or 6 if needed. I don't have any personal experience with the Calstar brand but they seem to have the best reputation among the long range guys and they really put tackle to the test,
 

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If you are buying for live bait King mackerel fishing, a reel with a 6:1 retreive ratio or higher that holds at least 400 yards of 20 pound test. I like the Shimano Speedmaster lV. They are reliable and work well.

Why the high retreive ratio - when a smoker king runs straight at the boat, you will need the speed to keep the slack out of the line. Why 400 yards or more- A smoker king can run off a lot of line in a hurry, even with a boat to chase him down. Most folks have 4 or more lines in the water and usually at least one down rigger. All that needs to be cleared before you can start the chase. Case in point - that 32 pounder we caught last week ran off close to 400 yards before we could chase him and there were 2 of us in the boat to clear lines while the third fought the fish.

As to rod, I recommend you buy a live bait rod that is rated for 15-30 pound. Live bait rods have a soft tip which absorbs some of the bounce and jitter caused by the boat going through swells and chop - that will make your bait look more natural and live longer. I use the Sea Striker Billfisher livebait series and they have held up well so far (3 seasons).
 

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I'll probably sell those rigs and buy some lighter rods and smaller reels for King Mackerel fishing
Just an idea Randy, go with a lightweight Chaos 7 ft King Mac rod with a light weight high capacity spinning reel. I use Penn Slammer 7 ft rods, they're solid glass, and my Chaos 7 ft's are much lighter as they're hollow Shakespear blanks with solid tips (fast action in a light/medium set up). Lifetime warranty on Chaos rods, great wrappings and hardware. So that'd be a rod recommendation

Reel? that might be tough... the TG-15's you have are fairly light weight.. Only thing I would think of being lighter than an all aluminum framed reel would be the Shimano TLD15's. A high capacity spinner would be an option for you as well.
 

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I like my Penns. If I were going to buy some new ones, I would get Penns. If someone asked me what brand to get , I would say Penns. If someone wanted to buy me one, I would ask for Penns. If I were in the tackle business, I would stock Penns.

Why?

1. Tough

2. Easier to get parts and service than any other brand on the market, period.

Signed,

I like Penns.

ps.....I have 310s, 320s, 330s, 4200s, 440s.....
 

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I have been using old Garcia Conolon rods with Penns and old Mitchell 600's for years but 2 years ago I purchased a Shakespeare Tidewater medium heavy rod and put a Penn 330 GT on it and love it. I Also have a very old medium heavy Kingfisher offshore spinning rod that I outfit with an 70 class Silstar Spinning reel that I like to lite-line with.
I am going to Bass Pro Shops this weekend to see if they have any heavy action Tidewater rods in stock. I just don't think you can beat those Tidewater rods for the money.
 

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I would have to agree with you 3 yrs ago Hot Spot. Since they started building them in China they aren't so good. And since they were bought by a company not known for a good parts program (Shakespeare) I have a feeling that era has all but ended. And since Jarden bought Shakepeare I expect Penns parts prices will go up but that may not happen. Penn was a good well run company that unfortunately got overtaken by "progress" the same way fenwick, all star, seeker, and several other rod companies were.
 

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I like my Penns. If I were going to buy some new ones, I would get Penns
I'll agree with Spot when it comes to the Penn 320 LD, I do like the 320, it's lightweight, holds 300 + of 20 lb, good little reel.

(see my review) on the Penn 6/0's.. those I'm not very happy with and plan to rework them using Accurate frame and reel parts. I started with the handles first.

One thing I forgot to add Randy, is the Alutecnos gorilla reel, but dont know if that'd be too much weight.. I know you mentioned light weight.. so I was thinkin along the lines of graphite type framed reels.
 

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If you were to be able to see all of the reels in this 40 video set I think (from expierence) that you would find the penn 706z to be the most popular followed by penn 7500ss and 8500ss with a noticeable lack of 9500 ss's
 

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I've got (2) Okuma T15 reels, (2) Okuma Gold T15 reels, and (2) Okuma Gold T30 reels all on beautiful Outer Banks rods that I bought 3-4 years ago to fish offshore with and have only used a couple times. Unfortunately back surgery last year makes the chances of doing much offshore pretty slim. I'll probably sell those rigs and buy some lighter rods and smaller reels for King Mackerel fishing, that maybe can also be used for Old Red Drum and Striped Bass fishing. I thought it would be interesting to poll the membership that is experienced at King Mackerel fishing to get your recommendations on the best rod (size, weight, brand) and reel (brand and model) outfit for King fishing. What do you own or would you buy folks? ;)
Randy--- I'm not trying to be be disrespectful of your plight, but feel this question needs to be asked. DO YOU INTEND TO CATCH WHOLE FISHES OR HALF FISHES ?:D
 

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Now I see why he likes them half-a-fish: rods and reels are half price , you can get by with half a cooler, half the ice , they take half as long to clean , Your fish box only weighs half as much when you are unloading at the end of the day and you can get 2 fish per picture. I wish I would have thought of that a long time ago. That is almost as slick as a pint of oysters. No wonder I never got a handle on it.
 

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I haven't looked at anything new in the past few years, my staples for live baiting and trolling were and would still be, were a pair of Daiwa graphite 7' Sealine /350 Daiwa reels and a pair of Fenwick 6' Fenglass Pacifisticks/Penn 320 reels (older models). I haven't seen anything new on the market that I would replace either with. I did recently run across an older Penn 320 at flea market (mint condition) could have gotten it with a Slammer rod for 30 dollars--Had to pass on it.:(

(These are whole fish outfits):)
 

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Randy,
Another thought, Are you planning on just fishing with live bait? You mentioned having back surgery. Are you going to throw a cast net? If you are going to pull hardware, planers/spoons ect., you may want a stiffer action rod than you would use with livebait.
Gery
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Gery, Mostly live bait. I've got some other outfits that I can use for pulling planers and spoons. Thanks for thinking of that. I will be throwing a cast net some for sure. I'm going to give that a whirl for the first time since surgery next week. :)
Randy,
Another thought, Are you planning on just fishing with live bait? You mentioned having back surgery. Are you going to throw a cast net? If you are going to pull hardware, planers/spoons ect., you may want a stiffer action rod than you would use with livebait.
Gery
 
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