Driftless Trout Anglers

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LenH  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:41:31 AM(UTC)
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I am a big trout junkie and I should make that clear right away before I go any further. I would trade in 20 trout that measure fourteen inches for one brown trout that is 20 inches or longer. Then there are brook trout. A gigantic brook trout is 14 inches in these parts. They fall in to the trade category for a 20 inch brown. Yes, brook trout are beautiful and are the native species for Wisconsin but they are dumber than a box of rocks. They sometimes will bite again right after you release them. The challenge is zilch for catching brook trout.

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This rig is tried and true and has caught 100s of big browns in Wisconsin's Driftless area.

Now that I have cleared that up we can get on to the meat of this story; the rod and reel that will handle the kinds of trout that I like catching. They are the hook jawed monsters that make your drags scream and will snap off an under-gunned angler. They are the trout that will make adult men talk to themselves and whimper after they have lost them. Use the proper tool for the job!

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With a soft rod and stretchy mono there is zero chance to get a good hook set on an "Iron" jawed monster like this.

The "little is better" anglers please quit reading now because this article doesn't apply to them. I like actually touching the trout I hook. None of this long distance release nonsense for me. Trout are very good eating and old adage that big trout taste bad is an "Urban Myth."

The rod needs to have some back bone. Rods that are wimpy and too short are to be ruled out immediately. That rod needs to be stout enough to extract that wily monster out from under a log jam. A big old monster brown has a jaw that is seriously tough and a noodle-like rod can "not" get the hook to penetrate that jaw and get a secure hook up. Trout build up lactic acid during prolonged battles and die after release. A perfect trout rod is a medium action spinning rod about 6'6" to 7 foot long. My preferred rod is a Fenwick.

Now comes the reel. There are many good spinning reels on the market. Get one with a good drag system. It should hold about 100 yards of good stout line. Shimano, Abu Garcia and Pflueger reels are my reels of choice. Put some 8 pound Power Pro line and on the end of the line a size 9 Panther Martin. I started fishing with monofilament line. It stretches too much. It makes for poor hook sets. Power pro has no stretch and is way more sensitive. You can actually feel your spinner blade stop momentarily with power pro. Mono has a tendency to mar easily when there is a spinner bait flop over and because of that many lures are deposited on the cast with mono. Get out on the water and give my suggestions a whirl.

Edited by user Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:57:57 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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curtR32  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:22:00 AM(UTC)
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Great article Len.

That's the exact set up I've been using since June and I must say, it works excellent. The braided Power Pro is excellent for feel and freeing snags. I've taken half inch branches out of trees, bent hooks and I've saved a lot of wayward cast. It's helped me land multiple 20"+'s and the Panther Martin #6 and #9's are practically fail safe.
Damien  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:01:31 PM(UTC)
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Broke the tip off my Fenwick in hambone870's car door this may in rhinelander. I was very upsetCrying

Only disagreement I have is I'm a fireline guy. Just like the way it handles better.

Edited by user Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:02:32 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

mbchilton  
#4 Posted : Friday, December 21, 2012 8:08:32 AM(UTC)
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I appreciate you have your style and don't apologize for it.

The way you fish for browns is the way I fish for largemouth bass. I'm ok with one fish a day if it's a big one. Trout fishing is different for me. I take it seriously, but in a different way than the way I approach bass fishing. Maybe it's because I'm newer to trout fishing. Maybe it's because I live in Iowa.
JDP12  
#5 Posted : Saturday, December 22, 2012 11:58:15 PM(UTC)
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Len- Do you use a monofilament leader in front of the spinner at all?
brook1619  
#6 Posted : Monday, December 24, 2012 11:47:50 AM(UTC)
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Great post, Len. I completely agree with your choices. I currently use a 6930 Pflueger President with a 6'6" Abu Garcia medium action rod and 10# Power Pro line. I am looking for another 6'6" rod that is a little lighter. With the rod I have now my arm gets tired easily and I can hardly make an accurate cast. My brother has a 6'6" St. Croix Triumph that is a lot lighter and may be the route to go this upcoming season.
I have always believed that fishing for brook trout is a spiritual thing and that those who engage in it sooner or later are touched with its magic. -Sigurd F Olson
LenH  
#7 Posted : Monday, December 24, 2012 7:31:56 PM(UTC)
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JDP12 wrote:
Len- Do you use a monofilament leader in front of the spinner at all?


no but I think I am going to use a fluorocarbon leader in 2013.
Mark Dahlquist  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, December 25, 2012 6:01:20 AM(UTC)
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Fishing for sea trout the other day the guide had 15 lb mono. I did not care for the stuff. Too many coils. Interesting he had a leader on all the poles. I assumed lighter line and/or fluorocarbon. To the contrary it was just actually heaver mono. I think he said 30 lb. Anyway the ocean bottom is so sharp that stronger line is needed to prevent break offs. These were not toothy fish either. Rocks and oysters at the bottom cut the line.

I'm going to give fireline a whirl next. PowerPro is strong and casts a mile but I bait fish 70% of the time and too often when I set the hook and miss one my line goes flying and my spit shot will spin around a million times and make a bird's nest. I am told fireline even though its braided does not tangle as much and when it does its easier to untangle. We shall see.
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mbchilton  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, December 25, 2012 8:55:41 AM(UTC)
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Mark Dahlquist wrote:
Fishing for sea trout the other day the guide had 15 lb mono. I did not care for the stuff. Too many coils. Interesting he had a leader on all the poles. I assumed lighter line and/or fluorocarbon. To the contrary it was just actually heaver mono. I think he said 30 lb. Anyway the ocean bottom is so sharp that stronger line is needed to prevent break offs. These were not toothy fish either. Rocks and oysters at the bottom cut the line.

I'm going to give fireline a whirl next. PowerPro is strong and casts a mile but I bait fish 70% of the time and too often when I set the hook and miss one my line goes flying and my spit shot will spin around a million times and make a bird's nest. I am told fireline even though its braided does not tangle as much and when it does its easier to untangle. We shall see.


Interesting he was using heavy mono to prevent break offs from sharp objects as it is prone to nicks that weaken the line.

I know a lot of people are using braid these days, but I've never been a big fan. My 7'11" Heavy swimbait rig has power pro, but all my other bass rods have mono. I appreciate the stretch when fighting big fish. I swing the stick pretty hard when setting the hook, so I don't worry too much about weakened hook-set.
big_river_bum  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 2:54:28 PM(UTC)
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len,

i just bought a 6' GSX tournament medium action. do you think i can get away with a shorter rod given it's a pretty stiff medium action? i put a pflueger president 6935 model on it.

i'm still fairly new to hunting the big boys and haven't caught many big fish. i like a shorter rod for bushwhacking reasons, but i'd hate to get a hit from a monster and not be properly equipped. the price difference was nil between the gsx and the st. croix triumph. is it worth the extra 30 bucks for a fenwick or st. croix eyecor?
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