To be successful in any sport you’ll need the right equipment, below is what I use, have confidence in and a little about each item.
The Okuma Helios TCS Casting Reel matches up perfectly with Okuma’s new TCS Rod Series designed by Scott Martin. Also now available in a versatile 6.6:1 gear ratio, 7.3:1 and a blazing fast 8.1:1 gear ratio, the new Helios TCS offers the same performance as the original Helios LP – with additional versatility.
Personally I like 7.3:1 as it’s the most versatile – for big baits you may want to go with the 6.6 and burning traps or spinner baits the 8.1 is pretty cool. Click here to order yours
Okuma TCS Casting Rods Featuring lightweight, sensitive and durable 30-ton carbon blanks, each rod also features a carbon wrap from the lower portion of the rod down to the handle for added durability and power. Offering tournament level technique specific performance, each rod – from its length, action and taper down to handle length – is perfectly tuned to a specific task. The flipping rods even feature an extra guide lower on the blank to keep line from wrapping around your reel when you are flipping. The medium micro aluminum oxide guides with stainless steel frames also deliver many of the performance attributes of micro guides, but still allow heavier lines and knots pass through with minimal resistance.
Like golf each technique has its own model. Click here to get your TCS rod
Swimbaits, Flipping and Punching – 3/4 and 1oz use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7’11” Heavy. If you can only get one flippin’ stick this one would be it. The TCS 7’11 H is my favorite flipping / punching rod , just about everyone I’ve taken out and used it has bought one. They make an extra heavy too which I use when I punching over a 1 1/2 oz bait / weight, but for 90% of what you’re doing the 7’11H is perfect. Why? The Okuma TCS rod is very light making it easier to fish longer with wearing out your arm, it is very sensitive helping to determine those subtle bites, at 7′ 11″ you get a little extra length for a better hook set and flipping distance. It has a longer handle so you can tuck it under your arm making it easier to fish it for longer periods of time without wearing out your wrist plus when you tuck the but end under your arm you get more hooking power equaling more fish.
This is my go-to rod for punching a 3/4 -1 1/2 oz weights, it works pretty good for tossing medium swimbaits, 1/2 -1 1/2oz jigs and Umbrella rigs too.
Punching – 1 1/2oz to 2 oz use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7’11” Extra Hvy. If you’re going in deep this is the rod you want, fast tip, strong backbone and super light. Both the the 7.11 flipping rods have an extra long but section allowing for more leverage to get the fish out of the heavy stuff. I use this rod for punching with 1 1/2 oz or heavier, flippin jigs and big 7″ Senkos.
Flippin medium to large worms, 1/4 to 1/2oz jigs, A-Rigs, Big Cranks and 6in swimbaits use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7’11” Extra Hvy. This flipping stick has tip that is a little lighter than you might expect and why I recommended it for A-Rigs, Big Cranks, 1/2oz or heavier Bladed Baits and Swimbaits. The handle section is shorter that the 7.11 making is easier to pitch to targets, this is a good choice for skipping baits under docks and hitting precise targets.
Big Cranks and Yo-Yoing Traps use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7’11” Extra Hvy. I purchased this rod just for yo-yoing traps through the grass. After one day I fell in love with the rod, at 7′ 11″ you can cast it a mile, get a solid hook set and it has and great parabolic action helping keep those big bass pinned. This rod is a bit long for target fishing but if you want to sling a big crank, spinnerbait or trap on a flat, ledge or weedline this is the one.
3/4 to 1oz Lake Jigs, Frogs, Senkos, Vibrating baits and big spinnerbaits use Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7’3″ Heavy. No rod can do it all but this one is pretty close. I got this rod for fishing hollow body frogs where it works very well but once I started using it I found it was really good for vibrating baits, big spinnerbaits, Whopper Ploppers, Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, 6″ Senkos and Football jigs up to 1oz. The 7.3 length works well for target casting and also good for distance. The rod has a firm backbone and flexible tip so if you’re throwing baits 1/2 to 1oz this is a great choice.
3/8 to 3/4oz lake jigs, 5in Senkos, 4 to 5in swimbaits use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7′ Heavy. Another great versatile rod, this one is similar to the 7.3 heavy just a little shorter and a little lighter. This one is a good choice for spinnerbaits, spook style top water baits, lake jigs, 5 or 6″ Senkos and other baits where you need a rod with a fast tip and fairly heavy backbone.
1/4oz jigs, 3/8 to 1/2oz spinnerbaits, square bill and medium cranks use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7′ Med Hvy. I like this medium action rod for fishing spinnerbaits, medium cranks and square bills. The rod has good action for fishing in around tight areas like docks and places you need pin point accuracy – the medium action does a good job at keeping fish hooked up on treble hooks.
Jerkbaits, small cranks and 3″swimbaits use the Okuma TCS Casting Rod 7′ Medium +. This medium + rod has a medium light backbone with a light tip where it does a good job of enhancing the action of a jerkbait then once they hook up it’s limber enough that they don’t throw the hook. It’s light action also works well for throwing small 1/8 to1/4oz cranks and small swimbaits on a ball or dart head.
Float N’ Fly use the Okuma Signature TCS Spinning Rods 7.2 Medium Light. If you like throwing a Float ‘N‘ Fly, dropshot, spinbaits then this is the perfect rod, super light where it’s no problem using 4lb or 6lb test, this rod works great for light dropshotting with an open hook too.
Everyday Dropshotting and split shotting use the Okuma Helios Spinning Rod 7′ Medium. You’ll be amazed how light and sensitive this rod is, I think you can even feel when one swims by. For dropshotting or splitshotting this is my go-to rod.
Small Senkos, small swimbaits, small jigs use the Okuma Helios Spinning Rod 7′ Med Hvy. Though it says heavy it’s not heavy like a bait casting rod, it’s just a little heavier than the medium which makes it great for small swimbaits on a dart or ball head, small 1/8 to 3/16oz jigs, wacky rig Senkos or twitching a Fluke. It’s just as sensitive and light as the medium just a little more backbone.