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This has been my first year steelhead fishing. I’ve been out a couple times with a buddy of mine. He had me try float fishing with both a spinning rod and a center pin. I’d like to get a Centerpin rod and reel but want to get a better idea of what might work best for my set up. I’d like to keep my budget under $400 to leave me some money for the rest of my rigging and tackle. The entirety of my fishing will be done from my 14’ Stealthcraft drift raft or his 15’ Jon boat, mainly on the PM, Manistee, and Betsie rivers.

I am probably going to pick up a Raven Matrix as it fits into my budget for a beginner reel. That’s what my buddy has and it seems to work well. The reviews all seem positive too.

Some folks have mentioned to me that using a longer rod Can make it more difficult to manage landing a fish in a boat. Am I better off to go with a 10’ 6” or even a 9’ 6” for this situation? Seems like it is harder to find center pin rods in these lengths. Do I just go with a spinning rod instead of a centerpin specific rod?

I was looking at maybe just getting a Shimano Clarus in the 11’3” model and just see how it goes. Was also looking at the Raven 9’ 6” and 10’ 6” stealhead rods but can’t find them in stock anywhere on the internet. Okuma SST also has a 10’ 6” and 9’ 6” model but reviews for that rod are all over the spectrum.

any recommendations as far as brands/models/set ups based on your experience float fishing from a boat would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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The longer your rod, the more rod you're likely to have hanging over the side of a boat, somewhere. Longer rods are helpful in mending your line, and controlling your float. They are really handy of you're standing in waist-deep water. But if you're in a boat, you're standing on top of the water. I like a 10 - 11 foot rod for pinning.
I've got a couple cheaper centerpin reels, but have broken a couple rods, so making do with something built for spinning for the time being. I've been thinking about getting a spey rod for my next pinning rod. You can get some pretty nice rods for $250.
 

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Just my $.02

Look for sturdiness such as double mounted eyelets(sorry for forgetting the tech terms).

The Buzz Ramsey Rods are awesome in the 10'6" range and have stout eyelets that do not get bent out of whack and handle a beating with plenty of backbone to cast long distances while still remaining limp enough for lighter lines.
Usually around $100 so if something happens to it your not out a lot of cash and cheap enough to buy a spare.
 
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