Redhorse rod

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Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Redhorse rod

I was going to wait until it was closer to spring to post this, but as with most fish-related things, my brain tends to get stuck on a subject and won’t stop thinking about it.

 

Anyway, I’d like to get myself a devoted Redhorse rod for the Great Lakes spring run this year. I think I know the approximate specs I’m looking for in the rod, but wanted to run it by those of you that have more years of experience with these fish than I do.

 

I’ll be fishing creeks anywhere from 10-40 feet across and water anywhere from 2-6 feet deep. This is almost entirely sight fishing, and very rarely do I have to fish these streams blind. My rig last year was a 12# fluoro leader with a size 2 octopus circle hook and one or two of those jumbo tin splitshot to stay sitting on the bottom. I used my 8’6” med-heavy jigging rod and it was perfect for big Silvers, but too heavy for most of the other fish.

 

There’s White Suckers as well as Silver, Golden, Black, and Shorthead Redhorse in these streams over the course of the run. The smallest fish I’ve seen/caught are Whites and Goldens around 14-15” long, and most of the Redhorse & Whites are anywhere from the mid teens to low twenties in length. There’s also the occasional jumbo White or Shorthead in the mid twenties. If I was just fishing for these species, I’d definitely go for a light power rod. However, for a few weeks during the overall run, there’s Silvers present more massive than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. Average length for these guys is low-mid twenties, and upper twenties fish aren’t rare at all. Dunfee and I each caught one around the ten pound mark last year, and we’ve each seen fish in the 12-15+ pound range.

 

So, I definitely don’t want to go too heavy for the Whites and smaller Redhorse that constitute the majority of the fish present, but I don’t want to be underpowered for those huge Silvers and the occasional mega-White or Shorthead. That said, I’d rather go a bit too light for the large fish and just have to play them out, than too heavy for the small-average size fish and yank them to the net in seconds.

 

I’m thinking a 9’ graphite rod, either med-light or medium power, and fast or mod-fast action (don’t want the action to be too soft since I’m always using circle hooks). Line-wise, I’ll probably go with straight 8 or 10 pound mono, depending on the rod. (Dunfee and I both used 12 pound mono and fluoro last year, so these fish aren’t too line shy). Thoughts, suggestions, advice?

 

A few of the specific rods I’ve been looking at include the G. Loomis E6X Steelhead Drift, Daiwa Acculite, Okuma SST, Ugly Stik Elite Salmon/Steelhead, Shimano Convergence Salmon/Steelhead, and Lamiglas X-11. Most of them are either 6-12# or 8-12# rated rods. Anyone ever used any of them, or have suggestions for other ones? 

 

Thanks in advance for the help, everyone. And sorry for the novel of information I left above haha.

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Other uses

I should also add, that while I’m mainly getting this rod for spring lake-run Suckers, I’d also love it if I could use the same setup for sight-fishing small-mid size Carp, slinky/drift fishing for inland Redhorse, etc. to get more bang for my buck.

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Okuma!!!

Check out the Okuma steelhead series rods for redhorse I have half a dozen of them for different purposes. Never caught a GD steelhead in my life but the steelhead rods Okuma makes are the bees tits when it comes to redhorse fishun. The Okuma Celio is a great choice and affordable around 60 bucks er so. I've landed some big arse sturgeon with a 9 foot medium light when fishun fer river reds on my ole celio.

The SST serries as you mentioned are a little more chaching than the Celio but come in all practical sizes and 1 or 2 piece construction. fast action rods with great back bone and superior senisitivity without having to spend more than a C note. I'm sure other dudes will throw out some other awesome suggestions but I highly reccomend the Okuma steelehead rods what fer red horsin around. 

 

Berkely Air rods are another favorite of mine. specialized long rods with good sensitivity and lenghts and powers to suit many needs and applications. I use a 9foot air rod in medium heavy for bowfin and carp all the time and I haven't tied into a fish yet that was able to over muscle that rod. It's light enough to use for redhorse but still put a frickin whuppin on any sturg or carp or bowfin that you may run into. 

happy huntin feller! 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Thanks for the reply! Yeah

Thanks for the reply! Yeah the SST really caught my eye when looking at it. Seems like a pretty good rod for only $70. The two models of that rod that I was looking at were both med-light power, mod-fast action, 6-12# line, and 1/4-1/2oz cast weight. From what I’ve heard the 8’6” model with those specs is a bit stiffer (made for spinner/hardware fishing) while the 9’6” model has a bit more flex (made for drift fishing). Do either of those seem ideal for my scenario? The 8’6” might be a bit nicer when going to set the hook with circles, but the 9’6” seems like it’d be better for playing fish. 

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

philaroman
philaroman's picture
few horses for me, but plenty

few horses for me, but plenty single-digit carp, big whites and some 3-5# quills -- I like L/ML Steelhead rods for max enjoyment of that size-class...

among $80-100 budget rods, Cabela's Fish Eagle are pretty good & often go on clearance -- mine were all bought half-price or LESS over the years, which makes 'em FANTASTIC DEALS!

pass on the X-11 ($80 Chinese rod w/ $20 mark-up for Lami name)... if you're considering $200+ Loomis, you should also look at real US-made Lami/Croix...keep an eye on https://www.lamiglas.com/collections/clearance-fishing-rods -- nothing suitable there now, but it changes often & I've seen some amazing deals, in the past...  like $400+ rods in your spec. range going for $150]

also, Euro Barbel rods would work VERY well, IMO -- check among N American carp spcialty vendors

 

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
I think that the 8 6 sst

I think that the 8 6 sst would suit you perfectly! I have the 8 foot 6 in medium light that’s the 6-12 lb and I think mine is the float drifting series which gives a nice limberness to the end of the rod for float tethering but it’s exceptional for bottom rigging and the length is awesome for playing heavy fish strong current. You can’t really go wrong with any of the rods suggested. Man I might have to go buy another rod now too my mouth is watering thinking about open water

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

Tyler W
Contradictory

It seems you want a magic rod, granted a magic rod that we all want. Long, but light weight and fast action. And, I am here to tell you that rods are all about compromise. 

The scenario you describe sounds like my own redhorse fishing. Just replace the monster silver redhorse with average size river redhorse. 

 

My favorite rod for that application is a 7'6" medium light St. Croix. It is a very fast action "lindy rigging rod", which is great for getting a hook set as soon as you see the take. I spool it with 15lb braid and run 12lb flouro leaders with slinky or pencil sinkers. 

 

Longer rods have some advantages - better control of drifting baits, extra reach for close range (no cast) fishing, extra casting distance. But they have disadvantages too - less accurate casting, less sensitvity, extra weight. 

 

If you do want an 8'6" rod, I would highly recomend a St. Croix. I have an 8'6" Avid (no longer listed on the website). I would assume it is similar to their Steelhead rod of the same length and action (WRS86MF2). My 8'6" medium is more sensitive than my medium light 7' Shinmano Compre/ Clarus rods. And, it can handle +30" fish from shore.

 

Still, for sight fishing I prefer the shorter rod for the casting accuracy, extra fast action, and extra senstivity. 

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Thanks for all the

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! I’ll keep all of the above info in mind when deciding on what rod to buy. Right now I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to either the 8’6” or 9’6” Okuma SST, or a 9’ G. Loomis E6X. I already own two E6X rods and love them both, plus I tested the 9’ ML fast model in the store the other day and it seemed perfect for what I’d be using it for, the price tag is just a bit high for me at $240 haha. Ah, maybe I’ll just skip on a regional trip or two this winter so I have enough money for a pricey rod this spring. 

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

andy
andy's picture
My go-to redhorse rod

I like to use a 7' light-action spinning rod with 6 lb mono for most small-medium streams and close quarters sight fishing.  Occasional large silvers, greaters and rivers will take you for a ride, but you'll win most battles and good tussles with redhorse will always keep you grinning.  Unless I need to fish 3/4 oz + of weight, I'll grab this light rod first.  Super precise presentation with the shorter length as well as great sensitivity and hard battles.

 

 

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Hmm... maybe I’ll have to

Hmm... maybe I’ll have to consider a shorter rod after all, since multiple people seem to like them for this application.

 

Andy, is your 7’ Light a graphite or glass rod? I thought about picking up either a 7’ med-light or 6’6” light ugly stik later this year for setline fishing for Whites and Hogs, it’d be pretty awesome if I could use the same setup for Great Lakes fish, too.

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

andy
andy's picture
Graphite

But I kinda like a more moderate action for bottom fishing with circles.  

Tyler W
Set line

For set lines (forked stick) fishing I really like a 8'6" rod (I own 3 of that length). I set them up with Okuma baitfeeders. My favorite 7'6" rod also has an Okuma baitfeeder in case I need to set it down. When I do use it for set line fishing it feels short... doesn't have the long curve of the 8'6". 

I would get a long med to light for set line fishing. And a 7'-7'6" extra fast light to med-light for precision sight fishing. 

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Fast or moderate?

Another question popped into my head after reading andy’s response above. What do you all prefer, action-wise, for tight line/in-hand bottom fishing? I’ve always assumed that fast or mod-fast is ideal, but would there be any benefit to a moderate action, or am I just going to lose more fish when going to set the hook with circles? There’s a lot of excellent long, light-power rods out there, but most of the ones I’ve looked at have been mod action since they’re steelhead/float rods.

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

andy
andy's picture
Rod action

For rod-in-hand fishing, a fast action would be best whether sight fishing or feeling for bites.  For stationary "forked stick" fishing, I prefer a more moderate action.  

kernel j
With sucker fishing, length is underwater accuracy.

I suggest going with the longer, lighter sticks and the Okuma SST 9’6” (the lighter, mod action) looks like a great choice at a low price.  If you’re going to spend up at Loomis level, do consider their moderate action offerings in E6X with the 9’6 and 9’ models as they are likely more versatile for lighter line fishing across the season.  You can downsize and still protect light hooks and for suckers the light rods are simply more fun.  

 

Don’t need hit-the-teacup casting accuracy at 100’ so I’ve never worried about the differences between short v/s long rod lengths there.  Once the bait is underwater, however, is where the long rods really shine in presentation control and bite reaction.  Being able to hold line off water, switch to the side to encourage a drift, or lower a rod to give slack to a nibble is the huge advantage with long blanks fished in hand.  Not about trying to drill ‘em in the forehead with a super accurate cast, but more to sneak it over to their dinner plate in polite fashion.  Really, it’s all done underwater versus the bankshots and dock skipping techniques the shorter, faster rods of the BASS universe were designed for.  All rods work for your purpose, some just have more utilitarian potential for the species.

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say 2/10 PowerPro braid is about the best thing I’ve found to run through the guides of any long rod, especially for sucker fishing.  Way more sensitive than any mono and the no-stretch line coupled with a long moderate blank is a great combo for setting circle hooks with ease.

 

Tyler W
Multiple rods...

If you are holding the rod a fast action will transmit the vibration to your finger tips most effectively. If you are detecting strikes visually a longer, lighter and slower action will show bites better.

 

It is all about trade offs..  there isn't one rod that does everything perfectly. 

philaroman
philaroman's picture
1-PC or 2-PC ?

small-stream "tight line/in-hand bottom fishing" w/ 8 lb. mono, correct?

...guessing regular stretchy nylon, like Trilene XL

if you can conveniently store & transport one,  get thee a 1-pc!!!

no-ferrule VS. ferrule, means much more for sensitivity, than one notch higher in blank stiffness

1-pc. 8' and longer are rare, but 7'6" ML Mod/Fast 4-10 lb. are abundant among trout/walleye/smallmouth rods (IMO, Fast would be better for lures & punching bigger hooks through bonier jaws)

forget moderate 9-footers & longer -- you don't need extra shock absorption, as one woud w/ braid & you don't need drastic line management (long freeline drifts, float-fishing, deep wades, etc.)

...yes, controlling a blg fish w/ a lighter 7-footer can be a chore  yes  MORE CHORES, please!!!

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

tom
tom's picture
rods

In addition to action, taper is important to consider too. Thinner tips means more senstive to bites, wider bottom means more backbone for sending that hook home. The bigger the difference in end diameter = the closer to the best of both worlds. Another reason longer rods are favored by many. 

Divemaster
Divemaster's picture
Thanks for all the responses,

Thanks for all the responses, everyone! I appreciate the feedback. At this point I think it’s just going to be a matter of personal preference, as everyone here seems to have great success with a vast array of rod and line possibilities. I already own several ultralight and medium power rods in the 6’6”-7’ range, so I think I’ll probably go for something at least 8’6” or longer. At a few of the creeks I fish, a rod that long will let me put the bait right in front of them without even having to cast, and I just like long rods in general. I’ll probably go for a mod action rod with braid, or a mod-fast to fast rod with mono. Even with a little bit of give in the system either way, I don’t think it’s going to matter a whole heck of a lot for the primarily short-range fishing I’ll be doing. Thanks again for all the help, the RF community is the best!

2019 Species Goals:

Burbot (), Longnose Gar (X), Longear Sunfish (X), any Pickerel (X), 2 new Catostomids (), 5 new micros (X)

andy
andy's picture
Personal preference

Yep it just goes to show that everybody has their own favorite tools for their own conditions.  I definitely use a few different spinning combos for my redhorse fishing, depending on the water type.  I guess my main thought is to use the lightest tackle that you feel comfortable with.  Conditions dictate this by how much weight is needed a lot of times.  Good luck with whatever rod you decide on!

 

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
I'd love to experiment with

I'd love to experiment with longer rods like some have mentioned--8'6" or 9'+--for spring redhorse fishing, but they just don't work well for hiking through dense undergrowth, climbing down muddy banks, etc. I've lost the tips of a couple long steelhead rods to misjudged leaps and wet rocks. For me, 7' is about perfect. For redhorses in not-too-big water, I generally go with a 7' medium-light rod. If I'm going to a big river, which usually means being able to park close to the water (or means a boat will be involved), and which usually means I'm after bigger fish, I'll use heavier rods over 8'. This is a great discussion as I'm going to need a couple new rods for this year. Worn out or broken some of my old favorites. 

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 16 days fishing 25 species 7 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

andy
andy's picture
Travel rod

Gunnar, I feel your pain.  I have broken a fair amount of longer rods while bushwhacking to redhorse spots.  A few years ago I picked up a 9.5' Fenwick Steelhead spinning rod, which is a 5-piece and comes with a nice rod tube.  With a moderate action, that rod has become my go-to for bigger water and when my light setup isn't enough.  Medium duty stuff, affordable and easy to bushwhack with.

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
I'll look into that. I have

I'll look into that. I have to confess that I'm incredibly lazy about fully breaking down rods. For some reason I hate taking the 60 seconds to string up a rod. I guess it's a matter of wanting to be able to make the first cast immediately when I reach the water. With 2-piece rods I usually don't remove the line from the guides--just pull the 2 pieces apart, then reel the line tight. Usually either means a swivel is tight to the top guide or a hook is in the keeper above the reel. Stupidly, I will hike with them that way. A 5-piece rod wouldn't allow that and would really push the limits of my laziness. Probably would be good for me.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 16 days fishing 25 species 7 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

philaroman
philaroman's picture
3-pc. <10' works really well

3-pc. up to 10' works really well for me for multi-rod extended bushwhacks, or short overloaded hike-ins: all the tips & mid-sections for 2 long rods get stuffed into one skinny tube, along w/ a short UL 2-pc...  the butt sections w/ no guides, are safe enough strapped to the outside of the tube

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

absentx
Wow - this is a great read on

Wow - this is a great read on redhorse rod preferences. I am going to add my opinion to the mix just for fun since I purchased a new horsing rod just last fall.

 

I have happily and faithfully fished with a 6 foot berkley lightning rod in medium power for about the last seven years. This rod has seen me through Rivers up to 26", Channel Cats up to 29" and everything under that. It has been a fine rod, especially for the price!

 

Last fall I wanted to add a bit of length, but aim for a higher quality rod as I have become a real fan of St.Croix's offerings over the last five to seven years. Due to the nature of the fishing I do which is more kayak/canoe based or expedition style, an eight foot or longer rod just isn't real practical for my horsing needs, alas i wanted something a bit longer than six feet.

 

I ended up with a St.Croix AVS63MXF which is a six foot three in length, medium power and extra fast action. I was a little worried about the extra fast action, but it ended up being really nice and within a week I had already landed a wide size range of Horse on it and was quite happy with it.

 

But as stated, tons of good suggestions here, really just depends on fishing style, preference etc.

Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
I am a huge fan of long rods.

I am a huge fan of long rods. My winter rod project this year is a sweet Lamiglas salmon/steelhead blank, 10’ 6”, super sensitive. Last winter I built a rod from a Lamiglas infinity blank. 9’6”, fast action. Sensitive tip for drifting worms for redhorse. I really like longer rods for sight fishing. 

 

Carpy Diem!

philaroman
philaroman's picture
if I could spare 3 Benjamins...

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
I've found it's nice to have

I've found it's nice to have one short, but stout rod, for when you need to crawl under a bridge and fish. It's tough to cast under a bridge with a 7+ footer.  Especially the smaller bridges on creeks and such.

Tyler W
I didn't know I was stupid...

"....or a hook is in the keeper above the reel. Stupidly, I will hike with them that way." - Gunnar 

You and me both! I hardly ever completely take a rod apart (except going in and out of the BWCA). I didn't know it was stupid way to carry two piece rods...