I get a lot of customers that ask me what kind of fishing outfit they should have to fish the Florida Keys. There is no one perfect outfit for everything, but a 20# spinning outfit that holds at least 180 yards of clear mono-filament line will catch most of the fish you are likely to encounter in the Keys provided you have some patience. Just a short list of fish I have (meaning me and/or my customers) have brought to the boat are sailfish to around 90 pounds, Amberjack to 75 pounds, sharks to about 400 pounds, snapper to about 20 pounds, grouper to about 60 pounds and cobia to about 50 pounds. Nothing humongous, but all respectable size fish on a simple spinning outfit. 400 plus pound sharks are not all that big a deal in the bay by the way, the boat does most of the work.
The next question is which kind. I have absolutely zero product loyalty. Every brand has its good and bad features and the quality control of any company is subject to change. I have had Shimano conventional reels that lasted 10s of years with no repairs and others that broke or corroded in less than a year. Who knows what company wants really earn your loyalty anymore with all the buy outs and mergers going on in the world. So just for grins I ask Dave at the Tackle Box what spinning combo he would recommend for the average Joe that fishes the Keys once every few years and doesn't want to break the bank with a high end outfits. His answer was the Sea Striker Aries AS60 spinning combo.
This is one of the outfits I bought for the trial. If you look close, the drag adjustment knob is missing.
So why am I writing about a spinning rod combo the breaks before you get on the water? Because other than this brain fart, the combo is not bad at all. The reel has 5 ball bearing, infinite anti-reverse, a solid bail and the graphite one piece rod it comes with is above average quality. Sea Strikers seems to have the right idea, just poor quality control. Dave and I both knew of the drag knob issue so I already have both replaced
Normally, when I buy new gear I tear it down and make sure lubrication was applied where the factory is supposed to lube the product. Other than the spring in the drag adjustment knob, this time I am just going to see what happens. Tomorrow at the Seven Mile Bridge I should be able to test the drag washers since there are tons of 5 to 7 foot Blacktips sharks everywhere. If Sea Striker holds up to that, we will find some other challenges for the mid range spinning combo.
By the way, the Walmart price of the AS60 Combo is about $80.00 US. I get a little bit of a break, but you really shouldn't have to pay more than about 80 bucks depending on the rod portion of the combo.
Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.