Tips on Matching Rod & Reel

After knowing the basics, I can now share some Tips on Matching your Rod & Reel.

Budget is one factor you have to consider & do not blindly follow the crowd for the most expensive option out in the market which may be over hyped driving up demand resulting in high prices. I always believe in ALTERNATIVES you can choose from that suit your budget in whatever products you intend to buy which in terms of performance can meet or exceed those costlier ones. You just need some time to find them.

I emphasize all information shared in this blog is just my personal opinion & experience which some may beg to differ ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have any thoughts or questions please leave them at the end of this post.

Rod

Start with choosing your Rod as it’s more specific to type of fishing you’re targeting before moving to your reel.

  • For what type of fishing?
    • freshwater/aji
    • luring inshore/offshore
    • jigging vertical
    • jigging slow
    • popping
  • For what fish size? What PE/LB rating? A rough guide:
    • light (~approx. <=PE1; <=15lb)
    • medium (~approx. PE2-5; 16-64lb)
    • heavy (~approx. >=PE6; >=65lb)
PE rating
Popping rod PE rating
  • With the above decided, the rest listed below will fall into place (for rack rod). If going for customized rod, you have to further choose your handle, seat & guide.
    • action (depends on type of fishing; refer to fishing rod basics)
    • lure wt (depends on PE/LB rating)
    • max drag (depends on PE/LB rating)
    • power (depends on PE/LB rating)
    • handle/seat/guide

Hint: Choose a rating/max drag suitable for your age/physique & body frame to handle safely (to avoid getting pulled overboard) & for you to enjoy fishing comfortably for longer periods.

Reel

Next choose your Reel to match rod you’ve picked earlier. As a spinning reel is more generic, you can easily pick 1 or more options to suit your rod.

  • For what PE/LB rating? Match it to the PE/LB rating in the rod you’ve chosen earlier. With rating determined, you’ll get reel max drag which you can find in the reel specs. This reel max drag should be higher than that of your rod max drag to give you the flexibility in setting reel drag to load your rod in different fishing application.
Reel PE/LB rating
Reel PE/LB rating
  • How much line capacity is needed? Shallow or deep spool? Some Daiwa spinning reels come with original shallow spool while others come with deep spool. As said earlier, it’s not a bad idea to have a spare spool to switch between having less or more line for different fishing application using 1 reel.
    • Shallow spool (eg. 200m) – freshwater/aji, luring with jerkbait, rubber etc., shallow water jigging & popping.
    • Deep spool (eg. 300m) – deeper water jigging vertical & slow
  • Any upgrades needed eg. carbontex washers, knob, etc.

Hint: Similarly choose a reel with drag you can handle safely & comfortably (size/weight). Do not be greedy to buy a big & expensive reel with high drag you cannot handle to subdue your fish quickly. You may get pulled overboard & wouldn’t enjoy the fishing & fight as much as a lighter reel.

PE/LB Range in Rod & Reel

Most often than not, you’ll see PE/LB rating offered in a range rather than a single value in most tackles eg. PE3-6 in a jigging rod & PE4-400m/PE5-300m/PE6-250m in a reel. Personally I prefer to go for the mid or high end for the following reasons to get the best weigh/cost factors:

  • Rod PE3-6 – I would use this for a PE5 or 6 application & not a PE3 & 4 so that I can fully utilize its performance & load it adequately with a line strong enough to handle the load. If PE3 or 4 is needed, I rather downsize to a PE1-3 or PE2-4 rod to reduce its weight, cost & at the same time have the flexibility to load it to achieve maximum performance.
jigging rod PE rating
Jigging rod PE rating
  • Reel PE4-400m/PE5-300m/PE6-250m – similarly would prefer to use this in a PE5 or 6 application to have a lighter & lower cost reel. If PE4 is needed, a downgrade to a smaller reel (lighter & less costly) may be better UNLESS 400m of line is absolutely necessary.
reel PE rating
PE rating & line capacity
  • Application – for vertical jigging…rod SEED PE3-6 with reel Saltiga 5000H…using PE5 braided line (as I need min 300m for deep water).

Do your Homework

After you’ve decided on your choice of rod & reel, before buying do some research on the web & ask around on reliability, performance, any field complaints, etc of the brand/model & suitability of the rod & reel pairing.

It may take some time & failures to find your ideal pair but as you gather more experience your next pairing will be a better hit. Like me, one way to overcome failures is either to sell of the tackle or pair it up with other tackle for another application.

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Test out the Matched Outfit

Once you’ve firmed up your decision, if possible, test out the matched rod & reel at the tackle shop before buying to check on the following:

  • Have someone load the rod to see if you can handle it comfortably in a fighting position with locked elbows, bended knees & body leaning backwards. A small build angler may struggle handling a PE10 loaded popping rod.
  • Spool in some line on the reel to check drag smoothness (initial & continual drag) & max drag setting.
  • Check the combined weight of matched pair to see if it’s comfortable for you to cast for long periods. Better still if your friend has the same combi which you can test out on the field. Otherwise make your judgement at the tackle shop.

What Pairing I’m Using/Tackle Recommendation

Following is what I’m using for the different fishing application which you can use as reference. Though some of my rods are customized, you can still refer to their specs which are applicable to rack rods for the same fishing application.

Freshwater/Aji

  • Light (freshwater & aji)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB663-1; Fast, 6’6″, 4-10lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Luvias 2000; PE1-200m, 8lb-165yd
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE1 200m (freshwater); YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE0.6 200m (aji)
    • Target – peacock bass & long-fin trevally (small rubber jig head)
  • Comment: For PE0.6 braided line, fill with 300m or use line backing as it’s a very thin line (needed for the very small & light rubber jig head).
  • Note aji fishing refers to very light finesse form of fishing for a species of horse mackerel in Japan using small rubber on jig. It can also be used to target other small species in SE Asia providing hours of fun on extra light tackle.

Luvias: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium (freshwater)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB664-1, Fast, 6’6″, 8-14lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Exist 2500 RCS; PE1.5-200m, 12lb-165yd
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE1.5 200m
    • Target – peacock bass & snakehead (open water)
  • Comment: This is my most delicate set with North Fork HM (High Modulus) blank using guides with titanium frame coupled with Daiwa Exist a very refined model. This set is not rugged & thus is used only for light/medium freshwater application.

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Heavy (freshwater)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB665-1, Fast, 6’6″, 10-17lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Certate Hyper Custom 3000; PE2-250m, 12lb-200yd
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE2 200m
    • Target – Peacock bass & snakehead (heavy cover)
  • Comment: Reel comes with original deep spool; as shallow spool is not available, have to use 50m backing when filling with 200m braided line.

Certate: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

Luring Inshore/Offshore

Most luring inshore is done at the coastline in SE Asia while offshore is done in deeper water from the boat.

  • Light (for inshore)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB663-1; Fast, 6’6″, 4-10lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Luvias RCS 2508PE; PE0.8-150m, PE1-120m
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE1 200m
    • Target – Shore species eg. barramundi, grouper, snapper, etc
  • Comment: Since line comes in 200m spool, it can be used twice 100m with 20m backing…to save cost

Luvias: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium (for inshore & offshore)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB665-1, Fast, 6’6″, 10-17lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Luvias 3012; PE1.5-200m, 8lb-220yd, 12lb-160yd
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE1.5 200m
    • Target 1 – Shore species eg. barramundi, grouper, snapper, etc
    • Target 2 – Offshore species eg. spanish mackerel, queenfish, barracuda, etc

Luvias: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Heavy (for offshore)
    • Rod – North Fork HM MB669-1, Mod Fast, 6’6″, 14-30lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Certate Hyper Custom 4000; PE3-250m, 16lb-250yd
    • Line – YGK G-soul Upgrade PE x8 PE2.5 200m
    • Target – Offshore species eg. spanish mackerel, queenfish, barracuda, etc
  • Comment: Downsized line from PE3 to PE2.5 to better match rod; need about 75m backing if filling with 200m

Certate: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

Jigging Vertical (shallow)

Most of my shallow vertical jigging is done in Singapore & Malaysia from a boat in 10-50m of water. In this case, only light & medium tackles are used; heavy tackle will be an overkill.

  • Light
    • Rod – North Fork SJ603-1; Fast, 6′, 6-10lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Luvias RCS 2508PE; PE0.8-150m, PE1-120m
    • Line – Varivas Avani Jigging Max Power PE1 200m
    • Target – Trevally, scad, grouper, snapper, queenfish, etc

Luvias: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

Varivas: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium
    • Rod – North Fork SJ606-1; Fast, 6′, 10-17lb
    • Reel – Daiwa Luvias 3012H; PE1.5-200m, 8lb-220yd, 12lb-160yd
    • Line – Varivas Avani Jigging Max Power PE1.5 300m
    • Target – Trevally, bonito, grouper, snapper, spanish mackerel, etc

Luvias: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

Varivas: Amazon / eBay

Jigging Vertical (deep)

Most of my deep vertical jigging is done at places with drop-off eg. Maldives, Christmas Island, etc.

  • Light (can be used in shallow too)
    • Rod – SEED Shiren Light 65SS; max jig 120g, max drag 3kg, PE1-2
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 3500H; PE1.5-350m, PE2-300m, PE3-200m
    • Line – Varivas Avani Jigging Max Power PE2 300m
    • Target – Trevally, spanish mackerel, tuna, grouper, jack, etc

NA

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

Varivas: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium
    • Rod – SEED Shiren Light 65S; max jig 180g, max drag 5kg, PE1-3
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 4000H; PE2-450m, PE3-300m
    • Line – YGK G-soul Super Jigman x8 PE3 300m
    • Target – Tuna, amberjack, trevally, grouper, jobfish, etc

NA

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Heavy
    • Rod – SEED Shiren 60M; max jig 280g/10oz), max drag 7kg, PE3-6
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 5000H; PE4-400m, PE5-300m, PE6-250m
    • Line – YGK G-soul Super Jigman x8 PE5 300m
    • Target – Tuna, amberjack, trevally, grouper, jobfish, etc

NA

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

Jigging Slow

Realized slow jigging is a good option to have when you’ve tired out on high speed deep vertical jigging. Will have one set medium slow jigging tackle in my oversea trips on standby when I need something less strenuous but equally engaging.

Hint: In shallow water I use small slow fall jigs (20-60g) but on my usual tackles & not on specialized slow jigging outfit. Reason being I do speed jigging most of the time locally & as such not worthwhile to have a light outfit just for slow jigging. And for small slow fall jigs I personally feel it doesnโ€™t make a lot of difference in the rod provided you know how to work the jigs to create the intended fluttering action.

  • Medium
    • Rod – Centaur Combat Arm 63 (S) M; 6’3″, jig wt 180-350g, max drag 18kg, PE3-5 (spinning model)
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 4000H; PE2-450m, PE3-300m
    • Line – YGK G-soul Super Jigman x8 PE3 300m
    • Target – Tuna, amberjack, trevally, grouper, jobfish, etc
  • Comment: In last Maldives trip, this rod was an overkill as was using 100-150g jigs due to slack current throughout trip (while an earlier trip current was strong…so you never know). May need the lighter 63L model, jig wt 100-200g, PE2-4 to complete slow jigging tackle range.

Hint: For deep water, I use a dedicated slow jigging rod (medium spinning model) which is needed to impart action to the heavier jigs used. Most slow jigging rods are built for conventional or baitcasting so I’ve to specially source the Centaur Combat Arm which also comes in spinning version.

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

Popping

For popping rods, they can be further categorized into 2 types – for stickbait & popper/chugger. The stickbait rods are longer & thinner/softer tipped to swim the stickbait while the chugger rods are shorter & thicker/harder tipped to chug the heavier popper.

As my preference is in using the more natural swimming stickbait, all my popping rods are primarily for stickbait. When I do want to use chugger, I’ll pick those with smaller cup faces suitable for the softer tipped stickbait rods. This way I don’t have to spend extra on another outfit just for chugging.

  • Light (freshwater, local inshore & offshore)
    • Rod – Yamaga BlueSniper 77/3; lure 25-60g, max drag 4.5kg, PE2-3
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 3500H; PE1.5-350m, PE2-300m, PE3-200m
    • Line – YGK Ultra CastMan Full Drag x8 PE2 300m
    • Target – Snakehead, trevally, queenfish, etc

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium – set 1 (offshore)
    • Rod – MajorCraft Giant Killing GKC-77 Hiramasa; 7’7″, lure 60-100g, PE3-6
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 4500; PE3-400m, PE4-300m
    • Line – Sunline Monster Battle x8 PE5 300m
    • Target – Trevally, queenfish, barracuda, etc
  • Comment: Upgraded line to PE5 250m to maximize rod performance. Line cap 250m is sufficient in popping. I find upgrading to Saltiga 5000 PE5 300m is too heavy for this rod.

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

Sunline: Amazon / eBay

  • Medium – set 2 (offshore)
    • Rod – Ripple Fisher Ultimo UG711ML; 7’11”, lure max 130g, PE6
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 4500; PE3-400m, PE4-300m
    • Line – Sunline Monster Battle x8 PE5 300m
    • Target – Trevally, red bass, grouper, etc
  • Comment: Upgraded line to PE5 250m to maximize rod performance. Line cap 250m is sufficient in popping. I find upgrading to Saltiga 5000 PE5 300m is too heavy for this rod.

NA

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

Sunline: Amazon / eBay

  • Heavy (offshore)
    • Rod – Temple Reef Ronin 83-8; 8’3″, lure 180g, max drag 11kg, PE6-8
    • Reel – Daiwa Saltiga 5500H Expedition; PE5-350m, PE6-270m, PE8-200m
    • Line – YGK Ultra CastMan Full Drag x8 PE8 200m
    • Target – Trevally, red bass, grouper, etc
  • Comment: Using PE8 200m to maximize rod performance which line cap 200m is sufficient for popping. Anyway you need high drag setting to avoid long runs around reef area which can easily cut your line.
  • Do not want to upgrade to Saltiga 6500 (to have more line) as it’s too heavy for this rod & for my age/physique to fish comfortably.
  • As Sunline Monster Battle PE8 comes in 300m, it will be wasteful to use in this application while YGK Full Drag comes in 100m per spool.

NA

Saltiga: Amazon / eBay / Tackle Direct

YGK: Amazon / eBay

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All the best,
Lawrence
gtfrenzy.com

PS: Please leave a comment if any information in this site is inaccurate or incorrect…I’m learning too ๐Ÿ™‚

If you were to make any purchase thru the text & image links provided, I will be compensated by the vendors with a small token for time & effort spent in maintaining this blog. Thank you

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