Okuma Pros – Okuma Fishing
Okuma pros Ty Ponder and Todd Kline bagged Saltwater Bass Series (SBS) Anglers of the Year titles following the 2016 SBS Championship event. Of three available AOY awards, Ponder and Kline won the Bay Region and Overall Average titles against more than fifty teams that began the season. Additionally, Ponder took big fish honors in the Championship, with a tournament personal best 2.75-pound spotted bay bass.
“This has been a fantastic season,” Ponder began, “Todd and I won two of the four bay tournaments and competed well in the inshore events to win the Overall Average award.”
The duo fishes a range of rod and reel combinations, dependent on whether they’re fishing bays or inshore environments. With that said, two rod and reel combination stand out as key choices.
On the inshore events, the target is calico bass, often fished in kelps.
Fishing weedless swimbaits is a key to success. Within the technique, just a bit of forgiveness in the rod allows calicos to eat the bait and gain a solid hold. At that point, it’s up to the angler to “pull like hell” and get the fish out. For Ponder and Kline, SCT Inshore rods deliver the perfect balance of a forgiving tip, backed by a ton of raw pulling power. Komodo SS KDS-364 baitcast reels excel in this environment with a combination of exceptional casting performance backed by an amazingly powerful stainless steel drive system.
In the bays, team Ponder and Kline point to Scott Martin TCS bass rods and Helios TCS reels for the more technical spotted bay bass. More specifically, the rod of choice is the TCS-C-7111H “Mat Daddy”. Living tight to abrasive docks, the key to smaller spotted bay bass is first and foremost sensitivity and the TCS rods deliver extremely well. On the strike, the key is to get the fish off the structure immediately, before they can break you off. That’s where the pulling power of the 7111H Mat Daddy shines.
On the lighter bay setups, the reel of choice is the 7.3:1 high-speed Helios TCS, HTC-273V. With an aluminum gear system, Carbonite drag system, ABEC-5 spool bearings and Okuma Corrosion Resistant Coating process, Helios baitcast reels offer the ultra-lightweight, sensitive platform that freshwater bass anglers demand, but also the saltwater durability that’s an absolute necessity to SBS anglers.
“These two setups are perfectly balanced for their applications,” Ponder finished, “With total confidence in the gear, Todd and I can put a 100% focus on the technique.”