Series Two Heavy Cover Rods - Everything IS bigger in Texas.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “what is your favorite rod?”. It may not seem like a difficult question to answer but, for me, it’s almost impossible. Almost being the key word there. It comes back to my favorite techniques. I love a good spinnerbait bite. I really love a good frog bite. However, for well over 20 years, I’ve been obsessed with throwing a Texas rig. There is no doubt in my mind, the number of times I’ve cast a Texas rig far outnumbers any other bait or technique. To this day, it’s still my top go-to, more specifically, a weighted Texas rig matched with some type of craw style bait.
If you continue to read through everything here, you will find out what my favorite rod is. But this posting isn’t about just my favorite rod, it’s just as much about my favorite ways to fish and the rods I created for those applications.
We’re talking about heavy cover rods. Heavy power and big, heavy fish. For me, it’s often times the most effective way to catch those big, old giants we have here in Texas, throughout most of the year.
We’re going to look at (4) heavy powered / heavy cover rods we have in the Series Two lineup.
Smoke Wagon: 6’10 / Heavy / Fast
Outlaw: 7’3 / Heavy / Fast
Henry’s Heavy Hitter: 7’6 / Extra Heavy / Moderate-Fast
Sea Pony: 7’7 / Heavy / Moderate-Fast
Series Two Smoke Wagon
We’ll start with the “Smoke Wagon”. A 6’10 “pit bull” of a rod. I’ve found that there are times when you may want a frogging rod that is closer to 7’3 (which we do have), however, most of the time, I prefer 6’10. It’s considerably more accurate and allows you to walk a frog comfortably, without burying the tip of the rod in the water. The Smoke Wagon is also a rod that can wear several hats if needed. It’s an excellent option for heavier moving bait scenarios like a 3/4oz spinner bait or heavy bladed jig. It provides a perfect combination of power and action, while being lightweight and balanced. It’s also an incredible rod to skip with.
I’d say 80 percent of the time, if I have a Smoke Wagon in my hand, it’s got a frog tied on. 10 percent of the time, it’s got a magnum fluke tied on. The other 10 percent of the time would typically be for skipping a jig under a dock or pitching in tight spaces.
Britton’s Smoke Wagon Set-Ups
Frog (Booyah Pad Crasher or Zoom Floating “runner” type frog): Smoke Wagon paired with a Shimano Curado 70 MGL, 7.4:1 Gear Ratio, 50lb to 65lb power pro braid.
Magnum Fluke: Smoke Wagon paired with a Shimano Curado 70 MGL, 7.4:1 Gear Ratio, spooled with 20lb Seagur. Sometimes InvisX, sometimes AbrasX.
Jig Skipping / Tight Spaces Pitching: Smoke Wagon paired with you guessed it, a Shimano Curado 70 MGL, 7.4:1 Gear Ratio. Sometimes I reach for braid, most of the time, I reach for fluorocarbon.
Series Two Outlaw
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! My favorite rod; The one and only “Outlaw”. I absolutely love this rod and I will not leave home without it. Most of the time, I won’t leave home without 2 or 3 of them. The length (7’3) gives multiple advantages including casting distance and leverage, however, it’s still incredibly accurate. Like the Smoke Wagon, the Outlaw provides a perfect combination of power and action for so many techniques. It’s also incredibly versatile as it can also provide an excellent option for heavier spinnerbaits or bladed jigs, magnum flukes, even Carolina rigs and lighter Alabama rigs.
Most of the time, I have two Outlaws on the boat. One will be a Texas rig with a 5/16 oz. weight and a Zoom magnum speed craw. The other will typically have a 3/8 flipping jig or a slightly larger / heavier Texas rig.
Britton’s Outlaw Set Ups
Texas Rig (Zoom Magnum Speed Craw with 5/16 oz. weight): Outlaw paired with Shimano Curado 70 HG, 7.2:1 Gear Ratio, 20lb Seaguar InvisX or AbrasX.
Flippin Jig (I love a 3/8oz flippin jig in natural colors or bluegill colors, paired with a NetBait Paca Slim for the trailer, Tilapia Magic or Sun Gill Flare): Outlaw paired with Shimano Curado 70 HG, 7.2:1 Gear Ratio, 20lb, sometimes jump up to 25lb, Seaguar InvisX or AbrasX.
Series Two Henry's Heavy Hitter
Next up is “Henry’s Heavy Hitter”. This is a 7’6 powerhouse of a flipping & pitching rod. This is the rod I reach for when staring at the gnarliest lily pads & root systems, super thick grass, dense brush, and submerged trees. Its extra heavy power provides the backbone you need for any extreme cover scenario, while also driving the hook and turning the fish’s head like a Mack truck. It’s incredibly sensitive and lightweight, especially considering the shear size / power of the rod.
I often say Henry’s Heavy Hitter is one of the most “sleeper” type rods we have. It shouldn’t be limited to just heavy cover flipping. It’s also fantastic for substantial sized swimbaits, heavy football jigs, heavier Carolina rigs and even Alabama rigs.
Lastly, it’s important to point out the rod’s name. Henry’s Heavy Hitter is our way of paying homage to a dear friend. Henry is a U.S. Military Veteran who served and fought for our country all over the world.
Britton’s Henry’s Heavy Hitter Set Ups
Heavy Flippin / Punching (One of my go-to baits here is a Zoom Z Craw, I’m a fan of Watermelon Seed and Tilapia Magic): Henry’s Heavy Hitter paired with a Shimano Curado 70 HG, 7.2:1 Gear Ratio, or a Curado XG, 8.2:1 Gear Ratio, 25lb Seaguar oftentimes, but I’ve also been using 30lb Sunline.
Series Two Sea Pony
Last, we have the “Sea Pony”. I know that I’m biased, but everything about this rod is just awesome. It’s a 7’7 Heavy powered rod with a moderate-fast action, absolutely perfect for all of your ledges, big ditches, points, etc. The Sea Pony really shines when throwing a Carolina rig but is also an excellent option for dragging football jigs and umbrella / Alabama rigs. Additionally, it can be used for launching frogs across giant grass flats, big “deep water” spinnerbaits, even your extra deep diving crankbaits like a Strike King 10XD. A stout backbone paired with a dynamic action makes the rod incredibly versatile, while also being effective at getting those offshore giants landed in the boat.
When I have a Sea Pony in my hand, I’ve got a Carolina rig tied on, most of the time. If I’m really hammering offshore cover and structure, I probably have a few more on the deck, with football jigs or wobble heads tied on.
Britton’s Sea Pony Set Ups
Carolina Rig (usually ½ oz.; also, I love a Zoom Brush Hog or Zoom Z Craw for Carolina Rigs): Sea Pony paired with Shimano Curado 200K “PG” (Power Gear), 5.0:1 Gear Ratio, 17-20lb Seagur InvisX or AbrasX.