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Equipment2 Light Tackle Fishing Setting Drag

Your First Light Tackle Outfit

You might be thinking of buying that first light tackle fishing outfit for yourself or a new angler. As with every purchase you should ask yourself a few basic questions. Where do I plan to use it? And what species do I want to fish for? For the purposes of this article I am going to presume you are going to purchase your first light tackle rod and reel for inshore saltwater angling.

Most tackle manufactures would like you to believe all rods and reels are made for both fresh and saltwater. But beware. Some reels will not hold up to the harshness of the saltwater environment much less the aggressiveness of saltwater fish. While planning a fishing trip with my good friend Walt last September we agreed that he should bring along some of his rod and reel combination for his son and neighbor’s kids to fish with. Of the three combos he brought. Only one went home working. The cheep rods and reels just could not withstand the hard runs of saltwater fish.

Unless you know exactly what you are shopping for I recommend shopping at a store that provides sales assistance. What you get besides a good price on equipment is a knowledgeable sales associate just waiting to answer your questions.

If you’re comfortable with bait casting reels, then they are a good choice for you. However, they are generally a poor choice for a youngster. If you want to teach your youth, then by all means buy them one for their second rod and reel combo. If this is your first foray into light tackle, don't get IGFA world record fever and go for the two pound test rigs. A good start is something in the eight to ten pound class spinning reel and a medium action 6-foot rod.

When choosing a rod for NE Florida I prefer a 6-foot rod because they are easier to handle and a reel in the size range of a Penn 4300. Longer rods can increase you casting distance but to me accuracy not distance is the anglers first main concern.

The main importance is that the rod has an action that will cast the size lure or bait you are planning to use. You should bring your reel with you when you go rod shopping. Your rod and reel must perform as a team. So you need to know how well they match one another and how they balance in your hand. Yes ideally they should balance with the rod tip floating at about 10 o’clock.

One of the most popular baits is Shrimp. And one of the best methods to fish Shrimp is with a lead jig head. Pick up a shrimp sometime and see how little this fellow weighs. This is why your first rod should be a medium light or medium action rod with a recommended lure weight of 1/8 to 3/8 ounce. My wife Karen has used such an outfit for several years now and it has served her well. I was so impressed by this little titan that I purchased two more G-Loomis GL3, 6-ft rods to use in my charters. These little light action outfits have accounted for trophies including Redfish, Snapper, Trout, Flounder and even a Snook weighting just a little under thirty pound. (I do believe that was definitely pushing it a bit).

Once you have chosen the rod and reel, let the store fill it with line. I highly recommend a very limp line like Strein’s easy cast. Don’t waste your money on any of the expense Kevlar wire or other spectra type lines. The minor gain you obtain in distance is differently not worth the expense.

Light line has a lot less tolerance for error. Pay particular attention to your knots and equipment deficiencies such as sticky drags and corroded rod guides. If you're serious about taking big fish on light tackle don't scrimp on your equipment cost. Pay the extra few bucks for a quality rod and reel. You still get what you pay for, and the extra years of service will more than make up for the higher cost.

By Capt. Steven Holmes    This article was previously published in Jacksonville Fisherman Magazine  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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