How To Fishing Blogs

New IT&T Board Feature – Hands-on Tackle Reviews

Hi all, so as I mentioned on the "Reels" board earlier today, we are gonna be starting up a tackle review feature on this forum. George and I think this has the potential to help a lot of guys with their rod/reel and tackle selection – what works well together and what doesn’t.

What we are probably NOT going to do is get into $500 rods and $400 reels. That is not what the majority of our members buy and fish and so we will aim for more affordable tackle that will still get it done. I know many believe that all my stuff is $500 CTS custom sticks, with uber-modded matching reels, but this just isn’t true. In fact I’m sailing tomorrow to hunt the still rare and quite elusive mid-South Shore ocean fluke – and wonder of wonders, of the five setups I’m bringing, four are pretty much dead-stock, off the shelf tackle. Heck, that surprised even me. 

Anyway, First outfit up for review is a Daiwa Harrier Slow Pitch spinning rod, carrying the brand-new Tsunami Evict 2000. Nice outfit for right around $250, give or take. My original plan was to go with a Daiwa Black Gold BG2500 reel, but John over at Trophy Tackle recommended this new reel, as it is specifically built for light/medium inshore jiggging. This is so because it employs a full stainless steel drive train, meaning the main and pinion gears and the drive shaft are all machined from super tough Stainless Steel, vs the weaker cast zinc gears of the Daiwa BG series. John is a warranty shop for Daiwa and sees a ton of reels come in over the course of a season – if he says to try something else, who am I to argue, its got to be for good reason. The man knows his business.

So far I can say for sure that right out of the box this is the smoothest turning steel-geared reel I’ve ever held. Amazingly fluid. Not in a free-wheeling Daiwa manner, rather in a slightly tighter, more connected fashion. You have to turn the handle to experience it – so nice! Here’s a few initial shots from this afternoon:

6597

6599

6600

Cool looking, right? I love the aluminum ball knob handle and the fact that Tsunami included an over sized EVA flat knob, for those that do not care for the machined aluminum ball, or who might want to use this reel in colder weather. Its a 1-minute conversion, from one to the other, so its nice to have the option.

6601

6607

Both John’s knowledgeable advice and my further research today have indicated that Tsunami brought this reel to market for just the type of fishing we do off our boats – fluke jigging with any sort of practical weight jig, and even tog jigging, which explains the beefed-up stainless steel drive train.

This is NOT a super light weight graphite (Ci4+ or Zaion) reel. Its carries that heavy SS gear train and a full aluminum body, hence at 10.8 ounces it weights a little bit more than reels like the Stradic or BG/Back Bay – for instance, from the big two players . But on a properly balanced stick – like the one we picked, it feels terrific. I mean REALLY nice!

Along with the reel, we went with a Diawa Harrier Slow Pitch jigging stick, the HRJ64MS. At 6’4" its about perfect for use from a smaller boat’s cockpit. Although its the somewhat lighter "M" vs the heavier "MH," it appears to have plenty of power and will do well for the application that I have in mind.

And what is that, you ask? Well, there are times on the ocean fluke grounds that feature almost no wind or tide – having the boat move 10 yards in a half-hour is NOT conducive to proper fluke jig presentation – and I frequently grow tired of using one of my bait casting outfits to flip the jig rigs out around the boat. This outfit will address that set of circumstances.

Also, this outfit might just work out in times of the "Opposite" conditions – the drift being so fast that heaving a 4oz jig head/GULP combo up-tide might prove to be the winning ticket. I intend to find out this season.

6605

6606

Additionally, I have yet to give the new-ish blackfish jigging craze a fair shot – and this outfit looks to be a good contender for that type of fishing. We shall see. Hey, Tsunami says they designed this little reel for that purpose, so we’ll give it a go, in due course.

The reel is spooled with the also new Berkeley X9 braid in 20lb test. John was very high on this line as it underwent extensive proto-testing during last season’s Nantucket fluke run. They used 30lb up there, but because the 20lb actually test at a true 37lbs, I think I’m good to go on the line. I’ll say this, it SEEMS to be considerably thinner than the 20lb Sufix 832 that is loaded onto just about every other fluke reel I own. Testing begins this weekend.

I honestly do not yet know how long the testing will go on. I really want to give all three components a fair workout before passing judgement one way or the other. But what I will do is to post up any findings/commentary that might be relevant up to the point that I am ready to write out a full report.

One last thing – if you have not been to John’s Trophy Tackle shop in West Babylon, by all means do so as its well worth your time. Stocked to the gills, he has TONS of rods to wiggle, and all the reels and terminal tackle you could ever ask for. Its actually more of a fishing boutique than an old-style B&T – give it a walk-through and you will see what I mean. I took a long look at the new Centaur line of slow pitch-specific rods. Holy smokes, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a lighter weight salt water-intended stick.

So stay tuned, this is gonna be interesting. And of course, if you have experience with anything being tested, or have any other on-point commentary, it is more than welcome. Lep

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
Thanks all!

LC- John pre-loaded the reel for me and according to the sales receipt, he got 150 yards on the spool.

I fished outside today and took this outfit along for its initial shake-down. I found quite a bit more short life than on previous trips - at least six 18.5" fish and one true NY keeper at 20 inches. And of course that one keeper came on an up-drift cast/retrieve in 75' with this new outfit, just as the line came straight up and down. Funny huh? I never really fish that way, but this outfit flips that Gulp/Lead head combo out there like nobody's business. More "research" needed!

Later on I hit some rocks and jigged up a mess of ling, with more than a few on the new outfit. Not a great tussle, but the toaster oven ling oreganata is gonna be epic! Hey, some may turn up their nose at a mess of fat ling - but not me. Capt. Pete doesn't believe in coming back to the dock with an empty cooler. The way I see it, this is what the ocean gave me today, and I am grateful.
 

Flukinit

New Angler
Dec 19, 2018
63
22
8
Pete. Very nice topic to discuss. Excellent review of the 3 items and why you went with this partiuclar outfit. Looking foward to more reviews. Last thing your right on a out Trophy Tackle. Like you im on the road all over the area and do my share of looking around other shops but when its time for me to make a purchase I always stop at Trophy to do that. John and Joe are great to deal with very knowledgeable about the products they sell and the shop is always well stocked.
 

longcast

New Angler
Mar 7, 2019
76
30
18
Thanks all!

LC- John pre-loaded the reel for me and according to the sales receipt, he got 150 yards on the spool.

I fished outside today and took this outfit along for its initial shake-down. I found quite a bit more short life than on previous trips - at least six 18.5" fish and one true NY keeper at 20 inches. And of course that one keeper came on an up-drift cast/retrieve in 75' with this new outfit, just as the line came straight up and down. Funny huh? I never really fish that way, but this outfit flips that Gulp/Lead head combo out there like nobody's business. More "research" needed!

Later on I hit some rocks and jigged up a mess of ling, with more than a few on the new outfit. Not a great tussle, but the toaster oven ling oreganata is gonna be epic! Hey, some may turn up their nose at a mess of fat ling - but not me. Capt. Pete doesn't believe in coming back to the dock with an empty cooler. The way I see it, this is what the ocean gave me today, and I am grateful.
Thank you!
 

Chinacat

Angler
Dec 20, 2018
523
312
63
so according to my research 130g = approx 4.6 oz.
If that rod is rated 50-130g how far could you push that if needed?
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
I dunno as yet. Last time out I did use it with a 4oz lead head briefly and it seemed more than fine. If the wind ever lets me off the dock I can further my "exhaustive" research - and maybe put a few fish in the box. Its almost time for the deep stuff to bust loose anyway. . .

I also dunno what the h*ll has happened to our early-season ocean fluke fishing. Up 'til about 4 seasons ago we ALWAYS had good fishing before Memorial Day and on into June on the local sand - meaning in around 50-60' of water. That fishing appears to have become extinct. The squid boats have been working those depths for weeks - right on the grounds that we usually fish. Those guys aren't wasting their time and fuel money pulling around empty nets, so the bait has to have been here for a while - so where are the fluke?

Anyway, back to your question - normally the manufacturers state the safest casting weight, not the amount of weight that a rod can handle when fishing straight up an down, from a boat. I dunno if this is the case with rods that are intended from the get-go to be used in jigging applications. Maybe. More time on the water will reveal all.

But in truth, to go more than 4oz with any spinning setup seems a bit counter-productive to me. There are far better options for heavier jigging work - which we have discussed extensively over the years, here and on the old board. A 4oz bucktail will nearly always find bottom in 80 feet, if cast far enough up-drift - and this is one of the applications that I am focusing on for this review.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
Well, its still too early to render any valid opinions, as the ocean fluking by me has yet to get serious. In fact, it stinks right now and has since the opener. A few keepers for the boat per trip certainly isn't enough of a sample size to say anything meaningful about this setup. I can say that it will really wing a 2oz leadhead/GULP! combo bait as far out there as you could want, but so far only a lone 20" keeper on it. The opportunities to actually use this rod/reel have been limited, so far. I am fishing later this week, and the Wx is for very light winds, so I'm hopeful that a nice fish will come via this fishing method. I'm jonesin' to bang a biggie with it.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
I did get to use this setup for a bit yesterday, during a period of calm breeze and tide. Unfortunately, the fish had developed lock-jaw a bit prior, and so no fish landed in my box whilst casting. I will say the outfit casts like a bullet and the rod is quite sensitive. Still no decent fish on it though.

This is becoming something of a crusade on my part. I do not want to use it in the traditional drift fishing method, just jigging behind the boat, as would normally be the case while fishing with a bait casting rig. Not the strong suit of any spinning rig. I very much want to catch a goodie on an uptide cast - which will happen, eventually, I suppose. Testing continues.
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
I'm in the third day of a viscous Summer cold and so I'll be brief. The outgoing has been THE tide for our deep grounds so far this season and because it was to bottom out at 10:00 sharp, KenScot and I cut short our usual early morning "Bagels and Bullshit" pre-game breakfast meeting at the Bagel Dock on Guy Lombardo Ave. in lovely, nautical Freeport and got down to the boat a bit earlier than usual. A gorgeous ocean made for a rapid 9 mile transit to my usual haunts. We arrived to find a VERY calm ocean with basically zero drift to speak of, 0.1-0.3mph.

This would normally cause me some serious agita, but I've been jonesin' for exactly these conditions all season, so to break out the Spinning setup. I put on a 2oz lead head and a white 6" GULP jerk shad with a piece of belly and went to work casting way out there and working it back to the boat with short sharp pops. While all the other boats were sitting there looking at each other, I managed to put 3 really nice keepers in the box, in addition to boating 3 other near-keepers. Plus I dropped a real hoss of a fish half-way up, which is very frustrating, but only to be expected when using the jigs. Some fish will always shake the jig loose, its just that the big ones stay with you for a long time afterwards. I would really liked to have seen that fish, as my goal is to boat something in the 7lb+ class on this rod/reel combo - damn!

Anyway, Proof of concept is always sweet. Though I was getting some funny stares from a few of the other nearby boats, ehhh, who cares? We got ours and that's what counts. Ken and I were watching the other boats like two hawks (as is normally done on the somewhat crowded offshore fluke grounds during slow periods) and I swear, we didn't see a single net move on any of them, whilst I was steadily connecting with the relatively unmotivated "no-drift conditions" fish. Its certainly is very different fishing in 80+ feet with a spinner, that's for sure. Pretty cool though, once I got the hang of how the fish wanted the presentation.

As we neared the change the breeze came up and that was it for the spinning setup. We switched over to our normal jigging rigs on the bait casting rods and got to 7 keepers on either side of the LW change.

So to my mind, the whole idea of using a spinner once prevailing conditions kill the drift seems to be very valid, indeed! This particular outfit is just about perfect for what I do, where I do it. The rod is very sensitive, the reel seems powerful enough - in the context of spinning reels, which normally cannot hold a candle to the "Crank 'em in" power of a modern bait casting reel, and the entire outfit is light enough that a few hours of casting doesn't create any weird hand or shoulder issues. Throw in the fact that though the $250 list price for this rig is still fairly serious coin, it is certainly not cost prohibitive to add an outfit like this to your arsenal - given what quality tackle costs nowadays.

In any case I will continue to bring this spinning rig along on my deep adventures. To my mind, a solid outfit like this certainly does have a place on the deep grounds, albeit a kind of specialized one.

More fluke-type reporting to come in the near future. I now look forward to those crummy drifting conditions, instead of dreading them.

I can hardly wait to give it a roll on the tog "jigging" front - oughta be a blast!
 

FredAZaiter

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 7, 2019
132
71
28
I'm in the third day of a viscous Summer cold and so I'll be brief. The outgoing has been THE tide for our deep grounds so far this season and because it was to bottom out at 10:00 sharp, KenScot and I cut short our usual early morning "Bagels and Bullshit" pre-game breakfast meeting at the Bagel Dock on Guy Lombardo Ave. in lovely, nautical Freeport and got down to the boat a bit earlier than usual. A gorgeous ocean made for a rapid 9 mile transit to my usual haunts. We arrived to find a VERY calm ocean, basically zero drift to speak of, 0.1-0.3mph.

This would normally cause me some serious agita, but I've been jonesin' for exactly these conditions all season, so to break out the Spinning setup. Put on a 2oz lead head and a white 6" GULP jerk shad with a piece of belly and went to work casting way out there and working it back to the boat with short sharp pops. While all the other boats were sitting there looking at each other, I managed to put 3 really nice keepers in the box, in addition to boating 3 other near-keepers. Plus I dropped a real hoss of a fish half-way up, which is very frustrating, but only to be expected when using the jigs. Some fish will always shake the jig loose, its just that the big ones stay with you for a long time afterwards. I would really liked to have seen that fish, as my goal is to boat something in the 7lb+ class on this rod/reel combo - damn!

Anyway, Proof of concept is always sweet. I was getting a few funny stares from some of the other nearby boats though. Ehhh, who cares? We got ours and that's what counts. Ken and I were watching the other boats like two hawks (as is normally done on the somewhat crowded offshore fluke grounds during slow periods) and I swear, we didn't see a single net move on any of them, whilst I was steadily connecting with the relatively unmotivated "no-drift conditions" fish. Its certainly is very different fishing in 80+ feet with a spinner, that's for sure. Pretty cool though, once I got the hang of how the fish wanted the presentation.

As we neared the change the breeze came up and that was it for the spinning setup. We switched over to our normal jigging rigs on the bait casting rods and got to 7 keepers on either side of the LW change.

So to my mind, the whole idea of using a spinner once the prevailing conditions kill the drift seems to be very valid, indeed! This particular outfit is just about perfect for what I do, where I do it. The rod is very sensitive, the reel seems powerful enough - in the context of spinning reels, which normally cannot hold a candle to the "Crank 'em in" power of a modern bait casting reel, and the entire outfit is light enough that a few hours of casting doesn't create any weird hand or shoulder issues.

I will continue to bring this spinning rig along on my deep adventures. To my mind, a solid outfit like this certainly does have a place on the deep grounds, albeit a kind of specialized one.

More fluke-type reporting to come in the near future. I now look forward to those crummy drifting conditions, instead of dreading them.

I can hardly wait to give it a roll on the tog "jigging" front - oughta be a blast!
WTG ...Great report...
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
277
243
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
Hi all, headed out nice and early with friends Kenscot and Capt. Mike for a day of deep jigging. Gorgeous ocean conditions made for a speedy transit - but once there, no tango el drifto. 0.0-0.2mph ain't gonna cut it. So I got out the new jigging spin rig and went to work with the GULP jerk shads - resulting in 3 nice fat fish in the box with a bunch of other near-keeps. The boyz stuck with the "normal" jigging rigs, straight up and down, frankly without much success. Maybe one fish for the box - I can't really remember. Once the drift got going - after lunch, the keeper's started coming, with the final count 8 fish to 5lbs and at least 40 toss-backs. Not the best fishing we've seen, but way better than a poke in the eye.

I'll tell ya one thing, there's little doubt that a properly configured spinning rod has its place on the deeper grounds - when the boat isn't drifting. It does give you a fighting chance - and the outfit under eval here - the new Tsunami Evict 2000 and Daiwa Harrier rod seems to be a perfect a choice for this fishing. So far I highly recommend them.



8.3.2019 Cholera.jpg
 

FredAZaiter

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 7, 2019
132
71
28
WTG...I still remember when you used to dislike it spinning fo fluke...:giggle:...Good Job.