Freshwater Action

The fishing bug has bitten me.  After digging in to fly fishing over the last couple years, I’m getting quite a few freshwater fishing opportunities where fly fishing won’t work.  I got rid of all my old fishing gear during a few years ago during a move.  This was fishing gear that I’d accumulated over the prior 10-15 years, so for the most part it was pretty antiquated.  I needed to restock.

I did a bunch of research online, and asked a few guys who I knew were serious freshwater fishermen.  Specifically, @rushingchriss was a HUGE help.  He’s out of Howell’s Tackle down in Panama City, and really knows his stuff.  He and I had quite a few conversations and he got me dialed in.  In the end, I decided to get two setups: a spinning setup and a baitcaster setup.  I didn’t want to overspend, but didn’t want to buy the off-the-rack combo.  So far, I’m extremely happy with what I got:

First – spinning set up.  This will be my go-to, and it should handle ~65-70% of the stuff I want to throw for bass fishing.  Worms/lizards, lightweight spinners, some jigs…I could use this with spoons fishing for reds.

My rod: TAT701MFS – This is Daiwa’s Tatula line, which is an extremely light, and sensitive rod.  The best price I found was $114 at WalMart.  This is a $150 rod, and gets rave reviews.

My reel: Daiwa BG2500.  This is the legendary Black Gold spinning reel that has been around for 40 years.  It’s the standard – nothing messes up.  High value proposition at $99.  It should last forever.

Line: Power Pro Super Slick Braid – 150 yards @ 20 lb test.  I got high-viz yellow so I can watch the line when fishing worms and submersibles.  The great part about braid it the sensitivity.  There is NO stretch, so it makes a $100 rod perform like a $400 rod.  Also, I put a ~10 foot fluorocarbon leader at the end so the line doesn’t distract the fish.  I am using 10 lb test for the leader.

^^This set up is great.  I like it because I’m in at ~$220.  If I lose it or break the rod, it’s no big deal.  I’m not going to spend big money of freshwater fishing gear.  It doesn’t provide that much of an advantage, especially for a weekend fisherman like me.

Second – baitcaster set up.  This will be for my heavier stuff – buzzbaits, spinner baits, topwater poppers, and it can fish plastics, especially if there’s a chance to land a big boy.

My rod: TAT721MHRB – Again, this rod is from the Tatula line.  Best I can find is the deal at Walmart ($118 + free shipping).

My reel: TASV103HS – Daiwa’s baitcaster.  This is a couple notches up from the combo stuff you’ll see, and all the reviews I’ve read are through the roof.  No one complains of any problems with this reel.  It’s a $160 reel, but performs like a $300 reel (according to my buddy @rushingchriss).  The other nice thing about the Tatula gear: they are offering a free HUK performance fishing shirt for every UPC.  I got three.

Line: Power Pro Slick Braid – 150 yards @ 30 lb test.  I did aqua green with this one, only because I’ll do a lot of topwater and will be able to see the lure.  A lot of fishermen will use a fluorocarbon leader on their baitcaster, and some go straight braid to lure.  I went ahead and got 14 lb test for a leader, and have started with it.  We’ll see if it lasts.

^^I’m actually really excited to fish with this setup.  Topwater bass fishing is awesome.

As for a tackle box, I almost threw up when I saw the retail prices.  I went to Ebay and got a Plano second hand for $15.  I can’t see that I’ll need any more than this.

As for lures/worms/etc…I would suggest going to your local sporting good store or fishing shore in your area and ask the guys what to get.  While they might be incentivized to sell you Zoom vs. Keitech, you are talking about a $6 bag of worms or a $5 buzzbait.  They know what gets bites, so let them tell you.

Be sure to follow along over on RCS’s Instagram.  I’m excited to show off how badly I do…

What do you fish with?



  1. ABW
    05/02/2018 / 9:40 AM

    If you’re just freshwater fishing from the bank, my #1 piece of advice is wacky rigged Gary Yamamoto senko, watermelon or pumpkin. I have never caught bass on anything quite like I did wacky rigging the senko. I just cast, let it sink to the bottom, then bump bump reel reel, slowly. I also think it’s fun because you can really get the ‘feel’ of fish biting or nudging your worm. 

  2. CDS
    05/02/2018 / 12:10 PM

    Nice stuff there, no doubt it will last all your life.
    Shimano Curados and Citicas on All Star Rods have always been my baitcaster setups (always fished 12-15lb mono on these)
    Shimano Stradic (the all white version) with Shimano Teramar rod. (always braid with a fluoro leader on this for worms)
    Best topwater plugs-Heddon Zara Spook in baby bass (walk the dog)
    Most of my biggest bass have come off of this lure. 
    Booyah clacker buzzbait in all black.
    This time of year is killer for topwater. Fish it right before it gets dark.
    Weightless Senko will catch any bass in the pond.

    • JRS
      05/03/2018 / 10:18 AM

      Nice setups…  I’ll probably pull the trigger on a couple of those Zara Spooks.  I’ve heard great things.  I’m stocked up on the Senkos.  

  3. JBC
    05/02/2018 / 1:11 PM

    I am curious in what settings “fly fishing won’t work”?   I use a fly rod when fishing rivers, lakes, flats, jetties, etc. You may not catch as much as conventional tackle, but fly fishing is not a numbers game anyway.    Once you get comfortable with sinking lines, there is not a lot of ground that cannot be covered with a fly rod.  Pretty much the only time I will reach for a spinning rod first is if I am on the beach, there are very strong winds, and the fish are working bait that is well past fly casting range.  

    • JRS
      05/03/2018 / 10:17 AM

      Same thing – Wind.

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