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Dakota Jones Fishing
Texas Fishing Guide | Outdoor Industry Professional
Why You Should Be Fishing a Spinning Rod
Dad or Grandpa’s academy of “the great outdoors” was the beginning for most of us anglers that live and breathe the sport today. I am sure most of you remember dragging a “push button” and bucket of worms down to the pond to catch sunfish. Of course after a few fish and a couple years passed, we graduated to spinning tackle and then on to the big time, our first casting rod and reel. Once we earned our merit, most of us never looked back on the “fairy wand”. Big bass and heavy baits is all that could hold our interest. But make no mistake, whether you are a hard core tournament angler, or just out for the weekend, finesse fishing has become a favorite technique-one that is done best with a trusty old spinning rod and light tackle. If you do not fish with a spinning rod for bass, you are missing out! There are many new “fun sized” baits today that are proven fish catchers, and most perform better on light line and a spinning rod. But like everything in bass fishing, there are always a few tricks you can do to optimize your catch-to-land ratio. In this article I will cover the basic tricks of fishing a spinning rod and how to be efficient with this old standby.
Mind your “drag”
Using spinning tackle, an angler can fish lighter line and smaller baits more efficiently. But the benefit is not only for casting distance. A spinning reel has a light drag system that rarely locks up (if maintained properly). This drag system will protect the light line from breaking or light wire hooks from bending when trying to land a big fish. It is extremely important to set your drag properly. The knob on top of your spool will tighten or loosen your drag by twisting it (righty tighty – lefty loosy). You don’t want your drag so loose you can’t get a hook set, or so tight it won’t give under pressure. I test my drag by pulling the line with my hand. I want there to be just enough drag to strain the line but not overdo it. With the proper amount of drag, you can land any fish regardless of its size.
Flip the bail
Most spinning reels have the ability to “self-engage” when the angler turns the reel handle. Don’t do this! It will only end in lost fishing time, wasted line and misery for you. Engaging the reel by turning the handle (flipping the bail) may be the number 1 cause of wind knots or tangles associated with spinning reels. It also causes ware on your reels that is not needed. Use your hand to flip the bail and ensure there is no slack in the line. By doing this you will eliminate most tangles that could occur.
Another way to reduce line issues and increase performance is to use braided line. I use braid on all my spinning set ups. An angler can achieve greater casting distances with braid. It is also more sensitive, stronger and thinner diameter than other lines. I will attach a fluorocarbon leader to the braid using an Improved Albright knot. This knot seems to slide through my rod guides with ease. I use many different colors of braid, but a bright color that is easy to see may help you when finesse fishing. Your fluorocarbon leader is invisible to the fish but a bright color will help you watch the line and detect subtle bites.
Clip it with a hair tie
I carry a package of hair ties in my boat for two reasons; I may one day grow a mullet and need them, and I can use them as a keeper for my drop shot weights. Simply wrap one around the bottom of your rod handle and slip the weight under it. Your weights will rarely come unclipped even after a bumpy ride in your rod locker. You can also use a rubber band in a pinch, but I prefer hair ties because they last longer and won’t melt to my rod in the heat.
Not only is a spinning rod a fun way to catch fish, but it may be the most effective tool to fish a top producing technique or two. With all the hype of the “NED rig” or “spy bait”, and even the all mighty drop shot rig, spinning rods are just as important as any other tool in your arsenal and it is important that you use them to your advantage. I hope these tips help those who have taken the time to read this article. If you have feedback or an idea for other articles, feel free to comment below or contact me. I welcome any critiques you are willing to share. Also, if you want to see firsthand how I use a spinning rod to catch Texas sized bass, contact me to book a trip! I hope to see you all on the water soon and thanks for reading!