Keeping my skiff organized and as simple as possible, is important to me. A lot of people believe that you can't have too much on board, but I disagree. I prefer to have only what I need to best target any fish in the waters that I guide in. In this article I am going to explain what spinning rods I carry to fish from the waters in the Florida Keys and Everglades.
When choosing rods I want them, if possible, to serve double duty as most of mine do. Also, I prefer that they be very similar in feel to each other. What I mean by similar in feel, is that I want them to preferably be made by the same person or company and have the same model reel, just in different sizes. The reason for this is so that i can easily switch through all in the set without having to get a feel for a new rod each time I switch. I fish out of the Maverick 17' HPX-S and 18 HPX-V, with no more than 2 clients, switching off throughout the day. This rod system is great for clients or for a recreational angler.
All of my rods are custom built, and I write on the cork grip in permanent marker the target species so that I can easily instruct my clients which one to grab.
The first rod is a 6' 6-10lb rod with a Shimano Stradic 2500 holding 10lb PowerPro braid. This rod is perfect for redfish in the Everglades and Florida Bay. I usually have a 20lb flouro leader on this with a small jighead. This rod can also catch snook.
The second rod is a 7' 10-12lb with a 2500 Stradic and 10lb braid. this rod is for snook in the Everglades. I have a 30lb flouro leader on this with an Owner weedless hook for rigging flukes. I can also use this rod with the weedless hook for redfish around mangrove or in deep grass.
The third rod Is 7'8" 6-10lb with a Stradic 3000 with 10lb braid. This rod was designed for bonefish and will cast a shrimp a very long distance with accuracy. I have a 12lb flouro leader with a 1/0 hook, and a small splitshot on this one. If needed, this rod can also be used for spooky redfish when I need to cast farther, or for light permit fishing when I need to throw a smaller crab.
The fourth rod I carry is a 7'3 12-15lb rod, with a 4000 Stradic filled with 15lb PowerPro. This rod throws the small soft plastics I use for tarpon very well, and will also throw a permit crab excellent. This is one of my favorite rods because it is so versatile. It's light enough to throw all day, but still has enough power to turn the big Everglades tarpon, or a big permit streaking off a flat.
These are my four rods that really do it all. This is all the rods I need to carry in my skiff to light tackle fish.
By Chip Willimon