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Fishing advice

I’m looking at getting a nice rod and reel for fishing. I live in Central Florida so there’s plenty of spots plus I boat so saltwater is fun too. I’ve only ever used a 60$ Open combo from Walmart and it worked great for fresh/salt. But aside from that know nothing about the fish, baits, etc and wish to start learning!

I will be fishing both fresh/salt waters in Centra Florida and South Carolina areas.

Any recommendations for rod/reel?

Any recommendations for bait/lure?

Any recommendations for learning sources?

Figured I’d ask you guys since this forum is so awesome.
 

bberg100

Moderator
Once I started buying multiple rods my fishing success changed. A quality rod, I prefer St Croix and Fenwick HMG, has so much better action and feel than the inexpensive ones. For light baits a good spinning setup, most any reel as they all cast the same - get one feels good to you, $$ get more bearings and smother retrieves, and for heavy stuff a good baitcast is hard to beat, quality here is required as cheap ones can be difficult to manage, I like Lews offerings.

Ask around your area what and where they are biting. A good bait/fly shop will get you on the right track, they want you coming back for more bait/flies and advice. Many have guides and or classes to get you going too.
 
Once I started buying multiple rods my fishing success changed. A quality rod, I prefer St Croix and Fenwick HMG, has so much better action and feel than the inexpensive ones. For light baits a good spinning setup, most any reel as they all cast the same - get one feels good to you, $$ get more bearings and smother retrieves, and for heavy stuff a good baitcast is hard to beat, quality here is required as cheap ones can be difficult to manage, I like Lews offerings.

Ask around your area what and where they are biting. A good bait/fly shop will get you on the right track, they want you coming back for more bait/flies and advice. Many have guides and or classes to get you going too.
I’ve always felt the bait shop where I was from ripped people off. Gave me a bad idea of all of them. I will have to try again now that I’ve moved though. Thank you for the advice!

I would consider multiple rods since I’m chasing both fresh and saltwater if that’s better and will make it more fun!
 

bberg100

Moderator
I’ve always felt the bait shop where I was from ripped people off. Gave me a bad idea of all of them. I will have to try again now that I’ve moved though. Thank you for the advice!

I would consider multiple rods since I’m chasing both fresh and saltwater if that’s better and will make it more fun!
Disclaimer - I manage the hunting/fishing dept at a local sporting goods store on the Colorado front range.

There are some shops that definitely prefer to take care of their buddies and to heck with everyone else. There are a couple fly shops here I won't mention to customers, most of the others go out of their way to ensure a quality fishing trip. A lot of tourists and newcomers have little to no experience. Got to take the time to properly set them up and get them on fish, nothing better than someone coming back a few days later super exited because they had a great outing. Many come back on next year's vacation, hit us first to hear where to go, and pick up more stuff.

If any of my folks are anything less than helpful with customers, they are soon on the bread line.
 

Aldwyn

Contributor
I bass fish in SW Florida at least once a year. The community ponds can be spectacular if they are not overfished, and places like the Myakka River can offer good fishing as well as spectacular scenery, boat or shore.

With that said, for bass, I almost always prefer light tackle rod and spinning reel. On the business end, I like 7" worms, and usually Culprit ribbon tails... purple or pumpkin seed, depending on the weather/water temps/water color.

Using them can have a bit of a learning curve, and sometimes they will take the worm, and just suck on it a moment... you may not even know they are there doing that... but that is what makes it that much more fun to me. You really have to be zen when fishing plastic worm. I love it. :)
 
I bass fish in SW Florida at least once a year. The community ponds can be spectacular if they are not overfished, and places like the Myakka River can offer good fishing as well as spectacular scenery, boat or shore.

With that said, for bass, I almost always prefer light tackle rod and spinning reel. On the business end, I like 7" worms, and usually Culprit ribbon tails... purple or pumpkin seed, depending on the weather/water temps/water color.

Using them can have a bit of a learning curve, and sometimes they will take the worm, and just suck on it a moment... you may not even know they are there doing that... but that is what makes it that much more fun to me. You really have to be zen when fishing plastic worm. I love it. :)
Myakka is my favorite. I used to live in Sarasota and would go every week. Overfishing is a huge problem down there though, you’re right. I had a secret spot at a construction site with a pond you could catch a tarpon in.
Thanks for the advice on the plastic worms! This is going to be fun haha
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
Moderator
Always good to have a few different rods so you can have a few different setups ready to go. Top water, bottom fishing, etc. Plus set up for what type of fish you are going for.

When buying a rod look down by the handle at the fine print and it will tell you what weight line is recommended for the rod. Same for the reel. The reel should also tell you how much line is recommenced to be spooled.

Just starting out I don’t see anything wrong with the rod/reel combos Walmart sells. I bought my rod and reel separately but from Walmart.

I might also suggest getting a small tackle box, or one of those lunch box looking tackle boxes/bags. But small. Pack it with just the necessities for the day. I used to take my whole giant tackle box out with me and it was a MAJOR PAIN carrying a heavy box around plus the poles to/from the fishing hole. I finally got a small bag with a shoulder strap. Just load it up with what need before you leave. You can even leave the big ole tackle box in the car.

Also check your state fish and game website for all required licenses. You might not just need a fishing license but a local license for a specific lake you want to fish at, or for specific species of fish you plan to catch. Know the size limits as well as catch limits.
 

ackvil

Moderator
I lived in St. Petersburg for 8 years and fished quite a bit. As others have said, you will need different rods for different purposes. The salt water rods I used in St. Pete were not suited for the fresh water fishing I did on Lake Okeechobee and other lakes.

I had good luck shopping at the various Bass Pro shops in Florida. They often has some nice combos on sale.
 
For bass I like three set ups:
1) finesse fishing I like a shimano stradic ci4 3000 size and a 703 or 743 rod. Paying more is a good idea in a finesse rod because you want the sensitivity. G loomis, dobyns, lamiglass pick your poison.
2) Mid range I like the Glx and Slx lines from Shimano. Glx is great on the high end and Slx is great for the price. I like the glx heavy combo at 129 is a solid combo that hard to beat. You would spend more than 200 easy to get a better combo. It covers 1/2oz-1 1/2 ounces but you can take it to two ounces no problem.
3) big swimbaits is whats left and I like the XH 3 to 8 ounce range. Six to ten inch swimbaits with 8-10 inch my sweet spot. On the less expensive is the Irod line, they just brought out a new line that is getting a lot of good reviews. Dobyns 806,867, and 908 are very very good, but this is where again you want to spend some cash and get a custom rod. I have a Low Down Custom rod XH to put it shortly best rod for fishig jig hook and trebble hooks all day. Three to six months on a waiting list to get one custom but he drops some production models every three months or so. 0216201816c.jpg this girl came in at nine pounds. Got me hooked on swimbaits!Lol!

One thing I would like to add is dont mix fresh water gear and salt water gear. Keep them dedicated for one or the other. I have heard nothing but horror stories of people thinking they can use them on bolth.
 
I have nothing but Walmart rods ranging from ultralight ultra fast to catfish and rockfish broomsticks with reels. Including a dedicated ultralight and heavy for bay and ocean fishing (the ultralight catches bait). I would like to second the idea of several small tackle boxes, each set up for a species you're targeting. I have one for bass and snakehead, one for cat, one for saltwater/ rockfish, one for panfish.

As far as bait and tackle, living my life in Maryland I can't help too much. But my old man is now a snowbird spending his time in Tampa and western Maryland. But he absolutely slays Florida bass with a plastic worm. I've never seen him skunked using a worm.
Cast it, then let it sit with the slack. Reel in the slack, then just lift the tip up and let the worm fall again and sit for a minute or two. Repeat until you've reeled it in. This part is important, leave the slack. The bass will take it and start moving. You'll see the slack in the water start running. Then the very second you feel tension, set the hook and enjoy.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
I will be fishing both fresh/salt waters in Centra Florida and South Carolina areas.
I live in western Canada so have little to offer except ... I've always had different equipment for salt and fresh water fishing:
  1. Size/scale calls for bigger and stronger tackle in salt water. Larger fish, larger bodies of water, and so forth.
  2. salt water brings corrosion issues that fresh water doesn't.
Point #1 may or may not apply to you ... #2 almost certainly will. Anyhow, good luck and enjoy the fishing!
 
I live in western Canada so have little to offer except ... I've always had different equipment for salt and fresh water fishing:
  1. Size/scale calls for bigger and stronger tackle in salt water. Larger fish, larger bodies of water, and so forth.
  2. salt water brings corrosion issues that fresh water doesn't.
Point #1 may or may not apply to you ... #2 almost certainly will. Anyhow, good luck and enjoy the fishing!
Thanks dude!
I realize different tackle for different fish. Wasn’t sure if you could just use a strong line and change out the baits/rig depending on what I’m chasing.
I always wash my saltwater off when I’m done. :)

As for setups, I plan to have a top water, an in shore, and a surf rod. Figure I’ll chase bass and catfish in shore. Not sure what I want to fish for off the beach. I’ve got me a gator or two. Perhaps a shark?
 
I am a Shimano fan, both rods and reels. good warranty on the top end items. I would recommend TFO rods also. They are great quality and if you break a rod you send it to them and they send you a replacement with a seven day turn around. Not as expensive as shimano but Great quality. Also look at Okuma reels. Good prices, and they have great warranty also.


 
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