Second rod?

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Heidi's picture
Second rod?
<p>I&#39;m thinking about possibly investing in another rod-n-reel rig. I have about $200 max to spend, but I&#39;m not sure it&#39;s worth it regardless, as I don&#39;t get the opportunities to fish as much as the rest of you - especially for the more challenging species. I had such fun catching carp the past two weekends, however, that having another line in the water sure is tempting - especially after watching more experienced anglers fish this way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I&#39;m hoping Corey, Outdoors4Life, KPE/JK, FishingDude14, Hengelaar and&nbsp;Dutch in particular, see this post and reply with advice for me since they have all very patiently and most graciously&nbsp;in turn coached and taught me how to fish thus far, and encouraged me to continue practicing as much as possible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I plan on doing just that every weekend I can until freeze up, and would like to try with two rods - the big question for me is what kind of rig should I buy (rod, reel, line)? I&#39;m basically happy with my current rig (6&#39; Shakespeare Ugly Stick, Okuma bait caster and 40lb braided test), but wonder if a shorter rod and more automated reel might be a better fit for a 5&#39;&nbsp;90lb novice&nbsp;runt wrasselin&#39; potentially 15+ lb fish (I hope and pray!).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I will be primarily fishing solo, sticking close to the Twin Cities, Miss and Rum rivers, targeting any and all species inhabiting&nbsp;these waterways. Those who have&nbsp;seen me fish would probably have the best insight for me, but of course I welcome all sincere expert advice!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you!</p>
Jknuth's picture
Most waters in MN you can

Most waters in MN you can only use one rod at a time. I think the only places you may be able to use more then one is the boundry waters with Wisconsin. 

But its still never a bad idea to have more equipment.
I would go with a lighter smaller setup. 

I prefer a faster action rod about 5' long and a Pflueger President reel #6725 with 4-6lb powerpro braid. 
I have used this set up for minnows all they way up to larger river fish land landed larger fish like a 5.5' sturgeon and a 46" flathead catfish. It has also seen saltwater for snapper and parrotfish. It takes some skill in fighting the larger fish with a rod this size, but it helps to know you wont be totally screwed. For some fish in clear water I use a 6lb florocarbon leader to hide the line better. 

This is my go too set up. I use this rod and reel 75% of the time when I fish. in fact its the only rod I use at the roundup.

Outdoors4life's picture
Josh has some great advice!

Josh has some great advice!

TO each their own style so my difference would be

4-6 pound Flouro line instead of braid

6 foot ultralight instead of 5 foot.


The important thing about buying an ultralight setup is the reel being good quality. You may be good using a 5 foot ultralight uglystick and putting a nice reel on it and you could keep cost under 150 for sure. I have an uglystick that I just passed onto my son after I used it for 6 years.


Like Josh stated it is my go to rod most of the time too.

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Jknuth's picture
Very good addition. If you

Very good addition. If you are not comfortable or confidant using the drag at a looser setting braid will not be for you. Everyone who has ever set the hook on one of my poles quickly realizes the drag is very loose. every time I hooked up at the scumfoot roundup people got excited because the drag went off. I do this to compensate for the lack of stretch in braid. If you set the hook into a large or spazzy fish with a tighter drag they WILL pop you off right away.

Yeah, with $200 budget, you

Yeah, with $200 budget, you can get a great combo.


Since you currently own a baitcaster, I agree with the guys above that a medium/light spinner would be a good addition. It would allow you to fish lighter lines and cast smaller baits.


With lighter lines, a good drag system is a must. I would even go so far as to say don't get sucked into the "more bearing = smoother reel" advertising BS and instead look for the smoothest drag  you can get. The new Pflueger President XT has carbon fiber drag. As long as it comes from the manufacturer with a light coat of grease, you can't ever get smoother than that. I don't think that particular reel has a sealed drag...doesn't matter if you're not fishing saltwater, but would be nice if you are rough with your reel and dunk it in water often...again, not entirely necessary.


I do like the Pflueger reels. I have the Trion, Solara and Medalist. They are of differnt grade but all are smooth as can be and they all have great drags. The Trion comes with oiled felt washer and that is good. You may have to clean the drag stack once in a while when the felt fibers comes off and gums up the drag...but if you are not fishing all that often, that is not something you have to worry about.


May I even suggest a travel rod for you, since now you have an option to pick and choose. I only make this suggestion because you never know where life may take you...and a 3-piece or 4-piece travel rods is much more convenient than a 2-piece or 1-piece rod on the plane. Some airlines have strict restrictions now such that you can no longer take rods as carry on. A multi-piece rod allows you to pack them into your luggage. It's great for species hunting when you travel. You will lose a little bit of sensitivity, but overall I don't feel that it's a big enough minus to forgo getting a travel rod. I'm up to 270 species after the last trip and I'd say the majority of them (>200) of them were caught with my travel rods. In fact, I have slowly sell off my 2-piece and 1-piece rod to fund more travel rods LOL. Just something to think about. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's sell some decent travel rods around the $90 range. Even UglyStik makes a 4-piece, 6' spinning rod. I had was OK...a little too much fiberglass for my liking...It was just too whippy for casting and fighting a fish.


I'd suggest a 2000 size spinning reel and a 7' light/medium rod. Height isn't really an issue with a 7' rod. I'm 5'3" and most of my rods are 7' or longer. I was tossing a 12' surf rod quite often on my last trip with ease. I fish with a 12' float rod every spring and fall for salmon and trout. All my fly rods are 9' long. It just takes a little bit of practice and getting familiar with your gear. I favour the 7' length for the extra 2' reach (sometimes you would really, really wish you have that extra reach...especially jetty fishing off rocks where you want to retrieve your rig without snagging the rocks below your feet), and the longer rod gives you a better cast (long rod = more momentum = long cast with less effort) and extra leverage to lean on a fish (just think see-saw and fulcrum). Even between 6' and 7' is a significant difference.


Anyways, probably too much info to think about...most important is to find a combo that suits you. Go to a good tackle shop and try out a bunch of rods and reels. Do a lot of research on your own before going to the they don't try to sell you things that you don't need...and you have a better idea of pricing as well. Personally, I would do all the research online and pick our 3-4 potential products, then try it out at the store and be steadfast on my selection list.

Hengelaar's picture

That thing you're fishing with now is very ... let us say ... stickish.

With an eye on all the Redhorse you're going to catch, I'd go for something lighter and more subtle. Geared toward sucker fishing.

O4L and Josh have already made some great suggestions. Being a filthy european, and thus extremely sophisticated, I'd prefer a longer rod, though. Anything under 7 ft just seems wrong. And that's taking into account your height. The light rods I fished with over there are 9 footers. Perfect for me. I think a 7 footer would be great for you. A 2-piece of course, for transportation purposes.


I'm very fruity and particular about reels, so I won't get into that. I like certain model Shimano's from the mid 1990's, when they were still made in Japan. Ebay is a good source for good deals on good (used) reels. I'd be happy to help you look, should you wish to try that. Most important thing, especially when you're gonna go lighter, is that the reel has a silky smooth drag. Front drag beats rear drag all day, every day. Twice on sundays. And extra during the holidays. Also, aluminium spools are preferred.


Ideally, you'd want a reel that comes with two spools. That way, you could fill one spool with mono for sucker fishing or light carp fishing (maybe Buffalo fishing!?), and one spool with thinnish braid (say, 15 lb), for light lure fishing for whatever takes the lady's fancy...



Fishn sure is neat

Corey's picture

You just need an entry-level medium-light combo. 

You can get one for $29.99, a six and a half foot medium light rod and reel:

Click to see the Cabelas Link

I personally wouldn't spend more than $50 on a rod and reel combo unless you're very advanced and experienced and picky about the specific performance of the rod and reel, or if you want to impress the fancy boys by having stupidly spent more money.  Personally, I think a lot of people waste a lot of money on gear.  The $30 combo will catch just as many fish as the $400 G-Loomis super-fancy-boy stuff.  Period.  There's no advantage to having more expensive gear.  It's a brand name, and nothing else.  The fishing industry has come so far that today's $10 reels are a hundred times better than the most advanced $400 reels from 20 years ago.

The rod you have is heavier than anything I would fish with except when targeting carp, big cats, sturgeon, or big pike.  It's a huge disadvantage.  You just need a decent light rod so you can have more fun fishing and catch more fish.  Please don't waste $200 on this.  Spend 50 bucks at most, and use the $150 left over to buy bait and gas.  You'll catch thousands of more fish using that $150 on bait and gas than by buying some fancy gear that gives you a 5% better hookup percentage.

TonyS's picture
I can speak as a guy who has

I can speak as a guy who has spent too much money on rods and reels.  And Corey is spot on when he says a nicer rod will catch you no more fish.  I like my fancy-smansy rods and reels but they aren't any more functional than a well maintained much cheaper set up.  


I agree with the above posters that you need a lighter rod - ultralight, light, medium-light.  I'd probably bank on a light.  Your current rod is plenty for big fish.


As for length, at your height you probably could handle a rod up to 10' or so but something that long would gain you nothing 99.9% of the time.  Anywhere from 5.5' to 7' is a very functional length for the vast majority of what you want to do.


Ultimately I'd hesitate to recommend that anyone look farther than an Ugly Stik.  If (down the road) you deciede you want to fish fancy rods - have at it.  Honestly I think Ugly Stiks are about the best value in store bought rods in exsistance.  Reels need not be too fancy either, especially if you are (like most people) not interested in investing the time to tear down, clean, and re-grease the reel.  With a spendy reel avoiding maintence is travisty, with a cheep one... well you can always buy another cheap one.

Conecuh's picture
Ditto Corey and Tony

Ditto Corey and Tony

I would just get a $30 spinning reel like the Pflueger Trion or Mitchell Avocet II (in Corey's link) with a light or medium light spinning rod.

Then after fishing with it for a season, you can decide whether you like a lighter or heavier action in the rod, or a fancier reel. Most of this stuff is just personal preference, anyway.

Most of the fish I've caught in the past several years were caught on a $30 Quantum spinning combo. I don't think I would have caught any more fish if I had spent more.

With a cheaper setup, it's not a big deal if the rod breaks or the reel gets dunked in a mudhole.

Spend your money on sharp hooks, good line (cheap line is just aggravating to deal with), and nightcrawlers.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
I have become fond of longer

I have become fond of longer rods over the past few years, like 7ft to 12ft in all actions and weights. You can find good priced long rods by several makers, okuma being one. Look for sales at places like or others. The nice thing about longer rods to me is that there is more rod to take the fish on, or rather, the rod helps protect lighter line, more line control for drifting etc. 


$200 is a hefty wad. You can get an AWESOME set-up with that kinda dinero! 

Carpy Diem!

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
I've been wanting to weigh in

I've been wanting to weigh in on this for a while...  Here's my $0.02...

For bummin' around the river like most of us do, not really after 40-pound behemoths, I love an Ugly Stik.  One of my bass rods is an Ugly Stik, and it's the first rod I reach for when targeting Micropterus anyspecies (which is about 1/3 of my fishing, because they're very accessible here).  Get that, and you still have around $150-160 for a reel.  Pick up a good $40-50 spinning reel (I'm doing well with Shimano and Bass Pro Shops reels right now).  You've used about half your budget.  Then look at a light outfit from Daiwa in the $50 range for messing around with panfish, chubs, and shiners...

As for rod length, I'm like Eric, I find myself preferring longer rods for several reasons.  The extra length does in fact help play the fish, but it also drastically increases casting distance (as will a higher number of eyelets on a rod).  I find that a shorter rod will often be more accurate, but not enough to counteract the advantages of distance and extra backbone.  I do agree that more expensive rods don't always help you catch more fish.  The difference is often a matter of whether they will hold up for 10 years or for 15.  They really aren't necessary for the casual angler.  They're probably not necessary for bass/walleye/drum tournament anglers either, for that matter...

Bottom line, if you have $200 to spend, you should be able to pick up 2-3 more rods to cover a lot more fishing situations.  That's what I would do.




Let there be fire!

Heidi's picture
Thank you!!!

Thanks, everyone for your expert advice! I procured a slightly used reel but in excellent condition. I will buy a lightweight inexpensive 6' rod when it comes via mail. I will post pics of this rig when it's finished - and will post pics of any notable fish I catch with it. 


One last Q just to be sure, Josh posted that in MN, fishing with two rods at the same time is illegal in MN - T or F Corey? 


Thank you so much again!

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


MJohnson's picture


Open, interior water in MN = 1 rod  (Why?)

Border waters = varies.  St. Croix river (MN/WI Border), either side with a MN license = 2 rods.  Same story with the Miss (MN/WI Border).

Heidi's picture
Rod laws

Thanks MJohnson!!


So, MN lakes sans ice = 1 rod only, and border rives = 2 rods ok. BUT, (there's always a big but ;)) what about open water MN interior rivers? (i.e. Rum, Miss between St Cloud and Twin Cities?) 1 rod only, or 2+ allowed?



"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


MJohnson's picture
Border waters = varies.  MN

Border waters = varies.  MN/SD, MN/ND, MN/IA, MN/Canada aren't neccessarily the same as MN/WI.

All interior MN water (lake, river, pond, pool) is the same.