The Pursuit Of The Perfect Inshore Fishing Rod (Does It Exist?)


Does the perfect inshore fishing rod even exist?

Probably not.

For the past five years, we’ve been in pursuit of the best fishing rod for catching our favorite inshore species because your rod is the most important piece of your setup.

And through those years we’ve used a TON of different rods (some from big brands like St. Croix, G. Loomis, TFO, and Ugly Stik), some from middle-sized brands (like Bull Bay), and some from smaller brands.

We’ve even had quite a few custom rods made.

But none have been perfect.

So listen in as we share where we’ve been in terms of rods and where we’re going.

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I highly recommend), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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The Best Inshore Fishing Rod [VIDEO]

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The Best Inshore Fishing Rod [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents:

  • 2:09 – Here’s why the rod is more important than the reel
  • 2:35 – Choose your setup in this order: rod, line, lure, reel
  • 3:05 – The rod is an extension of your arm
  • 4:55 – Your reel is your line management system
  • 6:45 – Our custom Bull Bay rod is built to the specs we know work
  • 8:35 – A 7’6″ medium power, fast action rod is a good starting point
  • 8:57 – Manufacturers do not all have the same standards for specs
  • 10:05 – Shaking the tip of your rod does not determine the action
  • 12:38 – Action is the spot of the bend, power is how much force it takes to bend, and performance is the combination of the two
  • 14:15 – TFO rods have a great blend of power and action
  • 16:25 – Don’t overcomplicate your setup
  • 18:41 – Different brands have different ratings and it’s not consistent
  • 19:58 – The importance of sizing
  • 22:10 – What are rods made of?
  • 25:11 – What your guides will tell you
  • 26:25 – The reason why some rods are more expensive
  • 28:36 – You could have issues with the guide inserts, here’s why
  • 29:13 – Let’s talk about cork
  • 30:09 – How does cork affect fishing
  • 31:57 –  What is faux cork?
  • 33:20 – The pros and cons of split grips
  • 35:27 – How will balance change with a split grip?
  • 38:05 – Check out the balance point video here
  • 44:06 – Help us design the perfect inshore fishing rod
  • 47:40 – Here’s why butt lengths are important
  • 48:37 – The further you can cast, the more fish you will catch
  • 53:23 – Moving forward, no combos, please
  • 54:42 – This will guarantee that you’ll catch more fish


how to pair inshore rod and reel

Repeat after me: the rod is more important than the reel.

So as we continue our quest to find or build the best inshore fishing rod, we’ll be focusing on quality, value, and performance.

Do you have any feedback on the specifications you’d like to see in our custom rod?

Have any questions about which rod is best for you?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who’s in the market for a new rod, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Rick Markiewicz
14 days ago

Greetings y’all.

New member of about a week with a rod question for inshore fishing.

I like the advise of a 7’6″ medium strength, fast action rod as a starting point. However, I have also watch your video’s on jigs.

The rods offered here in 7′ 6″ medium fast are rated for 1/4 – 3/4 oz. If I am going to throw 1/8 or 3/16 oz in shallower water as learned, do I need the medium light rated for 1/8 – 1/4 oz. The limp noodle comment for medium light has me confused.

Thank you.

14 days ago

Hey Rick, make sure to factor in the weight of the soft plastic that you’ll be adding to the weighted hooks or jig heads that you’ll be using. For example, even a small 3″ soft plastic paddletail rigged on a 1/16th oz weighted hook still weighs more than 1/4 oz in total. So it’s extremely rare that a lure you’ll be throwing is too heavy for most medium rods… therefore, no need for the wet noodle rods:)

Rick Markiewicz
13 days ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

That’s why I joined. Thank you!

John Caldwell
15 days ago

I have only been in Florida full time for 2 years.Before than only on vacation couple times a year.So saying that I come from smallmouth waters in central Va to Chesapeake bay salt. Living on North Hutchinson Island with my bay boat on a lift on the Indian River I have not let bought any new rods YET! I use a GLoomis E6X worm/jig spinning rods from

Xavier Muniz
20 days ago

Loved this episode and super excited for my Bull Bay custom rod! With that being said, now I’ve got rod and line on the list of importance, yet I need support with choosing the reel based on existing limited inventory. What would be the best way to narrow down a 2500/3000 match for the Bull Bay custom rod???

Darren Corlett
22 days ago

I get laughed when kayak fishing because I bring a different rod for every bait I’m going to be using. I’m not going to use a medium heavy rod to throw a shadrap SSR5, a really light small bait, and I don’t want to use a light action rod to throw a Live Target mullet. If you’re power fishing for bass, crank bait, spinner bait etc. you’re going to cast 800-900 times in a day so I like a lighter rod. I love the Boyd Duckett White Ice, which is now the Black Ice because it’s super light. A 7’ medium action rod with a Quantum Tour MG together weighs 10.48 oz. to me that makes a difference when making that many casts in a day. I use the same rods for inshore fishing as well.

Richard Thompson Thompson
23 days ago

Great information , I personally prefer a 7 ft Rod. I find I get less wrist fatigue over the course of a day on the water.

Charles Syverson
24 days ago

Can you compare the TFO to the Bull Bay custom? I have the TFO and am considering another one but am wondering if the additional cost of the custom rod is a significant upgrade.

Justin Ritchey
23 days ago

Really good question, Charles. To put things simply, the Bull Bay Custom Rod offers specific components that are intended to refine the angler’s experience. Some examples applied to the Custom Rod are the shorter butt length in the cork handle, the “drop shot” style hook keeper for storing your rig, and the Stainless Steel Tangle-Free Frames for improved casting performance. These modifications were made on the Custom Rod with “ease of use” in mind. The biggest difference between TFO and the Bull Bay Custom is in the specific componentry of each rod. But at the end of the day, in terms of artificial lure performance, both rods are excellent choices.

Adam Bailey
25 days ago

Regarding a MudHole custom rod, I’m really interested in what’s ahead. I hope to buy and use the SS BB rod (before I die of natural causes :)) so I can add to my experience of what I like and not. For me, having even limited options on a semi-custom rod could be great. I understand that may not be as feasible from your perspective, but a couple of general options like length and power may appeal to a wider group of anglers. I’m sure there is a wide variety of preferences across the SS membership. For more targeted feedback, consider sending out short, limited surveys on preferences for certain rod components, such as full or split grip.

Thanks for continuing to push for angling innovation!

John R Arnett
26 days ago

I’ve been fishing the north Pinellas county area my whole life.only in the past 2 years have I targeted snook almost exclusively from the local beaches and bridges.i started then with a BG 3000 and a star stellar lite.since then I have honed in on the type/ action etc I prefer.went from using a med/hvy 7′ to now use a star seagis 7’6″ med/light and a super light JDM Daiwa ballistic.i have learned to me sensitivity and light weight means more to me than almost anything else!!!

David Carrizales
26 days ago

Awesome discussion learning every day

George Diaz
26 days ago

Great discussion. When do you buy a custom rod like Black Pelican? What are the discernable differences for good fisherman? Or are all the differences only appreciated by “experts* and people needing an ego boost?

26 days ago
Reply to  George Diaz

I don’t recommend going one-off custom unless you are very in tune with what you need and you’re designing a rod around a particular reel and lure ranges that you’ll be using.


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