Get reel – and catch a lot of big ones

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A fishing reel is classified as a fly, bait casting or spinning reel. The right reel to use depends on the type of fishing an angler intends to do and the action he or she expects.
Fly reels are used by anglers who cast very light lures (usually flies), to skittish fish. The primary purpose of a fly reel is to hold and store the line. The weight of the line, combined with the angler’ s wrist action, projects the fly toward the intended target.
Casting reels are for anglers who use heavier lures. The lure provides the weight needed to pull the line from a revolving spool. Mastering the art of bait casting is challenging. Should the line on a casting reel over spin and roll off faster than the spool is turning, a backlash will leave a tangled mess of line and are the main reason spinning reels are popular.
Spinning reels are easy and versatile for casting light-to-medium baits. Spinning tackle is used by both novice and experienced anglers. It takes only a few short minutes to teach a child to cast a small lure on a spinning reel without getting a backlash.
The spinning reel was introduced in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Mitchell 300 became a best seller. Until its introduction, casting was considered an art form that could only be accomplished by the most astute anglers. The spinning reel allowed a beginner to effortlessly cast light lures for great distances with amazing accuracy.
A spinning reel works simply. The spool is fixed, so it does not revolve when cast. The weight of the lure takes the monofilament line off the spool in much the same way as thread is pulled from a spool when held tightly at one end. The only resistance is the line itself. The lower the resistance, the longer the cast will be. Since the spool does not turn, the line can’t backlash.
The spinning reel was originally designed to be cast with the right hand and retrieved by winding with the left. Today’s reel handles are quickly interchangeable. A word of caution: do not turn the rod over and fish with the reel on top. By doing so, the reel must be wound backwards. A rod doesn’t work efficiently when casting or fighting a fish in an upside down position.
Spinning reels perform best if matched with a balanced rod and line. Fishermen sometimes tend to use line much heavier than necessary. The lighter the line, the farther a small lure can be thrown. Lines of small diameter allow lures to swim deeper and more vigorously than those with larger line. Light lines are also less visible to the fish. Line recommendations are printed above the hand grip on the rod blank. For best results, do not exceed the range of line sizes indicated.
Spinning tackle can be used in almost any fishing situation. Surf fishermen load a large capacity reel with 14 to 17-pound test mono line and use an 8- to 10-foot rod. On the other hand, bass fishermen might choose a medium size reel spooled with 8- to 10-pound test line and a medium action 6- or 7-foot rod.
Tackle shops have a variety of matched outfits to handle and test before purchasing. Rod and reel combinations come complete with line and are available at prices starting at about $20. If you haven’ t cast a spinning outfit before, practice with a rubber casting plug in a yard or open field. First time users usually master the basics within a few minutes.
A two-piece rod is easy to transport, but a one-piece rod is more sensitive to the lure action and the fish bite.
Upcoming events
A seminar on “Frequently Asked Questions When Fishing for Lake Norman’ s Bass, Stripers, and Catfish” is scheduled for Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Gander Mountain in Mooresville. Bring your fishing and boating questions to Capt. Gus Gustafson at this free 90-minute session. For more information, call 704 658 0822.
Recent hot spot
Stripers and spotted bass are feeding off Lake Norman points throughout the day. Use live baits for stripers and crank baits for bass. Surface feeding is occurring around the islands (markers 20 to 23) at dawn and dusk. The surface water temperature is in the 60s and the lake level is about 2.7 feet below full.
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Visit or call Gus Gustafson at 704-617-6812, or e-mail him at Gus@