Buying my first "real" surf reel & rod
Backstory: (scroll way down for the question!)
I've been going to the jersey shore my whole life and, while I bring a "pole" and "fish" each year, it's always been a half-hearted attempt at passing time.
We've done quite a bit of freshwater fishing, and that's been our passion. However this summer while in LBI we hooked into a few fish on the surf and now, well, you know. Now I'm hooked!
We caught some snapper blues, kingfish, and small fluke on our freshwater gear, but then I got spooled badly. Twice. I think my old fin-nor 203 is shot as well.
So I went to "wally-mart" and bought a 7' combo for $30. The next day I hooked something big (I now figure was a CNR) and after a really fun fight, the reel literally fell apart. The fish spooled me shortly after.
So I switched to 30lb braid on my little fin nor 203 (I know... I know). The gears will never be the same. Hooked up with another ray but it was too much for the little reel and I was half glad when the fish broke (bad knot?).
FINALLY I call a friend, borrow his very old 10' Peterson rod, snag a diawa 4000C on craigslist for next to nothing, load it with 50lb braid, and haul in the biggest fish of my life- a cow nosed ray. I gave the rod back. While the daiwa is old-school cool, cost less than breakfast at Uncle Wills, and is truck-tough , I dont think it fits the job of casting for stripers and blues. At least not ideally.
With 2 young kids, my self imposed budget is limited. I've since combed craigslist, the want ads, etc for gear to buy and try. I've bought, sold, traded, and I've assembled a collection of what I think is some very decent (though not great) gear for VERY little money.
I think I've done great, and combined price of everything so far, including the broken wally mart combo and braided line, is $190.
My goal: 4 different "rigs" all for surf and bay fishing and for sharing with family & friends No boat, no jetties.
1) LIGHT: surf for fluke, bayfishing with the kids, and casting light lures on the beach.
2) ALL Purpose: Lures and plugs for targeting stripers and blues in the early summer and fall. (This is the setup I have questions about.)
3) Heaver: for baiting and watching in the sand spike in the early summer, hopefully for some type of shark but more likely rays etc.
4) SPARE: for letting friends & visitors use at the shore. utilitarian.
I'll be making separate posts about each of the above with specific questions. I have the the light and the spare all done, and the heaver reel. The heaver rod can wait- it'll see the least use and wont need to see the surf until july 2013.
MY QUESTION (almost)
Most pressing is the setup I plan to use this fall with dad while striper fishing off the surf in lavalette. He says they dont use bait at all. Metal and plugs. I only have 2 plugs, so I'll be tossing mostly metal I guess.
I'm about to make my most expensive purchase (reel) and think I could use some guidance or opinions....
I bought a 9' TICA TC2 2-6oz for a price I couldnt pass up. I realize some guys had issues with broken guides etc, but this one looked great and cost next to nothing.
I used the TICA with a small reel and really REALLY liked how it cast 2-3oz hopkins/deadly dick etc. SO far superior to the borrowed/other stuff I had and have.
I need a reel. I have narrowed it down to a few in the sub $200 range provided I buy it at DICKS sporting goods ($150giftcard and coupons!).
Here is what I narrowed it down to.
Shimano Spheros 6000: a little bigger / heavier than I wanted and not available at DICKS. Probably would be perfect, but its not at DICKS so no-go.
PENN battle: seems like a nice little rig, and I'd come in under budget nicely. maybe not on par with the next 2 in terms of gears, casting distance & use with braid? I dunno.
Stradic 5000 FJ: Seems like a dream. VERY LIGHT. you know it. $209
CABO 40: Gets great reviews etc, seems like it'd be great. on sale for $180.
9' TICA TC2 2-6oz rod + _____________ reel + _________ line for casting mostly metal and some plugs for stripers in the fall off jersey shore.
Is 20lb braid sufficient, even if I hook a "big one"? Admittedly I am less experienced in the surf and fighting big fish, so maybe I should err on the side of 30lb braid instead of 20?
The stradic 5000 and cabo40, both of which are similar in size and specs, hold about 190-200 yards of 30lb braid. Is this enough 30lb braid for surf fishing? Ideal? Its about 220 yards with 20lb braid.
Would I be better off upping to the stradic 6000/Cabot50 for increased capacity, both of which are much larger and heavier (20oz vs 14ish oz)? I think I'd rather not do this, as the small/light size of these 2 reels has my attention.
Are the stradic 5000 and cabo 40 "enough" for stripers on the beach?
Is the Stradic $30 better than the Cabo?
Is the cabo $50 better than the Pennbattle?
I am leaning Cabo with 20lb braid. I figured I'd ask the experts.
TICA 9' 2-6oz TC2 + Cabo40NT + 190yds 30lb braid ... Sound good?
Thanks in advance!