I’m sitting here dreaming about fishing. It’s 35 degrees and raining, Christmas is a few weeks away, and all I can think about is the first warm days of next spring. I’ll do a little thinking out loud about some of the things I’ve been looking at; maybe someone out there could comment or add to the list:
Abu Garcia Ora SX Casting Reel: I’ve been using a spinning reel for years now, but I’m tiring of the twisted line. I think that a good casting rig would be appropriate for the lakes I’ve been fishing recently. I saw this Abu Garcia online, about $99, with seven bearings, brass gears, and enough functionality to handle freshwater action. I’m looking in the $70-$100 range, so this is my top end option
Daiwa Exceler: Around $80, with magnetic backlash prevention and two gear ratios (6:3:1 and 7:1:1).
Pflueger Trion Low-Profile: About $99, five ball bearings, a centrifugal brake.
What I’ll have to figure out is whether the centrifugal or magnetic is the way to go here. I’ve heard that more bearings are good, but at some point the benefit drops off. Any thoughts?
Rods I’m looking at include Fenwick and Shimano, but I’m just starting to look in this department.
Here goes the kid in a candy store approach:
Rapala Shad Rap, Rapala Shallow Shad Rap: I really like the silver and baby bass patterns, 9 feet on the divers and 2-3 feet on the shallow end. Natural patterns have worked best for me in the past. ($5-7)
Booyah Single Colorado: Topwater is poplular, but I’ve been more of a mid water player for the most part. Next year, I want to start really working all the zones. I’ve seen the Booyah out and around–I’d like to start with black and chartreuse, then go from there.
Original Rooster Tail: My standard bearer in chartreuse, yellow, and tiger patterns. I’d love to get a big multi pack, and work on the darker colors, as well.
Tackle and Other Gear
Fitec Cast Net:After spending a week fishing in South Carolina, I have a deep respect for skilled cast net action. I gleaned, from a couple of experienced fishermen, that a 5 foot net is about right for a person my size (6’3″). I also learned that the net should be weighted with lead (one person I saw used a net weighted with plastic weights–it didn’t sink fast enough to catch the bait). I’ve seen the Fitec brand, and the 5 foot runs about $35. Nothing catches big fish like live bait, and a cast net is the best way to haul in free, local minnows.
I am currently using a Thule J-hook system to haul my kayak around. This has worked well so far, but I need to upgrade to fit two boats (my wife tried mine out, loved it, and we bought her a kayak at the end of the summer). The current setup is mounted to the factory racks on my Jeep Grand Cherokee. This works okay, but when I hit about 70 on the interstate, everything starts vibrating loudly. My fear is that the vibrating will stop suddenly, and I’ll see a big yellow kayak bouncing down the road in my rear-view mirror.
So, I’ve started shopping for an expandable system, like what Yakima makes. I need a rigid frame that can hold two boats without shearing off on the highway. I’ll definitely post more about what I find as I find it.
UPDATE: February 2010
I decided to go with the Yakima system to upgrade my carrier and cradle. I used the Rail Grabber and a Hully Raiser–much more stable than the factory racks. In fact, I pulled the factory racks off and noticed that the rivets underneath were beginning to flair out a bit, which probably was the reason for so much vibration and noise.
One note on the rack I installed: there is increased wind noise; more of a whistle. I’ve seen deflectors that can be installed to decrease wind noise, and I may pick one of those up this summer. Until then, I took the racks off until spring–they install pretty easily (about 5 minutes to put on after the first installation, which took only 30 minutes.)
I tested the whole rig with the new Spitfire yak I picked up for my wife. No vibration, and everything seemed to work great!