Author: Tavis Kagawa
Why We Use Small Reels For Kayak Fishing
Ridiculous, foolish, or straight-up dumb is what I have been called for switching to smaller fishing reels while kayak fishing. I am not a commercial fisherman, or a trophy hunter. My passion for fishing has always been about the battle between angler and fish. I think there is no better way to emphasize this than to drop the size of your gear.
With the advances in technology with reels and lines such as braid, not everyone needs the raw power of huge trolling reels. While kayaks are capable of landing some large fish, the normal sized pelagic fish in kayak range runs between 10-60 pounds. Catching a 10 pounder on extra heavy tackle just isn't that exciting. Dropping rod and reel size can turn most fish into the fight that I am looking for.
Currently, I can fit over 600 yards of 40lb braid into my reel and use whatever leader size that I want if my knots are sound. My go to reel will produce over 20lbs of drag and also fits in the palm of my hand. I haven't landed anything over 80lbs, but I have never felt like I didn't have a chance. When using the lighter line test, having line in bulk like Bullbuster really can help in making sure that you are always spooled up with fresh quality line.
Benefits of smaller reels:
Catching bigger fish on lighter tackle is always more exciting and challenging.
Smaller/Lighter reels are easier to handle for longer periods of time whether fighting a fish or doing techniques such as jigging.
Smaller versions of premium reels are more cost effective.
Lighter line can mean more strikes.
Have to make a conscious choice of line capacity or line strength.
May not have the stopping power for some of the bigger fish.
You have to use higher-end small reels if you plan on catching anything significant because of the higher quality gearing and drags.
Longer fight times can attract sharks.
Hopefully I have encouraged some of you to give smaller reels a try. I am sure that I will lose a few monsters along the way (with the complimentary “I told you so”), but the joy I get in the meantime is worth it! While I am waiting on my personal goal of getting a fish in the triple digits on my set-up, it will be one of the most exciting days I will ever have.
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