Any fishing trip starts with the selection of fishing equipment and gear suitable for the conditions you will find on the lake or stream. Generally, the clarity of the water will determine what kind of rigging and terminal equipment is required, but in California trout fishing an angler will meet with many different situations.
Perhaps an outline of the gear I use and the ways I use it will be of value to the reader. My own gear is very probably much more extensive than that used by the average fisher. man, but then, I probably fish a great deal more than most anglers.
The Reel The reel is the heart of any spinning outfit. The rod and line play a far less important role.
The most important thing about the spinning reel that you choose is that it should have a quick-change feature so you can change spools of line in a hurry.
A good modern spinning reel can be bought in most larger cities for less than $50. This is well within the reach of most anglers. The best reel for all-around fishing is the standard open-face model. I use a Mitchell 300 for most of my trout fishing. This reel is probably the most popular in the American fisheries.
This popularity is an important item in reel selection. An angler should choose a popular model and make of reel; then, if something goes wrong with the reel while on a Fishing trip, it can be repaired in even the smallest town.
If an angler chooses a reel that is not common he can often ruin a trip. Because the only place it can be fixed is in bigger cities away from trout fishing areas. Reels from any of the larger companies are suitable for California trout fishing.
The Rod The key to rod selection is to purchase a rod that is limber enough to handle a variety of lines yet with enough backbone to handle heavier lines.
The 7.1/2 ft. rod (Fenwick FS 75) I use is very limber. I have found that for consistent success I get better results with a rod that bends right down into the handle section.
As a matter of fact, I don’t like the feel of any rod that doesn’t have some give in the handle section at the spot where I have my hand. This makes the rod an extension of your arm and you can sense every move that the trout makes as he makes it.
Probably the best all-around line size for California trout waters is four-pound test mono filament. In my last camping trips in echo lake, i have also got the ultimate prove. This size line can be rigged to cast fairly light weights. And also it is strong enough to handle virtually any trout likely to be hooked. It happens by providing the angler doesn’t panic.
A spool of six-pound and eight- and ten-pound test should also be purchased.
One of the reasons for an open-face reel is the ease with which spools can be changed.
Closed-face spin casting reels are difficult to adapt in the field; therefore, an angler is likely to change from one-line size to another to cover a changing situation.
Also, the closed reel keeps the line spooling hidden. When something goes wrong with the line, as when a loop or slippage happens, an angler with a closed reel doesn’t see the trouble as it develops. By the time he is aware of a tangled line, the situation is often hopeless.
With open-face reel model trouble with the spooling line can be spotted with a glance down at the reel spool.
In my own fishing, I have two spinning rigs fitted and ready to go at all times. One rig is fitted with a relatively heavy line for trout fishing that tests around 8 or 10 lbs. breaking strength. The other is fitted with 4 or 6 lb. test mono filament.
One reason for having two outfits: I have found the best method of locating trout in lakes like Davis or Eagle is to troll, but once they are located it is usually better to cast to them with a lighter outfit.
But in stream fishing, as it is done in streams like the McCloud and Sacramento, I need only the lighter outfit, normally fitted with 4 lb. test line. This rig will handle the smaller and lighter lures needed for success in these clear water streams.
Heavier gear is almost surely ruled out in these streams. Except during the spring or rainy period when the waters are roiled. In the case of the McCloud River, I have never seen this stream roiled more than modestly, even during storms.
Ultra-Light Lines There will be some situations for trout fishing where very light lines are a distinct advantage. It is good sense to buy 100-yard spools of one and two-pound test lines for these occasions.
I don’t suggest filling a special spool with lines this light. Instead, when a situation arises where very light lines are warranted, simply wind on about 50 yards of the lighter test line over the top of the four-pound spool. Rarely will you need more than this much line?
On a properly maintained standard-size reel the drag can be adjusted so it can handle this size line effectively.
The situations where lines less than four pounds are advantageous are fairly limited. In summer most streams and float fishes in California or other areas in USA run extremely clear. They are also relatively shallow in many sections.
With light lines, an angler can handle very tiny lures like midget spinners and wobblers that are deadly in stream and lake fishing without any additional weight added to the line. In a few situations, lines of the one-pound test will be necessary but I consider two-pound test the minimum for the majority of situations.
Lines lighter than two pounds are violently affected by even the slightest breeze and trying to fish them where there is any brush is a nuisance.
There is very little advantage to using the tiny rods commonly associated with ultra-light fishing. Perhaps these short rods, normally about four feet long, can be used to advantage in brush stream fishing. But they do not allow enough line control. Especially, in most cases to justify their purchase-unless the angler just likes the idea of fishing with a tiny rod.
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About me: Hi, I'm Alex N. Ferroni, One of the creators of The Safariors blog and former camping trainer at Tripspot Magazine. I wish some other outdoor, hiking, hunting, fishing and camping enthusiasts have made this blog to share our thought. We are learning a lot through each trip, and we want you to learn that too!