Gearing Up for Offshore Fishing

The biggest issue I ran into when I started fishing offshore in my own boat was figuring out how many rods and reels to bring. Early on, I erred on the side of caution because I was afraid to get out there and not have something that I needed. After a few trips spent stumbling over all of the excess gear, I paired my arsenal down to a much more manageable size.

tuna rods

These four rods will cover just about anything you’ll encounter while fishing offshore on your own boat.

Starting at the top is my trolling rod / heavy bait stick. This is a Rainshadow RCJB 84H matched with a Penn Fathom 40N 2-speed reel. This 7-foot heavy action graphite composite rod is rigged with 80-pound Berkley Pro Spec Braid to a short 60-pound fluorocarbon leader. On most trips I’ll carry two of these and use them as my dedicated trolling rods, but if those 100-pound class bluefin pop up, I’m going to be using this combo to flyline a bait.

gear options

The next two combos are both Rainshadow RCLB 80M rods matched with Penn Fathom 25N reels. Both of these are rigged with 65-pound Berkley Pro Spec Braid tied to a short 60-pound fluorocarbon leader. By bringing two of these I can have one rigged with a heavy jig, like a Shimano Flat Fall or a Colt Sniper and the other one can fish a surface iron, like a chrome Tady 45. One of these rods can also be put to use as a back up live bait rig. When using this combo to fish bait, I’ll swap out the 60-pound leader with 40-pound.

fishing tips

My bait rod is a Rainshadow RCLB 79ML rod with a Penn Squall 15 level wind reel. While this $119 reel may not seem like the optimum choice for tuna fishing, I can tell you that it gets the job done. I don’t fish a lot of live bait outside of tuna season, so this reel serves double duty as a rockfish reel the rest of the year. This combo is rigged with 40-pound Berkley Pro-Spec Spectra and a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. If you’re doubting how this reel will hold up, I’ve caught fish to 50-pounds on it so far this season with no problems.

tuna tackle

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...