Bill AKA: Doctor Striper asks:

Hi Mike,
Enjoy your articles. Got a question about conventional bait casting surf reels. I've traditionally been a spinning rod buff for plugs and bait. As you can see from the attached picture I also fly fish and prefer it to all other methods for stripers. But I'm also an opportunist and believe you have to be in this game. That's why I want to step up to a conventional outfit for heaving bait and large plugs. But I'm confused. I'm looking at Daiwa SLOSH reels which are true free spool reels and are known for their distance casting. Its an advantage to allow a striper to pick up the bait and run before throwing the clutch to set the hook. With a spinning reel I set the drag very light, then crank down on the drag once I have a fish hooked. Is the same deal on a bait caster. Do you set the drag light when the rod is spiked, then crank down once you've hooked a fish? Some reels I'm aware of have levers that control settings for free spool, bait running and fighting drag. Its not like I'm a totally inexperienced bait caster as I have a lot of hours with fresh water outfits Final question. For plug fishing with conventional tackle from jetties or surf, what's my best rod and reel combination? action? weight rating? length? make? For bait fishing, What bait casting combo will get my greatest distance for the money? Yes, price is a consideration. Don't need a Cadillac, just something reliable.

Thanks in advance, Bill AKA: Doctor Striper


Ask-MikeStriper Mike's Answer:

wow..................ok...........thanks for the compliments........well....here goes........I use an ambassador 7500.....and a 10 ft custom composition rod...........just an ugly stick blank......I do NOT let stripers run with the bait.......many do...I feel more times than not they will drop the bait from hook detection......and those hook ups from idle rods sitting in the holder are exceptions not typical.......that also gut hooks those that are bait greedy. and I practice catch and release......if I am seriously fishing a tide....I hold the rod.............and simply lower the tip if I feel any action.....if he is still there after dipping the tip...I strike the fish...I have told many people about being careful  of the SOFT BITE............especially with experienced cows............while holding it I have the drag set to fight the fish........palm the pool on the strike and try not to mess with the drag........specially with big ones..... also..........distance is NOT always the key to surfcasting.........7500 ambassador about 150$.........good rod....100.............there is NO perfect.....rod for plug and bait.......but a 10 foot would be close.........please practice catch and release........good luck.