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Old 12-29-2005, 04:11 PM
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Default grouper rod recommendations

I'm looking for some ideas for a good grouper rod and possibly a reelto be used fishing from private boat around bridges, wreaks and reefs in the Keys. What length, power, action, graphite, glass or composite and handle types (EVA/foam butt grip or tuff grip) do you prefer. I plan on building the rod myself. Also, I have an Avet MXL reel without a home, is this reel suitable, if not what do you recommend.
Thanks in advance,
K.S.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

STIFF. You need to be able to crank them away from trouble before they wrap you up.
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Old 01-01-2006, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Something STRONG! You need a 50-80 blank, heavy duty guides and a roller tip if you're building your own. I use an Ugly Stik, an old Penn 4/0, 50# Dacron and Circle hooks. Same rig I use for Halibut.
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

K.S.
I have used various rod & reel combination for what you are asking.
I now have three favorites in descending order: GUSA 70Monster Mag (7ft)- best all around, stiff and long to get the grouper off the bottom quick; GUSA SW65XH (6 1/2 ft)- stiff enough though not as stiff as the Monster Mag, long enough to get the fish off bottom, a little less strain on the angler because of leverage, a little less distance on the initial hookset; Calstar 700H- same as the GUSA Monster Mag but a bit heavier and less lively feel.
The reels tested were Tiburon SST30, Shimano Ocea Jigger 3000P, Penn Baja Special, and Daiwa Saltiga 50. The largest fish was a 250+ lb goliath grouper from the Tib SST30 & GUSA SW65XH (85lb spectra, 60 lb Fluro topshot) that took less than 25 minutes.
I'm sure there are plenty of other choices out there. Good luck in finding your perfect combination. PM me if you would like.

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Old 01-01-2006, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Thanks for the responses. giahinh, I am actually looking at the GUSA monster mag blank to build on, it's good to hear some one else using the blank for grouper fishing. I was also considering the Calstar and Seeker equivalent. You mentioned that you used spectra and a floro topshot. I'm looking at reels for this rod and I feel like a 6/0 and even a 4/0 seems too big, how much line capacity do you really need? And what pound test? Thanks, KS.
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Old 01-01-2006, 06:25 PM
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Default RE: grouper rod recommendations

I really doubt that you would need a whole lot of line just for grouper fishing. However, all of my reels are used for other species as well, namely tuna and wahoos. Consequently, I like to have a generous amount of line. I use Jerry Brown (Line One) 80 lb solid spectra, spliced into a short section of 130lb hollow spectra with a loop at the end. Then, I am free to use any size of topshot that I like.
I also do not think that any reel is too big for the 7ft Monster Mag in terms of handling for grouper fishing. Granted, a lighter reel and a very light-weight rod such as a GUSA would make it pleasurable to fish with when one is out for a while. My favorite reel for grouper fishing is actually the Shimano Ocea Jigger, a Japanese domestic version of our Trinidad. It is fitted with a slightly lower gear ratio than the Trinidad. Stock drag and drag plate generates about 20 lb of drag. I upgraded the drag plate and get a smooth and consistent 27 lb max drag. A friend of mine likes bigger reels because it gives a greater leverage to sweep the rod up on hook up. I just like a narrow and small sized reel (4-0 size or smaller) since there is less instability when reeling.
When using the GUSA rod, remember not to high stick it or flip the fish into the boat, which would likely break your rod tip. Also, a graphite rod technique is different than a glass rod. I would reel down until the rod is fully loaded and reel again when the rod starts to recover. There is no need for pumping or horsing the fish. It makes short work of most fish, even with a single speed reel.
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Don't have much input on the rods, but the Avet MXL will be marginal. It puts out about 10 lbs. of drag at strike while maintaining free spool, and you get about 16 lbs. at full. If you aren't fishing deep and aren't figuring on catching any goliath grouper, you shouldn't have a problem. The worst that will happen is you will suffer quite a few cut-offs, so give it a try. You already have the reel, so it won't cost you anything to see if it will work. If it doesn't work, get yourself an old Penn 113H, get the narrow Accurate frame and spool for it, put new greased, drag washers, and you will have a good reel that will get you 20+ pounds of drag and free spool won't ever be a problem.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Pooldoo73, is that you in the picture of that 358lb warsaw grouper?
I absolutely agree with your post. My old reliable, though not very refined grouper reel, is actually an open tib-framed 4-0 with upgraded gears and drags, a la YTS variety.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:23 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

KS. your kind of grouper fishing is not unlike ours. we're not looking for what doo posted, (good lord!) but reds, gags, blacks and an occasional warsaw or snowy in the 10 to 50lb range. this is 30 to 50 lb tackle size for us. we use mono, but i think if the combo is dedicated, braid is not a bad choice. no need to get too heavy on the line or rod. the MXL will certainly work and can see some other duty with a properly matched rod. if you are building yourself let me offer a couple of obvious suggestions. 12" butt, foam. maybe a longer foregrip, but to taste. i like a graphite seat, but a HD seat like a fuji DPSH is hard to beat. glass is going to last you longer than most composites, but will be heavier, but we're not talking about an ultralight class rod here, though. guides, i would just stick with good ol' fuji harloy. i prefer a longer blank, up to 7 feet, but thats personal preference. makes working around the boat easier, but as i said, thats preference. let me be so bold as to recommend a Seeker model JB65 or JB65H.
this will make a fine 30-50 bottom fisher. if you are after something bigger, i think a stump puller or stand up gear in IGFA class would be easy enough.

cheers.
drew

(btw, we have only held 2 IGFA lineclass records for grouper, so i dont know everything, that for sure)
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

i like a very stiff rod in 100-130 lb. i like the regular penn 6/0 special senator. the 6/0 special is better for grouper than the 9/0 senator. i have had the pinion gear in the 9/0 spread and seize up several times on large grouper when the drag was hammered down. never had this problem on the 6/0 as i believe the gears are stronger. with this rig i fish for gulf grouper in the northern sea of cortez up to 80-100 lbs.
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Old 01-03-2006, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

No, that's not me. Wish it was. That's one of the local captians, Capt. Ed Frekey. The grouper we catch around here are not usually anything like that. THe one's you here about are usually up to about 40- 50 lbs.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Some great advice here....enjoyed reading it. I would consider talking to a local in the keys though before making a decision. Depending on the depth and type of water you are going to be fishing the tackle can be completely different. I fish in the florida panhandle, mostly natural bottom anywhere from right off the beach to 250 feet. I usually jig with a Penn 6500 with 25 lb spool & 60 lb. leader and routinely catch gags up to 30 lbs on natural bottom. A bunch of guys here use the torium 30, it is hugely popular for jigging grouper.

Wreck fishing is harder b/c even a little grouper can turn quickly into its hole and the relief of the wreck. I do not do much wreck fishing b/c they are public & usually picked over more and it is a hassle to re-tie. You can catch plenty of good fish on wrecks though. If I have to, I will anchor a little upcurrent of the wreck & chum on the downrigger. Then you can stick with light tackle and no break offs.

Deep water is a different ball game, when we are on fish I will usually butterfly some type of big bait (white snapper, big b-liner, dolphin, etc.) and usually a 6/0 or two speed. We catch gags in the 50 lb range, which are huge fish in our area. I have only seen a few fish bigger than 50 pounds (obviously excluding the goliaths). I have pulled up a few in the 40 - 50 lb range with a 4/0 but it is tough with a standard 4/0 drag, etc. I would be much too lazy to change out drags washers, etc. You can lock down the drag with a wrench & a 50 pounder will still rip out line. Often put the big rod in the holder & jig while waiting for a bite. Jigging is very effective even in deep water & we will catch tuna, kings, etc. by accident which changes things up a little.

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Old 01-05-2006, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

I would also add that if you talked to most of the recreational fisherman around here in boats under 25 feet , only a small handufl will have caught grouper to 20 pounds. Anything over 22" would be considered a good catch and dinner by most.
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Old 01-06-2006, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: grouper rod recommendations

Where can I get a GUSA Monster Mag 7ft rod?
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