Cheeky Armada member Sean Kearney knows a thing or two about catching big fish. From steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, world-class bonefish in the Bahamas, to striped bass in New England, Sean has put his Cheeky Reels to the test all over the world. We recently caught up with Sean to discuss his recent fishing exploits, and to hear why his reel of choice is always Cheeky.
Q. Which Cheeky Reels do you have?
A. I currently own a Boost 400 Fly Reel, CYRDO 4500, and 2 FLOTR 3500 Reels, and plan to pick up more very soon!
Q. What do you love most about your Cheeky Reels?
A. Do I have to pick one thing? I'd have to say it's a three way toss up between the price point, the smoothness and the unique appearance of the reels.
Q. What’s your go-to fly setup and go-to spin setup (rod & reel)?
My go-to fly setup is the Boost 400 paired with a 9’, 9 wt Orvis Clearwater and 10 wt intermediate line. I love the weight, balance and of course - you can't beat the price.
My go-to spin setup depends whether I’m steelhead fishing in Oregon, jetty fishing in Oregon, or boat fishing in New England. This past summer the spin setup that saw the most use in my boat was the Cheeky CYDRO 4500 on a 7 foot Star Aerial rod. That setup was my go-to for Fluke and Seabass jigging, throwing plugs and eels to Striped Bass and tossing jigs to False Albacore just recently.
Q. Where in the world have you fished your Cheeky Reels?
My Cheeky reels have been all over the place this year. The Boost has handled bonefish down in South Andros, while the CYDRO was casting to barracuda during the trip. The CYDRO has landed some nice Lingcod and Rockfish off the jetties on the Oregon coastline, as well as seen a wide variety of species in New England such as Porgy, Fluke, Sea Bass, Bluefish, Striped Bass and False Albacore. My FLOTR reels have gotten around as well. They have taken Salmon and Steelhead from the coastal rivers of Oregon, casted to Steelhead in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, landed Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Montana’s Glacier National Park, casted along the shorelines of Lake Superior, pulled fish out of a lake in Idaho, and put a hurting on various fresh and saltwater species of New England.
Q. What’s your favorite fish to target and catch?
My favorite fish to target while I am in New England is the Striped Bass. While I am mainly a surfcaster, I still greatly enjoy taking my boat out to chase these great gamefish. When in Oregon, my favorite species to catch is the mighty Steelhead.
Q. What’s the largest fish you’ve landed on your Cheeky Reels?
The biggest fish I've landed so far on my Boost 400 is a 36” Striped Bass from the shore, although the small Bonefish I landed on it put up a fight that rivaled that nice striper. The FLOTR has taken Steelhead up to 32”, King Salmon up to 34” and a Coho Salmon that was just a couple pounds off the Oregon state record of 25 pounds.
Out of all of my Cheeky reels, my CYDRO has landed the single biggest fish, a behemoth 49” Striped Bass from my boat at night. The fish was not weighed, instead quickly released, but was quite a bit fatter than the 49” 45 pound Striped Bass I landed later that night from the shore!
Q. That's insane, how did you catch TWO 49" bass in one night?
I was drifting bunker heads over structure with a medium action 7 footer and my CYDRO reel. The night started out good with a pair of 20 pounders early on……..and then BOOM! I hooked into a super cow. After the typical long initial big fish run, it was about 6 minutes of tug of war and then I had a 49” inch bass in the boat, which is my new PR from a boat. So after that fish was released I went back and docked the boat, put my wetsuit on and grabbed my surfcasting set up. Went out to the same spot and 5 hours later landed ANOTHER 49 inch fish from shore. It was the first time I’ve landed a bass over 40 pounds from both shore and the boat in the same night.
I have caught so many nice fish on the CYDRO and FLOTR reels this year, literally beat the hell out of them, and they are still holding up just fine. Love it!
Follow along with all of Sean's fishing trips on his Instagram account.