By: Ryan Evans
Canoe & Kayak Web Exclusive
It is a common question asked by many anglers on a daily basis.......what rod and reel do you recommend for kayak fishing? That is like asking which vehicle should I purchase next? Before blurting out your favorite combination the next questions should be.....where are you fishing? What type of fishing will you be doing? How much do you want to spend? It is kind of like buying a kayak, there are all sorts of different variables that need to be addressed and none of the solutions will be a 100% perfect fit.....but it can come pretty close.
Take my situation for example. I am an inshore fisherman that generally targets flounder and redfish (and on a good day maybe a few speckled trout) in pretty shallow water of 5 feet or less. I prefer a 6.5 to 7 foot medium or medium/light action rod that has a little backbone but is not as flimsy as a noodle like a light action rod. In late 2005 American Rodsmiths created a "Kayak Series" 6'10 light (trout) and medium (redfish) action rod with a shortened butt. These rods are fairly priced around $90 and carry a nice warranty under their belts. As we all know there is not much room to move around in the cockpit of any kayak so the shortened butt on the "Kayak Series" rod has been much appreciated. Along those same lines, American Rodsmiths has also created their flagship rods introduced as the "H3 Titaniums" series. This is the Ferrari of the fishing rod world and will cost you in the neighborhood of $250 which includes an incredible warranty. Weighing in at mere ounces the "H3's" come in several different actions ranging from light to the stiffest saltwater rod known as the "Red Hammer". The H3's are made in 6.5 to 7 foot lengths and will be the envy of all your fishing buddies.
When I was growing up I fished a lot at my grandpa's lake house in Ontario, Canada and was introduced to the wide world of Zebco fishing reels. These were perfect for me when I was younger but the older I got the more I needed a baitcaster that could withstand the salty Texas waters.
I was introduced to the Shimano Curado's and fell in love immediately. The Curado baitcaster series comes in a 100b (smaller reel) and the 200 series reels for around $120. Personally, I feel that these are the most durable reels ever assembled and I am not affiliated with Shimano in any way. In mid 2005 Shimano released some pretty sad news....they were revamping the Curado series and kicking the price up an additional $80 to $200 a reel. This sent me (and the rest of the Shimano fishing world) into a panic so I went and bought as many used but in good condition "old style" Curado 200's as my wife would allow. I have not yet fished with the new Curado's but I can tell you they are bigger and heavier than the old models built just last year. My good friend, Jason Bryant, has introduced me to the new Daiwa "Coastal" series and seems to be my next purchase. It reminds me a lot of the old Curado's along with their price tag in the neighborhood of $120.
Just like with anything else, what works for me may not work for you. Unfortunately, you cannot rent or test a fishing rod and reel combo like you can on a potential kayak purchase but what you can do is attend fishing shows and demo the possible purchases along side other rod and reel companies.
For the meantime I will be dreaming of an American Rodsmiths "Tops & Tails H3" equipped with on "old" style Shimano Curado 200sf!
Keep your lure in the water......tight lines!