Fishing in inshore saltwater is fun due to the challenges it poses and the varieties and sizes of fish available. However, it can quickly go awry without the right accessories. For example, using a freshwater rod and reel combo for saltwater is a recipe for disaster and failure.
Hence, in this guide, I’ll be walking you through what makes the best inshore saltwater rod and reel combo and the features that distinguish it from others.
What is a Saltwater Rod and Reel Combo?
A saltwater rod and reel combo is a special device or equipment used for specified fishing operations in saltwater. Unlike the traditional spinning rod and reel devices that require you to assemble them, the rod and reel combo is designed ready and easy to use. You only need to string the line around the spool – even that’s been catered for by some manufacturers.
Features to consider in a saltwater rod and reel combo
Though lots of the features of a saltwater rod and reel combo usually depend on individual preference, there are still some basic ones that must be considered before committing to it. To ensure you choose the best inshore saltwater rod and reel combo, here are what to keep in mind.
There are different types of reels depending on the fishing activities they’re intended for. The majority of saltwater combo reels are either of the conventional type or spinning reels.
The conventional reel is strongly designed, flexible and a bit heavy, making it ideal for baitcasting and trolling. It is also suitable for bigger and heavier fish species thanks to its more traditional design and strength.
On the other hand, the spinning reel offers flexibility, strength and adaptability. Also, it’s more versatile and can be used to project light lures deemed too light to be cast by the conventional reels.
There are other reel types like the spin-cast reel, centrepin reel, and the fly reel, but, they’re seldom found in the saltwater combo.
This feature has been the topic of serious debate amongst seasoned anglers over time, with the point of the debate being the appropriate length that makes fishing easier. However, the popular opinion and the widely accepted is that the longer rod helps cover enough distance in water and as such has a better reach.
The shorter rods on the other hand are more lightweight and easier to maneuver. This gives anglers an edge when fishing bigger fishes or trying to get a struggling fish.
You should know that your rod length choice largely depends on your fishing technique. For example, if you always go for fly fishing, the short rod will be your go-to option.
This feature is a no-brainer and should always be top of your list. With the acidity of the saltwater, the combo is more susceptible to damages caused by corrosion and rust.
You should go for a heavy-duty saltwater reel built with shielded stainless steel. Also, products made from anodized aluminum offer some degree of corrosion resistance. Besides, rods made with graphite composite or fiberglass is waterproof and corrosion-resistant.
The rod power is the feature determining the amount of pressure to be applied to the rod before it can bend. Rods are usually grouped into three, based on this feature: the heavy power, medium power and low power.
The first kind is heavy power which requires high pressure before it can bend. The medium needs a moderately high power to bend and as you would guess, the light power needs just the slightest of power to deflect.
Owing to this, if your targets are the big fishes, you should go for the heavy power rods that can withstand the high strain. And, if you’re contented with the small fishes the light power rods would serve you well.
Rod Guides Quality
The rod guide is an integral part of any saltwater combo as it detects any strike or action moving along the fishing line to the pole. Simply put, it allows you to detect a change in the weight of your saltwater combo which might be caused by the presence of prey. And it’s connected to the rod windings.
Most saltwater combo rod guides are usually made from ceramic, metal, or plastic. If you’re a beginner, you should go for a rod guide made of titanium or aluminum as they offer more friction and heat resistance.
You should check the guide arrangement on the rod as that’ll determine the sensitivity. Also, if your targets are the big and heavy prey, you should opt for a rod guide made from metals.
Real bearing determines the smoothness and the control of your fishing. Some anglers often complain about the unwanted noise and vibration from their reels when fishing. These disturbances are caused by poor reel bearing quality.
Quality metal reel bearings are the ideal types for the most intense and long term fishing action. Also, the higher the number of bearing (preferably 4 or 5), the more it will be able to absorb vibrations and pressure. However, the quantity of the bearing is irrelevant when the quality is poor.
Rod and Reel Weight
The rod and reel weight plays a role in your longevity when fishing as you don’t want to be weighed down by the weight of your combo. Also, a lightweight rod allows you to detect fish strikes faster than a heavy one.
However, you should avoid trading the rod and reel quality for lightweight.
The range and ease at which the pole of a saltwater rod and reel combo will bend at the tip when it is under pressure is majorly on the rod action. There are four major rod action types: the super-fast, fast, normal and slow.
For light baits and lures, the slow rod action should get the job done. The faster the rod action the more suited it is to heavy baits. One major disadvantage of the slow action rod is its reaction time. The reaction time is so low; making it difficult to put the hook in place immediately you feel a prey.
This makes it extremely difficult to use for beginners as they’re liable to miss out on a number of catches.
It goes without saying your saltwater water combos will wear and tear with time. However, it shouldn’t come soon after the purchase. Similarly, nobody wants to deal with any product with manufacturing faults.
Therefore, you should select a product with a design warranty; applicable for a good period of time.
This is the most important of all features. The price of a saltwater rod and reel combo – just like other things – mainly depends on the quality.
You should purchase a high-quality saltwater combo even if you have to shell a bit more money, as this will give you the satisfaction and reliability you want from your combo. However, if there are products of the same quality at varying prices, you should go for the obvious choice.