coastalfreak

Live bait: Does the rod matter?

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When fishing bait I use two very different types of blanks.  It depends on how I am fishing.  I suppose I should mention I build my own rods so that allows me to pick the type of blank I want rather than buy what someone else calls a "live bait" rod.

 

For bottom fishing I will typically use a spin jig blank.  The St. Croix inshore (Tidemaster and up) are a good example.  I use them mostly for dead bait or smaller live baits that aren't moving around much (like shrimp).  The sensitivity makes a huge difference IMHO.  The medium power 8-17# is perfect for smaller snapper and the like.  The 10-20# is better if the fish are running 5 pounds and better.  The 15-30# will handle ones into the 20# range assuming you don't have to fish too much lead.  When I do have to fish a lot of lead I'll use a St. Croix musky blank.  These are all fast action 100% graphite blanks.  I considered their SC3 series the perfect blend of sensitivity, price, and durability.  Too bad I can't buy them anymore.

 

When I'm fishing live baits that move a lot (like a blue runner/hardtail/speedo/goggleye), I'll use a live bait blank.  I'll free line and fish them under a balloon as well.  A live bait blank will almost always be a composite blank.  They have ultra soft flexible tips, with quick lock up, and very powerfull butt sections.  They are fast to extra fast actions.  I wouldn't use them for bottom fishing but they are good for trolling.  Sensitivity isn't a key factor as your soft tip will give you visual feedback.  The Seeker CLB series is a good example.  I imagine it can be bought as a finished rod.

 

I suppose I should mention a thrid type as I think it could be right for you.  I like a popping blank for fishing shrip under a cork.  They are also great for lures with treble hooks.  A typical nomenclature used in the past was P704.  That would be a 7'0" 4 power popping blank.  They come in powers 0 to 4.  The 0 power is an UL and the 4 power will handle gator trout, snook, bigger redfish, and smaller tarpon.  They used to say 2 power for trout/redfish and 3 power for bigger slot size reds.  These blanks will be anything from fast to moderate action depending on make/model.  They are usually 100% graphite.

 

From what I read in your posts I suggest you look for some inshore St. Croix rods about 10 years old.  The SC2 line will be greenish color and the SC3 line will be copperish colored.  You wouldn't be buying these to save money.  You'd buy them because they are better than most of today's offerings.  Then I'd suggest you add a 2 and 3 power popping rod.  Lamiglas, Loomis, Rainshadow, Castaway all offered good ones.  You just need to know which ones were good so do your home work.  One of my favorites is the titanium chrome colored Xcel blanks from Rainshadow.

 

10-15 years ago you had more domestically produced blanks than the market could support long term.  The majority of those companies are long gone and the few remaining ones have been forced to source blanks off shore.  This is why I suggest looking for some of the better rods from 10+ years ago.  It helps to learn the history and the names involved.  Typically the top rod designers have developed blanks for several companies over the years and have been involved in building many different plants.

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Glass rods over graphite or a blend / composite rod with fast action. 

 

From my experience, specialty catfishing rods (for big cats) are just about the best value for striper live bait rods. Tangling and Whisker seeker rods seem like a great value. 

 

I made my own (batson rclb series) but have handled a few of these specialty rods and would not hesitate to drop $75-100ea on them. 

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I really wonder how important an actual live bait rod is but there are guys that have been using them way longer than me. I live bait stripers and until recently I caught them on graphite loomis worm rods, quite the opposite of a "live bait" rod. The stripers have no problem gobbling down the bait and hooking themselves on the circle hooks with that setup so I wonder what difference does it make if I see the tip going crazy a few seconds before? I'm still leaving it in the rod holde until the line starts screaming ha ha

I don't cast the bait either so that might be important

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Your assuming to much, the tip will move no matter what you build the rod out of, there will be no visual difference, but if the fish can take and move off a bit, they don't stop to eat right? And still not feel an unnatural presence, seems to me you would catch more fish. Give me the live bait rod please.

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Wow, I’ve learned a lot from this thread so far. Thank you everyone.

 

In the future, I want to build a honey Lamiglas to pair with an Ambasseduer. 

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Just to be clear, I'm not saying you need, or even want, a live bait blank/rod to fish live bait.  What I am saying is it has a lot to do with the bait, the technique used, and the fish targeted.  IMHO live bait blanks are best used for very speedy fish, ones that might tear hooks out of their mouths, and with techniques that might have slack line prior to the fish taking the bait.  Also for when you need to cast baits that might tear off the hook.  For example, I'd say the guys fishing in the Southern Kingfish (King Mackerel) Association tournaments are almost exclusively using live bait blanks.  Here is a post I made on another forum for a guy asking about them.

 

" In my area we have a lot of saltwater fish in the under 100# range that are very fast swimmers. We are talking 60+ mph fast. We often fish live bait. Sometimes we sight cast but mostly we free line or fish them under a balloon. We normally fish mono in the 12-20# range. So we aren't fishing much drag and we know these fish are going to make a long initial run (sometimes as much as 200 yards). The problems come in when you start to gain line and you are putting a lot of pressure on the fish. In a split second you can go from thumbing/cupping the spool, pumping the fish up, and gaining line.....to him heading the other direction at 60 MPH. You need that give in the mono and that soft tip in a live bait blank to handle the sudden surge. It happens often in the fight but it is always guaranteed to happen right at the boat when that fish sees the gaff. You need the strong butt to keep him out of the props and from running under the boat....yet at the same time the limber tip and stretch in the line to absorb shock before the drag starts to give. It is a delicate balance between finesse and trying to over power the fish."

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2 hours ago, NHAngler said:

Glass rods over graphite or a blend / composite rod with fast action. 

 

From my experience, specialty catfishing rods (for big cats) are just about the best value for striper live bait rods. Tangling and Whisker seeker rods seem like a great value. 

 

I made my own (batson rclb series) but have handled a few of these specialty rods and would not hesitate to drop $75-100ea on them. 

The Whisker Seeker rods are very high on my interest list. Just can’t seem to find em in stores. 

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On 3/7/2021 at 10:06 PM, Fishtale7 said:

The sloppier the rod, the better for casting live bait. The softer rod will dampen the impact of the cast on the bait, as opposed to snappier action of a fast rod. 

 

On 3/7/2021 at 9:35 PM, bronson said:

not really.  if anything with a fast action rod you will find yourself slinging bait off the hook....esp delicate live bait

Live bait rods have a soft (flexible) tip to help prevent loosing the bait.

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I'm only fishing for 65 years or i really don't know the much but IMHO when fishing bait your are best serve when using a medium to slow action rod.  I like the lobbing effect of the cast with bait especially if you cast the bait off the beach when using conventional tackle.  Doesn't make a difference in fighting the fish but much easier casting. 

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11 mins ago, Spigola said:

I'm only fishing for 65 years or i really don't know the much but IMHO when fishing bait your are best serve when using a medium to slow action rod.  I like the lobbing effect of the cast with bait especially if you cast the bait off the beach when using conventional tackle.  Doesn't make a difference in fighting the fish but much easier casting. 

That’s always been my feeling. I like how the rod loads up if I’m just soaking bait. If I fish artificial that’s not really necessary and I prefer sensitivity. 

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4 hours ago, coastalfreak said:

The Whisker Seeker rods are very high on my interest list. Just can’t seem to find em in stores. 

 

You can only really get them online.

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