Need a rod and reel

I have been fishing a few times a year with a 15 or 20 year old no name
walmart rod (maybe sports authority) and reel. Last night I was pond
fishing and hooked into about a 3 lb bass(the biggest one I've ever caught,
so I'm a relative newbie to bass fishing) and I had my drag set as tight as
it would go and the fish was still pulling out line. So I'm to the point
where I think it's time to go buy a bass rod and reel. I also just picked
up a kayak that I'm going to set up for fishing.

I have a cabelas near where I'm going to be this weekend. I was looking for
suggestions on a spinning rod combo.
I'm thinking something 6 foot to 6'6". I'm not looking for something that
will break the bank. Primarily fishing for Bass, Like to keep the rod and
reel combo to under $150.

Any suggestions.


Complete with link
There’s a million different ones you could use. I’d recommend a 6’6" Medium or Medium Light rod with a moderate quality spinning reel. I would recommend a Fast to Medium Fast tip. Faster is not better, especially if you’ll be using the same rod for all fishing applications from live bait to soft plastics to crankbaits to spinnerbaits.

Cabelas does a good job of putting together rod and reel combos that balance well. I would avoid the $30 to $40 versions. They’ll be about what you’ve been fishing with. Nothing wrong with that, but you’ve expressed a preference to move up. For $150, they have some extremely good combinations that will keep you happy for a long while.

Here’s a link to one such:


Top end of your stated price range:

If you choose to put one together for yourself, then go with a rod that is comfortable in your hand and an Okuma or Diawa reel that runs $40 to $65. I would say spend about 1/3 of your budget on the reel and 2/3 on the rod, but that’s just a rule of thumb. The most important thing is that it’s comfortable in your hand.

Don’t forget to get good quality line while you’re there. I’d recomment Trilene XL 6# or 8# if you want monofilament line. If you are willing to consider a “superline” (which gives incredibly more sensitivity) then I’d recommend Fireline Crystal 4/10 (which is 10# at the same diameter as 4# monofilament).

All of these are MY preferences and recommendations. Others will give you completely different and equally valid opinions.

The key issue is to get something that fits your hand well and you will be comfortable using. Don’t spend so much that you’ll cry if you lose it, because that’s always a possibility when fishing from a canoe or kayak.

Good luck. Have fun. Stay safe. Welcome to the addiction.

  • Big D

New to paddle fishing?

I’d wait till you lose a couple rods to the water before springing for a good one.

Shimano Stradic reel …

– Last Updated: Apr-21-10 2:39 PM EST –

...... ST2500FI or ST3000FI . These are not top end reels , but are not cheaper junkos either .

Now is a good time to pick a new one up off eBay for a reasonable savings over retail . Expect to spend at least 125. to 130. for it new (you could possibly get one for somewhat less than 120. if you are savy in your bidding and watch the game closely) . There are some good used ones on eBay as well , for considerable savings over new ones (for instance an FH series , they are good reels too) . The used ones are probably going to be older models but still working great .

I have an older 2000 series Shimano Stradic that has a gaziilion hours of tough fishing on it , and you couldn't buy it from me for any price . All my Shimano Stradics are that way ... excellent reels at a very good price for the quality .

I recommend the Shimano Stradic ... I've seen to many others compromise with less expensive reels and cuss that decision in short order .

Get just about any Med. fast graphite (6'-6") rod to start with ... doesn't have to be an expensive one , all spinning (in same class) rods work very similar . Reels on the hand are worth every penny you pay for them .

Buy one of those Shimano Stradics I mentioned , and it will be there working sweet for you , like for almost ever !! Buy a cheaper reel and things just go wrong with them , usually in a very short period of time , and you end up tossing it .

Trilene XL 8 lb. is a sure bet ... 6 lb. breaks pretty easy compared to the 8 lb. .

Not worried
I wasn’t super worried about losing a rod into the water. I have been a salt water fisherman for quite awhile, and I salt water fished about 10 times out of a sit in kayak. It’s just now I’ve gotten a sit on top specific for me to set up for freshwater fishing and it’s time for a decent bass rod and reel.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Not to confuse you too much
I have an exactly opposite opinion. I’ve had too many of my kayak fishing friends have their Shimano reels bind up on them after they get dunked a few times. I would not recommend a Shimano reel for an environment, such as being mounted to a kayak, where it will be getting submerged fairly frequently. That’s why I suggested Diawa or Okuma. They are both moderately priced workhorses. They are not the lightest things out there, but they function and function well after a lot of abuse.

As for rods, Pilotwingz is right that they all work the same. They are levers. However, there are humongous differences in sensitivity, how they load, balance, and how they feel in your hand. You want one that’s comfortable, that balances well with the reel you put on it, and because you are getting only one that is useful for a large array of applications. Throwing and cranking big hardware like spinnerbaits into weed bed edges in backwaters where you’ll need to react to an aggressive bite and throwing unweighted soft plastics where you’ll need to react to gentle bites in swift current with the same rod is going to mean you’ll have to do some compromising. So, picking the right action for how you will usually fish will be important. Also, the action of the rod will have to be paired with the line to some degree. Superline (my preference) needs either a softer action or a longer rod because there’s no stretch in the line. Mono (my sometimes preference, and Pilotwingz usual preference) has a lot of stretch and requires a faster action rod, all other things being equal.

My recommendation remains a 6’6" graphite, Medium Light action (1/8 to 5/8 weight recommendation), Fast tip. Not extra fast. If I had to err one way or the other, I’d go to a slightly softer action because inexpensive the rod you’re used to was probably a slow action rod. But for rivers, I find that finesse presentations work best for me. Though I do know a very successful river bass fisherman who throws nothing but enormous spinner baits with three or four blades on them.

  • Big D

Hmmm …

– Last Updated: Apr-22-10 10:25 PM EST –

....... once one of my Shimano Stradics was having a slight tendency to be a little sticky in it's bail rotation , this happened while fishing in the rain ... it needed in-case lubing and never acted up again after that . The latest Stradic models have a little port hole with a removable screw stopper that allows easy in-case lubing (no more taking the side plate off) .

I don't think it can get any wetter for a reel than fishing days on end in the pouring rain ... my Stradics have never had problem in that condition , except for the once mentioned (but I try to remember to lube mine annually or more frequent anymore) .

D , I used to fish Med.Light rods pretty exclusively , but have since changed over to Med. ... the ML's just don't really cut it when you need to set the hook regardless of stretchy mono or less stretch lines like braid and fluro-carbons , at least that's my feelings on the matter .

When using the 1000 - 3000 series reels , I like using the XL for 8 lb. and under test (I like the way it soaks up a little water and is softer) ... but when wanting to use a 10 - 12 lb. line on 2500 or 3000 series , I prefer a good fluro-carbon because it is slicker (less resisitence against itself coming off the spool) ... which allows a farther cast ability than even the XL in 10 - 12 lb. .

The nephew pretty much uses premium fluro-carbons exclusively now ... he believes they are lower visability which might make a difference (He usually catches a few more Smallies than I ??) .

Last year while working the bridge , I hooked into something way down deep (50'-60') almost straight down from the boat side ... I thought it was a fish , but who knows ... when I reeled up tight and set the hooks hard , my rod just snapped right in front of the fore grip !!

I had purchased two of those rods (an off name brand but reasonable price) from a dealer because they looked to be just perfect for throwing 1-1/2 oz. Bucktails on the bridge . Nice big eye rings , graphite , M.H. fast action . They feel just great with a 5000 series Stradic (17 lb. line) strapped to them .

Wonder how long the 2nd will last ?? It's been doing fine just like the 1st one so far .

I might have told ya this story about how one of my older 2500FH Stradics met it's demise last fall up on the Susqui. ... big foot (the nephew) got all excited when he hooked into a hard pullin fish mid river , he stands up in full battle mode and proceeds to clomp his way from the rear towards the front of the boat (my space) ... not watching what the hell he was doing plants his clompper right down on my rig and smashed it good ... next thing that happens he nearly plows right through me and we both almost take a dive over the side ... imagine how that would have looked , two guys out in the middle of the river watching thier boat quickly getting away from them in that current .

He gets kinda excited sometimes when he feels that big pull ya know , and I've learned to be prepared for almost anything ... but I can tell ya this , next time he goes to take a dive over the side (especially in my space) , I'm not going to latch on to him for the save , he out weighs me by about 100 lbs. .

ps., ... almost forgot , he did land the fish !!

That’s why they make menus
Not everyone likes the same things.

Good story about your boy.

  • Big D

I like the menu theme D …
… all in all it’s a pretty decent restaurant we all hang out at isn’t it !!

You’re one of the fortunate…
people who have not had problems with Shimano reels binding, but there are a LOT of river fishermen who have, myself included. Like D, I will not buy a Shimano spinning reel for that reason, although I really like their casting reels. The usual binding problem is not a lube issue, but is apparently an issue of a bushing in the reel that swells when wet, and a number of Shimano models have had the problem, including the Stradics. But the odd thing is that not all of them have it. It is just that a lot of us are no longer willing to gamble on it.

In my opinion, a medium light power, fast action spinning rod, paired with a decent reel spooled with braided line, is the best way to go for a versatile outfit that will handle lots of lures. If you go medium power or heavier, you lose some of the ability to cast light lures. And with braided line, due its lack of stretch, you can set the hook well when using soft plastics using a medium light rod.

(And there is another advantage to braid on a spinning reel–the inevitable line twist that occurs with spinning tackle does not affect braided line like it does mono, and so the braid is more trouble-free. Some anglers don’t like the opacity of braid in clear water situations, and use a fluorocarbon leader attached to the braid. I don’t.)

wonder what bushing it is that you …

– Last Updated: Apr-27-10 9:11 AM EST –

...... are talking about ??

Do you have any idea of what part # and name that "bushing" you suspect might be , or even "specifically" where it's located in the reel ?? Have you ever seen this "bushing" you are talking about ??

In order for any part in the reel to "swell" it would have to be able to absorb the water ... that would eliminate any graphite composites , plastics , and metal parts in the reel .

I can see every single part in the reels , and am wondering which part you are saying has caused the problem you seem to feel is the culprit that swells ??

I couldn't agree with you about myself being "one of the fortunate ones" , I'd say my experience is the typical one and the norm , that's why these Stradics are so highly rated and always have been ... I remember Shimanos' first series of Stradics way back when , I bought one for my boy and was pretty impressed with it , they've gotten a whole lot better since then too , many refinements , etc.

and I'm not saying the Shimano Stradics are the "only" or "best" reel out there when it comes to what you get in quality for the price ... I'm saying Shimano Stradics are great reels , but others make good reels too , just that a perspective buyer should consider paying the price (similar to a Stradic) in another mfg.s line of reels as opposed to opting for the lower grade models in any mfg.s line .

Shimano makes some spin reels much less expensive than a Stradic (and you will get what you pay for) , and they have a few higher end ones too . For instance , everytime I get my hands on a Shimano Stella , the want it bug trys to infect me ... but so far I've been able to ward it off with a bit of reasoning and compromise ... there's no doubt I deserve a Stella and have earned a right to use one a hundered times over , but the Stradic series has been such a great reel to me , ya know .

All ya have to do is study a reel's guts , understand it's schematics (parts and part # schematic) to isolate a problem ... usually most problems in reels are caused by neglect , an excessive part wear or impact damage , but those are normal things and replacement parts make them smooth as new again ... that's why it's worth buying a little higher grade reel in a mfg.'s line in the first place , they wear longer , have a superior design and are worth servicing . The parts aren't cheap though , a recent destruction (got stepped on) of one of my Shimano Stradics caused it to need $65. bucks in parts and for now it sets on the bench , and I bought a new 3000 FI in the time being .

And one shouldn't forget that a reel is suppose to be serviced annually , especially one that's worth doing that to ... and those who don't understand how to inspect and service a reel can just as easily send it in to a mfg. service center ... most mfg.s suggest you do that once a year antway ... I personally don't , but just check them over myself .

A drag is supposed to let the fish take

– Last Updated: Apr-27-10 4:00 AM EST –


Sperduton, you wrote :
"...I had my drag set as tight as
it would go and the fish was still pulling out line."

I'm not sure but it sounds like you think that is a bad thing and that the reel should have stopped the fish from taking line. Not so. It is designed so you can set it to let line out before it reaches the breaking strength of the line itself. If it stopped letting the fish take line, a fish that big would probably have broken your line unless it is unusually heavy line for that kind of fishing.

I've caught a 26 lb. salmon on 8 lb test line, 64 lb salmon on 20 lb. test line, a ten foot shark on 20 lb. test line, big halibut, a few large bass, steelhead on 6 lb. a ten pound rainbow on 4 lb., etc. All of those fish absolutley PEELED out line, screaming off the reel. That is the most fun sensation in fishing! Let him run. Every inch that he takes out line he is pulling against the drag of the reel and it is tiring him. That is what it means to "play" a fish.

When he gets too tired to pull out more, reel him in. By then he will have rested a bit and probably take out line again, but probably not as much this time. The springy rod keeps tension on the fish and keeps him from ever getting a solid hard pull so he can break the line, unless you have the drag locked down tight. Then he will either break the line or break your rod, or tear the hook out of his mouth, or something like that. Something has to give when a big fish pulls that hard. The drag is designed to give, but to make the fish work for it and tire.

Unless you hook a whale on a trout rod and 6 lb. line, the fish will tire and quit taking line before he takes it all off of a reel. If you get a fish big enough to "spool" you (take all of the line off the reel) be grateful. I've only had it happen once in a lifetime of fishing, and it was a salmon in the high 50 lb. range in a small swift river. He went down rapids and I could not follow along a forest shore choked with log jams and fallen trees. The 20 lb. line sounded like a .22 shot when it snapped the knot holding it to the spool.

I felt really bad in Alaska once when a woman near me tried to "stop" a humongous salmon from taking line by tightening the drag as the fish ran. The line snapped. The angler looked crestfallen. She did not realize that if she had left her drag alone, loose enough for the fish to take line without breaking it, and simply held on to the rod till the fish stopped running, she would probably have landed it.

I like to set a drag light and thumb or otherwise add a bit of drag with my fingers on the side of a spinning reel spool as needed. It gives me margin for the line not to break if the fish suddenly makes a hard jerk on the line. I can clamp down with thumb or fingers as needed to snub the line from pulling off the reel as I land a fish too tired to break the line.

Exception to letting a fish take line
If you are fishing in tight cover such as logs or underwater limbs, etc. you may have to snub up a fish and keep it from running into the cover where it can wrap the line around a sunken log and break it. In that case, you have to use line heavy enough to stop the fish you expect, a stiff rod, big enough hooks to get a big chunk of fish in their grip, and still hope nothing breaks.

That’s a fun kind of fishing all its own. In more open water such as ocean, big lakes or big rivers, you can play a fish with lighter line and let it run.

Good luck in your fishing!

Truth is…
no, I don’t know which part is causing the problem. Supposedly, others do. What I DO know is that there IS a problem, inconsistent but common, with some Shimano spinning reels, including the Stradic. The one Stradic I bought started binding after about 2 months of use, starting during a trip in which there was a lot of rain. I later bought a Sahara, and it also started binding not long after I bought it. I was unaware of the problem before then, and took a lot of time to take the reels apart, clean, and lube them. Didn’t help. Then a discussion started on the Riversmallies website about the problem. It seemed that about half the people who used Shimano spinning reels had the same binding problem after their reels got wet, and the problem persisted afterwards, whether the reels were wet or not.

Understand also that I’ve owned Diawa, Okuma, Shakespeare, Mitchell, Zebco Cardinal, Bass Pro Shops brand, and several other brands of spinning reels that I can’t think of right now, and NONE of them, no matter how poor care I took of them, ever binded the way the Shimanos did. Not only that, but I’ve owned a Shimano Symmetre for many years that has never binded.

So…given my own experience and that of people that I know and respect, I will no longer buy Shimano spinning reels when there are other brands available that are just as good overall and I don’t have to worry about this one specific problem.

Stradic problem
I’ve had a similar problem in both my Stradic (previous model, white body, black reel handle) reels that I no longer own. My local tackle shop owner said that it was common to occur in some while not at all in others. When reeling in it would occasionally stick and freeze up for a second or two. It should not happen in the newer models.

I switched my reels over to Daiwa Tierra models in the same size, 2500. I’ve had them for a couple years now and they’re still as smooth as the day they came out of the box.