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.

Enjoy!

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

Conclusion

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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Chris
Chris
19 days ago

Interesting, I read that when fishing for speckled trout and since their mouth is very delicate and tender you’d want a rod that is more on the lighter end with slower action. Then again I’ve consumed so much information during this pandemic I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Would a 7-footer with a medium power and moderate action be a good all around spinning rod(speckled trout, red, bass)? What would you recommend? I’m rocking a Osprey CE 3000 reel

Cheers,
Chris

Luke Simonds
Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  Chris

That technically is true for all fish, but I put more emphasis on the rod’s ability to let me deliver and present a lure to the fish while also feeling for strikes and getting good hooksets (all of which favor the fast action rods with medium to medium-heavy power rods). The added benefits of those factors far outweighs the potential for some hooked fish to potentially get off.

Glenn Wiebe
Glenn Wiebe
1 month ago

I needed a new bait casting bass reel, so I bought the chronarch g for salt water hoping to use also for inshore. I’m set on spinning gear, but for inshore bay, wading fishing (Texas gulf) what length, action and power rod do you suggest to match this reel? Thank you in advance.

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

Hello,

I’m looking for a good reel size for my 7 foot medium heavy ugly stik. I mostly bank fish for catfish and hybrids.

Thanks

Brian

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

Side note, I like to use 30lb power pro braid. Not sure if I should go with a 3000, 3500, or 4000 reel (or another suggestion).

Chip Land
1 month ago

I’m having trouble deciding between 7’6 & 7’ and medium or medium heavy in the Marathon Guardian Inshore. I have a 6’ Ugly stick Gx2 medium w/ Penn Pursuit 2500, and a Penn Fierce III 7’ combo (3000) medium-light xtra-fast. I do most of my fishing from a kayak.

Chip Land
1 month ago
Reply to  Chip Land

I think for now I will put my Penn Fierce III 3000 reel on the Marathon and pick up another Pursuit II 3000 for the Fierce rod.

Luke Simonds
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Chip Land

I use 7’6″ rods exclusively now… when I go down to a 7′ rod, I can immediately feel the difference in not being able to cast as efficiently. So I recommend 7’6″ to anyone who asks.

Either way, you’ll be blown away when you go from a 6″ rod to a 7’+ ft rod.

Note 1: Since you’re fishing from a kayak, I recommend getting one with a short butt so that you can easily cast it while sitting down.

Luke Simonds
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Note 2: If you’re using a light braid (10 to 15 lbs), then a 2000 or a 2500 sized reel is all you need for the inshore waterways… it’ll hold plenty of line, and will have more than enough drag.

Robert Peck
1 month ago

Hi Tony ,
Thank you for your message. I believe that you are one fine fisherman. You are very articulate and have the ability to keep your viewing audience locked in .. It would be a great pleasure to fish 🐠 with you..In my past years I was an Olympic Archery Coach , Fly Fishing and Photography..T U

Robert Peck
1 month ago

Hi TONY ,
Enjoyed your presentation..I didn’t have the opportunity to get out in 2019 due to health reasons and I lost my Golden.. but I have a 7’6” Toadfish heavy fast I believe with an Evit 2500 . Is this doable ? Thank you!!

Thomas Moran
5 months ago

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
5 months ago

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
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary Rankel

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

Gary Rankel
5 months ago

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

Robert Ricketts
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary Rankel

Yes I recently got your kayak fishing book

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

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

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

What are your thoughts on braid color?

Thomas Campbell
5 months ago

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

NWsaltysand
NWsaltysand
5 months ago

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
Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  NWsaltysand

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.

Rick Jackson
5 months ago

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…😉👍