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Thread: Gear quality for river kings?

  1. #1

    Default Gear quality for river kings?

    I'll be on the Talachulitna for a week this summer, fishing. I expect to hook some kings. I don't do a lot of fishing, so am planning to buy a new rod & reel. And, I'm amazed and overwhelmed by the range of choices. One shop said the minimum would be $500. A local store has heavy rod/reel combinations for $39, including the line. I know a king can be 50#, but if I only have 25# test line, I don't need a pole that can lift 50# -- the line would break first. I expect to use spinning gear.

    So -- how much difference does the gear quality really make. How often do people break inexpensive poles fishing for kings? How often does a strike get missed, or the hook get thrown, because the pole wasn't right?

    When does the reel really make a difference?

    Etc. I.e -- what gear makes a big difference, and what doesn't?

  2. #2
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Most folks here locally swear by a good ole ugly stick rated for 25 or 30lbs test line, Ive yet too see one brake and you can pick one up for around $60.00(?) I myself prefer a longer rod and went with a custom 9'6" medium action rod. As for reels its hard to go wrong with a Penn, check out the Captiva series. A rock solid smooth as silk drag system without all the little add on gadgets you'll never use.

    As for the minimum of $500 for a rig it really pisses me off when shops try to fleece newbie's! Heck my wife landed probably 100 kings with her K-Mart special before it finally gave in.

    The reel is important from the moment a king hit your lure to when you land it if you can avoid it don't skimp on the reel. You're going to be amazed at how hard kings pull, they always fight harder than there size.

    Have fun
    Rick P

    PS there is tons of gear info in the archives.

  3. #3

    Default Good King Rigs for under $200

    I like the Ugly Stik for $60, Berkley Air IM7 for around $80 and the Lamiglas Kenai Special for around $130. I would target a 12-25 pound test rod unless you're fishing huge rivers like the Kenai. I've used the Lamiglas Kenai Special for years in the 12-25lb model and it rocks.

    For reels I like the Pflueger President 6740 in a spinning reel for around $65 and the Shimano Sahara.

    For baitcasting reels I like the older Quantum 1420 mg. You can find one on Ebay for around $30 bucks or less. Big gears and good drag system. I also like the Pflueger Trion and the 66 models ($90-100). Here's an Ebay link.
    http://search.express.ebay.com/Sport...fdaf39QQ_frsZ1

    Good luck, Rick

  4. #4
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Bring a fly rod and a 600 grain sink tip! You won't be sorry! I guided there for a summer, PM me and I'll help you out!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  5. #5
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    Smile the reel is a big deal

    The most important thing is the reel!!! Like they said above, ugly stick is probably the most popular rod out on the rivers and streams $60 is a good guess at the price of a rode.

    The reel is the most important, and specifically the drag. you need silky smooth drag as mentioned above. I also use the penn Reels, but there are many good reels out there. I bet you could get set up for under $150. And it would last you more than one summer!! keep reading the archives, and you will find a common reel, then go to ebay and pick one up for 80% off retail price. I just bought two back trolling rods with counters for $100 total, and they retail for $250 a piece!

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the opinions (still hoping for more). So, I can see the benefit of high quality gear, pole & reel, but at least for a pole sounds like the early consensus is that a $200 pole won't catch 200% more fish.

    For the reel, how often is the high quality drag going to make a difference? I watched the Duke brothers DVD, and it didn't look like most of the time they were taking advantage of a silky smooth drag. The one guy looked like his drag was set at 2000#. I know it will occasionally make a difference, but I'm thinking of the phrase "It's a poor workman who blames his tools."

    If I was with a bunch of experienced fisherman, and lost a fish, wouldn't they just stare at me if I said "I was playing that fish perfectly. Obviously, the problem is that my reel isn't good enough."

  7. #7
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    On the drag, It all depends on wether you want to spend a lot on a reel or a lot on your tackle. If you by chance, and it will happen, hit one of those hogs in the gut or tail, if your drag even hesitates for a moment, your tackle is gone. Not to mention how many rod tips I have broken off because of a shoddy drag. Granted most of those rods were Fred Meyer specials, but I would definitly recommend a good reel with a smooth drag to avoid that. Dont know what kind of rod/reel to recommend, I fly fish with a ten weight ugly stick for kings though. Seems like the way to go for spinning as well.

  8. #8
    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    Talking listen carefully!

    The Tal Has lots of Kings, and plenty of current, not crazy but enough for a King to take you for a ride. Not to mention sweepers, log jams, and boulders. I fished it alot along with lake creek, and rod reel combos are important. For starters I am assuming you are floating the river, in which case I would take two rods, so you have a backup when one breaks. There is nothing more sickening than to have your rod break ie. (snapped, stepped on, wedged against a pack wrong) halfway through a trip you spent good money on. Now having said this you still do not need to spend $500 on a package. the backup is easy take a ugly stik, cheap dependable and as close to unbreakable as they come. For the main rod the Lamiglass is an excellant choice, but for half the money you can get an excellant rod. The Shimano clarus spinning rod in med action and med to heavy line weight 8-17lb or 12-20 lb and 8 1/2 ft long is amazing it has great strength, amazing sensitivity, great accuracy, and plenty of power. I have landed over 500 kings on mine and never once has it failed. It has also caught thousands of other salmon, and rainbows. It also has enough sensitivity to make a smaller fish fun. Now for the best part, it is only around $70 . For the real a Shimano Stradic in 6000 or 8000 size is a great reel plenty of silky smooth drag, strength, and line capacity, great anti reverse, long long casts and lots of retrieve strength with a slightly oversized handle. This reel will handle kings all day without breaking a sweat. It also costs only around $150. For line your choices are numerous but boil down to either mono or braided the rod real combination I mentioned will handle both, and I would suggest maybe loading one spool with each ( the reel comes with two spools) as there are benefits too having both. Put 25, 0r 30 lb mono on one, and 40-60 lb braid on the other.

    I could give you alot more on specifics for this river, and the rod and reel combo, and line but I don't want to write an essay right now. let me know if you have any more questions.

  9. #9
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    You say you don't do a lot of fishing? Is that going to change? If you are not going to do a lot of fishing and just want some thing to catch a few fish on this trip then you can go cheap on both and it probably wont matter. Just make sure you set your drag properly and for people just starting out go on the heavy side (30lb or so) with line unless you must cast a long ways.

  10. #10

    Default Reply to BigDog 60

    I'd guessing we're not going to become frequent fishermen, especially using the heavy fishing gear we'll need for this trip (although who knows, maybe we'll get hooked ourselves and come back every year until the outfitter says "you can't take your walkers on a raft trip"). For me, this trip started just as a chance to spend a week in the wilds of Alaska (no offense intended to those of you who are dedicated fishermen). I don't know if you've seen the video by the Duke brothers about fishing on the Talachulitna, but it surely is convincing that being there without fishing would be a hugely wasted opportunity.

    Also, apparently we won't be doing a lot of hiking along the way because we can't leave our camp undefended against the bears. So, while I'm being enchanted by Alaska, I might as well be fishing.

    If I land 20% fewer fish because of my gear (than if I had a $750 set), that wouldn't ruin my trip. I know that losing fish will happen repeatedly. I just don't want to end up there thinking "I brought the wrong gear; this isn't working; and I've wasted an opportunity for what could have been an amazingly wonderful fishing experience."

  11. #11
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    I don't for 1 minute honestly believe that a cheap rod and reel will catch the same amount of fish nor will you be as comfortable using it all day long. If you purchase a good quality rod and reel it will be more balanced for long days of fishing as well as more sensitive in the rights aspects to increase your catch rate yada yada yada. It does make a difference imo no matter what anyone else says.

    Having said that you have to consider what you have said, not fishing much etc. etc. You can't replace experience with good quality equipment. Fishing no matter for what specie takes some learning, its not the same for every specie or every river. In other words you can't expect to go to the same rivers I have fished for years and catch the same number of Kings as I do no matter how good your equipment is. You have already been given good advice from everyone so far. Those ugly sticks for the money are hard to beat along with a reel that has a good drag. The most common reason for a rod breakage I have seen is when someone decides to drag that fish on to the shore or decides to bear down on the drag and simply stop the fish instantly. Avoid those 2 mistakes and you shouldn't have any problems.

    I would say you would do just fine with the mentioned gear and if it were me, I would be pay more attention to using the correct tackle, lures, bait, technique, sharp hooks, etc. for the specie and water you will be fishing. Imo that will pay bigger in the long run.

    Those $40 dollar combos well.......they should be outlawed Remember you are getting what you paid for in that respect.

  12. #12
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Once again your right on target AKBighorn

  13. #13
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    I have fished with $40 combos and much better equipment. It did not affect the number of fish I caught. They are less comfortable and will not last as long but if he needs some thing to fish for one week and then the gear will sit around and not be used I don't think he needs a $150 reel.
    You will get what you pay for, but a $40 combo will catch fish and any benifit of better gear will be lost an somone who has little experience and will not fish a lot.
    Sharp hooks are a must for kings.
    Last edited by big_dog60; 04-25-2007 at 10:04.

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