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Downrigger Rods


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I know this gets asked a lot and I have done a search.  

 

I live in Maine and fish lake trout, landlocked salmon, brook trout, and lake whitefish.  For over 20 years I found the Ugly Stick Big Water 8'3" downrigger rod to be just about perfect and use them downriggers, in-line boards, and up to 5 colors of leadcore.  After 20 years I have completely worn them out.  From what I have seen and read, the new models are not the same so I'm looking for something different.

 

In particular the FishUSA Flagship Trolling rods.

 

I HATE buying a rod sight unseen but am wondering how these may compare.  Thinking the 8'6" 2 piece or the 9 foot ML.  I should mention that the rods will be paired with Okuma Coldwater 203D reels and I typically use 10-12 pound main line with 8 pound leaders..

 

Other suggestion are greatly appreciated.

 

  

Edited by JDK
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Those are good rods.  I am guessing they use an Okuma blank.  I would guess the blue diamond blank but the FishUSA ones are shiny and the new blue diamond rods are not.  Someone on here will probably know the answer. While I haven't fished with them, I have handled that exact rod and I think you'd be happy with the results.  Really lots of good options out there that wont break the bank.  

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I don’t know what size fish you typically get but I absolutely love my Starfire ML rods on my downriggers for walleye, small lake trout and rainbows.  Most fish I get are in the 2-6 lb range but have also used them for 20# king salmon on Lake Ontario.  They aren’t fancy new rods but I haven’t found any that are strong And have enough action to enjoy catching small fish along with larger ones.  

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the Daiwa wilderness trolling rods in M/L 8.5' and 9.0' are so great for fishing walleye on Erie's central basin with lite bite slide divers. I never use the slide part. I tie to the front arm then I tie a 65# piece of braid about 12" to an O-RING then lace the line through the back and tie my snubber to that line then I use a 7' to 8' Seaguar premier fluro leader attached with a swivel then I use another swivel on spoons, harnesses, and on most of my cranks.

 

what I love about these rods is they are all glass that will stand up to the abuse for many years. the M/L is the only way to go as they flex when the boat rocks so I can set my releases a little lighter. and running more than one rod per side they flex together and if something small gets on my hook it's so easy to detect that rod isn't acting right. A few years ago we were catching a lot of larger fish. with the stiffer rods, the hook pulled out so many more times than with the lighter rods which would flex taking stress off the fish and hook.

 

for trolling you have no reason to spend the money for sensitive rods. the rods are all you will ever need. they are also great downrigger rods or anywhere else you want to use them.

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  • 1 month later...

Just a quick update if anyone cares.

 

Put my money where my mouth is and bought the 9 foot ML Flagship rod.  While a very nice rod, it is far too heavy for what I do here in Maine.  It will be ok with lead core but not on the rigger.  I have no criticism of the quality of the rod, just not what i want for riggers.  I plan to pull the trigger on another Ugly Stick to see if they are as different as I have been told.

 

I hate buying rods unseen.

 

Thanks to all for the responses.

 

 

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Good to know, thanks. I recently bought a Daiwa wilderness ML for a leadcore rod. It will work well for that but with just running mono for smaller trout it is overkill.  I was catching 5# laker trout on my Starfires last weekend and each time thought I hooked a  double digit walleye.  

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I want to be careful with what I write.  Here I troll up to seven colors of 18 pound lead core with nothing but a mooselook, DB, top gun, or similar lure.  No cowbells, flashers, or dodgers.  It is my humble opinion that the rod will be fine with that.  I can't speak to having a lot more stuff out there.

 

 

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I only run mooselooks and the smallest Michigan Stinger Scorpion spoons on this particular lake.  I like to be able to feel every bit of the fight and headshakes while I’m playing out the fish.  Let me know when you find a dowrigger rod that you’re happy with, it would save me some trial and error as well.

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1 hour ago, JDK said:

Just a quick update if anyone cares.

 

Put my money where my mouth is and bought the 9 foot ML Flagship rod.  While a very nice rod, it is far too heavy for what I do here in Maine.  It will be ok with lead core but not on the rigger.  I have no criticism of the quality of the rod, just not what i want for riggers.  I plan to pull the trigger on another Ugly Stick to see if they are as different as I have been told.

 

I hate buying rods unseen.

 

Thanks to all for the responses.

 

L

I use Okuma big lake tournament ML and L on inland lakes here in CO, they work well and the lighter sizes are priced right.

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I have always used 8' or longer ML downrigger rods and never had one that was too stiff for my riggers. a rod you should really check out is the Daiwa GX2 ugly stick med action on these rods are limber enough for riggers. but a light action might be a better option for you but not needed. I just took a quick look on eBay and 1 listing is for 3 light action 9' rods for 95.00 and free shipping.

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i have been using ugly stiks for 40 years, from spinning rods to 8'3" and 9'0" for rigger rods and board rods and 10' for divers and copper and weighted steel. (big water series) now i use the newer 9' ml for the riggers (a little more backbone than the light action, but not too much) the only difference i have noticed between the old and new models is the guides. i have never had a failure with any of them. hope this helps. tight lines for your choice on a new one.

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1 hour ago, greenhornet73 said:

What length and action on the Ticas? I’ve looked at their surf rods but never the inshore rods

I bought the 8' blue kokenee rods. I'm sure I spelled that wrong, lol. They are very light bot help keep landlocked s pinned at the net. You should see what an 8lb laker does to them!! I found them on Amazon, only place I could find them.

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