For most Topwater Tuna applications you'll need a 7ft 50# class rod 20-25# of drag and 400yds of 65# braid
to assure you don't get spooled if a big YFT hits and can boat the normal schooler sized fish quickly.
Most of our fishing is done on private charters with 15 to 40 folks fishing and we need to control our
fish to avoid tangles.
Also when you drift the floaters everyone on the boat has to wait untill the last fish is landed before the
boat can go back to the rig for another drift.
Light tackle is a pain for everyone else waiting to fish in that situation.
Remember 100# plus YFT also travel in schools.. I have had some YFT on that exceeded 150#+ (est)
I never slowed down until they went over 1300ft straight down and pulled the hooks!
That's why most folks use a spinner rated for 300yds of 30# Mono... you can load up to 500yds
of 65# braid for running room.
With that in mind you need a VS 275 or 300 to get the line capacity to handle a large YFT.
You could load the 200 up with 80# braid and Jig fish with 30# of drag on a 400-600 gram class jig rod and be fairly safe if a large fish hits.
If you are fishing from a private boat where you don't have a lot of lines in the water to tangle and can
maneuver the boat to gain an advantage on larger fish or just want a longer fight the 50# braid at 16# of drag will do.
A VS200 would work fine. Since the start up drag is smoother than alot of the others you can run 20-22 lbs of drag on 50lb braid just make sure your knots are tied properly. I use a VS250 with 50 braid and I know the drags are the same between the 2 so you should have no problem. For schoolies you should be fine and even if you do get into a bigger model it may take a while but any fight less than an hour on 100+ pound fish is not bad.
Penn will be releasing a slammer 960 shortly which is a bit tougher than the SS series but still should be around the $200 dollar price point. They also have an entry into the high end spinning gear coming out later this year. Penn rep said they are shooting for the $500 price point and said it is a cross between a van staal and a saltiga feature wise. What that means is anybodies guess.
shimano spheros 14000FA with upgraded carbon fiber drags from SMOoOTH DRAG *** Can Stop Anything *** !! around $130 total without braid.... 22-23# of fishable drag....... makes this "poor boy" proud!!!
A big Amen for the OTI 7' popping rod, this is a bad to the bone rod. This rod has what it takes to handle fish 60 to 80lbs with ease and to 100lbs and little more if need be. bigger fish may take a little longer, but very much capable. I was amazed at how quickly these rod would bring these fish to color. Enough backbone to keep the fishes head point up when it was in the "death circle", loved the rod, will own others. Bruce
So it looks like I'm going to go with the Cabo 80PTS or the Shimano Spheros 14000 and load it up on an OTI rod (assuming I can get one before next Wednesday!). 65# PP seems to be the consensus too. Want to be able to cast far and I think this is the way to go, although jigging would be nice too. If you guys think I'm crazy please speak up. For the money though it looks like that's a pretty good setup and will get me through a few days (man I hate the crap they have on charter boats)
Oh shoot, the OTI rods are sold out and I'm going next week!!! Argh. So what do you guys think about the Bar Bar rods? I've heard that the 10mm eyelet is too small. Gonna be throwing mainly topwaters (Yummee flying fish and a few poppers, maybe a swimbait, and a crainkbait too). The Bar Bar 30-60lb spinner looks like a good one. Any thoughts? I'm running out of time!!!