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SomeStorm

Beginner rod for very basic fishing

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Please don't laugh me out of this forum. I have a decent size creek that runs through my property and have always been interested in freshwater fish (I used to fly fish as a kid). I'm interested in finding out what kind of fish are in my part of the creek. There's three big pools were they hang out. I posted here because I am almost positive some of them are smallmouth bass. There is a place where a log has fallen over part of the creek, creating a nice pool that's chock full of decent size (up to 6") fish. I would like to catch them just to know what they are (I have a background in field biology, so I'm pretty good at ID). 

I am looking for the most basic kind of rod where I can literally lie over the log and plunk my line down, no casting required. A bobber would not be a bad thing. The only thing I could snag on is the log and the branches and they are pretty easy to avoid. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot of money on this, obviously, but I just have no idea where to start. I feel like I'm asking for a kiddie rod, but if I had any shame, I wouldn't be here in the first place! After that, if anyone has recommendations of what weight of line to use (remember, these are small creek fish) and what kind of lures might be good I'd be appreciative. My guess is I have smallmouth bass and larger species of dace predominantly, but am suspicious I might have some perch as well. Obviously I have some catfish but am not interested in those. I would not be offended if anyone suggested an inclusive rod kit meant for children. 

Once you're done chuckling, any help you could provide would be much appreciated. Who knows, maybe this tiny bit of "fishing" will rekindle my childhood love of angling. 

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If all you're wanting is to ID these fish, Some cheap 4 or 6lb mono, some small aberdeen hooks, maybe a small split shot or two, and catch a couple nightcrawlers or garden worms. Cut a willowly limb or small tree and tie about twice the length of line to the end of the stick. Add the hook, split shot, and worm, drop it next to the log and you'll find out pretty quickly what you have in there. 

If you're wanting something a little nicer than that, basically any light or ultralight combo out there will do what you're asking of it. Most combos will come prespooled with some line so one with 4 or 6 pound test would work fine. I'd get some small roostertails, 1/16oz probably. A cast or two through that pool should get you an answer. The live bait option will still be the cheapest and most effective way to find out what they are though. 

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Go to walmart and buy a 15 dollar combo it will probably come with some hooks and sinkers and use the baits blue suggested. Good luck! Let us know when u find out what u have in there!

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1 hour ago, Jtrout said:

Go to walmart and buy a 15 dollar combo it will probably come with some hooks and sinkers and use the baits blue suggested. Good luck! Let us know when u find out what u have in there!

X2

If you like it you can upgrade.  I expect a few hundred on a fly rod before the year is out.

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I would suggest the Lew's American Hero Graphite Spinning Combo for about $30. It comes pre-spooled with 8lb line which you should factor into the cost savings. This rod and reel should handle what you describe and more if you decide to do more than just drop the line.

As an added benefit a portion of the profits on this combo go to organizations that support our vets.

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Thanks for all the suggestions! Fortunately I have about a week to think about it because we're supposed to get about 8" of rain in the next few days. Yesterday taking a break from writing I took an pond net I had as a kid and made a stab at catching some fish with a net. My intention was to dangle off the log and try to snag one but that (very obviously) didn't work, so I ended up stripping to my underwear and swimming in from upstream in order to wade in. 

Well, I can tell you there are definitely some bluegills in there because those are the only things I caught (only things curious enough to come near enough to catch). I'm sure it was a hilarious sight, but I had fun and had a swim around the best swimming hole, and caught some tantalizing glimpses of other things. Nothing like a nice hike and some time by a stream to reset your brain. 

Edited to add: I like your suggestion Wayfarer. That's right about what I was looking to spend and there's lots of ponds, creeks, and small rivers within shooting range. 

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I ended up doing both: buying the Lew's fishing rod kit and going to the hardware store for some 6lb monofilament and small hooks and sinkers. In my case I have a nice bamboo pole about the right length. It's pouring right now so when it lets up I'll go collect myself some worms, though they'll have to live in a pot of dirt for a few days until the storm passes.

Thanks for the help and not laughing at me too hard. Give me a week or so and I'll tell you what I find. 

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The Lew rod arrived and seems perfect: good short length, very light and well balanced. 

What kind of knot do you recommend for tying the lure on? 

This is going to be yet another really dumb question, but I also ordered some small splitters. Do I need to use these if I'm just planning on trolling through the stream, or are those more for if you are using a bobber? 

I'm going to go out tomorrow. I was up at Graves Mountain in the Shenandoah Mountains (near Old Rag mountain) this weekend, and I used to catch wild native brook trout up the Rapidan River as a kid. It's whetted my appetite to learn to fly fish again. But, one thing at a time.

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I recommend a palomar knot or improved clinch knot for tying lures.

Split shot are useful if you notice your lure gets caught in current and you need some weight to get to the desired depth. With trout I generally cast upstream past where I think the fish are and reel the lure in through the strike zone.  

Let us know how you do.

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Report: had a good but a bit stressful time. Things caught: a honking big bluegill, a small 3-4" smallmouth bass, a yellow perch, and one big pretty creek chub. I found a pool teeming with decent size bass (for the creek size), easily 8". But, they took one nibble at my lure and decided not to touch it again. So, mission accomplished: I established there are bluegills, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch living in there.

The problem came with the creek chub. It swallowed the lure enthusiastically and whole and I could not get it out, despite having used pliers to bend back the barbs on the three hooks on the rooster tail, the three hooks embedded themselves in there. I kept him in a big bucket of creek water and used needle nose pliers and a high intensity flashlight, and periodically got him extra oxygen from creek, but I just couldn't get it out and it eventually killed him. I had one hell of a time cutting open his throat to get my lure back. I immediately cut off two hooks with wire cutters. I left him out for any wildlife that would like a free meal.

One big highlight: hiking down the blue jays were making a racket and it turned out to be because of a barred owl. I got to see him fly and a great look at him perched.

I think I'm going to go with many of the poster's suggestions and get myself some thin bait hooks and use some live bait. My dad suggests collecting some insects from the bottom of the stream, because nothing can resist a caddis fly. I used to do water quality monitoring which you do by catching and identifying invertebrates living in the stream (remember, field bio background), so I'm pretty good at that. I also might go dig up some earth worms.

It will be a few days before I can go out again, so just to be a further PITA, could anyone tell me what size and shape bait hook I want? Bluebasser mentioned small aberdeen hooks. Can anyone give me an idea of size and what the best size and brand would be? I know there are some good ultrasharp brands around now.

Anyone still paying attention, thank you again.

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If you are going for tiny fish, get a hook with a very long shank relative to the hook gap.  This will keep the fish from swallowing it.  As for size, look for an assortment pack, Eagle Claw is an inexpensive brand that should offer them.  For small fish you don't need super hooks, but maybe get a small stone to touch them up.

If you really get into tiny fish, then check this out:

http://microfishing.com/

http://www.tenkarabum.com/micro-fishing.html

The Japanese have made a whole sport of it, some of the hooks need a jewelers loop to see the hook points.  

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I like that microfishing link! I got myself some aberdeen hooks and annoyed myself for an hour catching minnows with a pond net. But, once I did, I got some very nice bass given the size of the creek. I also got a huge beautiful yellow perch that was being relatively peaceful, so I laid him on the beach for a picture. The stinker unhooked himself and flopped back in before I could get a picture. Rude!

https://goo.gl/photos/6X9JWYS9eYpoQrUn7

https://goo.gl/photos/Z6cnPNMV2mNgbXJK7

https://goo.gl/photos/XuTuVbZsu2yWwsPe6

My last fish, a baby bass: https://goo.gl/photos/9nwoPnjF8C365QF88

All fish were released unharmed, with a nice minnow meal. I had a blast. 

Edited to add: To the relief of those on this thread, I've enlisted the help of the son of my horse vet, an accomplished angler who's been fishing his whole life, to give me some basic hands-on lessons. At the farm we have a small lake or big pond depending on who you ask with a dock, and lots of interesting fish. He says when I outgrow him, he has a good family friend who is a former Orvis guide. 

Edited by SomeStorm
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At least two of those sure look like largemouth bass. In a creek though? Is it near a lake? Regardless, pretty neat to have that kind of fish diversity running through your property.

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Those a very pretty bass, they're all largemouth though, just small versions of them :)

Congrats on solving the mystery though!

 

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9 hours ago, SomeStorm said:

I like that microfishing link!

Yea, I have not ordered anything yet, but I am going too. It looks fun as hell and the rods are so small and light that I can just toss them in the water bottle pocket of my hiking pack and be ready for some minnow action at a moments notice.  

I have a poster from the parks department from the country I fish in a lot listing all the species that live in their parks.  Only a handful are game fish, most are small minnows and assorted baitfish.  I think next spring I will challenge myself to catch one of every species on the poster, like my on little "wanted" list.  

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Shows what I know. I did think their mouths looked pretty large unhooking them . . . 

If you look at that creek picture, the tributary coming straight towards me comes from a big pond that is chock full of bass, including some pretty big ones that would break my line in a heartbeat. I fished there as a kid, but don't remember large or small mouth. So, the fry could be coming down the tributary and colonizing the creek. That little pool is chock full of bass but my swimming hole holds much larger ones. I think the reason I suspected smallmouth is the same reason you did: it's a creek! 

I think next time I go out I'll go upstream of the tributary and see what lurks in those pools. I know some pretty large ones up there. Fortunately for me, except for the part that goes through my property, the whole creek runs through county-owned land so with my fishing license I can fish the whole thing.

I may or may not have ordered a minnow trap to assist in my next trip. Also, the pond behind my building at work is absolutely swarming with little and big dace that I may or may not feed. I bet one swipe of a net would get me enough minnows to last a good long time. My air pump broke so I need to get a new one if I intend to do that, but I have a nice tupperware with airtight lid (airtight only for journey in the car). For whatever reason I prefer using minnows as bait. I did a lot of work in parasitology so it's not the grossing out factor, I just prefer it unless I can find a place with those little red worms. 

Re microfishing: I have seriously considered buying some tiny hooks and fishing for minnows, then using those minnows for bait. My dad has been trying to get me to get a tenkana since I started my sudden interest in fishing, but it's a little out of my price range at the moment.

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 I believe the "goal" for the serious mico guys is to catch a fish that fits on a 1 yen coin, which is like 1/2"-3/4", so a very tiny fish, which requires the super tiny hooks.  I have caught good old USA creek minnows on little hooks from Walmart.  I have a tenkara pole I got from Amazon for like $9 and tie on 3lb mono from a bulk spool.  It is really tough to cast without pinching on a little split shot, but it works well enough to fool around with.  

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Bunnielab, would you send me a link to the little tenkara pole you use? And are we talking hooks smaller than 10? What do you bait them with? I really need a trip to a Dick's or something similar but can't drive till mid week because of meds I'm weaning off of. Fishing for little minnows sounds right up my alley. I'm a little strange. I don't want lunkers or trophy fish, I want variety and interesting and odd and beautiful.

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This is the one I have:

https://www.amazon.com/Retractable-Sections-Telescopic-Blue-Fishing/dp/B005TF1OW4/ref=sr_1_24?s=hunting-fishing&ie=UTF8&qid=1476028163&sr=1-24&keywords=tenkara

There are many others in that range if you click around for a bit.  Remember that this is a sub $10 rod and it fishes like it, it's main advantage over a length of bamboo is portability, if  I was fishing at home I think I might rather use the bamboo as it might have better action.  But as a dip pole it works well enough and I can make some crude casts with it.  

I think I use 10 or 12 sized hooks, I literally just bought the smallest one that looked like I could hold comfortably with my fat little fingers.  With dexterity and patience (which I both lack) smaller hooks would work.  I find that the long shank/short bend hooks are best for the fish as you can rarely not get one out.  I also pinch the barbs for the same reason.  

 For bait I either use trout/crappy bites or any of the 1" Gulp baits.  I also started trying little flys on the same hooks, using bits of flash and feathers I had from a perch jig project.  If you look around the net there is a lot of diy mico-fishing stuff out there and if you can walk to your spot then almost anything is worth trying, minnows don't seem too picky.  Google "paracord fly fishing lure" and you will find a ton of ideas, 

 

 

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Apologies to others as this thread has been a little diverted. 

Bunnielab, stupid question, if I ordered this:

https://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Three-Piece-Wonder-Lite-10-Feet/dp/B001H2YLSW/ref=sr_1_23?s=sporting-goods&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1476046230&sr=1-23&keywords=tenkara&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011%2Cp_36%3A-5000

would it come with line or what sort of line should I buy with it? I apologize for the dumb question. The reason I ask about this one in particular is it comes with prime. The winding part of my reel on my spinning rod came off and is parts unknown, and my line got crossed under the reel in some odd way, and that will take a while to sort out and get a replacement part, and that pole is essentially bamboo for dummies. 

Or, is there another inexpensive ($25 or less) rod that comes with prime that you would recommend? The weather is gorgeous and it's killing me I can't fish this afternoon. 

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Unfortunately you are about at the limit of my knowledge relating to tiny fishing.  I would say that unless anyone else can chime in, just read the amazon reviews and spend what you are comfortable "wasting" if the rod is pure garbage.  In any case, amazon has a great return policy, so if the rod is truly faulty, you can eventually get your money back.  

For line, I would get a 200ish yard spool of the smallest line you can tie comfortably.  My lower limit is about 4lb mono and 6lb braid.  

If you are looking for a rugged inexpensive reel, the Okuma Avenger line is good for the money and my little 500 sized one has survived some awful abuse and still keeps catching.  It is a very small spool, so I am not sure how mono would work on it, I use 6lb braid on mine with a leader.   

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BunnieLab, thanks for all the information. I'm armed with aberdeen hooks from size 6 to 14, 2 and 4lb mono, a telescoping cane pole, and absurd finger dexterity (I work in a lab and I'm good at it for a reason). I also have a promise to be able to borrow my dad's tenkara at some point. 

I bought a minnow trap and it works great, so this is really my own indulgence, but I find things like this fun. 

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