The Shimano Saragosa combined with their new OCEA PLUGGER Flex Limited rod represents one of their newer mid-weight spinning offerings. Ocea Plugger rods combine both Spiral X and Hi-Power X construction features into the blank making them strong and sensitive at the same time. This was the combination of choice while fishing topwater lures and small Shimano Butterfly jigs for cabrilla, aka leopard grouper. We were fishing with Tony Reyes Fishing Tours on their mothership operation in the Northern Sea of Cortez, B.C. Mexico
Normally when fishing for these rock-loving fish, I use a traditional, heavy Southern California jig stick set up comprised of a Shimano Tranx and a 40-80#, fast action jigstick. I’ll normally spool this combo with 80# braid and a short top shot of 80# fluorocarbon. This set up gives me the ability to stop these fish almost immediately and keep them out of their holes. For this trip, I outfitted the Shimano Saragosa with 80#, white Power Pro Braid and 80# Seaguar Blue Label fluorocarbon leader.
Truth be told, I am not normally the “coffee grinder” type of fisherman. The only time I’ve ever used spinning reel setups was for trout fishing and around our local bays. But my goal on this trip was to put the Saragosa to the test while putting some hard-pulling fish on the boat.
The first few days of the trip, we worked our way down the coast of Baja. On the first day of fishing we were on the outside of Isla La Guardia and went to work on some deep water yellowtail. After catching a few on bait and conventional setups, I switched over to the Saragosa combo with a 200G dorado-colored butterfly jig. First drop it was game on about three quarters of the way to the bottom. This was a decent fish and I did all I could to keep it from rocking me.
After a long hard fight, I boated my first fish on the setup, which was about a 20-pound yellowtail. This rod was a little limber for this application, but it still had plenty of backbone to bring the hard fighting jacks over the rail. Now having gotten the feel for it, I dropped the same setup again and was rewarded with a beautiful snapper that was well above average size.
The following day we opted to do some inshore fishing for the creatures that lurk in the shallow rocks. I catch a ton of yellowtail at home, so the yellowtail fishing was not a priority for me. We ended up near Punta San Fransisquito and fished the rocks surrounding it. We proceeded to crush the cabrilla all day. We ended the day with over 30 cabrilla to 18-pounds on the scale.
The last day of our trip, we went way inshore and caught some mackerel for bait. Our guide preferred throwing baits in 5 to 15’ of water in search of large cabrilla and other grouper. We were the only anglers in our party who opted to do this, but my partner James and I were hooked on big cabrilla fishing from the day before.
We absolutely put the wood to them.
We each caught at least 20 to 25 ranging from 5 to 15-pounds. We caught fish until we ran out of bait. Once again, the Saragosa was up to the test. It kept fish after fish out of the rocks with it’s strong drag and cranking power.
Overall the Shimano Saragosa is the most impressive spinning reel I have used to date. Once I dialed in how much drag I really needed, I was able to use the rod and reel combo to get the fish out from under the rocks. Once out, the reel gained line quickly. Not to mention that making longer casts is a breeze with a spinning setup. I would highly recommend changing your mindset on modern saltwater spinning outfits. Give one a try and you will see why they are quickly gaining popularity in many West Coast fisheries.
- X-Ship: For efficient gear engagement, extended gear longevity, and increased castability
- X-Tough Drag: Cross carbon, waterproof, twin drag all models
- Water resistant with X-Shield and X-Protect, with body gasket seal, anti-rev bearing cover
- Paladin Gear durability enhancement and Propulsion line management system
- S A-RB Shielded ball bearings and graphite Rotor
- Aluminum frame, cold forged aluminum spool, and machined aluminum handle shank
- Super Stopper II Anti-Reverse and power roller III line roller
- Direct drive mechanism, and dyna balance
- Fluidrive II
- Waterproof drag
- Dartainium II drag washers
- Ergonomic handle grips
- Septon handle grips
- Approved for saltwater use
- Spiral X and HI Power X blank construction
- lightweight in design
- no blank twist
- Improved distance and accuracy
- Fuji Tangle-Free SiC K guides
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