Salmon - Diawa Sealine X - 9' rod (cheaper approx $80) or the 9' Lamiglas plunking rod with the cork handle. (dont know the model, approx $150).
Sturgon - 12' Uglystick (cheaper, approx $60) or the 14 foot Lamiglas plunking rod with the rope handel. (approx $200).
Anything except a levelwind. A levelwind will hurt your distance on the cast. You also want a high gear ratio, When you reel in w/o a fish on you want to be able to get the terminal rig off the bottom in a hurry to avoid snags, a high gear ratio will do that better. Finally you wnat a lightweight (graphite) spool. A heavy spool will contribute to more backlash, a bad thing.
Hard to beat the Diawa Sealine 40 or 50 H, but an Penn 3/0 seantor or something similar will be fine as well.
I use a 9' heavy action rod and a penn 209 reel with 30lb for plunking for salmon and steelhead, it is a bit much for steelies but when i need to i can cast 8 ounces a long ways... and i can drop down to 4 if i need to and still cast with it...
I would tie up a Rainshadow SW1207, firedog has built a couple of them for bank fishing if you want to give one a wiggle jiggle test. :wink: Put on a rope wrap butt at about 18 inches +/-, or maybe that new cork handle that is 18 inches long that Anglers Workshop now offers. With the rope wrap butt the rod becomes very affordable for a big stick.
I agree with UG on the spinning reel on a big bank set up if you want to cast any distance.
You guys must be talking about fishing the Columbia. I've never had to cast more then 50' max. In fact, most of my plunking has been within 20' from shore. I always use a baitcaster, never a spinning rod. I have much better control on the line when a fish is running, and am able to really horse rod with my thumb (instead of having to grab spool) when fish is running hard into snags. Since most places I fish you can only land in certain areas, near snags. My Dad grew up plunking, and has been using a 7000c/FS89C fenwick setup for well over 35 years (maybe even longer, I know he has had this set up since before I was born). But the biggest rivers I ever had to plunk was the Chehalis near the mouth to Grays Harbor. But, if you sinc that reel in, with your 5-8 ounce weight, can easily and accurately cast in the 50' foot range. Just proper tension and thumb control. But, as I said, never had to cast more then 50'. I use either FS89C or FS88C (glass pre buyout Fenwicks) with older 6001c's. Been my go to rods myself for almost 26 years.
The boys at Meldrum bar use longer rods and most use levelwinds. I've gone down with my 10' okuma and spinning reel and had the shortest rod and only spinning reel. Plus they cast way over 50' to get to the channel with 8 or more ounces of weight. You be the judge. Roy has the right idea but I'd stick to a cork handle. There has been a Lami plunking rod in the classifieds here for about a week.
Im talking a baitcasting reel without the levelwind, I have never plunked a spinning reel, although I see some guys that do.
The levelwind is the little thing that goes back and forth on the front of the reel to put the line on she spool evenly. You need it when drift fishing steelhead and your making a cast every 30 seconds, its nice to have when backbouncing or trolling out of a boat and the line is going in/out all day long, but when casting large weights for maximum distance it just gets in the way and reduces your casting distance.