By Bob Brown                      
With the season of giving upon us, it is a common sight to see a lot of people milling around fishing counters at local retail stores contemplating the purchasing of fishing tackle. It can be a mind- boggling experience for novice fishermen for a number of reasons.
With dozens and dozens of fishing rods placed in racks and hanging on walls, and tons of fishing items on shelves, counters and cabinets, it is easy to see how a layman could be smothered by the amount of items for sale. On top of that, it's quite possible the person behind the counter is no more knowledgeable about the items for sale than the person standing in front of it, which can add to the state of bewilderment. Because of this, it is not uncommon for novice anglers to buy the wrong type of tackle, worthless tackle and tackle not needed.
When it comes to purchasing a spinning reel, the first thing to consider is its line test rating. Different target fish often means different line strengths. Author Robert Roth said in his book "Guide To Fishing" that no reel comes close to covering the spectrum from two pound test to thirty pound test. You’ll have to give up some options at one or both extremes. If you intend to do a lot of freshwater bass or trout fishing, you want to be able to get down to at least eight pound test. If the plan is to spend a lot of time fishing for a ten to fifteen pound salmon, you can do quite well with a 20 pound test. Most reels are more or less rated by their manufacturers; this rating can sometimes be found on the reel itself, but if not, may be found in its manual or the manufacturer’s catalog. However, what you have in such cases is not strictly a rating, it is a range of capacities for different line tests.
Roth also said the two main reasons anglers choose spinning tackle are its ease of use and versatility. However, catching trophy fish on two-pound test is neither easy nor likely, unless you are an expert.
Thirty-pound test spinning tackle also restricts versatility. Stronger gear means heavier gear. A rod and reel beefy enough for 30- pound test line is not built for a long day of casting. The term “ease of use” won’t come to mind when your arm feels ready to fall off.
Also, casting distance decreases as line test increases, unless terminal tackle is also increased. Heavier terminal tackle restricts the type of fish that can be targeted and make it harder to attract, fight and ultimately catch.
The strength of a fishing line is the amount of steady force it can endure measured in pounds or kilos. An eight-pound test line can lift about eight pounds in the air and more in water.
It has been said the first golden rule of fishing is “Less is better if it can get the job done. The lighter the line and the terminal tackle attached to it, the more fish you can fool.” I can go along with that.

Bob Brown lives in Roy and is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be contacted at