Solomons, off a pier or from beach. Stripers, Croakers, Flounder or Blues. 4 to 6 oz. I haven't been to Choptank, but I'll probably be going soon, after hearing all the good things about it. I just want to be able to cast far.
First off, there's never any need for surf rods at the Tank at all, so don't think you need one there. I've never fished a rod longer than 7' there.
Of course, otherwise, from beaches or the short shallow piers of the Western Shore, you may need one.
For moderately-priced quality surf rods Daiwa is probably your best bet. You can get a decent Sealine rod for quite a bit less than $100, actually.
I personally hate the action of Uglystiks but it is absolutely true they are unbreakable.
However, I'd reconsider the length.
You'll cast much further with a 9' rod if you learn to use it properly than a 12' rod. And it's easier to learn to cast a 9' rod.
Even an 11' is REALLY long. I have one and barely ever use it. I use my 9' a lot in DE and at Roaring Point.
I have seen the "giant heaver" guys at the Tank that come over from the Western Shore, and to be frank I'm not real impressed (some have FIFTEEN FOOTERS.)
Don't want to make blanket statements and hope no one is offended but frankly they don't seem to have real good form and really don't get much more distance than I can get with a 7' and braided line. Also, they don't seem to use shock leaders at all and I've seen them snap off a lot of rigs.
As best I can tell there's sort of this he-man "my rod is bigger than yours" quest for longer and longer rods in the Chesapeake where people 1) may not need them and 2) aren't really getting the distance a real pro surfcaster from the Atlantic coast would get.
A good starter surf rod in your price range is the sea-line x surf rod series. I assume that you want a spinning rod. the berkley rod series is also a excellent starter rod. the berkley's are rated to toss 3-6oz weights.
I just baught a 10' Tica conventional for $75;What a deal8(---) .It throws 2-8oz;but with its stifness it could probily throw 12oz.Don't buy a 15'er;I might use a 13'er every now and then at places with heavy surf.At most beaches a 10-11'er is perfect;at the Tank the longest rods I use are 9'.15'ers are for peole that can't cast
there you go for srarters watched a fellow try to cast off the dock the other day aw heed draw back and throw that stuff out there hell it had to be atleast 15 ft out ; i wanted to grab the rod & reel & try to launch the line off that thing now that was funny to watch
I've got a 15' Eliminator that I use for an anchor line heaver, when I set up a Kingfish Rig.
It'll throw a 10 oz. Nail Sinker out of sight, but for anything else, it's pretty much useless.
Basicly, I hate it.
A soft, slow action rod will be much easier to cast than a fast taper "broomstick".
Shakespeare seems to understand this better than most of todays rod makers.
Contrary to common practice, you can't tell anything about how a rod will perform by waving it around in a store. But here's one thing you can do, that will give you some basis for comparison.
To judge the relative "speed" of a rod. Hold the rod out in front of you about waist high, with the guides turned up. Put the tip of the rod on the floor, and press down firmly, but not hard.
The first 25% to 35% of the rod should be pressed flat against the floor. As the rod arc's up to your hands, it will form an "increasing radius" to a point about mid-way down the length of the rod. At which point it will become more or less straight for the rest of the way back to your hands.
The point where this transition occurs is a good indicator of the relative "speed" of the action.
Fast rods will become straight at a point closer to the tip than slower rods will.
As a very general rule, during this testing proceedure, a rod that remains straight for 2/3rds of it's overall length will be a "fast action" rod.
A rod that flexes down half way, or further will be "slower" and in my opinion, easier to cast bait rigs in the 4 to 6 oz. range.
Another advantage of the slower rods, is that their superior "shock absorbing" characteristics, allows you to use lighter line without compromising your ability to control a large fish. The lighter line will cast further on any rod.
I know this is all pretty "Techy", if you have questions, or need clarification, feel free to contact me directly.
Everyone has given you great advice so far. Based on your budget and target fish think you’ll be happy with an Okuma setup. I like the Okuma 12’ Solaris rod ($80-$100) and Okuma Epixor bait runner reels ($70-$100). You should not have a need for anything over 12’ on the bay. The Okuma rod can send small bait over 600 feet in the right hands. Just like John K, I prefer 7’ rods at The Tank but I always carry one 12 footer just in case I decide to fish the channel at the end of the pier. A 15’ feet rod is designed to keep your line above the waves at the beach. If you do not have any physical limitations we should have you casting 300-400 feet in just one or two free Saturday casting sessions. If you tell us in advance that you’re coming, we’ll have a few rods for you to try before you buy. You say that you want to cast far. Remember, “YOU CAN NOT BUY DISTANCE – DISTANCE IS LEARNED.” Please take a moment to watch the video highlights of our 2002 fall casting clinic. I think you’ll be impressed.
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