Tackle for Sea Fishing
In the last few years a revolution has overtaken sea tackle. Whereas the old idea used to be to fish with anything, no matter if it had the sensitivity of a broomstick lashed up to a 2.5 cm (1 in) hawser, the tendency now is to use the lightest gear possible. This, of course, improves the sport no end. The move towards fine tackle has also succeeded in attracting a great many freshwater fishermen to the sea during their own close season, where previously the old-fashioned heavy gear had discouraged anglers used to fishing with delicate equipment. Of course, there are limits to delicacy as far as sea tackle is concerned.
Strength of current and power of surf often dictate the use of weights of between two and four ounces. Plainly the rod and line must be of test-curve loading andto cast weights. Even so, it is surprising what can be done within these limitations to produce suitably scaled rods. In many cases – for example, mullet fishing, , bass , mackerel spinning, and mackerel on the fly – light tackle is essential and rods comparable to their freshwater equivalents can be used. Just the same, the basic armoury of the sea angler needs to be tougher than anything freshwater requires.
In choosing your basic rod you must, as always, be guided by the kind of fishing you hope most to do. If you live in an area of sandy shores where the local style is beach casting, you almost certainly need a beach-caster to get out to the fish. If you know that you are going out by boat most of the time, then the problem solves itself, but remember that a boat rod won’t be much use for, say, pier fishing.
But a compromise is possible in the case of sea fishing with this first basic rod. A 3 m (10 ft) rod with a fair amount of action will enable you to cast from the shore and also, at a pinch, to fish from a boat. If the rod is in two sections (a rule with all rods is the fewer the sections, the better the casting action) it is possible that the rod-maker can build a shorter, say 90 cm (3 ft) butt to convert the rod for boat use without entirely ruining its action.
When buying a reel make sure that you have something big enough and sturdy enough. Simple drum reels of large capacity are all right for boat fishing, but if you intend to cast distances you will need either a free-running drum of the centre-pin sort, or else a multiplier ormade for use in the sea. Do not contemplate a freshwater reel of the latter types. It will not be strong enough for the job, nor will it hold nearly enough line. Both these kinds of reel have a considerable advantage over the drum; they are geared to assist in the retrieve. They also have more sensitive braking devices.
One useful compromise is the type of reel with a drum that sits in the normal attitude for the playing of the fish, but which, for casting, can be taken off and laid on its mount at right angles to the axis of the rod, thus becoming, temporarily, a fixed-spool reel. To avoid line kink which would result if the drum were always fixed for casting in the same position, the drum is placed on the casting spool with handles alternately facing front and rear.
Lines for sea fishing are cheap since, for most purposes, heavy b.s. Nylon monofilament cannot be bettered. Landing nets and gaffs are sometimes necessary but these can be added later.
One thing must never be forgotten with sea-fishing gear, namely, that salt water is ruinous to lines, reels, and rods. Good sea rods and reels are proofed to a large extent against this corrosive action; nevertheless it pays to wash metal parts with warm, soapy water at the end of an expedition.
Finally, when buying a first sea rod – as with any first rod -the angler must not look on this choice as a stopgap. He should buy something which, no matter how he develops as an angler later, will always have a useful place in his collection.