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.
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.
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.
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.