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I need some advice on a good rod and reel for bottom fishing in the gulf. The rig will only be used for bottom fishing. I would like to spend $200.00 or less for both and would prefer a level wind reel. What do you use or what would you suggest. Thanks
 

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$200 is an odd price point really. Not enough for something like a tyrnos or saltist or anything like that but plenty enough for a basic Penn 4/0.

What I would do is try to find a good shape made in USA Penn 113h 4/0 and rod on craigslist. You should be able to do that for around $100 or even less. Put some fresh 50# MONO on it and youre good to go.

If you dont mind a spinning set up, get a new Penn Spinfisher V 6500 and an ugly stick tiger lite rod, fill with 40-50# braid and you have a set up that you can use from anything to bottom fishing to jigging even trolling and as a pitch set up. This will run you a hair over $200. I am a HUGE fan of my V 5500 on my ugly stick tiger lite. Its relatively cheap, versatile and STRONG. I caught my second largest red snapper on it and Ive stopped bobos in their tracks while jigging with it.
 

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+2 on the ugly stik tiger lite, best rod under $125 for bottom fishing. I have not used the conventional tiger rods but I'm sure they're great also and with an older model penn levelwind would be a great combo.

I don't know why you'd want a level wind but I agree a spinning reel would be better if you wanna go that route.
 

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The Yakslayer
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I might put my 2 cents in for a Penn 320 GT. It's smaller than the 4/0 or 330 which I like on a kayak but its plenty big for anything you're likely to encounter. I think its around $100 and then just find a good rod for 'bout $100 and you're good.
 
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