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Equipment for Alaska Questions about gear and equipment needed to fish Alaska

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Old 07-29-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default How Light Can You Go

while fishing for grayling with my 3 wt it occurred to me that at any minute I could hook in to a king or a dog. They were swimming all around me. Luckily they seemed to show no interest in the woolly bugger I was slinging. This made me wonder if I could land a small dog on a 3wt. I've landed some good sized reds on the Kultina on a 5 wt. (was on a hunting trip when the first reds came through last year and all I had was my 5wt) Anyone who knows that river knows it is no slouch. So how light is too light? I haven't broken a rod yet but I love a good fight on light tackle.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

Hi,

We are at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to 'fight' with fish. I use my Spey rod for everything including grayling and seldom stray below an 8 or 10 pound leader. So.....with that said not all places will accommodate a 13' 9" rod and when I fish small water (usually in fall) I fish with a #5 rod 7' 9" long.

I have caught some very large fish on the 5 weight but do not target big fish on light rods. Even when using the 5 weight I keep an 8 or 10 pound line out there that way should I get mixed up with a good silver or large trout I am good to go. Rods will handle more than we may expect when it comes to landing a fish. However, you must exercise caution in how you handle the rod when you have a load on it. For instance, don't even think about bracing the rod a foot or so above the cork when you've got a big fish bending the shafts. This is a sure path to snapping a bottom section.

What it really comes down to is the leader, if you are fishing a 5 or 6 X leader and hook into a Chum chances are it'll bust the fly off. Conversely, if you are fishing 8 pound because you are expecting a chance of a big fish the rod will land the fish provided you handle things well. What I said at the beginning about different ends of the spectrum was reference to the fact that I prefer to land fish expediently. The longer the tug of war the better the chance of the hook pulling loose. Also, having a light line attached to a big fish may allow the fish to get the line into sweepers or God knows what. Because of that and that i wish to land what grabs my files I use heavy rods and lines. It is my own opinion that catching a grayling or other fish in the 12 - 17 inch size is just as enjoyable with the big rod as any other way. I don't see landing a fish as fighting the fish. I see it as a matter of having a proved method of getting fish to the shore soon as I can. This is especially true when I am C& fishing because to use light tackle because I might enjoy feeling the fish fighting for its life on the hook is not something I have enjoyed ever since I began to catch a lot of fish. I figure that the faster I can land them, the more I might be able to catch. When you haul them in, they either come to shore or come loose, one or the other. Many large fish will challenge your ability at landing them regardless of what your plans may be but continued practice at getting it done will be of great importance.

I hope you will take that as what it is; my way of doing things. I know that there are many people who love the light tackle thing but unless I'm in a creek where I would never expect to get hold of a real bruiser I use the big game rods. Trust me, you can feel even a 10" char struggling even on a big rod. What you don't have to worry about is the fish breaking off

Where are you at here,

Ard
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:51 PM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

I appreciate your way of doing things and to be honest I would love to use a spey rod. Ever sense I bought my first 3wt I just love to use it. Now when I pick up my 6 or 8 weight it feels like I'm swinging a 2X4. I have adapted my leader to a heavier 8 or 10lb because lets face it... its alaska you can go from catching 10in rainbows to 10lb salmon in a cast. I was just wondering how much is the recommended size fish for the wt rod, with moderate current.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

If the leader is up to it you can land big ones with pretty light rods. Below are 2 that I got tied up with while using my # 5 Far & Fine. The big red one was actually quite pretty for a colored up fish and I was trout fishing last fall when I hung it without knowing it was there. Unless I am keeping the fish I seldom remove them for photos but the only way to get Big Red was to get the camera ready then slide him up onto the shore. He swam off no worse for the wear. I figure I landed him in under 4 minutes.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

These are what I am after with the number 5 rod but sometimes a salmon is in the run.

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Old 07-30-2012, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

awesome pics ard! I wish I could find rainbows that looked like that around here.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

To land a Big fish on light tackle you have to use your backing and hoof it to the fish if possible. I've caught a few trout close to 30" on my 4wgt with a 4x tippit and it wasn't a torturous affair for me or the fish. Jim
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: How Light Can You Go

I use to fish for trout in small streams in Alaska with a 4 weight rod and got into several reds and silver salmon with the rig. It seemed like most of these salmon stayed in the same pool as I hooked them and I was generally able to land them. A 6weight rod is probably a better choice on these streams to be able to land salmon sooner rather than later, assuming you want to release them. On bigger rivers, like the Kenai, I used a 6 weight rod for trout and had some wild fights with salmon. I switched to a 7 weight for trout in the Kenai just to have something bigger for salmon and larger trout. I used an 8 weight if I was targeting reds and silvers. I used a 7 or 8 weight for steelhead so I didn't tire them out too much before landing them. Lastly, I used a 10 weight for king salmon - and sometimes it seemed a little wispy ... a decent sized king salmon is difficult to stop when it heads down river.
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