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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to start this thread in response to Piscator's post on where to fish,which ended up with a how do I get started surf fishing and what tackle do I need question. I firmly believe that you can get along pretty well in the surf with cheap rods and reels from China but I personally have no experience with any tackle made there. I have always stuck with Penn, Diawa. Shimano, Newell, ABU, and Mitchell; With the Mitchells being of the older French variety. There are 2 schools of thought on fishing tackle and I don't fault a person for belonging to either one. You either buy cheap but functional gear and replace it regularly or you buy high quality gear and take good care of it. It is more a matter of personality than finances. The point is: do what works best for you. I have had to whittle my arsenal down several times over the years so a lot of what I now own contains a mix of classics and newer gear. I'll break it down into two categories conventional and spinning.
2 hook bottom rigs for panfish ie spots whiting pompano black drum etc. penn 712z on a7' ocean granger series Eagle Claw Penn 710z on a 9' ugly stick Conventional: ABU 6500 c3 on a 71/2' allstar rated for up to 2oz 2 ea.
Trout; Shimano Spheros 4000 on a 7&1/2' Falcon costal series rod ; shimano stradic 4000 on a 71/2'rapala rod Convetional: abu 550c3 on a 7' ugly stick
That is the light stuff and it boils down to 2 shimano 4000 reels and 2 rods one rated 3/4 to 1 oz and one rated to 2 OR a pair of ABU 5500 's or 6500's on a pair 71/2 conventional rods. More later regarding the bigger guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This one is optional because spanish and false albacore are the target and they are easier to catch from a pier. If you get this set up or something similar it is always available when the other fish are way out there. For spinning I use a stradic 4000 and a tica 10' rod rated 1/2 to 11/2oz. Typically they will ignore anything heavier than 2oz. For conventional the 6500 will do fine on a long light rod. I use a 220 Newell on an 8' custom sometimes for throwing 2oz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok now for the big rigs, for big blues, stripers and big old drum whether black drum or red drum. Here the distances are usually longer and the waves higher so rods need to be a minimum of 10' and weights need to hold bottom are typically 6-8 oz although I have had to go to 12. A teenage boy can handle one of theese rigs with some practice and it takes practice for most folks of any age or skill level. Learning to throw these rigs way out there is best done with one on one instruction by an old hand at it. Otherwise you tend to develop a sore thumb and dangerous habits. Conventionals are best here and the three best are probably the Penn GS525 mag, the Diawa SLX30SHV and the ABU 7500C3. I use a host of different reels depending on when and where and they will all get the job done in the right hands. Some not to be discounted are aluminum spool Penn squidders, Penn jigmasters w/ aluminum spool, Diawa SL250 Diawa 175hMag PENN MAGFORCE 970,980 AND 990 jUST ABOUT ANY NON LEVELWIND ABU, THE SHIMANO SPEEDMASTERS AND CALCUTTA 7000, ABOUT ANY NEWELL BIGGER THAN THE 220. OK Guys those are what I use lets hear your favorites and give the new guys some choices.
 

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I took kinda a hybrid approach to the two Sinker outlined -- I bought cheap to begin with, so I could
  • see if I'm gonna stick with it, and
  • find out in what ways the cheap rods let me down, and
  • find out just how long, with my usage patterns, the cheap stuff lasts.
I figure once I feel let down, I'll buy the next one to overcome the first one's shortcomings. That way I'll learn which characteristics are important enough to me to pay extra for. (My dad had a "cheap" router - the woodworking kind - that lasted him for 20 years.)

My surf rod is an 8' Daiwa combo - http://www.ncangler.com/reviewpost/showproduct.php/product/33/cat/2
It's a bit on the small side for Hatteras, but I've never felt let down anywhere else.

lefty
 
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Lefty wrote;
  • see if I'm gonna stick with it, and
  • find out in what ways the cheap rods let me down, and
  • find out just how long, with my usage patterns, the cheap stuff lasts.
I figure once I feel let down, I'll buy the next one to overcome the first one's shortcomings.
lefty
Lefty, this is exactly the approach I take. I don't spend the big bucks if I can get by. I would like to have a $200 trout rod, I look at them in the tackle shops, but I just can't bring myself to spend the bucks. Besides, I catch just as many specks on my slightly modified $30 rod than some of my fishing buds who have the expensive ones. My little 6.5 footer cast just as far, and with the same accuracy. For bottom fishing in the surf, I use a penn spinner that I found at a yard sale for 10 bucks. With a little cleaning, and a replaced anti-reverse dog, it has worked as good as new for 4 years now. I have a collection of penn bait casters that I bought the same way. By keeping them clean well lubed, they have served me well. I use these for my heavier fishing. (red and black drum, and big blues) My fishing rods were aquired the same way, at yard sales and flea markets. I have learned to replace guides myself, and I can refurbish "good" fishing rod I have found at a deal. You would be suprised what people throw away because of a broken guide or tip. I have a stash of old fishing rods that I have picked up out of trash cans on the pier and on the beach, that I salvage guides from. Not all the guides on all of my fishing rods match, color wise, but they are all functional. The tackle monkey is a nasty critter that had a hold of me once long ago when I lived inland and was "hooked" on largemouth bass fishing. When my truck was broken into and thousands of dollars of fishing gear was stolen, I came to my senses and promised myself I wouldn't go overboard that way again. Summing up, I don't have to spend a lot of money to have good stuff that serves me well. I know that some folks don't have the time to put into the process like I do, so I see nothing wrong with buying the expensive gear. Personally, I get more satisfaction from doing it myself. I am thinking about getting into making casting lures this winter. Sounds like a very satisfying process.
 

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My experience in freshwater fishing hasn't really convinced me that you get what you pay for. Once had a pair of expensive Daiwa rods and reels that my stepfather used as a semi-pro bass fisherman and they had all kinds of issues. When I buy things in any of my various hobbies I generally find that it is good to aim for just short of the middle. I think some manufacturers assume that this may be a more financially discriminating market and build accordingly. For comparison, a friend of mine who is a master mechanic says its similar in automobiles - he is always joking about the multitude of problems that a Mercedes has - but he says the manufacturers assume that once they have someone who will pay for a name they have a person who will pay to keep the name on the road. In riflery I have a $100 Yugoslavian 8mm that shoots every bit as accurate as my brother's $600 Remington 700. The fishermen I have most admired have always said - practice and presentation, not gear. But even with that said, I have had a Shakespeare reel nearly come apart in my hands. I have this bug, though, that it sounds like Johnny can sympathize with, that makes me want to see how much wear I can get out of something inexpensive. I remember my grandfather having it - and it's almost like a dementia - stuff all over the place assembled ramshackle. So, sinker man, you are right, probably a personality trait.
As for shooting for the middle, good examples of this are the Ambassadeur reels - I have hardly encountered a better reel. I have one from 1977 that still casts like a dream. They are pretty much few frills, though.
The Spheros 400 doesn't seem overly expensive. But I am still of a type who thinks if I pay $80 for a reel it had better last until my 3-year old daughter is married! I am not going to try the Shimano reel I was considering from my stash based on advice on this forum. It has a capacity of 100yd of 10lb. - I didn't realize how small it was until I popped it out.
I am checking out some of the others you recommended, sinker man - something really struck me, though - why no levelwind??

This has been great, guys - keep it coming.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MY goodness, who said anything about paying $80. for a Spheros?? I paid $25 for mine full of power pro and on a 71/2' Falcon Rod. You got to shop around!!! Actually It was slightly used but not scratched or hurt in anyway. I bought it from the Original owner at the Greenville Flea Market. That was his asking price and he said he had gotten a deal on the whole package for $125. He had moved up from Florida and given up fishing. Most of MY fishing tackle is bought at the flea market at similar prices. Some MUCH better prices. As for levelwinds on surf reels ...if they aren't there you won't have any trouble with them and they won't slow your cast down any. Sometimes people that use them have their shock knot jerk going thru them and cause a backlash and sometimes they malfunction in the middle of a fight causing your line to try to pile up in one place and rub the crossbars and you end up with a big mess while your trophy of a lifetime is on the line. Most of the time they work pretty good if they are on a pretty good reel.
 

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I agree with what I've read so far and there has been some great wisdom shared for sure. Reading it several thoughts came to mind I'd like to share.... my 2 cents worth so to speak (well maybe I'll have to give out some change...lol).

I'm with Lefty on buying cheap to start - if you are justing getting started with a particular aspect of a hobby, start with some very reasonably priced stuff to figure out what you like and what matters most to you. Then make an investment in gear that is best suited for your preferences. Now that may mean continuing to buy inexpensive or multi-purpose gear that you replace more often or have to perform more maintence on or it may mean buying more expensive or specialized equipment or some combination in between. But at least you'll have a better chance of investing in what suits you best before you waste a lot of money on things that don't.

Personally I go more toward the middle of the road. BTW - a Shimano Spheros technically is middle or just slightly below middle of the road when it comes to saltwater spinners. Tex (Tex's tackle) tells me it is by far his best selling reel and the most reliable in that price range. I also prefer to buy stuff that requires less maintenance so I spend more time fishing & making rigs that repairing equipment. Again, it's like the guy who enjoys doing the work on his car versus the one who takes it somewhere to be repaired - both are fine - just persoanl preference. I'm strictly a spray guy. I hit my gear with a light but thorough spray of water everytime I use it and occasionally spray it with "reel magic" & once a year I hit the insides with a light grease as per the manf. specs. Past that - it goes to the shop for things like new drag washers, seals, etc. With that said - I've got several Penn reels (the ones made here in the USA with real metal parts) that are over 30 years old and are still working great. Never had more than the drag washers replaced and routine maintence done on them in all those years.

As too distance, well a lot of that has to do with the angler's experience and abilities. However I'll tell you this - I can throw the same lure farther with my 7' 6" rod than I can with my 6' 6" rod with the same strength and action. That's an apples to apples comparision. In my boat I'm happy with the 6' 6" cause I can move if I need to get closer to a particular spot - in the surf I prefer the 7' 6" cause I like to stay dry. It really comes down to personal preference.
 

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For a new Spheros 4000 the usual price seems to be $79. I checked most of the retailers. There is one on Ebay for $68. I also tried craigslist, but noone had a Spheros for sale.:( I am assuming that walking into a tackleshop would cost more - though I could be wrong. Haven't seen much decent fishing stuff at a fleamarket, but who knows what might turn up. If you have a link for one cheaper than $68 that is new, or in good condition, by all means post it.
 

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$79 seems to be the retail price and what you will pay in most tackle shops (Tex's, Eastern Outfitters, etc). Sometimes you can find a used one a little cheaper on ebay than $68. 'Bout the only way to get one a lot cheaper is at a yard sale but get there early - good fishing gear doesn't usually last long. I know a few around here that go to yard sales and then post the stuff on ebay and double their money!
 

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Red X Angler
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Don't forget pawn shops. I've bought some nice gear cheap at pawns. They buy it for next to nothing and it can be a slow seller so they often deal. I like to go to military towns like Jacksonville and fayetteville for "pawn hunting" Often they will just pawn off a bunch of stuff because of overseas assignment and other reasons. I buy alot on Ebay as well. I love to search for "Lot" auctions and buy in bulk. I bought 55 nice flounder rigs with 2oz egg sinkers and chrome spinners for $12.55 and $6.95 shipping. I buy Bobbers in lots of 50 for $7 and $4 shipping sometimes. Swivels are another item I buy in bulk. Lures are another good deal...It is all just a matter of how much time you can spend looking for deals. My wife and I make a game of it...
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Today was a remakably slow day at the local fleamarket. I didn't even put any thing out to sell although I had 2 tables rented in a prime location. I just walked around and shopped instead. As slow as it was I bought 5 freshwater striper type rods for $3.00 ea 2 were used but three were like new. From the same dealer I bought 10 pks of Strike King jig heads (redfish magic) for a $1 pk and 2 new Rapala X-raps AT $3. Last week at the same market I did sell BUT I spent $265. on terminal tackle beforehand. That should give you guys an idea of what can be done if you are on a tight budget. AL
PS I turned down a nice used Stradic 4000 for $55 today simply because I don't need another and if I sold it local that would be my asking price. Of course if anybody wants to trade a 5000 for one I can still accomodate.
 

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Red X Angler
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Man! I never see anything at the flea markets here but worn out Wallymart junk and melted plastics in horrid colors....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That is 90% of what I see but I don't mind 'cause those are the dealers that won't know the value of the good stuff! Also I have the advantage of having a lot of people that I have made friends with over the years telling me about things they spot as they are walking around. But getting out there and beating the bushes is definately required. One buy I happened across recently was 2 Tool Kaddies for 10.00 ea. They make excellent pier carts. Lock'em and leave them. Google Tool Kaddie if you would like to see what I'm talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Piscator, The sahara is one step down from the Spheros and a little lighter and better suited for continous holding or casting. Also in the same price range is the Sedona 4000. Last Week I bought 8 shimano spinning reels at the flea market for $76 dollars. They came out of a truckload of sporting goods retuned to the wholesaler. 2 needed handles but the rest were working perfectly & none have even seen line yet. I've been buying from this guy for a long time or I wouldn't have stood a chance of getting them that cheap but you probably could have gotten the spheros 6000 for $25 if I hadn't been there. That was admittedly probably the buy of the month for me but I just wanted to clue you in as you seem to be in a hurry but with patience you can have the good stuff cheaper than you would pay for the cheap stuff. If you are new to saltwater fishing the winter is really a bad time to get started unless you have a retired friend who is really good at it.
 

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Red X Angler
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The flea markets around here are just too ....."International"..... to have any good items. It's all fruits, veggies and inported dust collectors..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I see too much of that stuff also. I can't understand why people buy that stuff. I've given up on auction houses because that is all they seem to have for sale. I wonder who buys all that junk. At one time you could find a little bit of tackle that way. Occaisonally you could do pretty good but now you just see importers unloading worthless trinkets.I have a friend that collects old lures and ambassadeurs. He hits the yard sales EARLY on sat. mornings. If he don't see what he's looking for he ask's. Admittedly that is slow go.
 

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Americans are the worlds largest consumers of trinkets and junk.....

China:aka WALMART! LOL loves us!!
 
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