Friday, January 21, 2022

Choosing the right tackle for the right reason

Nice Red caught on light tackle. PHOTO BY MARY FINK/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

Nice Red caught on light tackle. PHOTO BY MARY FINK/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

Capt. Mary Fink 

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced lady angler, one of the most important decisions you should make before setting out for a day of fishing is that of tackle selection. Fishing tackle can be defined quite simply as: a rod, a compatible reel, fishing line, hooks, lures and possible live bait selection.

This author recommends light tackle for most types of fishing for both novice and experienced anglers. Light salt water tackle would include a reel with a line capacity and strength in the 8-15 pound range and a rod that is much lighter and shorter than average, perhaps between four and six feet. Consider ultra light tackle as being on the lowest end of this range. I have found that most lady anglers who have fished with heavier tackle find delight in using light tackle for the first time.

There are a number of reasons why using light tackle enhances the sport of fishing especially for lady anglers. First, due to the lighter weight of the rod and reel, sensitivity to strikes is greatly improved, increasing the number of successful “hook ups” an angler experiences. Second, fishing with light tackle enables ladies who enjoy fishing from a canoe, kayak, or any small craft greater ease in carrying and handling rods and reels because they are shorter, lighter and more maneuverable. Finally, the challenge of the battle is greater as the fish has a better chance to possibly get free, especially if the drag setting or fishing technique isn’t top notch. The drag is simply the mechanism on the reel that determines how much resistance the reel can handle prior to allowing line to be pulled from the spool. The drag on a spinning reel can be loosened by turning the knob to the left or tightened by turning it to the right. Most drag mechanisms are located at the very front of your spinning reel. Proper drag setting is based on two things: The weight of the line and the length/flexibility of the rod. Typically, when fishing with light tackle, the drag set should be on the loose end.

There are several factors to consider when fishing with light tackle in order to be successful:

• Set your drag properly! If not, the line is likely to break when battling a respectable fish. Proper drag set is a vital component for successful light tackle fishing.

• When a fish is hooked, do not reel against the drag. Instead, use the drag to exhaust your fish and allow the fish to run when fighting resistance is stronger than the drag setting. Enjoy the battle! It’s okay to let the fish run!

• Keep the rod tip up to maximize leverage and minimize slack.

• Do your best to use the rod top to maneuver fish away from structure and obstacles which can interfere and break the line.

• Use a net to land your fish if fishing from a boat. Flipping a heavy fish into a boat with light tackle can result in a broken rod and at the very least, a severed line.

A final tackle consideration involves selecting line that is appropriate for the type of fishing you choose to do. In local back country areas where an array of structure exists such as oyster beds and mangrove roots, braided line is an excellent choice due to the fact that it is more abrasion resistant than monofilament and therefore, less likely to sever. Leader material, on the other hand, should be virtually invisible to fish which is why this author chooses fluorocarbon rather than monofilament material for leaders. A leader is the line that is tied to the end of the braided line, and tied on the other end, to your chosen bait selection.

Give these simple tips a try, ladies, and let me know how you’re doing. More fishing tips to follow in upcoming articles!

Tight Lines! 

Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both back country and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit to learn more about fishing with Captain Mary. 

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