When visiting any store that sells tackle, your choices of a rod and reel combinations are vast. You are presented with dozens of options for many varying species of fish. For the person just starting out (or someone that just wants to buy an all around outfit), it can be hard to focus on just one and know that you made the right choice. Thankfully, rod and reel manufacturers rate their equipment for different sizes of line and weights of lures. This helps to narrow down the selection and makes picking the right outfit a bit easier.
Picking an all around outfit is fairly simple. You want something that will work in a variety of situations and in a manner that makes fishing enjoyable. The 8lb spinning outfit is light enough to be fun catching smaller fish, yet it still handles the big ones when they bite. This means the outfit is rated for 8lb line in the middle of its range. Look at the side of the rod. The label should read 4lb to 10lb line or 6lb to 12lb line. The rod rating (action) should be either medium light or medium. There will be slight differences from rod company to rod company, but the ranges mentioned above are the ones to look for. Rod length is the next consideration. A six to seven foot rod is a good all around size to start with.
A two piece rod is easy to transport. The handle material can be cork or foam but, in either case, you want a reel seat that tightens down with some type of secure fastening method.
Choose a rod from a recognized tackle manufacturer or supplier so that you are purchasing a product that will be supported, if a problem develops. You can buy them via the Internet, phone, or by visiting one of their retail stores. Both firms employ product specialists that can help guide you in picking the right rod for the fish you are trying to catch. These firms have excellent customer support– just be sure to save the receipt, in case there is a problem.
Once you have a rod, the next piece of gear is the reel. Look for a spinning reel weighing between 8 and 12 oz. A lighter reel makes for a much easier fishing day. Try the reel on the rod before buying and see how it fits your hand. Your index finger should be able to reach the spool in a standard casting grip. The reel stem is fitted between the middle fingers with the reel fastened under the rod. The index finger should be able to touch the edge of the spool with as little shifting of the grip as possible. This allows you much better control while casting since you’ll be able to feather the line with your finger tip for more accuracy. The wire arm (bail wire) should be closed by hand, since that will help prevent line twist and keep uncontrolled loops from forming on the spool.
If you have never spooled line onto a reel before, you might be better served having the tackle store do it for you. They use a line spooling machine that does the job quickly and properly. It also saves a little money, since you are charged only for the line that fits on the reel. If your reel comes with a spare spool, have that filled as well. Swapping a spool out while fishing is faster than refilling the spool on the reel. I’ve had spools of line trashed after a long fight with a big fish, so having a spare saved the day.
No single rod and reel can handle all fishing situations, but a light 8lb spinning outfit comes close. It’s fun-so go out and give one a try!
Jeff McGovern is a life long angler and fishing equipment expert, a professional consultant in the fishing and kayaking industry., and a distributor of Emmrod fishing rods.
Visit Jeff’s kayak fishing blog >>