The Reel Deal…..

i live in florida and i fish around the tampa bay area, and i was wondering if i should go with a baitcaster reel or a spinning one, iv just started saltwater fishing with my buddy and i dont know nothing about fishing, plus what bait should i use?

You can use a larger spinning reel if you want, but a baitcasting reel has more power, and holds more line. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference, and what you are most comfortable with. The advantages of spinning reels are that they are light, and less prone to getting ‘birds-nest’ tangles in the line from over-spooling. Baitcasters are heavy-duty, with strong bearings to crank in heavy, mean fish, and they hold lots more line, so that if you hook a Dorado (Mahi Mahi), Albacore, or any other fast running fish, you won’t lose them. Some fish, such as Wahoo, can peel 100 yards or more of line from your reel in an instant. Some sharks are bad for taking a lot of line out, such as blues and makos.

The bait will depend on what kind of fishing you plan to do, and for what species. If you want to do some high-speed trolling for tuna, mackeral and such, then blue and white, red and white dart jigs are the way to go. In fact, one each on a tandem rig is hard to beat, especially for Albacore. Cigar minnows work for trolling as well as Needlefish, and Ballyhoos. If you want to baitfish for seatrout, the best bait is shrimp, fished on the bottom. For fishing the reefs, hands-down, the best all-around bait is cut up squid, fished on a tandem rig from the bottom. For tarpon, Pompano, and Barracuda, I would strongly recommend fly gear. Leftys Deciever is one of the top producers, along with Clouser Minnows.

Happy fishing.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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