Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fishing: Rods and Reels, Ways and Means

There is an unimaginably wide variety of rods and reels on the market, each one fitting a particular niche or designed for a specific job. The rod used in the surf is different from the rod used to fish weed beds on a bass pond. Both of those rods are different from the rod used to fish high mountain rivers.

The Types

Fly Rods
Image from flydepot.com
Rods used for fly fishing are very long and thin. They usually range between 7 and 9 feet long, with a very whippy feel. They're only really useful with fly fishing reels and line. While fly fishing can be an effective way to catch fish, it is really more of a hobby for most folks than a survival skill.

Trolling Rods
Image from fishusa.com
Trolling is the technique of pulling bait or lures behind a boat. Trolling can be done with a variety of rods, but rigs dedicated to the purpose also exist. These rigs use heavy, stout rods and large reels with weighted lines, often color marked to indicate length. Trolling is a highly effective way to catch fish, but does require a boat. If you're stocking the freezer, it works great. As a survival method, it is almost useless.

Spinning and Spincasting
Image from learninghowtofish.com
These rods are great general purpose rigs. Which one you see is often a regional thing, but they work the same way. They come in a wide range of weights and stiffnesses, able to meet almost any need.

Which One Do I Choose?
Image from orvis.com
The rig you choose is mostly determined by the water you fish. On a mountain river awash with insects, a fly rod is excellent. They also work well in small ponds, but on larger rivers and lakes, spinning or spincasting rigs are hard to beat. In deep water chasing big fish, nothing matches a trolling rig.

If you can only have one rod, I'd recommend a spinning or spincasting rig, roughly 6' long with 6-8 pound line. It's a jack of all trades and master of none, but it can be employed in virtually any water for any species. Something made by Shakespeare or Zebco will be easy on your budget while providing lasting performance.


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