Spinning Outfit Is Angling’s Most Versatile Tool By Stan Fagerstrom
Today there’s more reason that ever to select a spinning outfit if you’re heading in an unknown area and can pack only one outfit to use when you get there.
In last month’s column I mentioned the importance of packing extra extra spools for your spinning reel. In talking about monofilament lines, I suggested loading one spool with 4-pound line, another with six, a third with eight and a fourth with 10. I said those four different line tests would let you cover a tremendous variety of fishing tasks.
Today you’re missing a bet if you don’t load at least some of those spare spools with braided line. I’ve been using Power Pro braid on some of my spinning reels now for years. I love it! It spools beautifully and with a minimum of care virtually eliminates the miserable tangles it’s so easy to come by with either monofilament or fluorocarbon lines.
And that’s not’s all. Years ago I rarely ever used a monofilament heavier than 10-pound test on a spinning outfit. Lines of a larger diameter just didn’t handle well. Today I don’t hesitate at all to load a spare spool with 20-pound test Power Pro if that’s what the fishing problem I’m facing requires.
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The new braids like Power Pro make it a lot easier to tangle with good sized bass on a spinning outfit.
I can do that because the diameter of that fine quality braid is so small. I’ll throw a 1/4th-ounce weight every bit as far as I need to for most bass fishing where there’s heavy cover of one kind or another. Though the line’s diameter is so small, it’s still got the strength required to get a good coming my way without running the undue risk of breaking.
In the murky water often associated with bass fishing it’s often not necessary to use a leader with your braided line. It’s no problem to do so if you’re dealing with clear water. What you do need to do is learn how to tie the proper knots to join your leader to your line. If you fail to do this you’re asking for trouble.
A note of caution is in order where these braided lines are concerned. Spool one of the new braids like Power Pro with a diameter of only 8-pounds or so on an open faced reel and the breaking strength might be as much as 20 pounds.
A lightweight spinning rod isn’t rated for that kind of line strength. Try setting the hook as hard as you do with a lighter monofilament line and you risk rod breakage. Use common sense at hook setting time. If you don’t you may screw up the angling adventure of a lifetime through your own carelessness.
I've had the good fortune to have made three different fishing trips into the Amazon. It’s not the outfit I used for peacock bass, but I did wind up using my spinning rig a good bit and having a ball in the process.
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My spinning outfit came in handy on one of my trips into the Amazon. I wasn't suited, of course, for large peacock bass but it was great for the smaller peacocks and the big piranhas like I'm pictured holding here.
The piranha down there in that beautiful but treacherous jungle country grabbed the same lures I like to use hereabout for crappie and bluegill. My main problem was I often didn't get them in the boat because their razor-edged teeth sliced my monofilament like sharp scissors.
If you’re interested in specifics, the spinning rod I pack most often is a G.Loomis SJR700. This one-piece spinning rod weighs only 3.64 ounces. It is 5 feet, 10 inches and is rated for four to eight pound line. I use it in combination with a Shimano open-faced spinning reel.
Too light for most freshwater fishing, you say? Well, I've caught largemouth bass to 7- pounds on that wonderful little stick. Admittedly, the fish dictate what happens for awhile if you hook a good one in heavy cover on that lightweight rod and that’s exactly what happened with that 7-pounder. But I’m always surprised at the power that rod has packed into its slender length.
As for reels, I’ve used a Shimano Symetre by far the most. You can find spinning reels that cost a good bit more, but the Symetre works great for me. I use it in the casting exhibitions I do around the country as well as for my actual fishing.
I recall trips I made for sea run cutthroat on Washington State’s lower Cowlitz River. I went out with one of the most knowledgeable cutthroat anglers from that part of Southwest Washington. The technique we used was throwing small spinners up under the willows along the shoreline. The outfit I used on that occasion was an open-faced reel, 6-pound test monofilament and that same G. Loomis SJR700 I mentioned before.
I caught my share of cutthroat with it on the Cowlitz. I also had similar success on those New Zealand adventures as well as elsewhere. In New Zealand I used that rod with 4 or 6-pound line on my open-faced spinning reel. It was a perfect outfit for getting the distance required with the lightweight lures we used. The rod was also perfectly matched to the size of the fish involved.
Few fishermen have spent more time with a level wind reel in their hands than I have. I've managed to make a living demonstrating and talking about them around the United States for a long, long time. And all that demonstration time is in addition to countless fishing trips. Nobody loves a level wind reel and a casting rod more than I do.
Even so, if I'm ever stuck with taking just the one outfit I mentioned in the beginning, I’ll pick my spinning outfit every time. If your angling adventures take you into the same parts of the world mine have taken me, you’ll be wise to consider doing the same.