Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spool Me Once...

Shame on you, spool me twice, shame on me! Isn't that how it goes? Close enough.

Getting "spooled" is a hell of a thing for any angler. It is at once exhilarating and immensely frustrating. It's pretty rare in freshwater , rare in general if you're using appropriate , species specific tackle. Unfortunately , I am a magnet for line stripping mystery fish whenever I hit my favorite pier , so much so that I've been forced to take action.

The problem lies in my affinity for Got-cha lures when I'm fishing from this particular pier. I love those things. If I'm on the pier , odds are there's a rod of mine with one tied on the line , either in my hand or leaning on the rail , waiting on a school of fish to pass through. Can you blame me? The only thing that loves those lures more than me is the fish. Blues , Spanish Mackerel , Speckled Trout , Weakfish - the list goes on and on. False Albacore , Sharks , Rays , Drum and about anything else you can name will grab them , too. Which usually ends in a 200 yard run , followed by a loud snap and several dozen words you wouldn't say to your Mother. Lots of guys have started keeping oversized tackle at the ready , so when someone spots a school false albacore headed our way they can toss lures to them and land any they hook. It works , but it's just not the best situation when you take into consideration rod limits on piers and casting distance. You just can't toss a one ounce plug very far with a catfish rod.

And so my search began. I needed a very specific rod and reel. Light enough to throw 3/4 to 1 & 1/2 ounce plugs , yet heavy enough and with enough line to handle 20 pound , fast swimming fish. Limited as I am to the pier's 3 rod rule , I also wanted a rod I could cast all day. Even in today's vastly improved market , it was a tough combination of conditions to be met. Some rods could cast it like a dream , but were too light to handle a fish of size. Other rods could handle the fish , but not cast far enough to reach them. The reels either couldn't hold enough line or were far too heavy for long periods of use. I was tired of getting spooled.

I found the type of rod I needed first , and used it for years with a too small reel. Only recently have I been able to arm myself with a couple extras. It's a 7'3"(name withheld) , Medium Heavy Power with an Extra Fast action. My two backups are almost the same , but MH/Fast. These rods are perfect for my needs , even though they are a little light for catching numbers of big fish. They handle bigger fish just fine , mind you , but it's a little more work for the angler. 5 or 6 big fish in a day with these will wear you down , but it's a good way to tire yourself out. Pleasant , even.

Now for the reel. I love to hate reel manufacturers. Not that I think they are nefarious intentionally , but just that their designers have no idea how to make anything practical. Walk into any tackle store , and the old standby line comes on 330 yard spools , just like it has for the last 20 years. Which is why reel manufacturers make so many reels that hold 250 or 270 yards of line , right? We all need half a dozen spools laying around with 60 or 80 yards of 12 pound test keeping us from throwing them out. It's just enough to seem absurdly wasteful to me. Sixty yards of line isn't enough to do anything useful or practical for me , but it's enough to throw me off track when I'm writing , apparently. Anyway , the reel. I really needed something that would hold 300+ yards of line. Not so unusual , except that I needed it in a smaller reel with a good drag , and bearings , light enough to use all day. Reels like that are hard to come by. You run into reels that are too big or too small when you live in this oddball reality I call home. Everything that held enough line weighed a ton. Anything that was reasonably sized , barely held 250 yards of the 10-12 pound range I was shooting for. Finally , I ran across a reel on CLEARANCE! at Cabela's , online. It was perfect. An Okuma Epixor 55B. Smooth as glass , perfect retrieve , not too heavy , AND it holds 340 yards of 12 pound test on a deep spool. I don't think I'll miss those extra 10 yards of line!

Tight Lines , and have a good weekend my friends!