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Kingfish - Rod & Reel Options & Discussion

Old 08-02-2019, 03:16 AM
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Exclamation Kingfish - Rod & Reel Options & Discussion

Hello Everyone,

I hope all is well.

King Mackerel season is around the corner here, so wanted to make sure I have my gear ready to avoid any downtime when they show up. I will be ordering these from an online vendor that ships internationally looks like its going to be from Tackledirect.

I will be targeting King Mackerel slow trolling and live-bait Drifting, The King Mackerel here range from 10-30Kg +/-. Wanted to get your opinions on the below rod and reel set ups, any advice would be highly appreciated,

Live-bait slow trolling conventional Option 1:
Reel: Shimano Talica 10ii
Rod: Star Rods Handcrafted Live Bait Rod
Price Per Combo: 600$

Live-bait slow trolling conventional Option 2:
Reel: Penn Fathom 15 level drag
Rod: Star Rods Handcrafted Live Bait Rod
Price Per Combo: 350$

Live-bait slow trolling conventional Option 3:
Reel: Penn Fathom 25 level drag
Rod: Star Rods Handcrafted Live Bait Rod
Price Per Combo: 380$

Live-bait slow trolling spinning:
Reels: Shimano Saragossa 6000
Rod: Star Rods Handcrafted Live Bait Rod
Price per combo: 370$

Live-bait Drifting Spinning:
Penn Spinfisher VI 6500 live liner combos
Price per combo: 250$

Looking to get 2 of each the above set ups, was thinking of running all the above with 50lb braid and around 50-100ft of 30-50lb mono.

I based the above setups based on reading these forums, What do you guys think? Let me know if I am going about this the wrong way.

Thanks a lot in advance!
Old 08-02-2019, 06:34 AM
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IMHO - You are WAY over thinking Kingfishing. Where are you located per chance?

Be prepared as you will end up with 10,000 opinions on gear and most of them will do the job. The only thing I can really offer to anyone gear shopping is.....
  • Buy the BEST gear that you can AFFORD. Set aside a budget, and buy what you can with what you have.
  • Unless you are high-dollar tournament / pro fishing, you can get away with some "multi-purpose" gear.... Trolling gear can be used for kings, dolphin, sailfish, wahoo, smaller tuna, etc and can also be used as live or chunk bait rods. If you have the money and room for specialty rods for everything, go for it.
  • Brand Selection - Choose a brand you like, but keep in mind serviceability in your local area. You should not have a problem getting anything you listed serviced anywhere
  • Brand Selection 2 - Choose a brand you like and stick with that brand for the same size / type reel. It makes holding on to spares and field servicing easier and cheaper.
  • KISS - (Keep it stupid simple) - Braid Backing with a top-shot. Simple knots that you can tie in the dark in 6' seas. Quality terminal gear
  • Have fun! and catch fish.
Old 08-02-2019, 06:36 AM
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This is just me but frankly I think the 2 speed reel is overkill. I exclusively tournament kingfish and my setup would be.
Shimano Torium 20
Star 7' hand crafted live bait rod 15-30lb
Run 20lb mono with 10-15' of flouro leader. I would never use braid EVER. light tackle with no stretch in the braid equals pulled hooks.
I'm personally not a big fan of lever drag reels but that's just my personal preference.
Old 08-02-2019, 08:55 AM
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Keep it simple. There is really no need to spend big money when you’ll be fishing 2-5lbs of drag. One of the best kingfisherman I know fishes 20+ year old speedmasters and routinely wins money in tournaments.

Effective rigging, good baits, and trolling at the proper speed are far more important than gear when kingfishing.
Old 08-02-2019, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Fractured but whole View Post
Keep it simple. There is really no need to spend big money when you’ll be fishing 2-5lbs of drag. One of the best kingfisherman I know fishes 20+ year old speedmasters and routinely wins money in tournaments.

Effective rigging, good baits, and trolling at the proper speed are far more important than gear when kingfishing.

This is spot-on, I’ve finally managed a full set of the classic Fighting Star Speedmasters (4x IVs and 1x III) all upgraded with new modern bearings and carbon fiber drags, they’re perfect, can be had on eBay cheap enough that I’ve picked up a few sub-30$ for parts. All on random, non-matching 7’ live bait rods. All sporting 20 or 25# Momoi Diamond. I previously fished kingfish modded Avet 6.0s but I GREATLY prefer a star drag with kingfish. Without a budget and buying new, I’d look heavily into the 35-50 Saltiga (Or saltist)star drags.
Old 08-02-2019, 09:32 AM
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I have late 70's to early 80's abu Garcia 7000s that I like to use for kingfish for drift fishing live or dead bait.. Bullet proof reels in my experience. If I troll for them, I usually use tlds but have picked up two tekota 600 reels and they work pretty good. Everything you listed would work as well I think although I don't have personal experience with some of the things on your list.
Old 08-02-2019, 09:45 AM
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Agree that 2 speeds are overkill for dedicated kingfish reels. They are also going to have wayyyy too steep of a drag curve fishing live bait stinger rigs.

If you want to buy a good quality new reel I would highly suggest the single speed Penn Fathom 40 Narrow High Speed. I have been extremely impressed with my set of them. I would also spool all mono.
Old 08-02-2019, 10:31 AM
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For kings you want a relatively high speed reel with a smooth drag. If you go the lever drag route you want one with a shallow drag curve. I don't own any talicas or fathoms but I have heard that the curve on the talicas is pretty steep. The two speed on the Tac10 is useless for kings. I run modified Avet's for kings but definitely wouldn't recommend that if you're out of the states. Your rod choice is good but I think your best bet would be an entire set of Torium 20 or 30 HGA's if you don't mind star drags.

If we're talking kingfish specific reels the Penn fathom 15 doesn't hold enough line (200yds/20lb mono) and has a super slow line retrieve (27"). It would be completely out of the question for me. The 25 you mention would be better suited but I can't comment on the drag curve and I would still want a little faster line retrieve for a dedicated king reel. For double duty reels I would buy 25n or 40n 2 speeds add a mono topshot on the braid and just lighten my drag a bunch for the kings. The talica 2 speed would be a good double duty reel also.

As mentioned, I would pick one size/brand reel for your conventional and spinner and stick with that. It makes life a lot simpler. You can catch kings on anything really. I used to catch them on tld15s and penn spinfisher 6500s. But now I have more kingfish specific gear and it does make life easier. I have 46" line retrieve, buttery smooth drags, 300yds of 50lb braid with a 50-100yd 20lb momoi diamond topshot. I fish my drags around 2-3lbs at strike which is 5-6lbs at full. I use the 7ft star aeriel live bait rods and they work very well.

Edit: Just checked the specs on the fathom 40 high speed and it seems like a very good choice for kings..... as long as the drag curve is not too aggressive.

Last edited by mdees88; 08-02-2019 at 10:38 AM.
Old 08-02-2019, 12:40 PM
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First of all I would like to thank you all for your extremely valuable input, I did some more research to see possible options after weighing in your feedback and I summed it down to the below 3 candidates:
  1. Shimano Torium 30 HGA, Price 250$, Torium
  2. Penn Fathom 30 Star Drag, Price 220$, Fathom
  3. Penn Squall 30 Star Drag, Price 150$, Squall
I am personally leaning towards the Torium 30 HGA due to the cranking retrieve rate and the physical size of the reel, even though it is the priciest. But I think if taken care of properly it will be a long term investment.

What do you guys think?

Also any feedback on the Saragossa 6000 for a slow live-bait trolling spinning reel, does anyone have any other recommendations?

Thanks again!
Old 08-02-2019, 12:54 PM
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Daiwa bg and ugly stik tiger elite.
Old 08-02-2019, 01:02 PM
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Torium HGAs are very nice reels. You can usually hunt them down around $200 for the 30 and $185 for the 20. Keep on eye for ebay coupons and contact some of the vendors on here.....
Old 08-02-2019, 01:03 PM
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All of your conventional reel choices will certainly do the job, but the Torium would be my first choice.
As for spinning reel choices you also have many suitable options, some of which can save you money over the Saragosa such as the Quantum Cabo 60, Quantum Boca 60, or the Daiwa BG 5000. All quality products with smooth, capable drags and line capacity.
Old 08-04-2019, 11:23 AM
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I use Shakespeare 15-30 lb 7' Rods. Reels are penn fathom 30 star drags from srmo.com they have the best prices for reels.
Old 08-05-2019, 03:17 PM
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Find some used speedmasters and call it a day. You wont find better kingfish reels for the price.
Old 08-06-2019, 06:15 PM
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Fin Nor Lethal 100 plus Ugly Stick from Walmart loaded with 20 lb mono- $200.

Penn Squall 30 on Star Handcrafted KF- $260

Both have caught many kings
Old 08-07-2019, 07:35 AM
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I'm another fan of the Torium. When I used to fish for kings a lot I primarily targeted fish under 30 pounds, so the Torium 16 with 14# mono was my go-to setup.
Old 08-07-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Farside88 View Post
Find some used speedmasters and call it a day. You wont find better kingfish reels for the price.
My absolute favorites!! Great line capacity, good smooth drag, high ratio, and LOUD audible clickers.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:14 PM
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I want to pair some penn Senator 112h reels with a good versatile rod. I’ve decided to get Ugly Stik tigers. I ordered the medium - light 12-30lbs version, but am wondering if these might be too limber. I have the reels spooled with 30lbs mono. I want to use them for trolling for Kings, blackfin dolphin, etc. but I also want to use them for live bait drifting and bottom fishing at times. Should I get a medium rod for this all around use it stick with the medium light?
Old 08-15-2019, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Sscoville View Post
I want to pair some penn Senator 112h reels with a good versatile rod. I’ve decided to get Ugly Stik tigers. I ordered the medium - light 12-30lbs version, but am wondering if these might be too limber. I have the reels spooled with 30lbs mono. I want to use them for trolling for Kings, blackfin dolphin, etc. but I also want to use them for live bait drifting and bottom fishing at times. Should I get a medium rod for this all around use it stick with the medium light?
Light-Medium is my preference for live-bait fishing but may not have enough backbone for some larger bottom fishing. I use two completely different set-up for those two situations.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:58 PM
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I know some like the light tips for Kings because the have a soft mouth. Why do you prefer the lighter tip for live baiting? What about length? Can choose between between 6’6 and 7’.

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