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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

well, I think that this year is my year to try my hand at some steelhead... long time lake and ocean fisherman, but never really jumped into a river. I'm set as far as wader, boots, etc., but just wondering what kind of gear I should be picking up to start landing some steelhead. Rod? Reel? Line? Tackle?

Any insight some of you seasoned pros can provide would be much appreciated!
 

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Well timofthee, that's a real can of worms in some aspects ;D

A lot, perhaps even most, start off with a levelwind (baitcasting) reel such as the many offerings by Abu. I'd suggest staying away from the Shimano low end stuff, but their higher end (costly) reels are good. Abu's are mid-priced, and wear well for the coin. A 5500 or 6500 type is a decent place to start, and last considerabley well with a little maintenance. Load that up with 15 pound main, and have a selection ranging from 6 through 10 (or even 12 if tackling Biggies) for leader material.

Match that with one of the medium priced casting rods designed for the levelwind, such as Shimano's Convergance, St. Croix's Wild River series in a 10.5 Trigger foot model, and you have the basic starter kit.

Then you'll need some floats (like the DNE foamies myself, but dink floats ARE cheaper), some swivels (between leader and mainline) and either pencil lead (just before leader on mainline - often attached via swivel so it is free floating on the line) and/or split shot of varying sizes. I use both, preferring split shot in clearer/slower flows. Leaders range from as little at 8-10 inches (split shot) to 2.5 feet or so with pencil lead.

That is the usual starter set-up, and should get you into a few. Learn how to read the water is likely the MOST important step. In time, you'll begin to understand where they travel, hold, etc etc.

And of course once you've landed a handfull, the pursuit will likely become an addiction, as it has with so many others, including myself...

Then you'll likely graduate to a Custom built rod, sporting an Islander (or similiar) centerpin, and the approximate value of your set-up may well exceed that of your vehicle (as it does in my case! :wallbash: :D)

Welcome to The Madness!! You'll be certain to ENJOY!!! :thumbup:

Cheers,
Nog
 

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if your looking for a cheap but great combo check out your local tackle store i know Fred's in Chilliwack sells combos as does Hubb's in Abbotsford. my first level wind/rod combo caost me 250 and i still have it ;D of course i use it for BBing only now because i use a pin now instead. Reel and rod i bought was an Abu 6500C3 and a MEDIUM action Berkeley Specialist series. worked great and still does
 

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'Nog had given you some good info....You need a medium action rod that will handle fish to 20lbs. I think 10ft. would be minimum length, but there are lots of good rods in the 10-10'-6" range which are more than adequate. I agree with the 6500C3 as being a relatively inexpensive work horse. You can often find them on sale...Check the web...and while you'r at it put a post on this and all the other fish sites that you are loking for a steelhead set up and you will likely get some action......
If you buy a used reel, send it out to Abbyfireguy (BCFR member)in Abbotsford for a check out and update of the bearings. He does great work.
After you get the hard core stuff out of the way, you will need some terminal tackle. Learn how to tie a good roe knot (for wool/egg combos and roe/wool combos. Get a leader holder and tie a dozen or so before you hit the flow with various tests. You will also need some hooks and there are plenty to choose from...I recommend the Gamakatsu barbless in size 1-4 or ultrapoint (size depends on the size of the river and the clarity of the water).
Read everything you can find on Steelhead.
Lastly, I may get some opposition here, but Steelhead are trout and they are stupid. If you find a spot that holds fish, a wide range of gear will be successfull, if you get it in front of their vision field.
'Nog hit the nail right on the head with reading the water......tough to talk about on the web, but keep your eyes open when you are fishing and note where and when fish are caught, as well as the colour of the terminal gear in a journal...Take the temp of the water you are fishing. Soon all the pieces will fall into place.
Steelhead fishing is a disease!...Once you are hooked....YOU ARE HOOKED!!..Tight lines...........Ortho 8)
 

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I suggest stick with 1-3 lures or baits until you feel comfortable that they will catch you fish. Any number of things work well. Roe, Egg sacks, Rubber worms, Dew worms, Wool, Shrimp, Sand shrimp, Blades and spoons.Then try new things.It will be very frustrating sometimes until you get the knack of finding their holding or travelling spots. That is the true secret. I will usually hike the river early in the season and pay very close attention to where people are hooking fish and fish that I have hooked until I have a dozen locations or more (usually more) Then I will fish these locations hard. You will find that steelhead will travel and hold in the same spots throughout the season. With this method I usually land 2-3 fish per trip mostly 6 hour days. Not the biggest numbers but consistent. I always keep my eye out for obstacles that will impede flow during high water. Because that is where fish will hide. And travel close to shore. My personal best trip was 2 years ago after a solid week of rain The Chilliwack was blown and I was fishing a half mile stretch mid river and landed 6 fish in the 15-20 lb range. All within 3 feet of shore. Be prepared for some challenges. Ask around it took me a season and a half to land my first fish. But after that it got better. It takes experience and time to be a great steelheader. I also have a baitcasting setup for sale if you are interested.1 year old.

Perserverance will be rewarding. :beerchug:
 

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Well I got all the gear, but this steelhead year I am going to try one of them new Totem Vests that are out on the market.

The old boys will remember them as a Thompson river Pintail vest, the ones with the straps over the shoulders.

As for gear GUTS and only GUTS
 

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Please dont say Steelhead its to early, your getting me all excited. :) Just Guts? No way, Steelhead will bite anything ;D. Iv been waiting all year for the season to start up, lets all hope its a good one. :beerchug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of the input guys! I kinda thought I would be opening up a big can of worms (pardon the pun) asking what to use, but get a beginner's sense of what I should be looking at. I'm actually a rod builder myself, so will be hunting out the perfect blank for my first Steely rod! A little mid market baitcaster sounds like where I should be starting as well. Will be constantly checking this thread if anyone else has info!

Thanks again.
 

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timofthee said:
I'm actually a rod builder myself, so will be hunting out the perfect blank for my first Steely rod!
for a first bait caster I would suggest a 3106B, for a nice CP although a little light for brutes above 20 lb. a 3106LB is a nice CP blank. I am not sure if they are still available or if Sage has gone to "CT" for all of its codes. The 3113CT is also a great alround set up for CP.
 

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man if i were a rod builder i would be making myself one sweet rod even for my first. i would say go with a 3113 blank and build it yourself. i have a 3113 and it works great even for brutes even though in the current it may feel a little soft it can be done ;D
 

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Birdman said:
Metalleg_man said:
The best way to catch steelhead IMO is on the fly, nothing like reeling in a 20 lb'er on a 6 weight!
Big wild fish love being overplayed by undergunned fly rods.
Birdman, make sure you convey the message of sacasim when making a statement like that as
not all may understand.....

A lighter than required rod to target a certain wieght fish can leed to a higher mortality rate by over
playing a fish. If a longer than anticipated fight insues break off the battle by pointing the rod tip at
the fish allowing the leader to snap.

:beerchug: Marko
 

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all I gotta say for steelie gear is (MMMROE)!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup: Just joking there is much more to steelheading than that get a book called Steelhead and Salmon drift fishing secrets. Excellent book it explains rigging, reading water (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT), baits etc.

Steelie season is soon approaching in our local waters! I call coho fishing (steelhead hookset practice). Here's a pic of what die hard steelheaders are in search of ahhhhhhh steelhead.
 
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