I see a lot of people fishing everyday, and their choice of gear is quite diverse. There is no right or wrong way to fish Coastal Georgia and St. Simons Island, but I want to help you select a rod and reel that suits your needs for fishing inshore in the Golden Isles.
One thing that I tell people that fish the inshore waters with me is "keep your line tight". The reason is that when you see your cork go down, or feel a strike, you need to be able to set the hook and connect with that fish. Keeping your slack out is part of the game, but a good rod and reel will give you an advantage that you wouldn't otherwise have.
When I was a kid we fished with 9 foot rods and bait casting reels. Now that we have transitioned into fishing with mostly spinning reels we fish with 8'6" rods because that is pretty much the longest rod we can get our hands on with the right weight and action.
A longer rod creates a longer arc when you set the hook, therefore taking up more slack. This helps greatly when you are fishing in the wind or casting across the current and dealing with big bags in your line. In these cases when you keep a tight line you are also moving your cork and bait out of the strike zone and reducing your opportunity for a bite. This is where the longer rod gives you an edge.
We also use spinning reels now because of the superior casting ability in the wind and when using light weight baits. A cork might have plenty of weight, but it isn't very aerodynamic, and needs a little extra help to get the distance. The spinning reels also gives you some help because they don't back lash as easily.
When you couple the spinning reel with a long rod you have a deadly combination. The rod allows you to make a slow steady cast without have to load the rod as much, and the spinning reel lets the line roll quickly off of the spool.
I also like the spinning reel for popping corks because of the way you hold the rod compared to a bait casting reel. It is much more natural to me to hold the rid with my palm down. I don't have to deal nearly as much with fatigue this way.
Maybe you don't want to try this type of set up. But, I will never go back now that I have seen the benefits of this fishing combo.
Capt. TJ Cheek - St. Simons Fishing Guide - Costa Del Mar Pro Guide