While out shore fishing around a local lake the other day, I came across a family who was fishing from one of the piers. As I walked down the pier to join them, I got a closer look at the rods they were using and I was blown away. Of the 10 of them that were casting, 8 of them were using heavy rods with reels that you would normally find on Lake Ontario for salmon. The rods were paired with what looked like heavy line and very large egg sinkers with a hook and a worm. They also had a net that was suited for the type of musky you find in Northwestern Ontario. I figured with these set ups they must have been trying to catch catfish, although that didn’t make much sense either because this lake isn’t known to hold many, if any, catfish.
There wasn’t much space where they were fishing, so I stayed a little further down the pier. I continued to watch them as I fished and it appeared they were trying to set the hook but all the reeled in was empty hooks. One of the ladies pulled up a couple of small perch, but I don’t think she knew there was a fish on until it got close to the surface.
The equipment they were using was way too heavy for the fish in the area, and this made for an extremely frustrating day. They felt the panfish around the pier nibbling at the worms, but couldn’t feel it right away because of the heavy line and rods. Even the lady who caught a couple of them was shocked when she saw a fish on the end of her rod. Panfish are so small and have a soft bite so using rods of this size means they couldn’t feel very much, and when they did it was likely too late.
Matching your equipment to the fish you think you will catch is very important. Rods can be expensive, but when you start out fishing one of the first purchases you make should be an all around rod. A light-medium rod is perfect for this and you can find many different makes and models for a good price. This type of rod allows you fish for a wide range of species including panfish, bass, walleye, and even pike. Match that rod with a mid range size line, like 6–8 pound test flurocarbon, and you have a decent all around set up. If the family was using this set up from the pier they would have likely pulled up hooks with fish on the end instead of nothing at all.
I saw a similar situation the week before while hiking some trails in a local creek. At this time of year this creek only holds small trout, but this rod was suited for fighting a a mature steelhead in the lake it came from. Talk about bring a gun to a fist fight.
I never got a chance to talk to the family about what their intentions were because a storm rolled through before I made it down, but maybe they were just out for a family outing and grabbed whatever rods they had at home. A bad day of fishing is better than a day at the office!