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Conventional or Spinning for big Tarpon & Cobia etc..?

Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
I know this is like asking what is your favorite color but I want some honest opinions on the matter. I'm pretty open when it comes to choosing new setups and I'm green when it comes to the tarpon game, so help is much appreciated! Let me say I have read just about every thread on the net for this topic so searching has been done.

I'm taking my first trip to Islamorada so this will hopefully be my first place to target the tarpon.

For spinning, I lean towards shimano because I've had great luck with them but like I said I'm open. I was thinking along the lines of Saragosa 8-10k or Sustain 8-10k on a heavy 8' star, st croix or shimano rod. Most likely the shimano or star because they are warrantied through bass pro? I've also thought about the shimano thunnus Ci4 for the bait runner feature? Any other combos comparable to that are welcome!

For conventional I was tossing around the idea because I want to get out on calm days and maybe even hit some wrecks and structure for some different species... The problem is I'm limited with the Master Angler so I'm not sure how comfortable I am going out on calm days. With that being said I know I'll be targeting anything from big snook and reds to tarpon and cobia nearshore. I have all the inshore stuff I need for anything under or near 30lbs..
So conventional reels like the avet sx raptor have caught my eye for not only casting live bait but bottom fishing to trolling if I do get out eventually..

The only reason I'm leaning a little more towards the above spinning setups is for casting artificial which from my research seems to be pretty popular for tarpon. So these are what I've narrowed it down to so far, I'm not afraid to spend a little more for quality but these are close to if not over what I'm already willing to spend. An input on this to help make the right choice will be much appreciated!
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Replies

  • temptingtranquilitytemptingtranquility Posts: 265 Deckhand
    My friend has put away a good number of decent tarpon, big reds, and a few cobia on a Saragossa. I don't remember the exact size but it was somewhere in the 8-10k range I'm pretty sure.
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    My friend has put away a good number of decent tarpon, big reds, and a few cobia on a Saragossa. I don't remember the exact size but it was somewhere in the 8-10k range I'm pretty sure.
    Thanks for the reply, that seems to be a very popular reel for targeting these monsters! Probably what I'm leaning towards the most, I have sustains and love them to death but want to try the saragossa in the bigger size reel I think.. From what I've gathered there very similar but the sustain is a little more complicated when broken down but a little smoother on the retrieve due to the worm gear, correct me if I'm wrong.
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  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    I use 6000 series Sustains / Stradics / Stellas, and Trinidad 20s / Calcutta 700s all with 20-30# Fireline repectively. Employing the correct technique, you can beat a 100# fish in 20 minutes or less in shallow water.

    P8130617.jpg
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • Hemi45Hemi45 Posts: 77 Deckhand
    I've yet to master the art of casting a conventional reel so 99% of my Tarpon fishing has been with spin tackle. I've used old school Diawa BG's and Penn SS's paired with Star and Capt. Harry's rods with great success. I can only imagine how much better the newer, high-tech drag systems are these days.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,060 Moderator
    The gosa's are good reels but a lot of GOOD tarpon guides in our area are going to the Quantum Cabo PTs 60 or 80. Several years ago they were using the old Cabo's, then changed to the Daiwa Saltist, and are now coming back to the new PTs. THese are coupled on a Shimano Teramar 8'XH rod. Do not get the XXH as it has the flexibility of a pool cue and not worth a tinker when casting, but the XH as a great tip and can cast a crab or arti fine.

    As for a conventional outfit, I'd look at the new Daiwa Saltist or even jump up to the Saltiga line. Another really good reel, recently on the market is the Release, which is totally made in the USA http://www.releasereels.com/

    I'm not sure I know which rod I'd pair this with, Probably an Ugly Stik Tiger jigging rod http://www.uglystik.com/Ugly-Stik%C2%AE-Tiger%E2%84%A2-Jigging-Rod/1292170,default,pd.html an Okuma Cedros Jigging stick http://www.okumafishing.com/product/view/rods/saltwater-jigging/cedros-jigging
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    Alan Hawk (Spinning Reel Guru) says the new Saragosa SW is his favorite ~$300 Spinner & a 6K (or maybe 8K) should be fine for Cobia/Tarpon... If your budget will accommodate ~double that much, look at the Penn Torque 5 (or maybe 7)
    Before buying an Avet, I'd look at the Release Reels SG or new Surf (Made in Virginia w/a Lifetime Warranty) ~$300
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,405 Captain
    The habitat where I do the majority of my tarpon fishing requires either a sealed reel, or one that is easy enough to strip down and service that it won't be a burden after a long day on the water. That's my biggest issue with conventional tackle, it's such a pain to service them. 3 times the number of moving parts you'll find in a large spinning reel. I started using the Penn torque 5 last year and it's outperformed every spinner I've ever owned including VS, Stella SW, and saltigaZ. I can tear it down and service every moving part on that reel in 20 minutes, and after countless days in chest high surf I've never found one drop of water in the gear case. It holds 325yds of 40lb hollow core, and has a drag that is worthy of any tarpon/cobia you're ever going to find. I have a Calcutta 401te on an 8' super seeker, but I've never been brave enough to do anything with it other than test plugs in the backyard.
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    A lot of good suggestions, thanks everyone keep them coming! Every reel you guys suggested so far I wouldn't mind having, thats part of the problem lol. I'm still trying to decide if i want to start using a conventional or should I just stick with a spinner I guess thats my first choice. What do you guys think? How far can you cast these conventionals say avet, saltist, release etc.. compared to your spinners? Keep in mind I'm totally new to conventional so I'm a little concerned about casting distance.
    I use 6000 series Sustains / Stradics / Stellas, and Trinidad 20s / Calcutta 700s all with 20-30# Fireline repectively. Employing the correct technique, you can beat a 100# fish in 20 minutes or less in shallow water.

    Nice collection you have there! If you could pick one what would you choose for tarpon and cobia? Mostly live baiting.
    Hemi45 wrote: »
    I've yet to master the art of casting a conventional reel so 99% of my Tarpon fishing has been with spin tackle. I've used old school Diawa BG's and Penn SS's paired with Star and Capt. Harry's rods with great success. I can only imagine how much better the newer, high-tech drag systems are these days.

    I'm a little concerned about this too but you have to learn somehow right!
    The gosa's are good reels but a lot of GOOD tarpon guides in our area are going to the Quantum Cabo PTs 60 or 80. Several years ago they were using the old Cabo's, then changed to the Daiwa Saltist, and are now coming back to the new PTs. THese are coupled on a Shimano Teramar 8'XH rod. Do not get the XXH as it has the flexibility of a pool cue and not worth a tinker when casting, but the XH as a great tip and can cast a crab or arti fine.

    As for a conventional outfit, I'd look at the new Daiwa Saltist or even jump up to the Saltiga line. Another really good reel, recently on the market is the Release, which is totally made in the USA http://www.releasereels.com/

    I'm not sure I know which rod I'd pair this with, Probably an Ugly Stik Tiger jigging rod http://www.uglystik.com/Ugly-Stik%C2%AE-Tiger%E2%84%A2-Jigging-Rod/1292170,default,pd.html an Okuma Cedros Jigging stick http://www.okumafishing.com/product/view/rods/saltwater-jigging/cedros-jigging

    Those cabo's look very nice, I am really liking the new release reels as well! The only thing that worries me about those is how new they are. Have people been giving them good reviews?

    Alan Hawk (Spinning Reel Guru) says the new Saragosa SW is his favorite ~$300 Spinner & a 6K (or maybe 8K) should be fine for Cobia/Tarpon... If your budget will accommodate ~double that much, look at the Penn Torque 5 (or maybe 7)
    Before buying an Avet, I'd look at the Release Reels SG or new Surf (Made in Virginia w/a Lifetime Warranty) ~$300

    I'm a member of that forum, I trust Alans opinion! Thanks for that, what does Alan think of the new Release reels? Or still to new? I'll have to do some searching on them.
    The habitat where I do the majority of my tarpon fishing requires either a sealed reel, or one that is easy enough to strip down and service that it won't be a burden after a long day on the water. That's my biggest issue with conventional tackle, it's such a pain to service them. 3 times the number of moving parts you'll find in a large spinning reel. I started using the Penn torque 5 last year and it's outperformed every spinner I've ever owned including VS, Stella SW, and saltigaZ. I can tear it down and service every moving part on that reel in 20 minutes, and after countless days in chest high surf I've never found one drop of water in the gear case. It holds 325yds of 40lb hollow core, and has a drag that is worthy of any tarpon/cobia you're ever going to find. I have a Calcutta 401te on an 8' super seeker, but I've never been brave enough to do anything with it other than test plugs in the backyard.

    That Penn torque is more than I want to spend but wow that is a great looking reel! That will definitely be in my collection one day! Definitely tempting to say the least!!
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    2016 Sea Hunt Gamefish 25
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG

    Nice collection you have there! If you could pick one what would you choose for tarpon and cobia? Mostly live baiting.
    The 6000 Sustain on the 7'9" G. Loomis for pitching.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,060 Moderator
    I am really liking the new release reels as well! The only thing that worries me about those is how new they are. Have people been giving them good reviews?

    Reviews are very good. Here's one http://360tuna.com/index.php?/topic/33202-release-reels-sg-review/
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    The 6000 Sustain on the 7'9" G. Loomis for pitching.
    Thanks again! That sounds right up my alley, I have a 2500 sustain on a 7'6" Loomis for artificials. I'm assuming the 7'9" is heavy?
    Thanks Jack I'll check that out, I read a thread on Allan's Forum but there wasn't much info as far as reviews.
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  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,419 Admiral
    My current tarpon rigs are Stradic 8000 FJ / Avid AIS80HF -30 lb invisi-braid. I picked up that Stradic on ebay for $180 shipped brand new.
    If you want to save some money , a Spheros 10000 FB will get the job done easily. I have that reel on a TVS66MH. Like Gary said, 100 lb tarpon is done in approx 20 mins with the right technique.
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    johnD wrote: »
    My current tarpon rigs are Stradic 8000 FJ / Avid AIS80HF -30 lb invisi-braid. I picked up that Stradic on ebay for $180 shipped brand new.
    If you want to save some money , a Spheros 10000 FB will get the job done easily. I have that reel on a TVS66MH. Like Gary said, 100 lb tarpon is done in approx 20 mins with the right technique.

    Thanks john, I have read good things about the spheros too for the price point. Seems like spinning will probably be the way to go for me, I'll hold off on the conventional for now even though I'd like to have one!

    A 20 min fight includes chasing him in the boat I'm guessing?
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  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,419 Admiral
    Thanks john, I have read good things about the spheros too for the price point. Seems like spinning will probably be the way to go for me, I'll hold off on the conventional for now even though I'd like to have one!

    A 20 min fight includes chasing him in the boat I'm guessing?


    Nope.
  • Hemi45Hemi45 Posts: 77 Deckhand
    How far can you cast these conventionals say avet, saltist, release etc.. compared to your spinners? Keep in mind I'm totally new to conventional so I'm a little concerned about casting distance.

    If I'm not mistaken, record surf casts were made with conventional reels. Those records are plenty safe when I have a conventional reel in my hands ;)

    It's worth learning but can be very frustrating and time consuming.

    ETA...

    I became curious myself and looked this up - **** thats far!!!

    http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/45003
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    Some stores are selling the D/C'd Spheros FBs for <$120 for ~6K
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    Hemi45 wrote: »
    If I'm not mistaken, record surf casts were made with conventional reels. Those records are plenty safe when I have a conventional reel in my hands ;)

    It's worth learning but can be very frustrating and time consuming.

    ETA...

    I became curious myself and looked this up - **** thats far!!!

    http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/45003

    Holy moly that is ridiculous!!
    johnD wrote: »
    Nope.
    Thats impressive in 20 mins!
    Some stores are selling the D/C'd Spheros FBs for <$120 for ~6K
    Thanks I'll do some shopping around.
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  • Jeff_HollidayJeff_Holliday Posts: 500 Deckhand
    Save money and call it a day.

    http://www.tackledirect.com/quantum-boca-pt-spinning-reels.html

    Get a 5000 and load it with 40# braid. It will handle tarpon and cobia with no problem.
  • LilZubeLilZube Posts: 16 Greenhorn
    If your gonna be using a spinner it can only be a shimano lol. My go to reel for tarpon is a Shaimano stradic FJ5000 with 30lb power pro and 60lb florocardin. Best lure to use is an X-Rap. My girlfriend caught a 100 plus pound tarpon two nights ago on this set up. It held up very nicely and she was able to get it to the boat withing 10-15 mins. If im going for smaller fish i turn to my stradic Fi3000 with 20lb power pro. Love shimano, best in the buisness.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,012 AG
    If I'm fishing artificials, I generally use a baitcaster.

    If I'm fishing live bait, I generally use a spinner.

    If it's really windy, I use a spinner.
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    Thanks for all the help everyone, I'm looking at a few reels on ebay trying to snag a deal. I'll update the thread with what I end up with!!
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  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,126 AG
    Hemi45 wrote: »
    If I'm not mistaken, record surf casts were made with conventional reels. Those records are plenty safe when I have a conventional reel in my hands ;)


    The reels are modified Abu-Garcias....and there is a special technique to the cast.
    One of the previous owners of Wabasso Tackle held a distance record some years back.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,126 AG
    Dead bait on bottom = Conventional

    Live crabs / bait = spinning
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Pescatoral PursuitPescatoral Pursuit Posts: 5,065 Admiral
    Tarponator wrote: »
    If I'm fishing artificials, I generally use a baitcaster.

    If I'm fishing live bait, I generally use a spinner.

    If it's really windy, I use a spinner.

    Pretty much this. Although If I'm close to serious cover, I'm using conventional. Much more muscle to get fish off rocks/pilings. As far as casting is concerned, consider a 300 series curado. Anyone can cast with the vbs in all but the nastiest headwinds.
  • AlwaysAbuAlwaysAbu Posts: 476 Deckhand
    here is the thing you have to take into consideration when someone says "the guide uses this"...1) he may be sponsored 2) He is using equipment that will be used everyday, by often inexperienced anglers, and has to hold up day in and day out so its more the commercial approach than lightweight, comfort, or smooth

    The Daiwa Saltist 4500 has impressive specs for weight and drag output and has a heavy wire bail. The Saragosa does not have a thru handle but rather a screw in, not sure if that makes a difference but it is one and a lighter wire bail. I have not heard of anyone trashing the Penn Battle and is probably the best reel for the money.
    Most of the new reels now do not engage the bail by turning the handle, you have to manually flip it (Daiwa, Saragosa, and I think even the new version of the Spheros is like that) I don't like that but it is supposed to minimize wind knots.
    I would like to get some feedback on the Okuma Cedros line of reels. The Cedros conventionals have a great reputation, but don't know how the spinners hold up, if the yare any good they are priced reasonable.
    I liked fishing a Penn Torque 100 Lever Drag last year, it actually casts pretty well with live baits but a Trinidad is also hard to beat. This year I have a Penn Fathom 30 I am looking forward to testing. The other reel that interests me this year is the Daiwa Luna 400, smaller than the Tranx and half the price but might be a great reel. Lots of choices out there, and most are going to be good to you.
  • superdupersuperduper Posts: 1,927 Captain
    spinning.

    my go to tarpon combo for my kayak is a 4500 spinfisher V with 20# 832 and 40-60 leader. on a stellar lite 10-20 7'er
    i bought the set up for bigger fish, mainly tarpon. have caught nice sharks on it too.
    after having it for almost a year and not getting any tarpon, just sharks and redfish, i finally got an 80-90# tarpon with the set up.
    i only had 30# leader which scared me fighting it, but managed to land it on the yak in just under 10 minutes. gave me 10-12 awesome jumps.

    i think that new saragosa sounds about right, those reels look and sound amazing. thats what id get. especially since you know and use shimanos already, so you wont have too much "new" stuff to figure out and be like, ohhhh, i dont like that. on a 12-25 star rod maybe. or teramar as mentioned.
    thats what id get.
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    Pretty much this. Although If I'm close to serious cover, I'm using conventional. Much more muscle to get fish off rocks/pilings. As far as casting is concerned, consider a 300 series curado. Anyone can cast with the vbs in all but the nastiest headwinds.
    Good point I went out Thursday night and was fishing some very heavy cover, I could see where a conventional could be very handy for getting the monsters out of cover.
    AlwaysAbu wrote: »
    here is the thing you have to take into consideration when someone says "the guide uses this"...1) he may be sponsored 2) He is using equipment that will be used everyday, by often inexperienced anglers, and has to hold up day in and day out so its more the commercial approach than lightweight, comfort, or smooth

    The Daiwa Saltist 4500 has impressive specs for weight and drag output and has a heavy wire bail. The Saragosa does not have a thru handle but rather a screw in, not sure if that makes a difference but it is one and a lighter wire bail. I have not heard of anyone trashing the Penn Battle and is probably the best reel for the money.
    Most of the new reels now do not engage the bail by turning the handle, you have to manually flip it (Daiwa, Saragosa, and I think even the new version of the Spheros is like that) I don't like that but it is supposed to minimize wind knots.
    I would like to get some feedback on the Okuma Cedros line of reels. The Cedros conventionals have a great reputation, but don't know how the spinners hold up, if the yare any good they are priced reasonable.
    I liked fishing a Penn Torque 100 Lever Drag last year, it actually casts pretty well with live baits but a Trinidad is also hard to beat. This year I have a Penn Fathom 30 I am looking forward to testing. The other reel that interests me this year is the Daiwa Luna 400, smaller than the Tranx and half the price but might be a great reel. Lots of choices out there, and most are going to be good to you.
    Thanks, your right about the penn battle from my experience I have the 2000 and have caught 30" redfish on it without a hick up. Great reel and That's coming from a shimano guy!
    superduper wrote: »
    spinning.

    my go to tarpon combo for my kayak is a 4500 spinfisher V with 20# 832 and 40-60 leader. on a stellar lite 10-20 7'er
    i bought the set up for bigger fish, mainly tarpon. have caught nice sharks on it too.
    after having it for almost a year and not getting any tarpon, just sharks and redfish, i finally got an 80-90# tarpon with the set up.
    i only had 30# leader which scared me fighting it, but managed to land it on the yak in just under 10 minutes. gave me 10-12 awesome jumps.

    i think that new saragosa sounds about right, those reels look and sound amazing. thats what id get. especially since you know and use shimanos already, so you wont have too much "new" stuff to figure out and be like, ohhhh, i dont like that. on a 12-25 star rod maybe. or teramar as mentioned.
    thats what id get.
    That's awesome can't wait to land my first tarpon! Must have been quite the rush in the yak!

    I am leaning towards a saragosa or sustain unless I find a deal I can't pass up. I'm also still intrigued with the conventional but probably need to wait on that until I get on some bigger fish.
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  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    I have an avet sx raptor and love it, but I mainly use it for bottom fishing. I need to practice casting it more with artificials etc, meaning trying to get the distance and direction down perfect. I find it a bit easier on spinning still. Awesome reel and would buy it again
  • Settin_HooksSettin_Hooks Posts: 237 Deckhand
    Ended up with a stradic 8000FJ and I'm adding 5 extra bearings so instead of 5+1 it will have 11 total bearings! Can't wait to see the difference! I'm also adding a couple extra bearings in my sustain 4000 so I will be able to compare the 2.

    On a side note, the avet sx Raptor is probably going to be my next setup! I was so close to buying that reel!
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    2016 Sea Hunt Gamefish 25
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