For more than twenty five years I’ve been using ultra light fishing, tackle and have learned that fishing with ultralight gear is one of the most enjoyable ways to catch fish. When I use the term ‘tackle’ or ‘gear’ I’m referring specifically to the rod, reel, and line that are employed while fishing. When you downsize your rod, reel, and line, the baits and lures that you use will also become smaller, mostly out of necessity.
This type of fishing can be done for type of fish. In my opinion ‘ultra light’ fishing is simply matching your rod reel and line to the size of fish you intend to catch, then as your skills become better, it means catching fish larger than your gear and line would suggest. For example catching five to six pound trout or smallmouth bass while using a four foot ultra light rod and matching reel, spooled with four pound test. The same rule holds true when fishing for ten pound steelhead with a medium action rod and reel, spooled with eight pound test.
Fishing with light tackle also makes you become a better angler. It forces you to learn how to “play” your catch, rather than just winching your fish in. I’m not a fly fisherman, but one of the best quotes ever made came from the fly fishing movie A River Runs Through It. In this movie the reverend Mclean is said to have said, “Anyone who does not know how to catch a fish should be able to disgrace that fish by catching it.”
To me this quote sums up ultra light fishing quite nicely. This type of fishing literally forces you to become a better angler and learn “how” to catch fish, rather than relying on some sort of luck from the fishing Gods. The bottom line is that if you use quality rods, reels, and line ultra light fishing will most certainly result in catching more fish. This is one of the keys to ultra light fishing tackle. You always want to purchase quality gear and line.
When fishing with ultra light gear that gear gets put to the test. The drag on your reel, for example, is of the utmost importance. This is why purchasing quality reels such as those made by Pflueger, is so important. How about fishing line? I’ve always been a fan of Stren monofilament, although any name brand manufacturer will work fine. Skimping on the cost of line is never a good idea when it comes to ultra light fishing tackle.
The same rule applies to your fishing rod. In many instances sub par quality ultra light rods have a very “whippy” quality to them. When you hold them in you hand and shake the rod tip, it feels almost as if you’re holding some sort of whip. An ultra light rod should have some ‘backbone’ to it for quality hook sets. Although they are a bit expensive, St. Croix makes great light fishing rods that last a lifetime and perform wonderfully.
The bottom line is that light fishing tackle is the way to go if you want to catch more fish, have more fun, and become a better angler. Give it a try and find out for yourself just how enjoyable fishing with ultra light tackle can be.