We've pared down the gear we bring over the past months, trying to dial it in just right and just tryin' to keep it simple and efficient. It certainly has evolved over the season, from one or two simple and versatile rigs to a serious catfish rig or two and some lighter rigs that can fill a few rolls. I think I have gotten it down to four rods in my truck, maybe five if I am feeling greedy, and all of them seem to do the job either down by the river or posted up on a lake. I guess it has a lot to do with the tackle box that accompanies them, but all in all. Everything is compact( I can bike on down to the river) and incredibly versatile. Here's a quick rundown of what I have found to be invaluable to me this season....
I guess I'll list 'em light to heavy. The first rig is an Ugly Stik Spin combo I picked up at Target. It's a 6’0” medium action rod with 30 size reel which I wound with 14 lb. Berekely Fireline. This little rig works great on the river, and I add a little bobber for hittin' up the lakes.The second rig is also an Ugly Stick. It's a 7' Catfish casting rod with an old Abu Garcia 5500 C3 baitcasting reel set up on it. Right now, I think it's spooled with 30 lb. Stren Super Braid on the reel, and topped off with a light flexible steel leader. I add a baitcasting weight for the river and a topwater or shallow diving lure on the lakes.
The first of my two heavyweight rigs is yet another Ugly Stik. It is 7' Ugly Stik Tiger Bigwater, which is a medium action rod, although it feels much more burly for sure. It is set up with an Okuma Epixor EB50 spinning reel, and wound with hi-vis yellow 80 lb. Power Pro braid. The Okuma reel has got a clicker on it which is sure handy when your fishin' the river at night. It's a bit more sleek than all the rattles and cowbells I see people usin'. This is the one river-specific rod I keep in my arsenal, the other three are more versatile, but havin' this rod down at the river is priceless
Last but not least is a nice and simple muskie rig that is perfect for either the river or the lakes. It is a 7' Fig Rig Baitcaster with medium/heavy action. It is set up with an Abu 5500 C4 baitcaster and also wound with 80 lb. Power Pro braid. This one as well as my other heavy rig are both topped off with flexible steel musky leaders, and weights for the river. Like my smaller baitcaster, I can tie on musky plugs and hit up the lakes, or throw a big ol' circle hook and some weights and let it sit in the river