Surf Fishing Gear the Pros Use

Rich Vidulich demonstrating his casting stance on a Stuart Beach.

Akios Reels and Cast Pro Rods paired up for max-cast distance.

While researching for the new Sportsman’s Best: Surf Fishing book, written by Florida Sportsman contributor David Brown, I checked in with surf fishing pro Rich Vidulich on some casting technique and tackle questions. It’s always good to learn what surf fishing gear the pros like to use.

Vidulich likes Akios reels and Carolina Cast Pro rods. Akios is a relatively new company, created by Simon Bradbury, the man in charge of product development at Abu-Garcia for many years. Akios, based in England, has many models of casting and spinning reels for every surf use imaginable.  Vidulich’s top choice, the Akios S Line 656 Sportscast Shuttle model,  is a specially designed long distance casting surf reel with the capacity to reach distances of  100 to 150 yards.

The Akios S Line 656 Sportscast Shuttle Model reel.

The reel can easily be controlled by magnetic spool settings to match the capability of the surf caster.  It holds a range of 250 yards to 300 yards of line depending on what pound test line you use.  The reel has 3 stainless steel bearings, a free floating spool and a stable one-piece cage.  The free floating spool means the reel has the bearings in the spool versus spool bearings on the side plate.  This feature dramatically increases distance.

For his rod, Vidulich uses Carolina Cast Pro rods designed, developed and marketed by U.S. distance-casting champion Tommy Farmer.  Farmer has been placing in the top of national surf casting competitions for more than a decade.  He regularly casts better than 700 feet.  Tommy Farmer has a lineup of seven models of different lengths, weights in both casting and spinning.  Each rod was designed with a fast taper, structural strength at the ferrel and they are exceptionally light to cast.  The design allows for a parabolic, powerful swing.  Parabolic means the rod exhibits a long casting muscle from the butt to the tip.  For Vidulich, the rod of choice for pompano fishing is the CPS 13 foot,  3- to 6-ounce model.

Carolina Cast Pro 13-foot, 3- to 6-ounce casting rod.

Vidulich likes these CPS rods paired up with light weight low rider reels like the Akios  line up.     The CPS 13 foot, 3- to 6-ounce rod retails for $309.95.  The Akios 656 Shuttle retails for $259.95. Rich also uses the less expensive Akios S Line 656 reel which retails for $159.95.  This reel performs just like the Shuttle, except that it has fewer features.  The Shuttle comes with an extra paddle style handle, an extra spool and 3 ABEC ceramic bearings .  The rod-and-reel combo weighs  around 4 pounds.

  • Ray salinger

    I bought 2 tommy farmer rods and put 2 akios reels on them it increased my casting distance,great bite detection,and lightweight.I am going to buy another setup soon.
    I do a lot of pompano fishing and rich has taught me pretty much everything including casting,reading the water color,when to use floats and what colors,and so much more I could go on forever.I highly recommend these to anyone! THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP RICH!!! Ray salinger

    • Richard LaVanway

      What is your casting distance? On a good day and the wind is right i can get about 100 yds. Would really like an extra 50 yds. I’m using a Penn 545 on an inexpensive 12 ft rod and throwing 4oz weights. Just checking to see if my goal is realistic. Thanks!

      • Ray salinger

        I know it is possible,Rich can hit 150 yds,But some days im getting only 60 with the east wind.which is plenty to reach the bars in my spots.The next thing im going to do is replace my bearings with ceramic bearings to gain some more distance,Rich told me i should be able to pick up 20 30 more yds.

        • Ray salinger

          Are you pompano fishing?

        • rich vidulich

          Ray, thanks for your assistance helping Richard LaVanaway umtil I was registered correctly. your friend Rich V

          • Ray salinger


      • rich vidulich

        Richard I posted on your facebook by mistake. I apologize. If I could help you evaluate your equipment I would be happy to do so. Thanks

  • Ray salinger

    Richard,I haven’t measured but if I had to guess it would be

  • Boing

    Advice, I normally surf fish and now would like to fish the Guana State Park. I have a set up for fresh water and I was told to utilize the center entrance and lock my car; this is all the information I have for now. Any leads? I have a 9ft star rod can I use this a well there?
    Thanks for you help,

  • rich vidulich

    Boing, I haven’t fished Guana State Park and I wish I could be helpful but no go on this one. If u get on facebook a close friend of mine Larry Finch knows the area big time..

  • Zakaria Sadoq