Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best fishing rods for northern pike, walleye

What I'm about to say about fishing equipment for Ontario's gamefish will come as a surprise to a lot of people.
Here it is: you can purchase excellent quality fishing rods and reels for northern pike and walleye very inexpensively.
How inexpensive? Well, there are a lot of $30 rod and reel combos being sold at sporting goods and big box stores today that cast and handle fish better than $300 outfits did 10 years ago!
This is true at least when the reel is an open face spinning reel or a spincast reel.
I don't believe I've seen a good, cheap baitcasting reel yet.
Just about all of these excellent quality rods and reels are made in China.
They cast very well. The reels are silky smooth. Their drags work perfectly.
The rods are just as durable as the most expensive brands. What usually causes modern graphite or fibreglass fishing rods to break is external damage, not inherent flaws in the construction.
The classic example is when a rod gets caught in a door. It doesn't break in half right then but it will later on, probably when you're casting or setting the hook on a fish. The most common place to break is the tip which is always being struck against objects as you put your rod in and out of the boat or the car.
All of these inexpensive rods are two-piece and that's a good feature. It means you can take the rod apart and pack it in a conventional rod case that may only need to be 3 1/2 feet in length, perfect for the trunk of the car. When put together the rods are six to 6 1/2 feet long. That is an excellent length. It is sensitive to fish bites and long enough to bend and fight the biggest fish. It also packs easily inside the boat.
Always pick rods that do not have metal at the ferrules which is the place where they join together. The best rods always have ferrules made of the same material as the rest of the rod. They nest perfectly together making an almost invisible joint.
If you purchase any of these inexpensive rods and reels, check the line weight on the reel. It's probably quite heavy, perhaps 14-pound-test. I would replace that with 8-pound-test monofilament which performs far better and allows you to cast smaller lures. See Lighten Up.
If you intend to use the rod and reel mainly for trolling, I would fit it with 12-pound-test monofilament. You need heavier line when trolling just to handle the drag of your line and lure behind the boat. See Trolling for Walleyes and Pike.
Rods have their actions usually written on them down near the butt.
Choose medium-light actions for casting and medium-heavy actions for trolling.
You never want a heavy action rod. It's like fishing with a pool cue.
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1 comment:

Tim D said...

Thanks for all the great tips on the blog. I find myself checking this blog every couple of days and love the different tips and information you write about. Thanks for the great blog and I hope to make my way to Bow Narrows in 2010.