As with anything else in life, your trout fishing tackle can be simple or it can be incredibly involved. Some people like simple and others get as much enjoyment out of buying tackle as they do from catching fish. Whatever floats your boat.
Actually though, you really don’t need too much in the way of tackle and gear to catch trout. A rod, reel, line and some form of bait are the basics.
The object of the game is to get the fish to bite your offering, be it a fly, spinner, live bait or some other concoction. How you present that offering to the fish is the trick.
One of the simplest setups to use is the spinning rod and reel. Rods and reels can be bought separately or they can be bought as a combo. It makes sense to buy a combo because the rod and reel are usually well-matched to each other and will be an efficient outfit.
All types of bait can be used with a spinning outfit except maybe dry flies. Dry flies have very little weight, which is why fly rods use weighted line to enable the angler to get the fly cast some distance away. Wet flies could be used with a spinning setup as they are supposed to be fished deep, and the weight added for this purpose will enable the fly to be cast a good distance.
Unless you are fishing for lunkers in Alaska, a lightweight line should be used for trout. 2 to 6 pound test should be plenty for most fishing requirements. A light line allows you to feel the fish better, an important factor when waiting for a fish to nibble at your hook.
There are literally thousands of lures made for fishing. For trout, spinners, jigs, stick bait, spoons, plugs and many other types are available. They all have one thing in common – they are supposed to resemble some natural prey that a trout would eat. Some look like fish, some like bugs, some like frogs and other amphibians, some are made to look like small rodents and the list goes on.
One of the tricks to bait selection is to use something that is available locally and is already a part of the trout’s diet. If frogs are usually on the menu, then a frog lure may catch fish. A lure that looks like a small local fish may be just the thing.
Of course, a spinning rod/reel combo is made for live bait. Worms, crayfish, grasshoppers, crickets, salmon eggs and mini marshmallows are just some of the many types of bait that are used with spinning setups. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just get it in front of a trout in the proper way and you will have a fight on your hands.
Fly fishing seems to get a lot of attention in the trout fishing world. A good part of this probably has to do with the way a trout striking at a dry fly sometimes jumps out of the water to grab the fly. This is very entertaining and can be quite exciting.
The fly fishing rod and reel are quite different from the spinning combo. The rod us usually much longer to allow for the whip-like casts that a fly fisherman uses to get the fly out there. The fly reel is a simpler arrangement of a simple spool with as adjustable drag. Fly rods are often made of carbon fiber or fiberglass in modern times.
The line of a fly setup is also quite different. Because flies have very little weight for casting, the line is weighted. It is weighted more heavily at the fly end so the line pulls itself off the reel when casting. Since this line is thick and would easily be seen by the fish, a lighter, thinner leader line is use for the last 7 to 9 feet of line before the fly. There is also floating and sinking fly line – the floating used for dry flies and the sinking used for wet ones.
Speaking of trout flies, again the basic premise is to make a fly that looks like some natural prey of the trout. Trout eat lots of bugs and bug larvae, so fly-tyers attempt to make their flies resemble whatever local bugs are food for the trout. Fly tying is quite the science, and many fishermen pride themselves on their ability to create some killer trout flies.
As you can see, trout fishing tackle can be a simple setup or you can go broke buying all the latest and greatest fish-killing lures and flies. Whichever way you choose to go, be sure to get some knowledge of fishing techniques and water reading before you go. That way you have a good chance of catching trout, no matter what you use for tackle.
Alan Browning is a long-time seeker of the elusive trout. Learn the habits and idiosyncrasies of this fascinating creature on his Trout Fishing Tackle Page. Discover and explore his further insights and tips at I Love Trout Fishing.com.
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