I love to fish, but mostly for bream and crappie in ponds and reservoirs in south Georgia with a cricket and Zebco spincaster outfit. I recently was offered the chance to kayak down the Mangroves near Cocoa beach next summer and would love to try for redfish, but I'll need to buy some more tackle. I'm finding a lot on lures and baits on line, but what rod/reel combo would work? Med/heavy rod? 6-7'? How heavy a line and spin or baitcaster reel? I'd love to do more saltwater fishing in the future, so I want something good, but I am on a tight budget (aren't we all!)
Mangrove fishing tackle
There are many rod and reel brands that would work. Budget wise,I have caught tons of slot & over slot Reds, trout & black Drum on an Okuma 30 & 40 Hardstone spinning reels and 7’ Ugly Stick Lite rod. I have Daiwa, Cabela, Bass pro & Penn rods and reels as well and they have caught many fish. My favorite reel is an Okuma AL 55 all aluminum, not made anymore. Lots of people like Shimano, Penn, Abu Garcia and the list goes on. Look for sales and have fun in the salt.
Any quality medium to medium heavy freshwater spinning or baitcasting rod and reel will work in saltwater for inshore fishing.
A rod and reel combo that can handle 200 yards of 12# test line and cast a 5/8 to 3/4 ounce lure will work, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money.
As far as reels go, I fished for reds and speckled trout in the Florida Panhandle armed with nothing but a Mitchell 300 for 4 years and the reel never once failed. I’m still using the reel and I left Florida 30 years ago!
Find a rod that can handle that line weight and lure weight and you’ll be all set. Just be sure to wash your rod and reel after using it in saltwater and make sure you clean the reel and re-lube it when you get back from your trip and your gear will last a long time.
Goobs AKA Tim Murphy
How much to spend???
I love the Shimano reels for reds and snook in Florida. I have a shimano symetre 2500 ($80) with powerpro 2#/10 braided line. But I’ve fished with the sedona ($48) and the sahara ($68). They are all good, but the more you spend the smoother the reel and drag and typically they will stay smooth longer especially with the harsh conditions of kayak fishing. I pair all my reels to a hurricane Calico Jack 7’ 1 pc med heavy rod ($50)I find them to be superior to redbone rods and both longevity and feel and are cheaper. Tie the braided line to about 4’ of 30# flourocarbon leader and you’re all set. Fish the mangroves with jerk worms if the water is less than 2’ or clear 1/4 oz DOA shrimp if the water is more than 2’. Good Luck!
Everything they said below, with the
addition of line…
Get a combination of Mono and Braid. Maybe 20 feet of mono on the reel, to the braid doesn’t slip on the spool, then I use 20 lb braid (Equivalent of 8 lb mono in size, so casts beautifully.), and then tie a 6 foot, 20 lb mono leader with an Albright Knot, to the end of the braid.
This way you are less likely to get cut off in the mangroves.
As for lure selection… 1/8th and 1/4 oz Jig head and soft body plastics in pumpkinseed will never fail you. Other colors like White, Mullet, Chartreuse, etc also work, but seems to me pumpkinseed is the go too, especially with the chartreuse tipped tails.
Also have some top water for early morning and late evening bites.
Good luck, oh, and don’t be afriad to chunk pieces of cut mullet is looking for Reds. If in Mangroves, more likely to catch Snook than reds anyways. Usually catch the reds in the flats.
We use 7 foor med action rods with a 3000 size reel and 10 or 15 pound braid tipped with a 3 foot section of 20 pound fluoro for a typical setup. For snook the leaders are often upsized.
Most of my rigs are med light 7 foot with 2500 or 3000 reels and 6 or 10 pound braid.
About washing down your gear
I used to rinse my gear after every salt water outing. The result was RUST in the reels. My reel repair guy said he never found corosion from salt, only rust from the cleaning. SO, unless you dunk the reel, get a washcloth and hot water and wipe it down, same for the rod. Go back and lube, but fight the urge to blast a reel that didn’t get wet to begin with.
As far as rod/line/lures go, anything that would work on largemouth would work on reds, trout, and snook. If you hook in to a monster (which is possible), even a heavy rig might not turn it … you should be so lucky.
Gotta love a Zebco …
When I first moved to FL in 2000 I knew nada about what I might catch. I bought a 6’ rod with a Zebco 404 at Publix. Nabbed some DOA shrimp there too, and took my chances from the Pass-A-Grille sea wall one evening. 8# line, no leader, with a swivel, on that rig, yielded a snook over 36". I got lucky for sure. But big fish don’t always fall for the hype.