I have been fishing for more than a quarter of a century and early on in my “fishing career” I was introduced to a style of fishing that I had previously been unfamiliar with, and as soon as I caught a few fish while using the technique, I took to it like a five year old takes to a her first lollipop. The style of fishing that I was introduced to was ultra light tackle fishing and employing this style of fishing is something that I continue to do to this very day.
So, what is ultra light tackle fishing and why is it something that every serious angler should become familiar with? This style of fishing simply means that you use downsized gear, such as your rod, reel, fishing line, and or baits and lures when you are attempting to catch fish. The great thing about using downsized (or ultra light) gear is that when a fish is hooked, fighting and landing that fish is much more of a challenge, and thus more fun. In other words, unless you are dealing with a very small fish on the end of your line, there is no “winching” in your catch, which makes the act of fishing that much more sporting and enjoyable.
Here’s a real world example of how I engage in this type of fishing. I typically fish in small to medium sized rivers where wading is most effective way to access and fish the water that is being targeted. Most of the time I am fishing for rainbow, brown, cutthroat, or brook trout and on some rivers smallmouth bass or even walleye. Depending on the current flow in the river that I am fishing I use either a four or six and a half foot ultra light rod that has a spinning reel of the same action attached to it. The reel is spooled with a quality four pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line.
As far as baits or lures are concerned, depending on the season, I will “drift fish” with live bait such as worms or minnows that are rigged a a small set of gang hooks or a lure such as a spinner or spoon that weighs from 1/32 to 3/8 of an ounce. The key is that whatever type of bait or lure that I am using is that it is small. Remember, the key to ultra light tackle fishing is that all of the gear that you use is downsized from what would typically be used.
While the above example is how I personally engage in ultra light fishing, the fact of the matter is that this style of fishing can be used when fishing in other common situations as well. For example, rather than using a typical bait casting reel that’s spooled with 12-15 pound test line when fishing for large mouth bass, try a spinning rod that’s spooled with 6-8 pound line and lures or baits that are considerably smaller than would normally be used. This would be considered “ultra light fishing” in the world of bass fishing and is considerably different than what the typical bass fisherman would use.
The fact of the matter is that the same principles can be applied to virtually any type of fishing to make it light tackle fishing. The bottom line is that using these techniques and going ultra light makes the act of fishing much more enjoyable, sporting, and effective so if you’ve never experienced downsizing your gear when you head out onto the water, I would suggest that you give it a shot sooner rather than later.