Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Backcountry Fishing: My First Attempt at a Lightweight Fishing Kit

This weekend was mostly consumed by chores and things around the house we'd been putting off for a while. But I did manage to get to the sporting goods store and drop some more cash on a burgeoning hobby: fishing.

I mentioned last week that I had the rod and reel already, but I didn't have any tackle. Well a few dollars later, I'm happy to report I'm squarely in the with-tackle category now. Click to enlarge the photo below.
As shown in the picture (click to enlarge), I picked up:
  • 4-lb monofilament line
  • various small barrel swivels and barrel swivels with clips
  • 4 kastmaster spoons, 2 gold, 2 silver, in 1/8th and 1/12th ounce sizes
  • 4 Mepps spinners in 1/8, 1/12, and 1/18 ounce sizes
  • 2 nifty looking lures called "the wedding ring" with a single hook
  • 2 casting bubbles
  • assorted lead split shot
  • about 10 assorted dry flies and 10 assorted wet flies in a few sizes recommended by the proshop employees
  • A small fly box
  • 2 casting practice weights
  • and my WA fishing license for good measure
I consulted YouTube to help spool the new line onto my reel. Following this video made it easy to figure out the line twist direction and correctly spool the line. 

Next I bent down all the barbs on the hooks and lures I just purchased. I figure since I'm new to fishing anyways, I'm not going to be able to blame any fish getting away on the barbless hooks, so I may as well remove them now and make it easier on myself and the fish. With much of the catch-and-release crowd recommending barbless hooks these days (at least online), and even legislation requiring it for some fish/seasons, it's surprising to me that lures/flies don't all come in both barbed and barbless varieties. 

One of my only childhood fishing memories is catching a tiny little fish on a spinning lure where one hook went right through his eye and another through the side of his mouth. The little guy thrashed enough before I could reel him in that his eye popped/popped-out from getting stuck on the barb. If fishing barbless makes the ordeal easier on the fish, I'm all for it. I suppose if you were in a legitimate survival situation barbs would be worth leaving on, but there's no way I'm going to be confident enough in my fishing anytime soon to count on having fish to eat for dinner. 

What I'd carry on a backpacking trip
In terms of outfitting myself for a trip, I won't be taking all of the above tackle. I'll take a few flies, 4 spinners lures, 5 small split shot, a bubble, and a couple barrel swivels for rigging the bubble. For tools I'll rely on the Leatherman Juice S2 I carry already, which has pliers and scissors. Everything besides the bubble fits easily into a mini plastic jar I had in the gear box, shown below. Looks like it hits about 9 oz on the scale. I think I could cut a little weight by bringing few spinning lures, but since I have no idea what I'm doing with flies yet, I'll bring both. 

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