A Short Course on Ultralight Gear for Trout

A reader of this blog asked for coverage of ultralight (UL) spinning for trout. That’s a huge topic, but here’s a thumbnail version.

LINE: One- to 6-pound-test monofilament. Smaller diameters cast farther with any given lure. One-, 2-, or 4-pound-test FireLine (superline) also casts extremely well.

ROD: From 4.5 on up to 6 feet or more. Cheap UL fiberglass rods tend to be mushy feeling. Graphite will both cast and fight fish better. Above all, the rod should feel light in the hand. A rod that feels clunky isn't as much fun.

REEL: Should weigh less than 8 ounces. Many options, ranging from the 6.4-ounce Shimano Stella STL1000FD at $500 (wow!) to the $18 Bass Pro Shops TinyLite at 5.4 ounces. Larger-diameter spools cast farther than narrow ones.

LURES: My own favorites for trout: Black/silver Original Floating Rapala (sizes F5 and F7); Mepps Aglia, Panther Martin, and Roostertail spinners; Phoebe, Little Cleo, and Kastmaster spoons; plus assorted marabou or soft-plastic crappie-style jigs. Most UL lures range from 1/32-ounce to 1/8-ounce, but go bigger when fishing bigger rivers.

TACTIC: Allowing a lure to swing across the current is typical, but try fishing upstream. Cast beyond a likely trout lie, then bring your lure back downstream next to it and just a little faster than the current.

So there’s a start. Anybody else want to add some good advice?