Best Bottom Fishing Rod and Reel in Tidal Water

This article is focused not only on casting from shore but for setups that pair well in jigging or bottom fishing from a boat or kayak. I plan to better qualify what I mean by “bottom fishing” and how to target fish in tidal waters. These setups are designed for the sporting side of fishing, meaning these are not the short thick rods that are meant for slowly bringing up massive Halibut, instead these rods are designed for jigging, providing a lot of action on your lure on the bottom and of course a  lot more fun to play a fish with.

Kastking Kong Spinning Rod and Kapstan

What is Bottom Fishing in Tidal Waters?

Bottom fishing is getting your lure or bait near or on the bottom to target fish in the lower water columns. This may sound pretty straight forward but if you’re fishing tidal waters and dealing with rising, dropping or ripping tides it’s not always straight forward.

Typically, bottom fishing includes a large weight with with a small leader line connected to it with some sort of bait. The weight keeps the bait on the bottom and the bait scent attracts and brings in the fish. This type of fishing is fairly passive in that you aren’t continually retrieving line or moving the gear, you’re simply dropping the line and ensuring the bait sits still on the bottom.

Active Bottom Fishing

I’m not sure what the proper term is but I’m calling it “active bottom fishing”, this is essentially fishing off or near the bottom but you’re actively jigging, retrieving or doing something with your lure vs. letting it lie still. For example, a lure like a weighted swim bait, buzz bomb or some sort of weighted lure, all these types of lures can be actively fished along the bottom. I’ve also heard it called “vertical jigging” for another way of putting this type of fishing.

Penn Squall Setup
Halibut or Sturgeon Bottom Fishing Setup

Best Suited Rod and Reel for Active Bottom Fishing

I guess this section should be qualified by species and fish sizes. If your fishing for massive halibut or fish pushing over 50 pounds then you’ll probably be using the more passive bottom fishing rod/reel setups. An example of this is my 6’6 Penn Rod and Reel combo (see photo above) that has a massive spool for plenty of heavy braid.

However for active bottom fishing, I like to have a lighter setup but still has to have some serious backbone and strength. For this type of fishing I like a MH weight with a rod around 7-8 feet in length. The rod and reel combo I’ve been fishing with off my Kayak and from shore is the 7’6 KastKing Kong Rod paired with their Saltwater Kapstan Elite Reel (4000 size). This combo is fantastic for handling multi-species of bottom fish. This is also a great rod for jigging salmon as well (see my 2nd video below).

Fighting fish KastKing Rod and Reel combo

KastKing Kong Rod

The first thing I like about the rod is the backbone, it’ll be the first thing you’ll likely notice is the width of the base of the rod. However, the Kong series does not weigh too much, it’s in the middle range for theses types of rods. I’m typically fishing for large Lingcod, Rockfish and Salmon with this rod, so I like the larger backbone. I need this extra strength when I’m hung up on the bottom (which happens often in bottom fishing), or need to horse a fish off the bottom or away from a reef. The rod itself has some nice green coloring near the tip.

My biggest issue with the Kong rod series is the size of the bottom handle (heel of the rod). On the very end the rod butt essentially has this circular grip, which I could understand for some areas, but for my usage I don’t like it. The biggest challenge for me is I use Scotty Rod holders on my Kayak and the butt of the rod doesn’t fit in the rod holder.

For more information on this rod, check out KastKing Kong Rods.

KastKing saltwater rod and reel combo

KastKing Kapstan Reel

This spinning reel is designed for saltwater, so you’ll notice it is a little heavier. However, it’s been solid and the drag system has been great for me thus far. In fact, you can hear the drag “zing” a bunch in my 2nd video below. The model I have been using is the 4000, the reel size is rated for braid: 15/360, 20/260, 30/185. I’ve currently got 150 yards of 40# braid on the reel (so surpassing the specs), so I’m looking to upgrade my reel to the 5000. As ideally, I’d like to run a 50# or 60# braid mainline (and 30#-40# leaders for my 4oz-8oz lures).

I don’t have much to say negative about the reel at this point. In fairness, it’s still quite new so I shouldn’t have many issues this early. The only thing I might mention is the handle turning ease, there seems to be a little more tension on the handle. But this is so small and most people wouldn’t even notice it.

For more information on this rod, check out KastKing Kapstan Elite Saltwater Reels.

Bottom fishing from Kayak with KastKing Rod & Reel combo

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