Many folks, including myself, rattle on about ‘fishing light’. You only have to read through a handful of catch reports and sea fishing articles to see the phrases ‘with light tackle’ or ‘on light gear’ popping up all the time. So what’s the big deal with fishing light? Surely, the lighter you fish, greater are the chances of losing that prize specimen, right? Possibly…but here’s the thing: although the chances of losing a fish increase slightly, the chances of a hook up in the first place increase dramatically.
Scaling down the terminal tackle helps your bait to blend into the surroundings and gives it a more natural in the water. This is key for catching some of the more wary species (Mullet being the perfect example) which are almost exclusively caught using light line tactics. With such fish being easily spooked, heavier lines and big weights and booms reduce hook up rates significantly. Although the cautious mullet are an extreme example when it comes to proving the effectiveness of light line fishing, adopting these same light line tactics with other species will also bring greater success.
But it’s not just the terminal tackle that needs to be trimmed down – tackle, rod and reel must all complement each other. On light tackle, it takes little for the line to break with a hard fighting fish, consequently, a rod needs to give (to reduce strain on the line) but still retain power enough to successfully play a fish. It’s a fine balancing act, but it is possible.
When all is said and done, switching to lighter tackle will bump up your catch rate for many species around the Devon and Cornwall shores. Not only that, but it’s a whole lot of fun, too.
When fishing as light as you dare, a mackerel becomes a tuna and a mullet a bonefish. It’s true. With lighter line whipping through the water like a knife through butter and less trailing lead, a fish will be able to run – and run they will!
Nothing gets the heart thumping more than a prize Bass stripping line from your multiplier (apart from the chance of losing that prize Bass because you’re fishing light!) But who’s to say that you wouldn’t have got the fish on in the first place if you hadn’t scaled down the tackle? The risk may increase, but so does the fun and excitement. Tenfold.
Who wouldn’t rather skilfully play and land a fish for 10 minutes than tediously winch it in for 2? Where’s the thrill in that? After all, sea angling is a sport, and fishing light keeps so.