The Perfect Fishing Rod Arsenal

Saltwater Fishing Gear Setup and Fishing Rod Arsenal

Putting together an arsenal of fishing gear is about being ready for any situation that arises on the water. Any style of fishing from muddy bass ponds, to high mountain lakes, to salt flats each, have their own unique tools to catch fish. Particularly, for backcountry salt-water fishing you need a variety of rods, leaders, and baits to get the job done. You will find that being organized and prepared for any situation is a deadly combination for catching fish.

To start, some staples to bring on the boat are both 40lb and 20lb leader material. By bringing the leader line, you can repair any broken leaders or change the length for the situation. Also, don’t be afraid to bring some extra line for your spool just in case of gnarly backlashes that can’t be fixed. 

Another staple to not forget is a good pair of pliers, or better yet a pair of pliers with a cutting or nipping tool. You not only need a good multipurpose tool to unhook fish but also to aid in cutting off tag ends from lure and leader tying or possibly opening split rings and replacing hooks. 

Go to lures to have in this arsenal would be an assortment of jigs in different colors and sizes as well as big plugs and a variety of soft plastics. 

Having a lot of rods with you allows for adaptation for whatever the water throws at you. It is good to have rods that span from super lightweight 2 power all the way up to heavier 5 power rods.

For finesse fishing, a TFO Inshore Series 2 power, light rod is the perfect choice for extremely light jigs. For a slightly larger lure a TFO 3 power, medium light rod is also good to have for just a little extra power while keeping sensitivity. For accurate detailed casting, a 6’ 9” inshore 4 power, medium rod is ideal for throwing light soft plastics such as flukes under mangroves. A TFO 5 power, medium heavy rod then comes into play for big plugs to entice angry snook or aggressive tarpon.

It also never hurts to have a few rods of the same power either with a different bait tied on and ready to cast or to have a different leader strength or length pretied. 

While this may seem like a lot of rods for a single day of fishing, you never know what you are going to encounter. Perhaps the fish are super finicky and won’t just inhale a large bait that you are throwing on a 4 power, medium rod. You want to downsize but realize that a 2 power, light rod may not have enough backbone. Having that 3 power, medium light rod is going to come in handy and you will be glad that you are over equipped than under-equipped. 

By having a variable amount of rods rigged with different baits and different leader lengths you can be ready for any opportunity that arises and catch that fish.

Matching Your Fishing Rod, Line, & Lure

Selecting a Fishing Rod, Fishing Line, and Fishing Lure

Do you ever pick up that fishing rod combo that just feels perfect? Everything is in balance—it just matches. The rod feels right in your hand, the cast feels like a dream and the rod and line screams your bait out to the fish. This is because time was taken to understand how to match the right rod, to the right line, to the right lure. 

As discussed in another video on fishing rod power, it is important that you understand a rod’s power to get the most out of the combo you create. After you pick the right fishing rod for the job, whether it be a light rod for bonefish, or a heavier medium heavy rod for snook or redfish, you need to pair it with the correct line. By figuring out what line you need know, it could save you the frustration on the water later.

If you are searching for what line to use with a particular rod, especially if you are new to the sport, check the blank or the manufacturer’s website for suggested line weight. Most suggested line ratings will say if they are for monofilament line or braided line. If you are only given one, it is important to note the diameter difference in types of line. Braided line will be the thinnest diameter, giving more strength, but you sacrifice the clear nature of monofilament or fluorocarbon. If you wish to go the braided line route but don’t want to scare off spooky fish, tying a fishing leader may be your best option.  

To simplify choosing the right line, there are many charts out there for each brand of line showing the equivalent diameters of each. So if a rod blank only gives the suggested monofilament line, do not hesitate to find the corresponding braided line weight. Finding the right line for a rod combination is more than worth it. 

For example, the TFO Inshore Series rod in a 2 power, also called light, casts bonefish jigs like a dream. Paired with a 6-8lb braid or monofilament equivalent it casts not only distance but accuracy.   

Likewise, if you have a heavier, TFO Inshore Series 5 power medium-heavy rod, a 12-15lb braid best utilizes the rod. Keep in mind the heavier bait you find yourself using with a rod of this power. The last thing you would want is to snap off a heavy bait with a light line or not have the loading power with a light lure and not even be able to cast more than 10 feet.

Also, think of the consequences of putting a big plug onto the light rod. While it may cast, the rod will feel overpowered by the lure and quite possibly put enough stress on the blank to snap it—which is the last thing any angler would want. This is why it is so important to match the line size and the lure to the power of your rod. 

By ensuring you have everything matched up, when you make that cast, it won’t just launch like a dream, you also won’t miss an opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime. 

Tying a Leader Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Easy Knots to Tie Fishing Leaders

Learning how to tie leaders is every bit as important as choosing the right rod or choosing the right line. While tying leaders at first may appear intimidating, with a few easy knots, you can tie virtually any leader you need. 

Tying a leader basically means attaching a clear piece of either monofilament line or fluorocarbon line, to a colored braided line. The reason you want to add this clear piece of line is so that spooky fish such as snook, redfish, bonefish or tarpon do not see your braided line in clear water.


For most inshore saltwater applications a wind-on leader is used. A wind-on leader is called such because you are reeling the leader through the guides. 

First, tie a loop called a spider hitch in your braid, where you make a loop with your braid and go through it five times. It is a misconception that a bimini twist knot is needed. Because you are tying braid and not monofilament line, a spider hitch knot works perfectly. 

Next, choose your leader material. The line you choose is up to you, but for this application, 20lb soft monofilament is best as it will slide in and out of the guides smoothly. Length of the leader is also something you need to decide on based upon water clarity, and target species among other things. Cut your leader to your specific application, however, for this application fishing around mangrove forests, about 3 feet is sufficient.

Attach your leader material to the braided loop you created with a knot called the no-name knot. Stick the tag end of your leader through the loop, and wrap it about seven times. It helps to pinch the loop and tag end as you are doing this. Then, take the tag end that you just wrapped, and go through the initial braided loop that you came through. 

An important thing to get in the habit of doing is to wet the knot with your mouth before pulling it tight. This prevents abrasions and allows it to tighten smoothly when you cinch it tight. Cut off any excess tag. You now have the leader attached to your braided line with a knot that is small enough to slide in and out of the guides without affecting your cast. 

Depending on what you are fishing for, you may want to add a bite tippet to your leader. Fish with teeth have no problem cutting through thinner diameter line. A bite tippet ensures that you keep your lure and catch your fish. Keep in mind the action of your lure when choosing the line for your bite tippet. Fluorocarbon is denser than monofilament and can affect the action of your lure.


So for this application with a small jerkbait using 40lb monofilament line would be best. The length needs to be long enough to prevent break-offs but not too long to affect your cast– around ten to twelve inches. To attach the 40lb bite tipped to your 20lb leader a simple blood knot works. 

The last part of tying this leader setup is attaching your bite tippet to your lure. Since you want the most action possible on your lure, you will tie a knot with a non-slip loop. Put your line through the lure’s eyelet and bring the overhand knot right up to the eyelet. Pinch it off and make one and a half turns with the tag end and go through the overhand that you initially make. Now your lure can swing freely with the most enticing action it can make. 

With the knowledge of how to tie a leader, you can not only trick that fish of a lifetime, but you can prevent break offs and cast efficiently all day long, ensuring you have the best time of the water possible.

The Easiest System for Picking the Right Fishing Rod

Picking The Right Fishing Rod

It doesn’t matter if you are a new fisherman to the sport or an experienced angler with thousands of days on the water. Picking the right rod for the job can be difficult. When walking into a rod shop, the sheer number of choices and variations among rod manufactures is overwhelming at times.

Many fishing rods have numbers written across the blanks that mean something to the rod manufacturers, but to you as a consumer, those numbers are meaningless. At times it takes longer to decipher what the numbers mean than it does to figure out what application you want the rod for. 

Temple Fork Outfitters takes that confusion out of the equation by creating an easy to understand rod power numbering system called the Rod Power Coding. To put it simply—they save you time in the tackle shop so you can spend time on the water.

To identify a TFO rod’s power, simply pick up the rod and read the numbers. The first numbers being the height of the rod and the last number being the power of the rod. The rod power system works on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being an ultra light, and a 7 being an extra heavy. 

For example, if you need a 3 power rod, also known as medium light, to throw a light bait such as a jerk bait, you would look at the rod and see GIS 693. The first numbers let you know that this rod is 6’9”. The last number being a 3, lets you know that you have a 3 power rod. It works the same way for all TFO rods. 

For another example, if you needed a rod for throwing bigger baits, and catching bigger fish, you would look at the GIS 705 . The first two numbers tell you this rod is exactly 7 ft. With 5 as the last number, you can be ensured that this rod will be medium heavy and that it can handle a heavier line and a heavier bait without any issues. The rod will have the ability to cast the appropriate size lure within the application that you need it.

The rod power coding on a Temple Fork Outfitters rod clears up any confusion that you as an angler may have when you pick up that rod. 

Written on the rod as well will be the suggested pound line to use. This ensures that you pair the rod with the perfect reel, creating the best rod combo possible. Also, choosing the right pound line does more than just prevent the breaking off of lures and the heartache that comes from losing a fish. The correct pound line makes the rod cast farther, smoother and more accurately. 

Picking the right rod for you and the application you need doesn’t have to be difficult. You can have confidence when you walk out of the tackle shop with a TFO rod that you have the right rod for the job.