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Fishing/The right rod for rock fishing


Hi Jack,
I been fishing last year and feel in love it with it ever since. I been searching for the right rod for me. we like to fish from the rocks and  we are trying catch mackerels, bass and cod. We fish for 4-6 hours at a time. But no one gives good information and type of rod for rock fishing like as if rock fishing doesn't exist.

What i want from my little experience is a light rod about 8-10 feet that can cast in distance (the are we fish is very rocky) and durability. because the last rod i got was a daiwa emcast snapped in half!

So i was looking at an ugly stick. please educate me in this matter. Many thanks

Mehmet,  Your question is  a bit general and more information about your fishing would be helpful. But I will give you the best that I can.  It will not give you exactly the rod that
you should use but maybe give you some things to look for in selecting a rod.  Of course the
reel is important too.

I have fished rocks from the Jetties at Panama City, Florida and used several different rods and reels and line.  The rocks at the jetties do not go far out into the channel like natural
rocky areas so some of the things I think of using may not work for you.  Also the size of the
fish you expect to catch counts too.  I have fished a few other places also.

Here goes.  If the fish you plan to catch are not much bigger than say 8-10 pounds I would
recommend a 7 or 7 1/2 foot rod.  If you can find one a fiberglass rod I think would work
well.  These are difficult to find so If you can 't find one like that go to a 7 1/2 -8 foot
compound rod.  I would choose an open face spinning outfit for this.  I landed a redfish
about ten pounds on a fresh water outfit because that was all I had at the time I found
myself having a chance to fish at Sebastian Inlet on Florida's Atlantic coast. This was a
very rocky area even out a good ways.  I had a 7 foot fiberglass rod and a Mitchell 300
reel with 8 pound line with a short steel leader and a spoon of some kind but I do not
remember what kind. This outfit could send that spoon way way out into the serf.

You said your rod broke in half.  Was that in fighting a fish or something else?
let me say something about this.  Two or three things are most of the reasons for
a reasonably good rod to break in two.  If your rod is left lying around either at
home or on the rocks the chances of its being damaged could be a cause.  I try to take
good care of my rods by not letting them get into a place where they might get damaged.
A second cause of rod breakage is trying to pull way beyond the bend a rod has naturally.
This is not something that many of us could do though.  Most rods will bend a long way
before they break.  If they bend too easily they are not strong enough to set the hook
or control a big fish. What you want is a rod that has a relatively limber (and that word
relatively is hard to define.) If you put a string through the tip eye of the rod and
have someone hold the rod straight up and not give way to your pull watch the tip to see
if it bends more than the lower 7/8 of the rod and then as you pull more on the string
the lower part of the rod starts to bend.  That is what I mean by relative limber tip.
If the tip bends a long way before the rest of the rod starts to bend it is too soft or
limber tip.  If the lower part of the rod starts bending while the tip has bent little
that is too stiff a tip.  If you go to buy a rod take a good friend and have him hold
the rods you are testing and you carry a piece of fishing line about six feet long. Don't
tie the string to the tip  just push it through and pull on both ends.  If you check
several rods you will begin to see the difference.
A third cause of broken rods is trying to make a rod do something that it was not built
for.  One would not want to take a golf cart to try to pull a semi back on the road so
trying to use too light and cheap a rod to horse big fish will often break them.

I have caught some big fish using that 7 foot fiberglass rod and the Mitchell reel with
ten pound line. Sometimes the problem is that we do not use our equipment as it was
meant to be.  I have done that a time or two but also I have handled some big fish
on light outfit.  One day I was fishing the jetties at Panama City.  I was using 8
pound line on that seven foot rod, the Mitchell 300 and 8 pound line and a relatively
small hook. I caught a small bait fish and put it on my hook and cast it out. Soon
something took off with my bait. I set the hook and the fish took off. My drag on my
reel was set at a fraction under 8 pounds so as the fish ran he took line off my reel
but I walked down the jetties with the fish well over 100 yards out in the channel and
headed for the gulf. All I could do was to follow him keeping the rod pointed as high
as I could so he was fighting the bend  of the rod.  I couldn't reel him in and he kept
taking line.  I Had about 250 yards of line on the reel so anytime I could reel in some
line  I would but he would just tale it out again.  I fought that fish for over an hour
and wound up nearly a half mile from where we started the fight and the  end of the
jetties.  Now the fish was out in the gulf a ways and I figured he would just keep
going and take the rest of my line with him.  But if  I was tired so was the fish and
at the end of the jetties the water sort of eddies and when he got into that eddie he
turned and swam back into the channel and then I was able to pump and reel pump and
reel until I got him in close to the end of the jettie which was made of big rocks
and pieces of concrete from broken up highways. I got him into a little cove like
between the rocks and two men down there asked if I wanted them to help land him.
I said yes and one of them got a hold on the fish and lifted him up for me to see.
I am not certain anymore what kind of fish it was but it was not too common to that
area. The man said it would go at least 20 pounds maybe more. Just then the fish
flopped and the man dropped it. The line hit a rock and broke and the fish was free.
He said he was sorry but I was going to release the fish anyway.  The key to handling
a big fish on a light rod and reel is to learn that you can not reel in a big fish.
You have to wear him out by keeping pressure on him keeping your rod tip high at all
times making him fight the bend of the rod.
When you get your rod and reel try this. Have a friend help you in the back yard.
tie a hookless plug to your line.  Have your friend take the plug and start walking
away.  Keep your rod tip high and have your friend try to break the 8 pound line
while you keep the pressure on him.  He may pull all the line off the reel but if
you have your reel drag set right and keep that rod tip up he can not break the line.

I hope this has been of some use to you.  If you want to make a follow up question
giving me the size of fish you are after and if the rocks are sharp maybe I can add
some ideas to this.

Have a good time and catch a lot of fish.  Keep what you will eat and return the rest
to the water to bite again.

Thank you for calling on me to answer your question.  I would love to fish up there
where you live but I guess I am stuck here in Georgia and mostly fresh water fishing.
at Panama City I had  both.

I am

Jack L. Gaither     JackfromSemnole
Lake Seminole, Georgia  


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Jack Gaither


PLEASE, PLEASE, READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE ASKING YOUR QUESTION. THANK YOU. PLEASE, I HAVE BEEN GETTING MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ANTIQUE RODS, REELS ETC. I hate to refuse questions but I really can not be of help in this. If you have an old rod, reel, lure etc. try contacting the maker if still existing or try antique fishing tackle on the web. I am genuinely sorry that I CAN NOT ANSWER SUCH QUESTIONS. I have been bass, crappie, brim and catfishing for over 70 years. Most of my recent experience has been on the Apalachicola R. in Fl. panhandle, and Lake Seminole. I can answer many questions on places to go and some ideas on tactics especially for largemouth bass in these waters. I can`t tell you what fish will bite but can give some lures and methods that have worked well for me over the last 33 years in this area. I am also well versed on boating safety and small boat handling.


I am not a guide nor a writer or publisher of any magazine on fishing. All of my ideas would come from my experiences and those of fishing partners in local bass clubs in Panama City, Florida or from reading many books and magazine articles over the years.

Basmasters. Past member (25 years) and instructor in boating and navigation classes in the United States Power Squadrons.

ST. Andrew Bay Power Squadron local publication "Stuffing Box"

United States Power Squadrons courses in Piloting and small boat handling, celestial navigation, trouble shooting on outboard engines and other non eletronic equipment in boats.

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