Picking the right rod and reel combination


Few pastimes command so much interest and discussion in New Zealand compared to fishing and just because you've got access to the open water in your boat, doesn't mean it's just a simple matter of casting a line and hauling them in.

You're as likely to get as many versions of the best-ever All Blacks 15 as you are the perfect combination of rod, reel, bait, lure, secret spot and style when it comes to fishing in New Zealand waters, so your best bet is to do some research about where you're likely to fish, what species you're going to target and then look for a set-up which suits.

Remember, the most expensive rod in the world is the one which sits in the shed year-round and doesn't get used so it's important to find something which fits your needs. After all, you're unlikely to get much use out of a fly-fishing combo if you're heading out in your kayak once a week

The number one reason why expert help is the best option is that you need to ensure you get a good combination of rod and reel, which lets the two most expensive parts of the whole fishing set-up work in harmony.

These can be relatively inexpensive for combos suitable for kids or occasional recreational fishing, all the way through to top-dollar combinations designed to target specific conditions or species.

So before you head into store and part with your cash, here are a few questions with which to arm yourself:

  • What are the basic terms?

    Your two concepts to get your head around are action and drag. Action describes how the rod bends when it's under pressure, and drag refers to how tightly geared your reel is and how much line it will give a fish with a bit of fight. Your options around action are fast (which gives you the sensitivity to tell when a fish is striking), medium and medium-fast (which gives you more distance if you're casting from the shore, more stiffness to set the hook in larger species but still sensitive enough to detect light bites even in deep water), and heavy or medium-heavy (which stand heavier line and is perfect for targeting larger fish and trolling). Drag is important because a fighting fish will jerk the line to create slackness and the chance for it to spit the hook. The better the reel, the smoother the drag, the more constant the pressure on the line and the less chance you'll lose your fish.

  • Where am I fishing?

    Different combos suit different places; for example, if you're casting for trout off an inland jetty then you'll want a light set-up and if you're dropping a line over the side in search of a kingfish in the Bay of Islands, you'll want something a lot heavier. Of course, if you're fishing in salt water then you'll need something which protects against corrosion and wear and tear. Some of your options include inland lakes and streams, surf-casting from the beach, trolling from a kayak, drifting or anchored in inshore and coastal waters, or heading out to the deeper waters in search of big game fish.

  • How am I fishing?

    Again, the techniques are as varied as the people who use them, but when you head in to store you need to be able to tell whether you're fly-fishing (in which the cast relies on the weight of the line and the lure is a tied fly), bait casting (using lures, feathers, live bait etc), trolling and drifting (pulling the line behind a boat either using the motor or the tide), or shore-casting (in which you have to cast out from a jetty, bank or shoreline).

  • For more information on Burnsco's range of products to meet all your rod and reel needs, phone us on 0800 102041, email us, or Livechat with one of our staff via the website.