Noticed you mentioned reds and snook. We don't have them around here so I'm assuming you live out of the SF Bay Area?
Anyhow, on my 10' surf rod I use either a oldskool Penn 650ss or a newer Penn 650ssm.
On the 9' I have an original Penn 704z. That rig is really just used for sentimental reasons. Old Penn was given to me and I paired it with an oldskool fiberglass custom rod.
My lighter 7' rod I use a 4000 spin reel. I have a few different reels but they include cheapie Shimanos, higher end Shimanos and a WaveSpin that I got a couple years ago. I actually use the WaveSpin the most on that.
I use a couple diff rods. One lighter 7 footer with a medium power for smaller stuff and also a 10' surf rod (medium) or a 9' (lighter medium action-oldskool fiberglass) rod as well at times. Depending what I throw in the truck for the week.
If you have ppl next to you or around you do an under hand cast. Kinda like a granny throw. I use the pendulum force to whip it out as far as I can. Sometimes you don't even need to cast that far. Depends on pier/location.
For your larger catches use a crab net to haul your fish up. Try not to use a gaff. You would just be hurting a fish you may not be keeping anyhow. Plus if its undersized you could get into some major trouble using a gaff.
I bought one like 8 years ago cuz when I was a kid that's what ppl used to use. Never used it once. I opted for a net instead and the net was cheaper! Score!!!
I like that idea of the dual drag, when I used to fish the pier at Shelter Island in San Diego, I'd leave the bail open on the slack tide but if the tide was moving I'd have to lock it down.
From what I can remember about pier fishing the type of setup you have can depend a lot on the rules, regs, and conditions. If it's a long haul up and gaffs are not allowed you'll need something pretty beefy if the fish you're after are of any size.
I'd walk the piers and see what people are using that are catching the same fish you're going after. If it works for them, it should work for you.
I once took a beefy surf rod on a pier and then realized how dangerous it was to others when I tried to cast it. That's just one more thing to consider.
This spinning reel basically has two drags, so you can set a light drag to let the fish take the bait and run, feeling no drag, then by flipping a lever or turning the crank it switches to the heavier drag allowing you to set the hook and fight the fish.
I don't have any personal experience with this reel . . yet, but it is on my list as the next spinning reel I buy.
These are my final choices for an "all-around" pier spinning rod. I appreciate any thoughts/feedback and would also take advisement on a quality reel to balance your recommendation. I would use the rod primarily for bait fishing for halibut, reds, snook type size fish, but want to be able to handle something larger if it bites. I have a freshwater medium type spinning rod for smaller species, so this would be considered the next level up!Ugly Stik Tiger. 7' 1/2-6 oz. 10-50 lbUgly Stik Big Water 7 1/4-4 oz. 12-30 lbUgly Stik Big Water 8' 3/4-3 oz. 10-25 lbUgly Stik Big Water 8' 1-4 oz. 12-20 lb