Yellow Tail Rod & Schoolie Tuna Rod/Reel Reccommendation

Discussion in 'Fishing Tackle' started by Jayhawknavy02, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    Long time reader first time poster. Looking to adjust my gear to more west coast focused now that I’m getting stationed here for the foreseeable (near) future. I’ve been back and forth (west and east coast) for the Navy for years, but hopefully static here in SOCAL for a while. Gave away several inshore striper rods to a church that takes kids fishing so rebuilding some items.

    Here’s the current saltwater inventory:

    Shimano Spheros SW 5000 spinning reel
    St. Croix Avid (VIS70MHF) 7 ft (1/2 to 1 ¼ oz) inshore rod

    Shimano Baitrunner 6000C spinning reel
    Varmac Power Flex rod (VC-PF 2-8-S) 8 ft (10-30 lb) spinning rod

    Daiwa Lexa-CC 400PWR-P bait caster
    Varmac Skipper (VC-D6-710-XT) 8 ft (25 – 50 lb) conventional rod

    Avet MXL 6/4-MC Raptor 2 speed reel
    Varmac Skipper (D7-7C) 7 ft (30 lb – 80 lb) conventional rod
    Plan on changing this rod

    I'm not a fan of the Varmac Dynamo 30 lb to 80 lb on the Avet MXL Raptor and looking to change it out when I get back from deployment. Took it on a 1 day charter before I left the USA and was not happy with it on the boat. Most of what I saw on the boat or had the pleasure to catch wasn't massive for the 1 day charter, which is the longest I can do with my current assignment. I'd like to get a rod that's easier to cast irons/bait than the Varmac. Not a bad rod at all, great guides/reel seat, and I'll keep for trolling or vertical jigging.

    Here's what I've been able to find scouring the forums that might work for day boats to San Clemente, Catalina, and offshore. Not near the states, so no way to try any of these, but wanted to see if I got close and any recommendations. Guys that were catching the most seemed to be on light light (20 - 25 lbs) during my trip. I'd like to keep the price around $300 if possible, but if more buys a great rod, so be it.

    Thanks,
    JayhawkNavy02

    CALSTAR Grafighter (GFGR-700L) 7 ft (15 - 30 lb) Extra Fast
    CALSTAR Grafighter (GFGR-800L) 8 ft (15 - 30 lb) Extra Fast
    CALSTAR Grafighter (GFGR-700ML) 7 ft (20 - 40 lb) Extra Fast
    CALSTAR Grafighter (GFGR-800M) 8 ft (20 - 40 lb) Extra Fast

    Phenix Abyss (PSX 807) 8 ft (12 - 30 lb) Medium
    Phenix Abyss (PSX 808) 8 ft (15 - 40 lb) Medium - Fast
    Phenix Axis (HAX 780 MH) 7 ft 8 in (20 - 40 lb) Medium-Fast
    Phenix Axis (HAX 720 MH) 7 ft 8 in (20 - 40 lb) Medium-Fast
    Phenix Black Diamond (PSW 700M) 7 ft (15 - 40 lb) Medium-Fast
    Phenix Black Diamond (PSW 760ML) 7 ft 6 in (10 - 30 lb) Fast
    Phenix Black Diamond (PSW 808MH) 8 ft (15 - 40 lb) Fast

    Seeker Black Steel (G 270H-8) 8 ft (20 - 30 lb
    Seeker Black Steel (G 970-7 S) 7 ft (20 - 30 lb)
    Seeker Black Steel (G 980-8 CT) 8 ft (15 - 40 lb)
    Seeker Black Steel (G 670-7 S) 7 ft (25 lb - 40 lb)
    Seeker Black Steel (G 6480-8' CT) 8 ft (20 - 40 lb)
    Seeker MGC Conventional (STL 7025C-7) 7 ft (20 - 30 lb)
    Seeker MGC Conventional (STL 7030C-7) 7 ft (25 - 40 lb)
    Seeker MGC Conventional (STL 7025S-7) 7 ft (20 - 30 lb)
    Seeker MGC Conventional (STL 7030S-7) 7 ft (25 - 40 lb)
    Seeker MGC Conventional (STL 8030CT-8) 8 ft (25 - 40 lb)
     
    #1 Jayhawknavy02, Aug 25, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  2. von_smozel

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    Those are all great rod choices, hard to go wrong. I love my Black Steel rods, i'm looking to add that 670 and 270H-8 myself eventually. Those reels will all land fish, you'll have fun out there. Good luck and thank you for serving!
     
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  3. von_smozel

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    Those are all great rod choices, hard to go wrong. I love my Black Steel rods, i'm looking to add that 670 and 270H-8 myself eventually. Those reels will all land fish, you'll have fun out there. Good luck and thank you for serving!
     
  4. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    I am not a die hard guy any more, and time has long passed on my collection of old crap (that I like to think could outfish the new stuff). That said, if you don't like that Varmac, buy a cheap senator and demote it to trolling duty, getting a 9' for jig chucking duty, actually, it would throw a diamond jig well, but that is culturally unacceptable here . Yes, most boats have troll gear, but I have ALWAYS felt better about using my own, every time, just to back up your plans for it. Where your setups are lacking is on the live bait side. For lower end setups, daiwa sealine or okuma Cortez (or metaloid for lever drag) work fine.. for mid grade and higher, just get Penn fathoms, easy, cheap, bulletproof with cow tuna caught here for years in SD on nearly every size and model they make. Rods are a tougher but to crack. Rod preference is so personalized, it's hard to get any particular one nailed down without holding it in your hand, especially the pickier you are. My order of preference is calstar, seeker, rainshadow, Varmac.. I personally tell people to stay away from the Phenix rods as I have just heard too damn many horror stories involving 200$ rods becoming 600$ rods, with loads of downtime and replacement costs.. not worth it IMO. Don't overlook any old Fenwick or US made strokers, eagles or Roddy sticks you find used for sale. ironmike is a great resource in this area as well. He also has older Newell reels which are the foundation of the whole surface iron scene here in Socal, available reasonably and easy to find parts for
     
  5. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    Will do. Still on active duty in the Navy and opportunities to drag lines. I think that would be ideal.

    The guy crushing it on Grande was using the Penn Fathom. Is there a specific size you recommend? Looks like there's are star, lever and level wind options. I assume star drag for live bait, my guess is the Penn Fathom II Star Drag is the way to go? Would a 25 be the right size or maybe IMO the smaller 15 for live bait?

    Penn FTHII25NSDP Fathom II Star Drag Reel
    32 in retrieve
    30 lb drag
    495 yds/50lb braid


    Penn FTHII25NSD Fathom II Star Drag Reel
    42 in retrieve
    30 lb drag
    495 yds/50lb braid


    Penn FTHII15SD Fathom II Star Drag Reel
    30 in retrieve
    30 lb drag
    290 yds/50lb braid


    Penn FTHII15SDCS Fathom II Star Drag Reel
    30 in retrieve
    30 lb drag
    ??? yds/50lb braid


    Thanks! I've been a fly fisherman for decades and very picky on rods. It seems everyone is pleased with the Calstar products. Phenix sounds like Sage. I've broken more than I would like to admit and although they make great rods, its not worth the time off the water or repair costs so I moved on.
     
    #5 Jayhawknavy02, Aug 26, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  6. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    Fat Spottie is a big proponent of the fathoms and he is out there all the time. He could give you a better idea of what you are looking for exactly. Almost everyone runs braid to a top shot on these reels, so it probably depends on application, sounds like you will get it dialed in real quick though
     
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  7. Fat Spottie

    Fat Spottie Evolved Pinhead
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    One thing, I don’t run braid for the amount of line that is actually in the water on Fathoms. At least 100 yards of mono.

    Jayhawknavy02 For starters a light live bait rod and a surface iron rod are very different rods... at least to me. If I had to pick on rod that could double duty on your list... tbh it would be a 6480-8CT... bit to light for me as a surface iron rod though. For you’re modicum weight Jigs it would be fine though... heavier irons... nada.

    If I where to choose two rods... I’d get a CalStar WCDH 270-8C 12-30 as live bait... straight glass. that’s going to be your ideal 8 foot rod for 20-25lb mono on these green water tuna. At least from what I use. Pair it with a either your raptor or a 25N and you’re golden. I would stick to a star drag personally.

    Onto a jig stick.. or something that lobs 2-6oz in weight... something I like doing a lot. 9ft jig stick. Or a 9’3 and I’ll get to that.
    The best overall jig stick on the market is probably the 90J Mag by CalStar. Loads up great on a stubby cast.. it’s light, relatively thin... is capable of landing cows. The best heavy jig stick is the Seeker SS 93H (full glass)... thing destroys fish if it doesn’t destroy you. Loads up the best with your 3.5oz-5oz Jigs and if you can handle it’s bend... you’ll love it. Been using it for the past 7 months and I’ve done everything from patty yellows to cows... thing is that you need 50lb.

    As for reels on each of them... If I had to pick one, it would be one of the new Penn Fathom II 25Ns in low gear. 65lb braid backing to a top shot of about 100 yards of 40lb mono if you had to pick one reel.

    If I had to pick two reels, it would be another one of the first reels I mentioned and a Fathom II 30 in low gear as well.

    The difference is that I would change my 25N to only hold a mono top shot of about 50 yards of 30lb. Only reason I suggest braid is that you save money with it as a backing. That is now exclusively a fly line set up. For the 30, I’d run it so you have 80lb backing and enough room for about 110 yards of 50lb. Should leave you with about 400 yards of line which is more then enough for anything you do around here with surface irons.

    In a PM I know you said that you would most likely be needing to gear up for next season, which is why a I recommended waiting on the newer Fathoms to come out.
     
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  8. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. Just the spec from Tackle Direct for the Penn Fathom II. I've got 100 yards of top shot on my Avet as well. Plan on doing the same for the next reel.

    Agreed. When I get something that does everything it doesn't do anything well. This sounds like a compromise I'd rather not make.

    Sounds like the live bait setup is a CalStar WCDH 270-8C 12-30 and Penn Fathom II Star Drag Reel FTHII25NSDP or FTHII25NSD. FTHII25NSD has a faster 42 retrieve vice the slower FTHII25NSD at 32 inch. I believe the recommendation would be the FTHII25NSD since you mention below that you would go with lower gearing. What is the benefit of the lower gear/retrieve?

    Would the Avet MXL 6/4-MC Raptor 2 speed reel I already have work for this?

    I can probably only pick up one extra reel since I didn't budget for reel and rod. No worries since I would like to do this right or at least the best that I can.

    Similar to above, not sure if the Avet MXL 6/4-MC Raptor 2 speed reel can fill this role. Hopefully I didn't pick up a reel that doesn't serve a purpose.

    Yep. I was hoping to fish this season, because I was deployed last season, but then I got deployed again after being home just a couple months. Not sure when I get back to the states, but at least I have my current gear with me. No problem waiting on the new Fathom II since I'm saving money for when I get back, just can't go to crazy as I would like to stay married ;)

    Thanks for the terrific help, its greatly appreciated....and expensive!
     
  9. Easy619

    Easy619 Tug Addict
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    Some good info in here.. I've been planning on taking a trip targeting my first tuna and have been wondering which setups and how to configure my rag-tag collection of beater gear lol
     
  10. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    Don't you have a sealine and a Penn or two?
     
  11. Easy619

    Easy619 Tug Addict
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    Yeah I have a sealine 30h, a Penn senator 112h and a few 500s...lol should be fine. Just new to the offshore game and soaking in standard setups and applying that to what I have
     
  12. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    Take your time.. master the basics... How to pick and flyline a bait, how to keep a bait or fish in front of you. Watching the birds to tell you where feeding fish are... It isn't brain surgery, but those skills will serve you, whether on a half day, or a 13 day to the hurricane bank
     
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  13. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    A CalStar WCDH 270-8C 12-30 and Penn Fathom II Star Drag Reel FTHII25NSDP or FTHII25NSD sounds like the ticket. FTHII25NSD has a faster 42 inch retrieve versus the slower FTHII25NSD at 32 inches. I believe the recommendation would be the FTHII25NSD since you mention below that you would go with lower gearing.

    What is the benefit of the lower gear/retrieve for a primarily a live bait rod?

    Also, if I use the Penn 25 size reel for 20 lb test, what would be a good stick/use for the Avet MXL 6/4-MC Raptor 2 speed I've already got? Great reel, I got it stupid cheap and would love to keep using it.

    Cheers,
    Jay
     
    #13 Jayhawknavy02, Sep 6, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  14. Fat Spottie

    Fat Spottie Evolved Pinhead
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    From my perspective you are using a lower gear that won’t tire you out... but more importantly you can consistently deliver power at a steadier rate while maintaining a lighter lid distributed on the reel.

    Long story short, you can keep a fish’s head turned more efficiently, thus getting it in faster.
     
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  15. 5-20

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    Specifically in your response about the best reel for bait.

    Go with the 42” model. If this is going to be your bait reel, you’ll really appreciate being able to zip in your line after a long soak.

    These new reels have such efficient gears, the idea that a lower geared reel isn’t as powerful as a higher geared reel is literally an old wife’s tale. Especially with #20-30 reels.

    If you were going to use this reel for lures, the IPT each reel draws in is a much more significant consideration because it becomes a little more difficult to work specific lures properly if you have a really “fast” reel but with bait fishing, you’re just letting your bait swim out and you want to take line in as fast as you can so you can re rig with a new bait and get it out there pronto.
     
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  16. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    I'll pre-order a Penn FTHII25NSDP Fathom II Star Drag Reel (32 in retrieve) and pick up a CalStar WCDH 270-8C 12-30 for a 20 lb setup.

    For the Avet MXL 6/4-MC Raptor 2 speed lever drag reel maybe another CalStar Deck Hand WCDH-270-8H-C 15-40 lb for a heavier setup.

    For a 9' jig stick reel, would you go with an another star drag like the Penn Fathom II or a Avet Raptor JX? They both look like great reels and capacity for flat falls, etc. with either a CalStar 90J or Cousins 90J? I need to try both first and heard the Cousins is a nice rod as well.
     
    #16 Jayhawknavy02, Sep 7, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  17. Deputy Dusty

    Deputy Dusty Well-Known Member

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    I have a fathom and that thing is a beast it’s not going to break the bank either. Don’t think you need a 2 speed for what you’re lookin for. Save the money from a 2 speed and get 2 fathoms haha
     
  18. Fat Spottie

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    That Avet does the same duty as the Fathom in regards to what you are looking for. In regards to a jig stick, the 90J is probably the best at what you are looking for. I use glass, but the 90J Mag is a great rod.
     
  19. Jayhawknavy02

    Jayhawknavy02 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Looks like Deputy Dusty was right on, I'll end up with 2 Penn Fathom IIs and 3 CalStar sticks when I get back from deployment soon. I'll probably put the Avet on the heavier live bait setup or jig stick. Just need to try them out and see what works best and then move them around.
     
  20. Deputy Dusty

    Deputy Dusty Well-Known Member

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    Right on man do you know what size the reels are?
     
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