In the spring of 2017, Capt. Greg Buckner was very fortunate to be sponsored by Shimano and asked to become a member of the PRO TEAM! Capt. Greg had been exclusively using Shimano Reels for a few years, ever since the quality of PENN Reels went down the drain when the company “value engineered” all of their products to hit a certain price point instead of building a reel to last. Capt. Greg has been on cloud 9 since switching to Shimano Reels and they have been instrumental to his success on the Chesapeake Bay. As far as rods are concerned, 2017 was an eye opening experiencing for Capt. Greg. He had some good solid Spinning & Bait casting rods that were doing a good job but when Shimano began sending samples to try and find the perfect rods for the 2 major methods we use spinning rods for (Live Lining & Bottom Fishing), the results were incredible. And it did not take long to find the perfect combos….
Bottom Fishing/ Jigging Combos
Shimano Trevala 6ft 3in ML action (TVSS63ML) rigged with Shimano Stradic FK 4000 size Spinning Reels spooled with 20 lb Test (4 lb test Mono equivalent) Power Pro Maxcuatro
This extremely lightweight combo packs a powerful punch and don’t let the ML (Medium Light) rating fool you, this rod has plenty of backbone to set the hook when using a jighead and plastic bait combo. I have noticed in the Trevala Series a M feels like a very stong MH and a ML feels like a lighter feeling MH or a stout M action rod. Whats makes this rod perfect if you do a bunch of bottom fishing and some jigging as well is that this rod excels at both. This rod does not overpower a tasty white Perch and yet has plenty of umph to set the hook on a 30 Striper. I have found that for bottom fishing a 6ft 3inch rod is perfect because it allows clearance from the side of the boat while fishing, but is still easily stowed away when not in use. The Stradic FK 4000 is the perfect fit for this very versatile rod. Super Lightweight, solid drag and as smooth as it gets. And as far as casting goes, this combo can cast a country mile!
Light Tackle Live Lining Combos
Shimano North East Series Teramar 6ft 6in MH Spinning(TMSE66MH) rigged with Shimano 4000 size Thunnus Ci4 Baitrunner Reels spooled with 17 lb Flourocarbon line
Simply put, this is the finest light tackle live lining combo that money can buy, it is 100% perfect for the type of live bait fishing that we do in the Chesapeake Bay. I had been using the Shimano 4000 size Thunnus Reels with great success over the past few years, but it took until last summer to meet the NE Series Teramar 6ft 6in MH Spinning Rod and WOW! GAME CHANGER!!! This rod is perfect for live lining for the following:
- The rod does not have an extra fast tip, which allows for a more solid hook set when using live bait
- The full taper of the rod aids significantly in casting because casting a live bait can be tricky and the slower taper helps avoid tearing hooks out on the cast
- This fishing rod has the guts and power and forgiveness when you do hook into a monster striper yet this rod is still playful and fun on the smallest of stripers to latch on
This Combo will change the game and make you a better live bait fisherman or fisherwoman.
Shimano North East Series Teramar 6ft 6in MH Baitcasting (TMCE66MH) rigged with Shimano Calcutta 400 B’s spooled with 17 lb Flourocarbon Line
My original love for freshwater Bass Fishing is perhaps the reason I always have a few baitcasting combos on board. I have discovered over the years that these combos are actually easier for younger kids to use than spinning combos. Of course the capt or mate will have to cast out the live bait for the little angler but once the bait is in the water a baitcaster is preferred because the way a baitcaster is set up with guides on top of the rod allows a little angler to rest the rod on the rail of the boat without pinching the line between the blank and the rail. With a spinning rod/baitrunner reel combo kids often have a tough time because the line does get pinched between the rail and the rod blank when they get a bite.
If you are a baitcasting guy or just want to have a baitcasting live lining combo on your boat, this is the combo to have. The rod performs exactly like its Spinning brethren above. And the 400B Calcutta has a clicker button that works perfectly as a baitrunner button when the reel is in free spool.
Trolling on the Maryland Chesapeake Bay for Stripers is Wild and Crazy and part of what makes it crazy is that during the Spring Trophy Season it is Common to troll as many as 30 plus lines at one time. That includes as many as 12 lines attached to each Planar Board dragging off to each
side of the boat. Over the years of streamlining this method of fishing Shimano Reels and Rods have risen to the top and are truly the quality type gear that keeps on ticking even though it sees abuse and wear and tear on a daily basis. For many Captains (myself included) adjusting to the massive number of trolling Rods and Reels needed for a proper Trolling Spread was all about finding a bargin and buying quantity over quality. And this method works for a little while for some and for others who fish a lot and actually catch fish this method leaves you highly disappointed because of the high failure rate of trolling tackle when used daily. These trials and tribulations have led me to this advice…. BUY SHIMANO! Here is the complete list of the Trolling Combos we use and the why….
PLANAR BOARD COMBOS:
Shimano Tallus Trolling Rod w/Slick Bitt Ring Guided 5ft 9in Heavy Action (TLC59HSBBLA) rigged with Shimano Tekota 700 reel Rigged with 150 lb Test Power Pro
This is the perfect planar board combo because 1) It can take the abuse, Planar Baord Rods catch most of the big fish in the Spring Trophy Season and they fight! 2) The level wind can be used to determine how far a line is out before clipping it onto the Planar Board two line 3) Planar board rods are often kept in roof rack holders or in rail mounted rod hloders and the 5ft 9inch length is perfect and makes stowing a bunch of these rods in the cabin easy. 4) The power of the Heavy action allows for the mate or angler to easily pop the rubber band or release the clip when a fish is hooked. Softer rods flex too much and absorb all the impact when the first mate attempts to pop a rubber band. 5) Quality guides don’t break out and the slick butt is a must! 6) Smooth, the Tekota 700 reels are as smooth as it gets and they make the fight much easier
Long Line COMBOS and Front Heavy Rod Combos:
Shimano Tallus Trolling Rod w/Slick Bitt Ring Guided 7ft Heavy Action (TLC70HSBBLA) rigged with Shimano Tekota 700 reel Rigged with 200 lb Test Power Pro for Long Lines & 100 lb Test Power Pro for the 4 Front Heavy Rods
7ft rods work well for the long lines because they help keep these lines up are away from the other lines, the 200 lb braid helps with this as well as the thicker diameter rides up higher in the water. 7ft rods also work well for the front, heavy rods that stick out and run parallel to the waters surface. This is key because it decreases the amount of friction there is between the line and the boat while the lures are being dragged thru the water.