I use a Hardy Marquis 10 and a Sage 508 on this rod. These are 3-3/4" reels - the size you'd use on an 8 wt single handed rod. You don't need a big reel for the lines I use on this rod and I believe lighter is better. I use a Wulff TT 7/8 spey and a DT8 for lines.
This rod isn't the best choice for throwing sinktips but you can do it. I sometimes use a Cortland DT8 F/S type III and this line works well. If you're making your own tips from shooting heads I'd use an AFTMA No. 6 or 7 at the largest. The rio windcutter 6/7/8 line that many folks use with this rod has AFTMA 7 wt tips for example.
This rod is nice to fish as it is so light. I don't use mine much as it just doesn't have enough backbone to really put the wood to the fish. A sulking buck can lead to a fight that is more drawn out than I like, so I normally use heavier tackle.
I have the newer version of 7136 (green, post2001 taper, different dye in the graphite). I use a Hardy JLH salmon clicker. The balance point with this reel is just above the cork. I spooled on some LC13 under the backing, which moved the balance point to an upper hand cork position.
I fish Triangle Taper 8/9 (now TT8) looped at 18' with 8 weight tips. I does just fine with 15' of type 6 tip, but really, when I know that I'll be fishing tips I just use a heavier rod. It works but it pushes the envelope of what that rod was designed to do.
The Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor, their biggest one, balances the 7136 very well. You will not be able to get tons of backing on it, but that shouldn't be a problem for late spring/summer and early fall fishing for steelhead.
The rod is great for a floating line or a floating line with an indicator. The Midspey 6/7 floating line is a perfect balance with the rod and the Orvis BLA.
However, for most mere mortals, the 7136 rod with sinking tips is a disaster. Some of the Spey Gods on this forum can lift and cast the sinking tips, but they are blessed with being able to defy the laws of physics and gravity. I use my 7141 for lifting sinking tips and bigger waters and heavy flows in winter and early flows.
I truly love my old 7136, but it is not a tip rod of choice. Sure, alot of guys do it, but it is not what the rod is best at. If I occassionally needed to get down I would go to the poly tips as was suggested. If "real" tips are to be a main part of your agenda I suggest a little more rod.
As for a reel, get one you like, personally I don't put much stock in "balancing" a reel - at least within reason - I won't use my Ross Saltwater V on the 7136 - but my Evotech 9-13 or Lamson L-7 or L-4 - are great. The weight of the reel doesn't matter as much as many think it does, after all you are using 2 hands on the rod, it is easy to compensate. Furthermore, guys who fret over where their rod teeters in their hand are not thinking about balance in terms of 60+ feet of line hanging out the end of the rod tip!
My reel advice is, find one you think is cool, is in your price range and holds at least 150yds of backing and buy it.
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