Captain Mary A. Fink
Although the sport of fishing is great fun, the excitement of catching is even more so. One sure bet to increase the action on your next trip is to use light tackle.
Light tackle can be defined as a reel with a line capacity and strength in the 8-15 lb. range and a rod that is much lighter and shorter than average, say between 4-6 feet. Consider ultra light tackle being on the lowest end of this range. Keep in mind that fly fishing is light tackle fishing in a category all of its own.
Light tackle fishing provides a number of advantages over the heavy tackle experience. One obvious advantage is improved feel and sensitivity due to the lighter weight of the rod and reel. For this reason, it is much easier to feel a bite or a strike than so with heavier tackle. Additionally, fishing with light tackle enables angling enthusiasts who enjoy fishing from small crafts, such as canoes or kayaks, much greater ease in carrying and handling rods and reels because they are shorter, lighter and more maneuverable.
Another real plus to using light leaders and jigs is that bait presentation is greatly enhanced due to a more natural movement of the chosen bait in the water. Light fluorocarbon leaders are virtually invisible in the water and don’t weigh down your chosen offering nearly as much as heavy leaders or monofilament does.
Finally, perhaps the greatest advantage of light tackle fishing is that it provides the fish a fighting chance to win the battle once hooked! Because of this, your angling skills will be improved with each hook-up as a higher level of angling skills are required to win the battle when using light tackle. If your angling skills aren’t top notch, the fish will often win the battle, which changes the whole game!
There are several factors to be considered in order to be successful using light tackle. Some of these include:
1. Be sure to set your drag properly. If the drag is set too tight, the line will surely break with a sizable fish on your line. Proper drag set is a vital component for light tackle fishing.
2. When a fish is hooked, be sure not to reel against the drag. Unlike fishing with heavier tackle, you must win the battle by exhausting your fish with your drag set and proper fighting technique. Allow the fish to run when it chooses and enjoy the battle.
3. Keep the rod tip up to maximize leverage and minimize slack.
4. Use a net to land your fish. Flipping a heavy fish into a boat or onto a dock with light line can result in a broken rod tip or at very least a severed line.
You can enjoy light tackle fishing just about anywhere and in most all situations. When fishing in our local sandy beaches, passes or mangrove islands, light tackle usage provides improved maneuverability, enhanced bait presentation and many thrilling battles between fish and angler and it will surely improve your angling skills!
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 backcountry 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 www.islandgirlscharters.com to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.