Fishing Tips & Tricks The National Angler

ONE ROD & REEL – Picking Just One Fishing Rod

Have you ever thought about the one rod and reel that you use the most and couldn’t live without? 

So in my quest to become more productive while on the water and make the most of my precious time, I like to keep things simple. I’ve made more of an effort to fish smaller bodies of water and try to explore when time just doesn’t allow me to get the boat out, or I want to take my girls fishing. I always find myself dragging multiple rods for myself along with the important Barbie Rod and toys! Even trekking through the woods to get to a small body of water can be precarious with a couple of rods. I also through my Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder and Water Wolf HD Underwater Camera while fishing, so I have to make sure the rods I bring can handle chucking those things into the water. A rod that can handle a heavy lure or camera to a small beetle spin.

So, I’m not a professional fisherman and being a professional is not in my sights currently. My goal is to show you what I used and why I picked a certain product. I’m not specifically endorsing and I’m also not working for any of the companies mentioned in the article. The target setup is a rod, reel, and line choice that compliments all my requirements, but it may not be 100% ideal and that is okay by me. 

The Rod:

The rod is a Tsunami AirWave 7.5ft Surf Rod that I picked up from Bass Pro about a year ago, and boy to I love this thing! It is the one rod that is always with me when fishing.  The other specs to the rod include a slim rubber grip that helps support the 10-20lb line class that is rated for 1.5-2oz. lures. When I was picking out the rod I need something that could handle flipping, pitching, catfishing, surf fishing, light saltwater. Heck, I’ve used this for crappie and bluegill when I fishing with my daughter. It has also become the workhorse of “The National Angler”. It is the rod I use for testing all my lures and my Water Wolf HD camera, and can’t forget the Deeper Smart Fish Finder. 

The Reel:

Luckily for me, I already had a reel in my stash that fit my needs for this solo fishing rod application. What I’m using is the Okuma Trios High-Speed Spinning Reel. The number one choice for this reel for this application and buying was for the speed. The reel is 6.2:1 that picks up 34 inches of line per turn. My personal thinking is; I can always slow down but speeding up can be hard. Pitching, flipping, and top water are my number one choices for the high speed.  The reel also comes in at a moderate 10oz. and a great drag set up. The one thing that had me sold on this reel was the high speed and man can this thing pick up fishing line in a hurry. 

The Line:

Well, I’m not actually using just one type of line for this reel. The main line I’m using is 50lb test Tuf-line XP in green. Wait, I did say I was using more than one type of line. Some applications like my Deeper, Water Work, and Flipping I’ll tie braid directly. When the conditions require, say monofilament for topwater or fluorocarbon for clear water, I can easily tie a certain amount of leader directly to the braid.

I’m curious, after reading this what would you select as your choice for just one rod and reel to do it all?

Semper Fish!

Joe, The National Angler

Fishing Tips & Tricks

Beginner 3 Rod Setup – How to select your first fishing rods.

Beginner 3 Rod Setup – How to select your first fishing rods. 

When I first started fishing as a kid I wanted to be just like the pros! Heck, I even had my first boat at the age of 13 and used a transom mount trolling motor on the front, just to be cool. I then began to collect every piece of fishing gear I could get my hands on; lures, rods, reels, tackle boxes, etc. I think at one point I had almost 15 random rods and reels. As a kid and would drag every one of them out with me on my adventures. As an adult, I still have a vast array of rods for almost every situation. I have rods for the surf, catfishing, crappie, bass and even fly rods (salt and fresh). I had an aha moment while reading an article about 7 years ago and it was to keep things simple from tackle to rods. When it came to rods it focused on your strengths, and I had three techniques I fished most, finesse, swim jigs, and topwater.

I found that if I had three rods that match my favorite techniques I would save time and room in my boat. I also discovered along the way, that these three rods worked for other situations when needed as well. I started carrying just three rods back in 2009 and have since added a few to a daily arsenal. I have rod holders mounted on my boat and can hold 8 and that is the max I will take. Today I do carry multiple rods, but the base of what I bring is still geared toward the three techniques.

First up, FINESSE FISHING, and what I have is an older Abu Garcia 6’6” Medium Light (ML) spinning rod. The reel varies based on what I’m fishing for. I will say normally I have a reel spooled with 8lb fluorocarbon (sensitivity and sight). If you are starting out and new to fishing really any Medium Light to Medium spinning rod will do. As you advance and get confident to the various techniques of FINESSE Fishing picking rods specifically designed for an application like shaky head and drop shot, will have better performance, but with a higher price tag. So why finesse fishing? Well, it’s simple I fish some highly pressured rivers in lakes that are in and around Washington DC.  The Potomac River and my favorite watershed Rocky Gorge Reservoir get pounded by anglers. I make it a goal to fish behind people and catch what they miss ; ). So finessed fishing is my favorite technique for bass. 

Next, SWIM JIGS, and with this application, I am using another Abu Garcia and more specifically the first Veritas model. It measures 7’6” and is Medium Heavy (MH). In regards to the reel situation, it changes all the time, but I do like a fast retrieve. Faster is better for me because I can always slow things down. The long rod allows me to really chuck a heavy jig out in the water. Along with casting the swim jig, and with the length of the rod I will switch it up from casting, and go straight to flipping and pitching. As far as line goes, I’ll use braid on the Potomac River with all the weeds and switch to fluorocarbon in the local reservoirs that don’t have a lot of heavy cover. This rod can be used for so much more; spinner baits, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, swim baits, and even catfishing : ). Again, if you are starting out pick something simple and then work your way up. All the major rod manufacturers produce very decent models that start around $40 to $60 and work great. So why swim jigs, we all know bass jigs produce. I just get bored and would rather fish it like a spinnerbait that it. Also, when I’m throwing frogs on the Potomac in the slop and I miss a fish, I quickly follow up with a jig and usually have success!

Last, TOPWATER FISHING, nothing is better than throwing a popper or a frog and watching a bass explode on the lure. When I started out top water fishing especially with a walk the dog lure was always difficult. However, I bought my first Shakespeare Ugly Stick and it was that action that made all the difference is my topwater techniques. The long flex through the entire rod has always helped me impart the best action on a lure, thus producing more fish on the end of the line. I have switched and now use s-glass rods and are usually sold as “Crankbait Rods”. The first two rods mentioned are usually made of carbon or graphite or a combination of. The one I use now is Wright & McGill Skeet Reese S-glass crankbait rod and measures 7ft. Sold as a crankbait rod, this works great for me as a topwater rod as well. It’s the long bend in the rod  and that is the reason I like them so much. 

As a side note for those anglers who are not yet comfortable with baitcasting reels. It’s really OK to use a spincast reel. Heck I still have my first Zebco 33 that was passed down from my Great Uncle and is probably from the 70’s. Honestly, there are some really nice spincast reels out there today, to get you started. 
That rounds out the baseline for the rods that I use when fishing. It’s geared towards bass mostly, but I still use those rods for other fishing methods as well. When starting out fishing, I would try to really keep things simple, until you get the hang of things and want to venture into more technique specific and higher priced rods.
Selecting Fishing Rods
If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me! Email or check out on Social Media!
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Semper Fish!
Joe, The National Angler



Deeper Fish Finder Review

UPDATE May 3rd, 2016

Thanks to some good help I have realized that I’ve left out good info and stuck to too much of the basics just like the details on the Amazon site. While I’ve used it I’m still experimenting with the fishfinder. So with that, I will say the following. My only complaint is the noise. My first time out I pulled up to a bridge where some guys were catching catfish. I cast it out and the cats stopped biting. About 15min went by and they began again. The guy said something to me “hey since you showed up, they stopped biting…” They started catching again, so I asked if I could experiment. Well, the noise definitely had an impact on fish in shallow water.

Also a big shoutout to my new friends at the Facebook Group “Texas Crappie Fishing” 

Semper Fish 

This fishing review covers the Deeper portable fish finder geared specifically towards shore anglers. A majority of the cast-able fish finders are sold on Amazon, and the Deeper with the highest cost also came in with the highest reviews and most capabilities. The Deeper can be used on a fishing pole, through a hole in the ice, mounted to a small boat or kayak.  It operates on a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone which saves on battery time. You can also charge it with a micro-USB adapter, which happens to be the same charger for my smartphone. Overall this fish finder has some great options and I look forward to getting to use it. I will be doing more reviews covering specific functions of the Deeper. 

If you are on the hunt for a fish finder like this, I highly recommend the Deeper and you can purchase it on Amazon. Click on the image below and check out the reviews to see the almost 5 stars. 


PROS:  Multiple uses from shore, ice, and small crafts. Bluetooth saves battery life of device and phone. Convenient charging. Mapping feature which is usually found on very expensive fish finders. Excellent phone app.

CONS: Sonar is loud (pings). Large splash when hitting the water. Bluetooth distance ( I can outcast this easily), Poor shallow water performance.

Watch how the Deeper casts below!

Surfing the internet for fishing info usually runs you into some very interesting things. One evening I ran across a YouTube video of a guy using a Deeper fish finder. Intrigued I continued to find related information on the device. I found some very generic information, but not the in-depth reviews. I went on the Deeper website to find it was sold on Amazon. Yes, Amazon is one of the first places that I go to for reviews of anything fishing related that I might want to buy.  I quickly discovered that along with the Deeper fish finder, a multitude of other brands existed for attaching to the end of the line. I quickly reviewed all the different options and discovered the Deeper was the most expensive and had the best reviews.

The Deeper is a fish finder that attaches to the end of your line and can be cast out onto the water and slowly retrieved to view depths and potential location of the structure, bait and hopefully fish! It can also be used for ice fishing with its flasher mode and with the optional mounting arm, attached to a small boat or kayak.

Top 3 uses for this phone are for finding fish, finding structure (depths, weeds, etc.), and water temp. These are a few thing only available to boaters and now you can have all this from the bank.

Deeper works with both Android and Apple devices and uses Bluetooth to transmit the images back to the smart device.  The range of the Bluetooth is advertised at 150 feet, but I can easily outcast this.

Charging is done via USB and I’ve charged mine with my computer and both home and car charger for my smartphone. The battery is said to have a battery life of 4 hours. I haven’t personally tested this yet.  It also recommends recharging every 2 months. This was a problem for me after a few weeks. I will check the rate before every fishing adventure.

The sonar operates on a dual be at 290 kHz which is a narrow 15 Degree and 90 kHz at 55 Degree angle. This gives multiple options to scan for fish and structure.  Depth is advertised from 1.5 feet to 130feet, not much of worry for me since I have never fished that deep, yet… I’ve had issues with performance at depths less than 3 feet and the device doesn’t’ work perfectly.

The application that is downloaded is very user-friendly, which includes a great color display. The display has a regular view, flasher, split screen and my favorite a mapping option. The ability to put this device in boat mode and track the bottom contour is great. I’m looking forward to using it more and providing a review for it as well. The weather and social functions are also great.

Accessories included in the package with the sonar are; attachment bolts, USB wore, neoprene carrying pouch and manual. Optionally you can buy a flexible are to mount this sonar to your boat or kayak and multiple colored covers for night fishing. The color caps allow the blinking light to show and help keep track of your sonar unit.  The attachment bolts go in three separate areas and are for different uses, boat, casting, and ice.

One accessory I purchased separately was a cell phone holder for a bicycle. This attaches perfectly to the handle on any fishing rod and securely holds a smartphone. I got the one pictured below of eBay for about $6 including shipping.



Deeper Fish Finder Mount














Technical specification

Size: 2.55 in / 6.5 cm

Weight: 3.5 oz / 100 g

Connection: Bluetooth

Range: Up to 140-160 ft / 50 m

Depth: 130 ft / 40 m

Temperature: -4F to 104F

Battery: Li-Poly. 6H

Sonar: Dual beam

Frequency: 290 & 90 kHz

Cone angle: 15° & 55°




If you have any questions for future reviews, let me know!

Semper Fish!

Joe, The National Angler