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How to rig your gear for Steelheading fishing, Questions and answers...about methods, equipment, and steelhead fly fishing gear.
In theory, a baitcast reel shall be able to function like a center pin reel when we attend to have a drag free float. Once we hook a fish, then a drag on baitcast reel shall be an advantage. I have been doing "drag free float" with fly rod by mending the line, which I don't like to do. I also did that with spinning reel by fingering the line before it comes off the spool. I can control the speed of the float with the method quite effectively. I have also used baitcaster to do the same thing. I found baitcaster the most effective tool. It is the easiest to hook a fish because I can put finger on the spool and stop its run and set the hook in that way. The only thing I have never tried is center pin. I have used fly reel to fight carp without using its drag. I assume, it is similar. I will try the center pin this spring. If it works like you guys say it does, I will certainly get into it. It just gives me a new way to catch fish. My question for all the center pinners is: Do you guys really believe that center pin will allow me to have a smoother as well as a longer float? If you guys say so, I believe you!
by DaveP » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:50 pm
I own a baitcaster for summertime fishing. I'm absolutely positive that folks have figured out how to make it work for steelhead (and drifting). I'm also absolutely positive that a centerpin reel is a purpose-built tool, specifically designed to make a drag-free drift on the slowest of currents possible.
Specifically to keep in mind is the diameter of the spool and one of the core design requirements to the centerpin reel. The larger distance between the edge where the line pays off the spool and the axle creates a leverage multiplier requiring less force to pull the line off compared to the relatively short distance between the edge of a baitcast reel and it's axle. While the force *is* rotational, the startup torque to get the reel spinning is effectively null on a centerpin reel whereas a baitcast reel is not designed with null startup torque as a requirement.
What it comes down to is budget, really. If you've got the budget to procure a centerpin rig, you'll understand the difference. If you don't, then many times there's a way to get a similar outcome using slightly different gear. Not the same outcome, just similar.
Well said. By the way, I bought a spey rod today from Orvis. I haven't decided what to do with it. Any suggestions?
by River Rat<>< » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:57 pm
most guys that use baitcasters for float fishing are fishing big water with big floats and lots of led.....start up is a moot issue when there is that much weight and current. It wouldn't work well with a 6 grammer in med water as described by Dave. Big weight planted in a big flow will pull line off he smaller spool with ease and without much drag on the float rig.
by River Rat<>< » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:06 pm
Using a float and proper shot pattern you can get your bait down to the strike zone fast and keep it there longer. You can ride seams all the way to the end and even swing tail outs. You can control depth by trotting and fire your presentation to the exact spot you want the bait. Like fly line you have to thow mends to keep the float from dragging but the float helps to keep your bait from moving un natually during a mend.The advantage of the pin is you are able to keep in contact with the float with little slack ...one handed and without line around your feet.
by stonethrower » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:52 pm
conventional reels are in no way new to steelheading, west coasters have been using them decades and used to frown upon the use of spinning reels. consider, no line twist, drag free float in free spool, take down,thumb, set hook, hit lever and fight with a drag. i have 2 penn 525 mags for surf, need practice w/them but see no reason why i countnt use them for steel, especially if i wanted to watch a bobber.
by rab » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:17 am
I fish spinning reels on Salmon RIver. I cant remember the lst time I saw anyone fishing a baitacaster on this mid-sized river (300cfs to 1000+cfs). If baitcasters were so much better why is no one using them. Re-read my original post; I emphasized small to mid sized rivers. Why are guys spending $400+ on centerpins if they could buy a baitacaster for much less. The advice asked was what you should do, not what you could do.
by River Rat<>< » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:11 am
I don't see any baitcasters on rivers out here in SW ontario but buddies in BC are telling me they see it more and more on the Fraser and Thompson and down into Oregon....I don't know about the cost being less......a GOOD baitcaster is required for this kind of fishing so you are not fighting the reel and the fish. Most lower cost baitcasters are not exactly known for smooth drag systems and fighting big water and big fish would require a very good drag system. The rod required would be specialized and dedicated for river fishng too and I don't think it would be any cheeper than running a center pin combo really.
by RDR » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:03 pm
Gentlemen, I am glad to see "Winternet" has taken hold and everyone is happy their local flows are locked-up tight or a PITA to fish. I am no expert on this, but I didn't come late to the party, either. I've been using a Baitcaster as my primary Float rig for the last 20 or so years in the GL area. I have been fortunate enough to experiment with many Baitcasting configurations over the years and I do have some thoughts on this technique.
A Baitcaster outfit can accomplish what a Centerpin rig does approx. 90% of the time. Todays Baitcasters are way more sophisticated than reels of old. The techniques used for floatfishing with a Baitcaster are similar to a Centerpin. The main problem with fishing a Baitcaster is finding a suitable rod to compliment the system. Short of building a custom rod there are very few factory rods out there that can accommodate this system properly in our area. Most Westcoast-type rods are 10 1/2' Medium to Heavy action configurations. Which is fine if you are fishing the Salmon, Niagara, Oswego or Genny. But on smaller flows they are overkill. Generally speaking for the GL area, if you can find a rod in the 9' to 13' range with a line rating between 4 and 12 lbs. you're in business.
Baitcasting set-ups offer many advantages over standard Centerpin rigs. First off, they are way easier to master for beginners ( casting, fishing and fighting ) and they are more versatile ( bottom bouncing, spoons, spinners, plugs etc. ) should one want to change their presentation technique. They are easier on the body ( less chance of a sore shoulder or hand ) and in the winter they are just plain simpler to use. Many CP'ers fail to recognize the benefits of fishing with a baitcaster. Don't get me wrong about this. I switch back and forth between the two as the conditions dictate. I like the change of pace each offers.
Rigging differences between the two vary. But, I wouldn't say that there are that many, that it would make it that difficult to put together. Sure, sometimes you might have to use a larger float or more shot to cover more water on big systems. The same could be said for anybody using a CP under the same circumstance. But, getting back to the other 10% of the time a Baitcaster isn't the best choice when conditions dictate. Finesse fishing situations ( low water, low flow, stale or highly pressured fish ) are when a CP is the better option. Unless you are able to properly adjust to the conditions presented to you. A CP set-up is invariably a better finessing option to use.
Last edited by RDR on Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
by River Rat<>< » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:30 pm
Hey Rick, ....after 3 days of sun up to sun down pinning on the St. Mary's ....my fingers are worn off form the pin handles, shoulders torqued and lower back is beat. Not to mention the screamers I lose because hey bolted 50 yards towards me and I just couldn't keep up....If I fished big water more often I could definitly see myself investing in a twist rod. I'd still fish the pin but it would be a nice change up fo sure....unless of course you have one you want to sell me cheeeep ?
by RDR » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:38 pm
I have got some small to medium water stuff to cut your teeth on. Sorry no cheeeeepies tho. My big water rods are mostly one offs, they do the job just fine. I still like to experiment. Lots of suitable blanks out there, under 13 foot for baitcasting rods.
Did someone mention about having a rod to bend in the other way? I intend to use a crappie rod for a baitcast reel. Can I bend the rod to the other way?
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