The most versatile rod and reel combo imaginable.
by: Mike Stevens , California3/3/2012
I was 15-years-old when I bought my first new rod with my own money, and keeping in mind that I would need to cover a lot of bases with it, a lot of thought went into my decision. I ended up settling on a 6-foot medium-light action Berkley Lightning Rod rated for 4- to 10-pound line and 1/8 to ¼ ounce lures. I remember those specs (20 years later) because the outfit still gets plenty of use. Since I bought that rod (and I just say “rod” because I already had a decent reel — some rear drag Shimano) I have always maintained that a medium-light spinning outfit is the most versatile combo you can own.
What it’s perfect for- This combo is perfect for finesse largemouth (or smallmouth for that matter) bass fishing with 6- or 8-pound test and techniques such as Texas-rigged or split-shotted plastic worms, tube jigs, drop-shotting and even lighter topwater or spinnerbaits. Ideally you match this rod up with a reel with two spools so you can increase its versatility by having the option of two different line weights. This outfit also feels right at home in the Southern California surf line where 6-pound line and a sliding sinker rig is perfect for targeting perch, corbina, or croaker, and if you get lucky and stick a halibut, you’ll still have a fighting chance. While we’re on the topic of saltwater, this rig also is ideal for tossing plastics in the bays and lagoons for bass and just about anything else you’d typically catch in those locations.
What it works for in a pinch- The medium-light spinning outfit is a bit of an overkill for most trout fishing, but it’s manageable if it’s all you’ve got. The first thing you should do is pull about half of the heavier line off, splice 4-pound line to it, and fill out the spool with the lighter line. If you took all of the heavier line off and then filled it with 4-pound, it’s going to take every bit of a standard 330-yard spool, and you are only using the first 100 yards or so anyway. This set up will be fine for casting spoons, minnow lures like Rapalas, and heavier spinners (1/8 ounce). It will also work for a sliding egg sinker rig for bait fishing. Where this outfit will fall short on the trout side of the field is tossing jigs. You aren’t going to get much of a cast if you are trying to throw a 1/16 ounce (or less) trout jig. But, if this setup is all you have and you have to throw a jig, try fishing the jig under a weighted, foam bobber or a casting bubble.
Like I said, I still fish with that first medium-light action spinning rod that I bought almost 20 years from now, and now that I have a “forest” of rods in my garage, it comes into play more often as a loaner rod. Speaking of the forest, if I had to pick one rod out of all of them if it was the only one I could fish for the rest of my life, it would be that one. I would want it to be longer though, maybe 6 ½ or 7 feet long, and maybe a two piece model. It would only make it that much more versatile.