The first thing that I would like to mention is you should always use tackle that is capable of beating your intended target quickly and efficiently. Needlessly prolonging a fight through a desire to use lighter gear for more ‘sport’ is totally irresponsible and unsporting. Most anglers like to operate on a catch and release basis. Fishing catch and release is not a moral or ethical choice if you have decided to fight your quarry to the point of exhaustion. Every second longer that a battle is prolonged the fish’s chances of survival deteriorate.
Branding is not of huge importance when it comes to saltwater rods. I have a range of makes that I like to use and am comfortable with, but this changes from angler to angler. What is important is that any rod used is fit for the purpose intended, is made from quality components and feels comfortable to the person using it. For the record, I favour saltwater rods by ABU and Penn but I do occasionally use others.
One of the stouter rods that I use for a lot of my heavy kayak fishing is a 7ft/2.1m 30lb class rod from ABU. I use this rod when targeting species like tope and conger eels. I know that this rod will beat even the largest female tope in a strongly running tide.
A 7ft/2.1m 20lb class rod is something that is suitable for fishing for species like bigger ray, ling, coalfish or big cod, if you know where to find them! It may sound like over gunning things but suppose three 8lb/3.6kg coalies hit your three hook trace at once?
I use a 5ft/1.5m 12lb class Penn rod for general ground fishing for ray, bull huss and most inshore ‘round’ fish. I also use this rod if I am jigging strings of mackerel feathers and it performs this task admirably.
I use a 7ft/2.1m jerkbait rod when ground fishing for flatfish, wrasse and dogfish. I also use this rod to fish lures for pollack and bass. Granted, it is a rod designed for freshwater but it has the backbone to hurl heavy lures and can subdue 20lb/9kg+ pike on the lakes with ease. It makes a lovely light rod for targeting these inshore species.
There are other rods that I do use in a saltwater environment. These include a float rod for mullet or a fly rod for saltwater fly fishing. Information on these ‘crossover’ rods can be found in the freshwater rods section.