Spin-fishing tackle For trout
You need at least a 2 to 2.5m rod (6’), and even if you are a youngster (aged 8 or 9 and above) do not let anyone talk you into getting a shorter rod. A short rod is harder to learn to cast with than a longer rod. When fishing for trout, either with a fly-rod or a spinning rod, you do much, much, much more casting than you do using the rod to land a fish.
The rod needs to be ‘rated’ for 2 to 5kg (4 to 10lb) line. Now all rods should have the rating printed on the rod, often just above the handle. This [rating] tells you that the rod is designed to be fished with in this case 2 to 5kg line.
This rating is important on two counts:
- The rating does not tell you can lift, in this example, a 5kg fish out of the water, even though the rod is rated for 5kg line. The rod will break! A rod’s rating is to guide the setting of the drag.
- When you rig up a reel, any reel (excluding a fly-reel), the ‘drag’ (clutch or brake) should be set so that a weight of one third of the breaking strain of the line just pulls line off the reel. This avoids the rod breaking and allows the fish to swim away pulling against the drag and so tire itself out. (And in there is a tip, and another rule, don’t wind the reel handle when a fish is pulling line of the reel, it will put ‘line-twist’ in the system – bad news. [More on line-twist].)
- Always use a line breaking strain at or near the lower recommended line weight. In this case fish closer to 2kg line than 5kg line. The upper line-weight usually indicates the line breaking strain that will put the rod under maximum load (lock-up). This is never a good thing - the difference between lock-up and broken-up can be very small indeed.
Why Such Light Gear?
There are three main reasons:
- Firstly, you do a lot of casting when spin-fishing so using light gear saves your casting-arm from falling off into the water and frightening the fish.
- Secondly, the lighter the line, the easier it is to cast small lures further and more accurately. Small lures make less commotion when they hit the water.
- Thirdly, lighter line is thinner than heavier line so it is not so easily pulled and pushed by currents, and it is harder for the trout to see.
For 3lb line use 1lb drag, 4lb line – 1.5lb drag, 6lb line – 2lb drag, 8lb line – 3lb drag. I won’t put any more guidelines in because going over 8lb line is counter-productive. In fact it is recommended that you keep your line breaking strain as low as possible, you will catch more fish that way.
How do you set the drag?
Thread the line through the guides and attach it to a known weight, could be some sand in a sock weighed on the kitchen scales. Then adjust the drag knob so that as you lift the rod the reel just starts to release line.
You must always unwind the drag when you get home from fishing, leaving the drag done up will fuse the drag washers and render the drag useless.
The rod should have a ‘fast’ action.
That means when the rod is ‘loaded’ (bent) most of the bend is in the top third, this should fire your lures into the middle distance.
The spinning reel should hold 250 to 300m of 8lb line.
But I would not load it with 8lb line; I would load it with 6lb line which means you will get well over 330m on the reel, more than enough to cover for the break-offs from snags, etc. during a days fishing.
The second thing you should make sure your reel has is a spare spool and most reasonable quality spinning reels come with a spare spool – on this spool load up with 4lb line, you could nearly 600m of line. Make sure the reel feels right on the rod, not too light or two heavy, just balanced - when it is filled with line.
Alongside the rating on the rod should be a lure weight guide – this should tell you what weight of lure will cast best. So before you actually buy a heap of lures, buy a lure at the top end of what is recommended on the rod and one at the bottom, and see which casts better – now you know the best lure weight to buy.
Now to lures and there are trillions:
A good and proven range is the ‘Toby’ range; they come in a huge range of colours. Straight silver has worked for ever, so has gold. Black and gold striped has been a proven colour, as has black and silver stripes. Again take some advice from your local tackle shop or fishing club. There are a number of Toby clones available as well.
Another great range of lures has been the ‘Mepps’ range, and they are long-time favourite of mine. These lures feature a free spinning blade that rotates ahead of the brass tube body. The blades come in a range of colours, and these colours pretty much match the Toby stand-outs.
Bibbed lures are designed to imitate baitfish. The ‘bib’ or ‘lip’ forces the lure to dive, and as it does so it fights the line causing the lure to shimmy in a tight arc. This shimmy attracts fish. There is some evidence that the tight shimmy also produces a 'sound' that predator fish hear through sensitive lateral lines - the 'sound' mimics that produced by baitfish in trouble.
The shallower the angle of the bib the deeper the lure will dive, and of course the deeper the angle of the bib the shallower it will dive.
Some bibbed lures are weighted and can be 'counted down'. The lure's packaging should give a guide to the sink rate - so many feet per second. So once the lure hits the water by counting the seconds you have a good idea of how deep the lure is running. But this is only of use in still water as any current will tend to lift the lure.
Soft Plastic Lures
These lures have fascinated me for many years, and fascinated more than a few trout as well I am pleased to say.
The lures consist of a soft-plastic body and tail which is pulled around the bend of the hook and up to the jig head. The jig head is a lead weight with a hook protruding out the back. The head is painted with an eye.
These lures work very well when fished slowly. If you put them in the water where you can see them, you will be amazed how little movement it takes to get them wriggling and twisting. Simply irresistible! I have had to be restrained from jumping into the water to eat them myself on the odd occasion.
Soft plastic warning
Many soft plastic baits come with 'bait enhancers' built-in, or available for application. It is illegal in New Zealand to use any kind of bait enhancer, either applied or incorporated into the lure.
A range of nymphs, as outline in the fly-fishing tackle section will all work well, used under a water weighted float, or a quill float.
Most wet flies suitable for the water you are fishing can be used by adding some split-shot to the line to get enough casting weight.
Bits & Pieces
You also need a pair of forceps to remove hooks, maybe a landing net, some plastic bubble floats, where permitted a container of various sized split shot lead and a cheap pair of small long-nose pliers, a few quill floats, a pair of nail clippers to trim knots, small swivels, a floppy hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a small phial of lemon detergent or ‘Simple Green’ to wash your hands after using the sunscreen and repellent.