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What makes for a good Tarpon rod, anyway?

I tried to hijack a post related to this issue but may have been late to the party.

I have done some recent upgrading to my med hvy/ hvy spin gear, and in doing so, have made some observations, and raised some questions as this one.

Recently I bought an 8' XH Teramar that has roughly the same power as my MH 8' Tidemaster, but with a faster (lighter) tip. Great. I went back to buy a 7' hvy Teramar and was disappointed that the power was nowhere near heavy, but in my estimation a heavy medium, if you will. I was told this was the best "Tarpon" rod.

I prefer my fishing rods to be stout with a faster tip with one exception: My plug rod is medium power and medium action for the purpose of not allowing the fish to shake loose small treble hooks. Is the reference to a good tarpon rod based on the same principle? Does the fact that they are big jumpers and head shakers necessitate having a limber rod to absorb that extra stress, particularly if one is using braid? Or was this guy just trying to sell me something I wasn't interested in?

Replies

  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    You'll want to bow, not use your rod, to stop the tarpon from throwing the hook. I've found this is more important with lures and J hooks than it is for circle hooks, yet I still do it out of habit.

    Different folks like different rods for tarpon. I prefer slower action rods for live bait and faster action rods for plugs -- but regardless of what type of fishing I'm doing, the rod needs to have enough backbone to be able to lean into the tarpon when necessary. When judging backbone, I set the reel's drag to about 8lbs (which is heavier than most would likely guess) and see how deep the rod bends -- if it "breaks down" (i.e. bends very near the top of the foregrip) then it's probably not heavy enough....for me at least.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    I think the 8ft Xh teramar is the go to tarpon rod.
  • captkylekelsocaptkylekelso Posts: 20 Greenhorn
    Choosing the right tarpon rod is dependent on your style of fishing. If you are live baiting for tarpon, I like to have a rod that is nice and stiff in the butt section but one that also has a decently fast tip so I can see when the bait is about to get pounded. If you are making big casts versus drifting, you would want a rod that is a little longer, maybe a 7'6 or an 8' rod that has somewhat of a fast tip, but is pretty stiff the whole way down the rest of the rod. I use a 12-25lb crowder rod for casting baits long distances and also for artificial lures when sight casting for tarpon. I don't necessarily use this rod for tarpon bigger than 100lbs.

    For bigger tarpon, live baiting (drifting), and chumming, I use a Crower SLB70. That is a 20-50lb spinning rod (7') that has a gimble butt on it. This rod can still cast a good ways, but is better for drifting baits. It's tip is pretty soft, but the rod is really beefy. I have never gotten beat by a tarpon on this rod. I am using cabo 80s on this rod and the smaller 7'6 rod I was talking about I use cabo 60s. Both reels with 30 lb braid. It really comes down to your style of fishing, as there is no "best" rod that you can use. Every guide in my marina has a different type of rod that works best for him and his clients, as I have mine. As far as the softness of the tip when they jump - if you have the tarpon hooked good enough in the right spot, it won't spit your hook. They can and will land on your line, so bowing to the fish is a good idea. Though, I have had many tarpon get on the line while the rod was in the rod holder, jump 5+ times, then pick the rod up and they were still on there. So it really depends on the scenario. As far as treble hooks go, most tarpon are going to spit the hook. I have never had the best luck catching many tarpon over 45 pounds on a plug with treble hooks. You just can't get the amount of hooking pressure needed with a plug. Try using something like a hogy or a DOA that has a normal J hook built within the jig head. Good luck!
    Capt. Kyle Kelso
    All Water Charters
    Key West, FL
  • Pescatoral PursuitPescatoral Pursuit Posts: 5,065 Admiral
    Choosing the right tarpon rod is dependent on your style of fishing. If you are live baiting for tarpon, I like to have a rod that is nice and stiff in the butt section but one that also has a decently fast tip so I can see when the bait is about to get pounded. If you are making big casts versus drifting, you would want a rod that is a little longer, maybe a 7'6 or an 8' rod that has somewhat of a fast tip, but is pretty stiff the whole way down the rest of the rod. I use a 12-25lb crowder rod for casting baits long distances and also for artificial lures when sight casting for tarpon. I don't necessarily use this rod for tarpon bigger than 100lbs.

    For bigger tarpon, live baiting (drifting), and chumming, I use a Crower SLB70. That is a 20-50lb spinning rod (7') that has a gimble butt on it. This rod can still cast a good ways, but is better for drifting baits. It's tip is pretty soft, but the rod is really beefy. I have never gotten beat by a tarpon on this rod. I am using cabo 80s on this rod and the smaller 7'6 rod I was talking about I use cabo 60s. Both reels with 30 lb braid. It really comes down to your style of fishing, as there is no "best" rod that you can use. Every guide in my marina has a different type of rod that works best for him and his clients, as I have mine. As far as the softness of the tip when they jump - if you have the tarpon hooked good enough in the right spot, it won't spit your hook. They can and will land on your line, so bowing to the fish is a good idea. Though, I have had many tarpon get on the line while the rod was in the rod holder, jump 5+ times, then pick the rod up and they were still on there. So it really depends on the scenario. As far as treble hooks go, most tarpon are going to spit the hook. I have never had the best luck catching many tarpon over 45 pounds on a plug with treble hooks. You just can't get the amount of hooking pressure needed with a plug. Try using something like a hogy or a DOA that has a normal J hook built within the jig head. Good luck!

    Thanks Capt/ t-nator.

    It sounds like I have each scenario covered with the faster teramar for slinging live bait, the somewhat slower tidemaster for casting arti's and I've got a 7' pool cue of a redbone which is my shark rod that can serve double duty for drifting baits. Though I get a lot of breakoffs w the redbone, usually when the blacktips go airborne. Maybe I should be bowing to them also?

    Now if I could just get on those big tarpon...
  • superdupersuperduper Posts: 1,927 Captain
    I'm about to get an 8' fast taper stellar lite 15-25 for my 6000 Saragosa for tarpons and big snooks. I'm wondering if it has single foot guides or not. I know the original stellar lite are the beefier ones with 2 foot guides, I have a 15-25 in that for an 8000, real stick.
    I'm just hoping the 8'er has a little more tip.
    Sucks no store really has any REAL selection of any line of rods. Must be hard with a big line up like the stellar lites.
    Guess I will see in a week.
  • haydenfox!#$haydenfox!#$ Posts: 2,406 Captain
    FishInFL wrote: »
    I think the 8ft Xh teramar is the go to tarpon rod.

    Could be very limited in it's use. I have the heavy version and it is very stiff. Casting light baits is not optimal.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    Could be very limited in it's use. I have the heavy version and it is very stiff. Casting light baits is not optimal.

    What are you casting as bait?
  • haydenfox!#$haydenfox!#$ Posts: 2,406 Captain
    FishInFL wrote: »
    What are you casting as bait?

    Apologies, crabs and threads. Mullet and 4 inch + pinfish do fine. Plugs, not so much...

    Edit: I definitely do more casting than catching.
  • captkylekelsocaptkylekelso Posts: 20 Greenhorn
    Thanks Capt/ t-nator.

    Though I get a lot of breakoffs w the redbone, usually when the blacktips go airborne. Maybe I should be bowing to them also?

    I have blacktips/spinner sharks hit all the time down here in Key West. I have tried fishing for them tons of different methods and they always seem to break off when they jump. I think it's just the amount of pressure they are putting on the line and shredding through it with their tough skin when they land on it!
    Capt. Kyle Kelso
    All Water Charters
    Key West, FL
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,837 AG
    How old are you?
    superduper wrote: »
    Sucks no store really has any REAL selection of any line of rods.

    These days the selection of rods is enormous, even up here in the middle of North Florida?

    If you think "no store has any REAL selection of... rods" in the Miami area you might just be SOL.
  • Pescatoral PursuitPescatoral Pursuit Posts: 5,065 Admiral
    Could be very limited in it's use. I have the heavy version and it is very stiff. Casting light baits is not optimal.

    Drop down to the 7' heavy action teramar. You'll get a nice deep bend in it coming out of the foregrip.
  • superdupersuperduper Posts: 1,927 Captain
    How old are you?



    These days the selection of rods is enormous, even up here in the middle of North Florida?

    If you think "no store has any REAL selection of... rods" in the Miami area you might just be SOL.

    I'm 84 tomorrow. What does that matter?
    I can't walk into any store down here to look at stellar lite rods and see every length and weight 6.6-8 ft. You are telling me you can go into stores where you are at and put every different teramar that shimano makes in your hand one at a time to see how each one feels?
    Guess I have to road trip.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    Could be very limited in it's use. I have the heavy version and it is very stiff. Casting light baits is not optimal.

    Wouldn't the extra foot give you th distance needed by making up for the stiffness?
  • haydenfox!#$haydenfox!#$ Posts: 2,406 Captain
    FishInFL wrote: »
    Wouldn't the extra foot give you th distance needed by making up for the stiffness?

    I don't know, does it? I own an 8' H action rod and that's the only experience with the rod I have. The 8' heavy is pretty daggum stiff so I can only imaging that an XH would be more stiff and if one wants to throw lighter baits there may be better options. Maybe not, I certainly am no expert.
  • Jetex2801Jetex2801 Posts: 540 Officer
    I don't know, does it? I own an 8' H action rod and that's the only experience with the rod I have. The 8' heavy is pretty daggum stiff so I can only imaging that an XH would be more stiff and if one wants to throw lighter baits there may be better options. Maybe not, I certainly am no expert.

    The 8ft XH actually has a significantly softer tip than the 8ft H.
  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,419 Admiral
    I can confirm, the TMSX80XH (extra heavy extra fast) is the one with the soft tip..softer than the TMS80H but , more backbone than the 8H.

    I prefer the Eupro DTNS801530 over the teramar rods.

    double foot fuji guides all the way to the top on the 7'6 H and 8' H w/fuji reel seats.

    http://www.anglersystems.com/euprodtns.html
  • JackAttack24JackAttack24 Posts: 113 Officer
    johnD wrote: »
    I can confirm, the TMSX80XH (extra heavy extra fast) is the one with the soft tip..softer than the TMS80H but , more backbone than the 8H.

    I prefer the Eupro DTNS801530 over the teramar rods.

    double foot fuji guides all the way to the top on the 7'6 H and 8' H w/fuji reel seats.

    http://www.anglersystems.com/euprodtns.html

    Just looked those up look like good rods for the price cheap too I like that St.Croix Tidemaster I bought though


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,419 Admiral
    Just looked those up look like good rods for the price cheap too I like that St.Croix Tidemaster I bought though


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    yeah man , you got a nice rod , no doubt..if you wanna check out a eurpo in the future , I think gandy b&t still carries them. it makes a killer backup stick. something you can throw in the back of the truck and hit a bridge or two at night for instance.
  • Pescatoral PursuitPescatoral Pursuit Posts: 5,065 Admiral
    I don't know, does it? I own an 8' H action rod and that's the only experience with the rod I have. The 8' heavy is pretty daggum stiff so I can only imaging that an XH would be more stiff and if one wants to throw lighter baits there may be better options. Maybe not, I certainly am no expert.
    Jetex2801 wrote: »
    The 8ft XH actually has a significantly softer tip than the 8ft H.
    johnD wrote: »
    I can confirm, the TMSX80XH (extra heavy extra fast) is the one with the soft tip..softer than the TMS80H but , more backbone than the 8H.

    http://www.anglersystems.com/euprodtns.html


    I can confirm the tip on my teramar 8' XH is lighter than my Tidemaster MH while butt stiffness is comparable. In my world, this makes the teramar preferable for tossing lighter baits and the Tidemaster better for throwing artis.
  • JackAttack24JackAttack24 Posts: 113 Officer
    johnD wrote: »
    yeah man , you got a nice rod , no doubt..if you wanna check out a eurpo in the future , I think gandy b&t still carries them. it makes a killer backup stick. something you can throw in the back of the truck and hit a bridge or two at night for instance.

    Yeah I might do that Gandy Bait and Tackle is my place to go to get all my stuff I know those guys really well I spend a lot of money there too! I like that idea as a backup I don't like taking my high end stuff to piers people steal stuff all the time definitely gonna use it as my skyway tarpon Rod for sure


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • haydenfox!#$haydenfox!#$ Posts: 2,406 Captain
    Jetex2801 wrote: »
    The 8ft XH actually has a significantly softer tip than the 8ft H.
    johnD wrote: »
    I can confirm, the TMSX80XH (extra heavy extra fast) is the one with the soft tip..softer than the TMS80H but , more backbone than the 8H.

    I prefer the Eupro DTNS801530 over the teramar rods.

    double foot fuji guides all the way to the top on the 7'6 H and 8' H w/fuji reel seats.

    http://www.anglersystems.com/euprodtns.html
    I can confirm the tip on my teramar 8' XH is lighter than my Tidemaster MH while butt stiffness is comparable. In my world, this makes the teramar preferable for tossing lighter baits and the Tidemaster better for throwing artis.

    Good info!
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    I really like the idea of going to Gandy B&T.

    Talk to Bill. Great guy, and he knows his stuff.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    Tarponator wrote: »
    I really like the idea of going to Gandy B&T.

    Talk to Bill. Great guy, and he knows his stuff.

    Ahhh yes Bill, great American.

    Any concerns with the cork handles vs. foam grips for offshore use? Teramars have the cork, so was curious on thoughts
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    Doesn't matter much to me, but if you're going to use a rod belt, the foam handles stand up much better in my experience.
  • JackAttack24JackAttack24 Posts: 113 Officer
    Tarponator wrote: »
    I really like the idea of going to Gandy B&T.

    Talk to Bill. Great guy, and he knows his stuff.

    Bill is a great guy really nice always helps me pick out reels and rods


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • trponhuntertrponhunter Posts: 249 Deckhand
    just cut 3.5" off my 8 foot termar XH - like it much better a little shorter
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