Often readers who are new to coastal fishing contact the Reel Report asking what equipment will be needed for fishing the Galveston Bay Complex.
Fred Miller of San Leon is one of the newcomers, and he had a disappointing experience when he consulted a tackle shop in west Houston for some advice.
Miller was sold more than $300 worth of tackle that he likely will rarely use as it is designed for large fish, found mainly offshore.
He asked where he could get some reliable advice on what he needs.
A native of Kilgore, he moved to San Leon last year and has found that his tackle is just too heavy for the bay fishing he would like to enjoy.
Since he has declared bay fishing as his choice, then it should be fairly easy to pick out the appropriate tackle.
His first decision will be whether to purchase an open-faced spinning reel or casting reel. Both are great; however, the spinning reel is usually the choice for those with little experience casting. A rod designed for trout and reds usually is in the seven- to nine-foot range to enable long casts.
The line on the reel should be in the 12- to 20-pound test range, depending on where you fish. The lighter line is for open areas and the heavier line is for around structures such as the jetties or rock groins.
The next choice depends on whether you plan to use artificial or live baits. Popping corks with live bait require a heavier rod, while tossing artificials and free-lining live bait usually require more nimble rods. Leaders should be from monofilament line in the 20- to 30-pound test range.
The choice of hooks depends on a number of factors. There is a growing trend among sportsmen to use small circle hooks in lieu of treble hooks. Both are designed for live bait, with circle hooks offering much better mortality rates than the treble style.
Pages could be written about choosing tackle, and my recommendation has always been to consult with a local tackle shop. Give as much information as you can to the salesperson about where you plan to fish, your experience and objectives. Not any one set of tackle works for all areas.