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Rods and Reels for Redfish

Selecting Redfish Tackle

Redfish are one of the most popular species pursued by anglers around the Gulf of Mexico and all the way up the east coast. They are strong fighters and make for great dinner fare. They can be caught under a range of different conditions with different kinds of tackle. They are challenging and not as hard to catch as species like tarpon and snook that occupy the same waterways.

A Spinning Rod and Reel for Redfish Fishing

Spinning tackle is probably the most common type of reel used because of its ease of use and overall effectiveness. Expect to fish in tight places – areas such as dock pilings, around vegetation and oyster bars or near mangroves. Redfish angling requires working top-water lures, jigs, and soft baits that require “finesse”.

The “Perfect” Spinning Rod and Reel for Redfish:

  • A 7 foot spinning rod with moderate to fast action. Since redfish can be found just about anywhere, a moderate to fast action rod will give you the versatility you need to fish under different situations. A fast action rod is generally better for sensitivity when working jigs and soft baits, while a slow action rod will give you a longer cast for getting those spoons and other lures out there.

Spinning rod for catching redfish.
St. Croix - Inshore Spinning Rod

  • A medium-sized spinning reel. Although ultra-light reels are fun, sticking with a medium-sized reel around 2500-4000 will give you the appropriate size of line to work with, while limiting trauma to the fish by an overly long played fight.

Spinning reel for redfish fishing.
Shimano Stradic FJ Spinning Reel

  • A Spinning reel with a low gear ratio. Redfish are loaded with power. Using a lower gear ratio, which means that the spool will revolve relatively slowly when the handle is cranked, gives you more power to muscle out redfish from nearby structures.

Using Baitcasting Rods and Reels for Redfish

Baitcasting reels have many benefits when targeting redfish. In general, bait-casting reels give you a more accurate and precise cast, which is important when you are fishing the schools. The last thing you want to do is miss or under-cast your target, causing the school to spook.

The Perfect Bait-casting Rod for Redfish would be:

  • A 7 foot casting rod with moderate to fast action. Similar to a spinning rod, using either a moderate or fast-action rod will allow you to get those far casts, while maintaining hook-setting power and sensitivity over a slow-action rod.

Redfish baitcasting rod.
Denali Worm and Jig Cast Fishing Rod

  • A Baitcasting Reel suitable for 10-to-14 lb. test line. Baitcasting reels tend to have more leverage than spinning reels, and thus a slightly higher pound test may be desired to avoid tension breaks.

Inshore fishing reel.
Abu Garcia Inshore Reel

Fly Rods for Redfish

Presentation is the most important aspect of fly fishing for redfish. That is why the rod and reel choice is so important for landing fish. Using the wrong rod in certain situations (and with the weather, currents, and diverse inshore structures) may prevent you from getting the ideal presentation.

To pick the perfect fly-rod for redfish, consider the following:

Fly-rods come in different sizes, called “weights.” An 8-to-10 weight fly rod with appropriate reel is suitable for large redfish. Buy the rod and reel as a combination to ensure an appropriate match.

A stiff, fast action rod will allow you to cast farther without spooking the fish. This is needed especially on windy days when a slow action rod would be difficult to cast.

st croix
St. Croix Fly Rod

Weight-forward fly line is recommended for all saltwater fly fishing.

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