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Sturgeon fishing
Rods and Reels


Rods, Reels, fishing line and gear used for sturgeon fishing

written by: Dennis Hull  Bite Me Guide Service

    When choosing a rod and reel for sturgeon fishing there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. They are as follows; what type of water you will be fishing in ( fast and deep, shallow slow moving,  saltwater or fresh, boat or bank ) another consideration is the size of the sturgeon that you are fishing for.

All purpose boat setup: For a good all purpose sturgeon fishing setup for fishing from a boat I recommend a one piece 7 foot e-glass rod rated for 20-60 lb line. I prefer a sensitive but fast action tip. When selecting one of these make sure that the rod is light enough to hold comfortably and also transmits the feel of the bite to the handle. Allot of the so called rods that are available for sturgeon fishing in my opinion are too heavy or are too soft in the tip. With too soft of an action in the tip it makes it very hard for the beginning sturgeon fisherman to feel the bites especially when they are biting very light or there is a strong wind blowing. Be careful here I'm not saying get a stiff tip but a light and Sensitive tip  . There is a wide variety of these rods available and they range in price from $40.00 to several hundred dollars. When I select a all purpose sturgeon rod I place very little consideration on who makes the rod and maximum consideration on the action and physical weight of the rod.  You can have a top of the line name brand rod but if you cant feel the bite or it is too heavy to hang onto all day it is useless. 

 I also prefer the regular line guides and avoid the rods with the roller guides. Another thing to keep in mind is the height of the angler. If you are a smaller person or a very tall person you may want to consider the length of the handle and where the reel seat is positioned. A shorter person will need to have a shorter handle so they can get a hand above the reel to give them more leverage while fighting a big fish and a taller person may want a longer handle so they can extend there arms during the fight of a huge sturgeon. An all purpose rod is just that "all purpose" and is a rod that will work for you in most situations and give you a good chance at catching any sturgeon that may bite whether its a shaker, keeper or hog. You should also have in your arsenal lighter action and heavier action rods for when you are targeting just keepers or just hogs.

Keeper rods: When targeting just keepers and there isn't a large amount of huge oversized sturgeon present I go down to a 12-40 lb rated rod in the 7 foot e-glass category. The same considerations I mentioned for the all purpose rods apply when selecting your medium gear or keeper rods. Light with lots of backbone and a light very sensitive tip.

Light gear: I use 1 piece graphite rated for 15-30 lb in the 7 to 8 foot length these rods are also known as back bouncers. I use these rods in shallow slow water as well as deep slow water where you don't have to use more than 6 oz of lead and where the sturgeon are being very timid and biting real light. They are extremely fun to catch the fish on but because of the light tips you miss allot of hook sets. When you do get the hook stuck it is a blast. They are much harder to feel the bite with and allot of the time you have to really watch the tip.

The big guns: For targeting oversized I use a one piece e-glass in the 7 ft length rated at 30-80 lb test. Action is not as important because these big fish eat aggressively and aren't timid at all on most days. You don't want a broom stick but a heavy action rod is ok and it must have a good amount of backbone to lift these giants up off of the bottom. If the sturgeon are biting light follow them down as they bite with the rod tip until they inhale it and then rip there lips of and hold on.

Bank rods: While I am not an expert on bank fishing for sturgeon I do have some knowledge on the gear used. Usually these rods are from 10 to 15 feet long and capable of casting extremely heavy leads very long distances. When getting a bank rod for sturgeon I recommend talking to a sporting goods or fishing supply dealer in an area where allot of people fish for sturgeon off of the bank.  They will be happy to help you pick the right rod for where you are planning to fish. Bank fishing for sturgeon is an art form in itself and the gear can be very specialized and expensive.


Keeper sturgeon reels; For targeting keeper sturgeon when there aren't  allot of oversized fish present I use Penn 310 gti's  spooled with 50lb super braid lines I prefer the smaller reels with the medium poles for the keepers. I like reels with the level wind feature other manufactures of reels of this size and type are Okuma, Shimano, ABU Garcia. These reels should be capable of holding 300 yards of 20 lb monofilament line and have a stout level wind mechanism and have strong drags. When you spool them with the super braid lines they will hold approximately 350 yards of 50 lb test. The reels that I use range in price from $80.00 to $160.00 you can spend allot more but here again look at line capacity and gear ratio ( I prefer 4.1:1) and the amount of drag surface. Gear ratio is very important for being able to reel up the heavy leads sometimes required in the waters where the sturgeon live and allot of the real pretty high end reels have to high of a gear ratio.

Oversized sturgeon reels. About the smallest reel I use when targeting the big girls is the Penn 320 Gti and I prefer to use the Penn 320 Gti for its increased line capacity. These are again level wind reels and I spool the 320's with 50 or 65 lb super braid and the 330's with 80 lb super braid. Again there are other manufactures that offer reels with similar specifications these are just the ones I use.

Light weight gear. Sometimes when lightweight gear is necessary a salmon reel spooled with 25 or 30 lb test mono will give you an advantage on light biting sturgeon. the mono will stretch and they wont feel you as much as they would using the braided lines, but you give up some hook setting power and line capacity doing this.

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Revised: April 24, 2012

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