By Alex Bellisimo
As a guide I rely on gear that isn’t only good but gear that is robust and will withstand the test of time. It’s needs to be strong and durable, smooth to use and light and balanced in the hand.
My job depends on putting the best gear in the anglers’ hands and there’s no place for gear that’s going to fail or result in an unsuccessful and unhappy guiding experience. For many years Daiwa has been the brand that I’ve put in my clients' hands and it’s a brand that I have the utmost confidence in.
Confidence in your equipment is one of the keys to angling success, two other essential ingredients is experience and knowledge. Years on the water helps you identify the prime times, tides, baits, lures and seasons for angling success. It also helps you refine what is the best gear to use for the fishing that you’re doing. The correct length rod for chasing groper of the stones, the right taper rod for targeting salmon of the beach and the ideal ratio reel to use when hunting mulloway are all things that are important to have just right to optimize fishing success.
Below is an example of the rods and reels I use and trust when out and about chasing kingfish and blue groper off the rocks.
My go-to rod at the moment is the Saltist Hyper 962XHS PE-6. Suited to 50-80lb line I match the Saltist with a 4500 to 6500 BG reel. When using 50lb J-Braid I’ll use a 4500 or 5000 BG and pair it with 40-6lb J-Thread leader. When I step up to 80lb J-Braid I reach for the 6500 BG and 80lb J-Thread leader.
The Saltist Hyper 962XHS has the length to keep you away from the rocky ocean edge, allowing you to stand back from the water in safety. The parabolic bend in the rod starts to kick in when you are applying above 8kg of pressure, while the ultra-sensitive tip of this rod starts to load with as little as 3oz of weight. What that means is that rod is excellent for the often timid eastern blue groper and those times when the kings are finicky, such as when live baiting.
The BG range of reels are incredibly strong and robust. The 5000 BG has a drag capability up to 10kg so I recommend up to 8.5 to 9kg drag pressure max and 30 to 50lb braid. The 6500 BG can handle a serious drag setting, and when I have it loaded with 80lb J-Braid I will have it as little as 9-10kg drag or as high as 13kg of drag pressure.
The BG’s heavy duty aluminium body is perfect for the rough and tumble of rock fishing and will easily handle the bump and grind that reels experience in such a tough environment.
At a price that won’t break the bank the Saltist Hyper/BG set-up is great for kings and groper, and it’s a combination that I have a few of in my quiver of oufits.
Looking after your gear of course is vitally important, and at the end of each trip I give them a light spray with fresh water and hit the moving parts of the reel with an oil-based spray every 2-3 trips.
It’s also important to loosen the reel drag at the end of each trip to maximise reel life and performance. After I’ve washed down my outfits I’ll give them a wipe down and dry with a cloth then stow them away out of direct sunlight until the next trip. After writing this blog I feel the need to get out there and chase a groper or king.