You need at least a 7 foot rod and even if you are a youngster (aged 8 or 9 and above) do not let anyone talk you into getting a shorter rod. Within reason, 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.
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There are three main reasons:
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.
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 on the spool. 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.
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.
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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. Some heads are 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.
Use the same weight considerations you would use for metal lures, as outlined above.
Many soft plastic baits come with 'bait enhancers' built-in, or available for application. It is illegal in fresh water 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.
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.
Fly-Rod 'Actions' -
What Do They Mean?
I guess one of the more confusing elements of fly-fishing is the hotchpotch of terms used to describe the “actions” of fly-rods.
Hopefully I can dispel some of this confusion and help making a decision on what fly-rod to buy easier.
How to tie fishing knots properly & securely
It is my guess that more fish are lost to poorly tied knots, than from any other single factor.
There are many knots available to fishers, but no matter which knot you choose there is one factor that remains true. If you do not practice tying the chosen knot so that you can tie it easily and securely, you will lose fish to knots coming undone...
How to Release Fish with the Best Chance of Survival
Don't be fooled, just unhooking a fish and throwing it back in the water is not going to ensure a fish will survive the catch and release.
Releasing fish correctly has become a very important factor in preserving fish stocks for the future, but it needs to be done correctly.
This article sets out 5 "release rules" that provide the maximum survivability for the fish.
There is also a couple of extra 'rules' and links to more information.