Best Size Rod & Reel For Inshore Flats Fishing (For Small Trout To Big Redfish)

By: Tony Acevedo on December 17, 2019
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best size rod and reel for inshore saltwater fishing

What’s the best size rod and reel combo for inshore fishing?

That’s a question we get asked all the time and it’s a valid question!

You might think that if you go too small, you can’t handle big fish, but if you go too big, it’s going to be tough to cast all day, and smaller fish won’t really be fun to fight.

In this video, I’ll address all of these concerns and give you the exact setup I use for nearly all of my inshore fishing trips, including my favorite type of rod, favorite size reel, and the mainline and braid I normally use.

And since we don’t accept sponsorships from any equipment manufacturers, this is completely unbiased advice based on the equipment I actually fish with.


Best Size Rod & Reel For Inshore Fishing [VIDEO]

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When I’m inshore fishing, I actually go pretty light.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. I’m not fishing heavy structure, so I don’t worry about getting broken off
  2. I’m usually casting artificials all day, and heavier tackle makes that a lot harder to do
  3. The gear these days is very well-made, and you’d be surprised at how well light tackle handles big fish (I’ve caught redfish from 5 to 35 pounds with the setup below)

Here’s my typical setup:

  • Rod: 7′ 6″ medium to medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip
  • Spinning reel: 3000 size reel
  • Mainline: 10 lb braid
  • Leader: 20-30 lb monofilament or fluorocarbon


rod and reel

If you’re fishing for inshore fish on the flats, you don’t need to go super heavy (even if there are big snook or bull redfish around).

A 3000 series reel on a 7′ 6″ medium to medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip and 10 lb braid with a 20 lb leader can handle everything from a 15″ trout to a 45″ redfish.

I didn’t mention any brands in this video, but you can check out reviews of some of the rods, reels, and fishing line we’ve used below:

Have any questions about the best size rod and reel combo?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who needs to see this video, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Thomas MoranAnonymousRobert RickettsLuke SimondsGary Rankel Recent comment authors
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Thomas Moran

Totally agree with the 7.5′ as being a great standard inshore rod. I had never fished one prior to joining Salt Strong and now I barely put the thing down, such range! Even used mine this past summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to catch pike and bass, with the same 10# braid + 20# flouro leader. It worked great!

You briefly mentioned going heavier around docks, but one key aspect I’ve found about fishing docks is that going shorter is better for up-close precision casting underneath, in and around the pilings. A 6′ or 6.5′ rod is a lot easier to shoot casts underneath with when up close, when you’re often casting sidearm or underhanded even to keep casts low, or when forced to go backhanded due to a partner being too close.

What do you prefer to use around docks?

Gary Rankel

Good stuff, Tony…….I use pretty much use the same outfit fishing the Nature Coast even with all its oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. Occasionally, an overslot snook or red will break me off by getting into the mangroves or taking my line for a ride over the oyster bars, but that’s pretty rare, and a small price to pay for the fun the light outfits provide.

Robert Ricketts

Gary Rankel don’t you have a website and sell books?

Gary Rankel

Yeh, Robert….my website is It has a link to the kayak fishing book I did last year.

Robert Ricketts

Yes I recently got your kayak fishing book


Hope you’re finding it helpful, Rick. Pounding keys all last year putting it together really cut into my on-water time.

Thomas McLane

What are your thoughts on braid color?

Thomas Campbell

Great video brother. I found the same size setups to work best as well. I do like using medium light gear as well. I have been able to land some nice fish on medium light setups. This will help a lot of people


Luke Rocks!
So whats up with the Oregon Coast?
Why would I care about Florida?
Don’t you have a partner on the NW coast that could join your team?
Just saying….

Luke Simonds

We currently specialize in redfish, speckled seatrout, flounder, and snook throughout the southeastern states. Our online fishing club offers a lot of great group discounts on equipment/lures from many popular manufacturers, so we do have a good amount of members outside of the southeastern states who join to save money on their gear (the breakeven point is typically for those who spend at least $700 per year on lures, rods, reels, line, cast nets, etc.).

Our goal is to bring on some experts from the Pacific coast too, but that will take a while to build out.

William Jackson

The difference in fishing the Georgia coast and the gulf is we fish a lot of creeks with bluffs . Usually there’s trees in the water with plenty of Barnacles. We use 30-65 lb braid to keep from breaking off. Naturally 20 lb. Floracarbon leader. Caught plenty of redfish (we just call’um bass) that was even too big to keep. In the cold water the shrimp move into the holes so guess where the trout go…😉👍