Spinning for Sea-Trout: Fishing Methods
A great many sea-trout are caught every season in Britain bywith a 2 kg (4 lb) monofil line, a , and a 2.1 or 2.4 m (7 or 8 ft) light spinning rod made either of glass or of split-cane. Quill minnows about 5 cm (2 ins) long, small spoons of the revolving-blade variety, and devons are the most popular baits.
Fresh sea-trout have soft lips. Writers who assert that they have hard mouths have clearly only had experience with stale or semi-stale fish, for the mouths of sea-trout harden rapidly in fresh water and a big stale fish has a mouth like iron and teeth to match. Such fish are caught comparatively rarely by the spinner, since they feed mostly at dead of night. The spinner usually hooks fresh and active fish of between 500 g and 2 kg (1 and 4 lb), which will snap readily at a fast-moving bait. The speed of the bait and the rapid take of the fish mean that only a minority of takers are hooked. The others shake, jump, or kick their way to freedom.
This poses one of the strongest arguments against spinning, because it is obviously undesirable todown a river leaving a trail of frightened fish that have been pricked and lost. Yet one can see this happening all over the country.
There are various spinning techniques. When a strong current runs through a pool it pays to cast across and up, and allow the minnows to wash down on the current for a few yards. The angler then starts to tighten while at the same time he leads his rod round in a downstream direction. The minnow spins over in a sort of flattened parabola and the sea-trout, following, takes it on the turn.
Most sea-trout spin-fishermen are very mobile. They fan-cast systematically to every likely spot before moving up or down. This method is very effective when the river is full after rain and the fresh-run fish are scattered all over the water.
A natural preserved minnow is better than an artificial simply because it looks and smells like real food. Sea-trout are adept at cruising beside a bait and taking a sly nip, and if the bait is pliable and slightly oily they are emboldened into making a more determined attack. With artificial baits the sea-trout only takes once, and if the take fails to connect with the hook the fish sheers off in terror — ‘put down’ for the rest of the day, perhaps for several days.
Spinning is a good way of fishing estuaries if there is not too much fine seaweed in the water. Artificial eels made of soft leather are very effective, especially if they are left their natural drab brownish colour. Rubber sand-eels and plastic ragworms are also good. They should be fished across and down with amotion.