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Selecting a Balanced Fishing Outfit
One good starting point when selecting a balanced fishing outfit is to choose the line as this essential component links you to the hook and therefore any fish that you catch.
The strength of line that you should choose is largely determined by the size of fish that you expect to catch. This is not a one-to-one relationship. If you do not actually need to lift the fish out of the water by the line only (such as when fishing from a bridge or pier) then you may be able to get away with significantly weaker line.
The strength of line required can be modified by the terrain in which you are fishing and your skill. The lighter the line that you can use the more chance that you will get a bite in the first place but also the higher the risk that you will loose that fish before landing it; therein lies the sport.
Please note: Playing a fish for an excessive amount of time can leave a fish utterly exhausted. To ensure that fish returned to the water have a good chance of survival you must help them to recover sufficiently before swimming off. Hold fish facing upstream so that water (and therefore oxygen) flows through the gills until the fish has the power to swim off of its own accord.
Most anglers these days use monofilament line. There are times that other types are more suitable. That’s a big topic and will not be covered here.
Reels are rated by style and size but also often have additional features that may be important for your fishing plans. Most anglers, fly-fishers excepted, tend to use either a fixed-spool reel or a multiplier. The former is more suitable for beginners. The latter style is more compact and can therefore suit a light balanced fishing outfit.
Choose the size of reel you need based on the maximum amount of line you think you may need to release. The capacity for your chosen line weight should be shown on the reel or in the manufacturer’s manual. Remember to load the line carefully: too much line may fly off and cause tangles, too little reduces your casting distance and may leave you without reserve when playing a bigger than expected fish.
Most manufacturers rate their rods by style, length and by ideal range of casting weight.
Nowadays there are many styles of rod. Manufacturers have responded to ever more inventive techniques used by anglers and made good use of new materials to provide rods that are near perfect for any given situation.
For a balanced fishing outfit you need a rod that suits the reel that you have chosen and casts appropriately for the weight of your rig – see below.
To suit your chosen reel your rod needs to have an appropriate attachment. Generally the crucial factor here is the size but on some specialized rods the style of the reel is also important. You should also look at the series of eyes, especially the first one, and see that the line will run well from the reel. This is most important when using a large fixed-spool reel.
Generally, a longer rod should help you cast further; a shorter rod allows for more accuracy. You can determine which is the more important factor by considering the venues that you will fish and the technique(s) that you will use.
Remember that a longer and heavier rod will feel much heavier by the end of a busy day. This is why spinning rods are generally light; with them you will be casting continually and every ounce is crucial.
There are many rigs that can be used to catch fish but, so far as a balanced fishing outfit is concerned, only two factors are critical:
The overall weight of the rig, including bait, should fall within the ideal range for the rod. This will ensure that it is heavy enough to be cast effectively but not too heavy as to risk breaking the delicate rod tip or the main line during the cast. Your skill may permit you to exceed the ideal range but, by the time you have this level of experience, you will almost certainly have a great deal of fishing with a balanced outfit anyway.
The hook needs to be the right size for the size of fish you expect to catch. Remember that different species have different size mouths relative to their weight. Consider the bait that you are offering. The hook should be of a size appropriate to this; neither too large nor too small. The style of hook is often a personal choice but, again, you need to think about the crucial aspects of the particular target species and their mouths to determine what will work best.
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