Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Learning Conventional Tackle

Since joining Loomis and by default Shimano, I set out to learn about the current state of conventional tackle; something of which I knew little. Like almost every other angler, I started out with conventional gear tossing worms, spoons and plugs. My first fishing trip at the age of six ended in disaster when my dear dad, who had zero fishing experience, misjudged the length of the cheap bamboo rod he had bought for me and shut it in the car door.

My second and a few subsequent trips came a little later in outings to a local creek courtesy of our kind neighbours who included me with their kids. Our tackle then were long bamboo poles on the end of which was tied a think green cord, which lead to a hand carved, hand painted wooden float, then onto a large baited hook. We used these rigs to catch bullheads which were promptly skinned and dropped in the fry pan. We kids were always amazed to see the skinned, gutted and decapitated bullhead spasm in the pan when it hit the heat.

From that point on I knew I had to fish. In 1960 I ended up with a fibreglass rod and a level wind reel. I loved it, but it was truly horrendous. I think I managed to scrape my own money together to buy it. The rod was made of solid green fibreglass, not a tube, solid. The level wind reel was held together with multiple screws, none of which wanted to remain tight. After losing a number of screws, it became a point of pride to keep the thing operating with a bunch missing. I would move the remaining ones around, trying to keep the thing from completely coming apart. The line was that black nylon stuff and the backlashes it could produce were epic.

It didn't take long for me to tire of the screw losing and the backlash unpicking, to lust after spinning gear. That alternative had to wait until a few years later I secured a paper route, so that I could finance more tackle purchases. From there I bought a fly rod, then two and the rest was history.

So in 2015, I began the journey back to the conventional tackle world, starting with spinning gear - lots of spinning gear. ;)

I can read all I want and watch loads of videos, but I wasn't going to get the feel for a level wind setup until I bought and fished one. So today, my journey went full circle as I fished with my first new level wind reel (a Curado) since that day in 1960 when I acquired that green thing with the loose screws.

My current crop of spinning rods spans quite a range of capabilities, both saltwater and fresh, so it made no sense to buy a level wind setup that duplicated what I had. Some local ponds had dense patches of lily pads which has to hold largemouth. I couldn't fish that stuff effectively with what I already owned, so it made sense to go all the way and buy a flip & punch setup. I ended up with a Curado 201HG with a Crucial 7' 11" MH rod, plus PowerPro line.

On getting the Curado, I immediately got the cover open to set the SVS Infinity breaking system. Then the line was spooled, a Jackall Iobee frog attached and off to the ponds. I'd like to say that I operated it backlash free, but it took a bit of careful attention to the spool tensioner before I could avoid an overrun when the frog touched down. I had underestimated how much tension would be required. I had taken a chance with the SVS setting and went with only two weights flipped. I had no problems with backlashes on the start of the cast and achieved good distance when I needed it, so I had nailed the SVS setting first shot. Today I took it easy on myself and tossed a frog, but the next trip is going full metal jacket, Texas rig. I have the plastics and the hooks. I just now have to get the weights.

The rod action also took a bit of getting used to as it was a fair bit different from my spinning rods. It definitely behaved differently when I tried to cast it like one of my other rods. Wasn't long though before I was getting the underhand flip going, at times with surprising accuracy. Between modulating the distance with my thumb and getting the flip down pat, by the end of the session I was able to hit spots with some consistency. I wasn't sure if I could see a difference in species or technique specific rods, but this one was obvious in how the tip of the rod worked differently vs. my spinning rods that are designed more for distance.

I think I'm going to like this. :)