New 2017 Shimano Curado K from Live to Fish

It’s great when a fishing tackle manufacturer makes a product and completely gets it right. Unfortunately, a perfect relationship combining engineering, design, performance, and what emerges as the final product, doesn’t happen as often as consumers would like.  Fortunately, Shimano did, “get it right,” so to speak, with the Curado baitcasting reel.  The Curado has gained faithful fans and diehard enthusiasts. Given the legacy inherent within the Curado model line, there are fishermen who have literally been fishing with different versions of the Shimano Curado for decades.  Some brief history on the different versions of the Shimano Curado is noted below:

1992 Curado 100,200 (5:1) 2 bearings
1993 Curado 100A, 200A (6:1) 5 bearings
1994 Curado 200B (6.2:1) 5 bearings
1999 Curado 200B5 (5:1) 5 bearings
2001 Curado 200BSF (6.2:1), Curado 100B (6.2:1), Curado 200B38 (3.8:1) 5 bearings
2006 Curado 200DHSV (7:1), 200DPV (5:1) 6 bearings, 100D/DSV (6.2:1) 5 bearings
2007 Curado 300D (6.2:1) 6 bearings
2008 Curado 200E7 (7:1) 200E5 (5:1), 300E (6.2:1) 7 bearings

Before we get into the 2017 Curado K, some history concerning the Shimano company may be of interest.  If not, simply scroll down.

SHIMANO COMPANY HISTORY:

Most people are familiar with the Shimano name when it comes to fishing reels.  However, the company’s history may not be as well known.  In February 1921, Shozaburo Shimano opened Shimano Iron Works in Higashi Minato in Sakai City.  He was 26 at the time.  The location for his new company was a then demolished celluloid factory.  The monthly rent was 5 yen.  In 1921, that is the equivalent of $553.66.  The space measured no more than 430 square feet.  Shozaburo didn’t even own his own lathe.  Through a friendship with the owner of Sano Iron works, he borrowed the only lathe Shimano had at the time.  For the next 49 years, Shimano focused their manufacturing efforts on bicycle parts.  Shimano didn’t launch it’s Fishing Tackle Division until 1970.

Shozaburo Shimano:

Shozaburo Shimano 2

In 1978, the Bantam 100 and 100ex were the first reels produced under the Shimano name.  These reels were produced for the Lew Childre, Co.; more commonly known today as Lew’s. In 1989, the Childre family licensed the Lew’s brand to Browning.  Today, the Lew’s brand and its many well-known trademarks are under the ownership of Do Outdoors Inc., and longtime Childre family friend Lynn Reeves.  Here at Live to Fish, we proudly carry a number of Lew’s fishing reels, including the Lew’s TLCP1XH Team Lew’s Custom Pro.

In 1979, Shimano expanded their lineup with reels such as the 200, 300, 400, 500, and 10ex.  Most of these models continued until the early 1980’s.  Shimano needed a new price point in their lineup of reels, so they re-branded the old Curado into the Chronarch and cut the cost of the Curado.  The Shimano Curado became the middle man between the Chronarch and Citica.

THE NEW 2017 SHIMANO CURADO K

Curado K

The newest generation of Shimano’s Curado has a completely different shape from previous models.   I’ve personally owned and fished the previous Curado model in the way of a Shimano Curado 300E.  I bought the 300E after I’d purchased a Daiwa Lexa 300.  The Lexa 300 failed on me within the first month of ownership.  Daiwa appears to have fixed earlier problems with their Lexa line of baitcasters, but their first versions were not nearly as well made as the Curado 300 series.  In the race to create a large capacity, low profile, baitcasting reel, Shimano did a good job with the 300E.  What it lacked in drag power with 15 lbs of maximum drag, the 300 size Curado made up for it in nearly every other specification.  I used it for fishing in saltwater for Redfish, Snook, and Trout.  The Curado 300E was well suited to the saltwater environment.

Despite having a more compact size than the 300 series, the Curado K is no exception in terms of durability and reliability.  Shimano manufactured the new Curado K with both bass and inshore saltwater anglers in mind.  The reel features improved spool access and six shielded anti – rust ball bearings to help thwart corrosion.  The Curado series from Shimano has been one of the most popular reels for bass and inshore anglers looking for a reel they can depend on; day in and day out.  A reel that delivers on performance and features without breaking the bank.  The K series keeps that tradition alive, and goes with a much stealthier looking matte black finish than the previous green colored Curado.   In comparing the new Curado K to the most recent model, the new 2017 Curado K makes long casts are more effortless.  Short pinpoint casts seem more controlled with this new reel.  The new 2017 Shimano Curado K   is available for purchase through our website or by visiting our showroom located at: Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669 (844) 934-7446.

MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN THE NEW SHIMANO CURADO K

The Curado K series feature Shimano’s latest baitcast reel technological advancements. Such advancements include uniquely smooth, highly efficient, and decidedly durable MicroModule gearing.  A technology explained in further detail below.  The Curado K comes in gear rations up to 8.5:1.  There are a total of six new Curado 200K reels.  A 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 gear retrieve ratios.  All models are available in both right and left hand retrieve. When compared with the previous generation, the Curado K styling is quite noticeably more compact. The first major upgrade over the previous  version is the smaller overall size.  Shimano managed to achieve manufacturing a more compact version without sacrificing any capacity. Manufacture of the Curado K starts with a solid aluminum frame to keep things pinned together; eliminating reel twist.  The handle side sideplate gets an upgraded Ci4 sideplate.  The Ci4 material is lighter, yet more rigid.  It’s a proprietary carbon composite material Shimano uses in a number of their reels. The non-handle sideplate is made from more traditional graphite material.  Under the non – handle sideplate, you’ll find access to Shimano’s new SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system.  This is the same system first introduced on the much more expensive Shimano Aldebaran reels.  The SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system offers both internally adjustable brakes, and a broader range of micro-adjustment capability with the external dial. The inclusion of this braking system on the new Curado K is one of the biggest upgrades over the previous model.   A wider range of adjustments allows anglers to more accurately dial in the amount of  cast control specific to the weight and type of lures being used.

The next major change and advantage found in the Curado K is it’s MicroModule gearing. MicroModule gearing is basically a system involving a larger main gear with a greater number of teeth, but that are each smaller in size than the teeth in the previous version.  The result is a system that feels smoother and provides greater efficiency in terms of transferring power to the retrieve.  By allowing more teeth to contact each other, the gear train becomes more efficient. Precise engagement between the teeth means a smoother power transmission without reducing the strength of the reel.  The engagement occurs between the drive and pinion gears; giving you a more connected feel. MicroModule gearing is one of Shimano’s newest gear technologies.

SVS Infinity is a centrifugal braking system, with brake weights that use inner friction against the raceway during the cast to control spool speed. Put simply, the SVS Infinity system provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control and brake force. The latest generation of SVS Infinity allows for a wider adjustment with the brakes. The new design reduces vibration and maintenance. The result is a smoother and longer cast.

Shimano uses their simple yet effective drag system in the Curado K.  The drag system consists of Carbon Drag washers on both sides of the internal brass gearing.  Shimano rates the Curado K with 11 lbs of drag.  However, some users have conducted controlled drag tests wherein 12 lbs were achieved.

Reduced frame size to allow for a more comfortable feel in the hand. The 10% reduction in both length and width make the reel easier to palm and reduces fatigue.  Demand for lighter, smaller, yet more capable tackle would be the underlying impetus for Shimano’s decision to reduce the size of the Curado.  You’ll find that the the B side (palm side) plate is now attached to the reel.  No more swinging open like previous versions.  That is more of an advantage than some may realize.  I’ve personally accidentally opened the previous Curado model to watch my spool fall out and sink.  Fortunately, I was in no more than 4 feet of water at the time.

FINAL SPECIFICATIONS:

6.2:1/26 Inches Per Crank
7.4:1/ 30 Inches Per Crank
8.5:1/ 36 Inches Per Crank

11 pounds max drag

90mm Handle Length

6+1 bearings (4 S-ARB, 2 SUS and Roller bearing)

Aluminum frame, CI4+ A-side, Graphite B-side

7.6 ounces (standard and HG)
7.8 ounces (XG)

Visit us in person at our address above, or online at www.livetofish.com to order a new Curado K today.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer on your fishing gear and technique related questions, regardless of whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater.

Recover & Recycle Monofilament with Live toFish

Live to Fish has teamed up with the Florida Wildlife Commission to recover and recycle monofilament fishing line. Monofilament line can last hundreds of years before breaking down. Improperly discarded monofilament line causes devastating problems for marine life and the environment in general. Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, and birds can become injured from entanglements, and some marine life go as far as to ingest the line, often dying as a result. Human divers and swimmers are also at risk.

The Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) is a statewide effort that encourages monofilament recycling through a network of drop-off locations. This network of drop off locations is an efficient way to move large volumes of unwanted monofilament line, it’s free and available to the public at multiple locations including Live to Fish’s retail store in Hudson, Florida.

Please take the extra time to discard your monofilament line, it’s easy and it can make a huge difference in preserving our marine environments for generations to come. Live to Fish will gladly accept your unwanted fishing line and ensure that it gets disposed of properly. In the event that you are unable to find a drop-off location near you, feel free to mail your unwanted fishing line to us. Our store location, hours of operation, and mailing address are listed here.

Fishing Reel Drag Significance

 

By Live to Fish Team Member: Josh Stewart

Every fisherman can relate to that moment when a fish makes that first strike.  It’s completely and utterly exhilarating and easily one of the most intensely exciting moments.  The strike is one of the best experiences anyone can have in life, period.  For the fishing enthusiast, simply reading those few sentences likely caused memories of strikes in the past.  Perhaps your pulse rate quickened a bit.  Memories of large snook, trout, or redfish, exploding to the surface to smash your topwater!  Perhaps thinking of the first strike invoked memories of occasions when a live bait was out and your rod suddenly doubled over; the drag screaming.  The level of excitement is one element that brings us back to the water with rod in hand, time and time again. It’s what keeps us throwing cast after cast.  Sometimes late into the night, hoping for that strike.  It’s what gets you out of bed at ungodly hours like 3:30 or 4:00 AM in preparation to be on the water before sunrise.  The passion is what can result in having more fishing gear than some of the tackle shops you go to.  Personally, I just bought a new tackle bag to fit my gear in.  I went from a normal, respectably sized soft tackle box, to a duffel bag large enough to pack a year’s worth of clothes in.  What’s worse?  I think nothing of it.   The desire is what can actually cause thoughts such as, “if I just eat just spaghetti for a week, I’ll be able to afford that reel…,” and not have the least bit of concern over whether you’re thinking is rational.

Once the fish takes your bait, the tug of war begins.  Fighting your fish gives rise to the moment of truth.  You’ll find out whether you tied your knots correctly.  Whether you used heavy enough line and leader.  Whether you chose the right rod.  You’ll also discover quite a lot about a very important component of your fishing reel –  the drag.   The drag is simply a pair of friction plates inside of fishing reels. Drag systems are a mechanical means of applying pressure to to act as a friction brake. Drags supply resistance to your line after hook-up to aid in landing the fish without the line breaking. When you take your rod’s ability to flex, the technique applied, and your drag, and combine them together, it’s possible to land a fish that weighs more than the pound test line you’re using.

If your fish pulls hard enough, your fishing reel’s drag will be engaged.  If the drag is overpowered, your spool will begin to rotate backwards.  By rotating backwards, your spool is turning in the opposite direction it would be if you were reeling in.  Essentially, your reel’s drag system is letting line out.  On a baitcaster, your spool is spinning in the same direction it would be if you were casting.  On a spinning reel, the only time your spool will rotate is when line is pulled off by a fish overpowering your drag.  A degree of resistance to use against a large and strong fish  is a benefit.  If your reel did not have a drag system, or if you cranked your drag down so tightly that you effectively cancelled out your drag system, the most likely result would be a broken line.  The exception would be if you were fishing with a pound test fishing line far above the weight of the fish you caught.  A common practice among bass fisherman is to tighter their reel’s drag down all the way, then yank the bass out of the weeds and other vegetation as quickly as possible.  One way to think of your drag is like a bungee cord.  When you see people jump from great heights strapped to a bungee cord, they don’t suddenly stop when the length of the bungee cord is reached.  There’s a stretch that occurs; resulting in the person bouncing up and down for a while.  Your fishing reel drag is not a bungee cord, but it will let line out when a fish is making a run for it.

What are those, “friction plates,” mentioned above made of?  Today, discs used in a reel’s drag system can be made from a number of different materials.  Fishing reel manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to mix varied materials together in a proprietary blend.  There are also aftermarket drag washers.  Carbon fiber is a popular material.  It’s not uncommon for people to change out their drag washers.  I recently purchased a Shimano Stradic 5000FJ.  The reel was used and did not look like it had received the best treatment.  I unscrewed the drag tension knob on the front of the spinning reel.  I removed the odd shaped retaining pin that holds the drag washers in place.  Turning the spool upside down, I shook the drag washers out.  What didn’t fall out was later removed with a small screw driver.  The reel’s drag system was pretty much shot.  The felt washers that were installed were essentially rotted to nothing.  I purchased carbon fiber drag washers for that model reel.  Replacing drag washers is probably one of the easiest repairs or maintenance duties you can do yourself.  It’s also relatively inexpensive.  Most carbon fiber drag washers can be purchased for less than $10.00.  Pay attention to the sequence in which the metal plates separate each drag washer if you’re going to replace what’s in your reel now.  You’ll also want to determine whether you need to apply drag grease to the washers to ensure it functions properly.  If you have a rather popular spinning reel, there’s likely to be a video on YouTube showing you how to do it.

Drag Washers
Carbon Fishing Reel Drag Washers

Drags used to be made of one of two materials; either felt or cork.  Felt is a fibrous, seemingly resilient material.  Hence, it became a material used in fishing reel drags.  You will still find some reels today using felt or cork, but it’s rare.  Felt is not a particularly good choice as a drag material; especially with what other options exist.  How it used to work as a drag disc material was that it was kept oiled.  The oil prevented the felt washers from burning up inside the drag stack and allowed the system to ‘slip’ under pressure. The problem was, after a period of time, the oil would burn off.  That’s where the problems started.  When a fish runs, a great deal of heat is generated – that’s what a drag system does – develop friction and therefore heat; just like your car’s brakes. When the heat is prolonged with felt washers, it will actually melt the felt; turning it in a plastic dust and leaving you with a drag system that is metal on metal friction.  Not what you want to have happen.  The result would be seized up drag, followed by a lost fish, broken line, possibly a reel that is so badly damaged it’s time for a new one, and most certainly one upset angler.  If you have a reel with felt drag washers, the felt washers should be checked regularly.  They can become compromised because of all the pressure and heat. When compressed, felt drag washers can’t hold the oil they need to keep doing what they do.  If you’ve ever heard the tip, “don’t store your reels with the drag tight,” this is why.  In order to know where to look to determine if you have felt drag washers, unscrew the drag tightening knob at the top of the spool on your spinning reel.   Felt drag washers will appear as shown in the photos below.

dragpieces
Felt Drag System Removed from Reel

Spinning Reel Felt Drag Washers

Fishing reel drags have come a long way over the years.  Thinking back to what fishing must have been like before today’s engineering efforts have paid off in terms of fishing reel drag systems, Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea comes to mind.  Written in 1951 and published in 1952, it was Hemingway’s last full – length work published during his lifetime.  Though the tale is an extreme example of what fishing without a drag would be like, it does provide a basis upon which one can learn to appreciate the systems available now.


If you have questions about what fishing rod, fishing reel, line, leader, or any other gear is right for you, please contact us.  You can contact us through our website or email fishing questions directly to Josh Stewart at josh@buydmi.com.  Perhaps you’re trying to buy fishing gear as a gift.  Someone in your family loves fishing, but you don’t know what to get them because it seems that they either have everything, or you don’t know enough about fishing tackle to make a selection.  No problem!  We’ll walk you through ideas and provide you with some options to consider.  Visit: livetofish.com

Effectively Fish Far and Wide

Inevitably, every fishing trip ends.  What happens in between separates the good trips from the bad.  The memorable moments from the mundane.  One of our goals at Live to Fish is to ensure your fishing experiences that would otherwise be ordinary or dull are a thing of the past.  We’re happy to share our knowledge and resources.  With the benefit of our expertise, you stand a much better chance of creating some of the best  fishing memories you’ll have.  Though we can’t improve relations with your in – laws, we can help ensure you end up with more fish on the end of your line.

 

Common knowledge provides that our planet is mostly covered in water.  For fishing purposes, that means you’ve got a lot of ground… er, I mean water to cover.  For most of us, fishing trips don’t happen every day.  When they do, the duration is limited.  In order to make the most of that limited time, some suggestions are provided for you to consider.

Backwater estuary 2015Your fishing trip plan (float plan) should involve hitting several very specific spots.  Sure, you can just drift a flat and see what hits.  You can also enter an airport and buy a ticket to a location based on nothing other than how soon the next plane is taking off.  The point is, most people invest some degree of pre-planning.  If one of  your proposed spots is particularly expansive, you’re going to want to find out if fish are there as quickly as possible.  Yes, fishing is about relaxing, slowing down, and simply spending time on the water.  An article about finding fish quickly seems inconsistent with establishing the leisurely pace most associate with fishing.   A pace some believe should be the rule, rather than the exception, when on the water.   At Live to Fish, we understand and encourage adopting a laid-back attitude on the water.  We recognize the importance of reconnecting with friends and family.

Backwater creek 2015

Now, with that issue put to rest, who said, “reconnecting,” or, “leisure time,” doesn’t involve putting as many fish in the boat as possible?  No one!  Certainly no one at Live to Fish.  We’re out on the water for comradery.  We’re out there for the opportunity to teach a young son, daughter, or grandchild the benefits of fishing.  In case you’re wondering, as a matter of fact, yes… we have been aboard when the fishing slows down, and inevitably heard someone make the hackneyed, thoughtless remark, “that’s why they call it fishing and not catching.”  Ugh….That’s a pet peeve around here.  Call it what you want.  We leave the dock to catch.

So, the question becomes: what’s the fastest way to explore a large body of water to confirm the presence of fish?

If you’re offshore, high speed trolling is one option.  High speed trolling would be dragging your baits while your boat is going between 14 and 20 knots.  Such speeds result in covering more distance than proceeding at traditional trolling speeds.  Keep in mind that those high speeds are only going to attract certain predators.  Specifically, those predatory game fish willing and capable of attacking a bait moving that fast.  One such predatory gamefish is a wahoo.  Wahoo swim at speeds that exceed 60 mph.  So, trolling at 14, 16 and even 20 knots has become commonplace through using techniques developed by Capt. Ron Schatman, winner of a dozen major Bahamas wahoo tournaments over five years.  High speed trolling is not only limited to targeting certain species, it’s also a method of fishing limited by weather conditions.  No one aboard will be too thrilled about proceeding at 18 knots in windy weather and a sea state consisting of a 6’ foot chop.

If you’re inshore, consider using search baits.  A search bait refers to a type of lure you can work quickly and effectively over a large body of water.  Three of the most effective are: crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures.  Certain jerk baits also fall into the search bait category.  When prospecting with search baits, you’ve got a good chance of getting the fish to show themselves.  Once you’ve nailed down a location, you can switch to more finesse style baits. deep-diver-crankbait

To help you paint a mental picture, imagine the following scenario:   You’ve just motored behind a mangrove wall.  This living wall of mangroves is high, thick, and about a half mile long.  A thing of beauty in and of itself, behind the wall exists a superb grass flat.  The mangroves do an excellent job of hiding this gem of a fishing spot.  You found it by accident one day about two years ago.  Since then, you’ve disclosed it to no more than one other fishing buddy.  Though you can’t imagine being the only one that knows about this spot; thus far you’ve never seen another boat here during any of your visits.

You’re careful with your approach.  At just over 100 yards away, you cut your engine.  You cover the remaining distance with your trolling motor.  You don’t dare run your trolling motor at a speed above a 2 or 3.  Particularly wary redfish will spook from the sound of trolling motor being run at high speed.  Perched on the bow with your rod in one hand, you’re panning from left to right; thanking god some optometrist figured out that polarized lenses in sunglasses would benefit fisherman.

It’s been a beautiful morning.  The seas are flat clam.  The run from the dock to this spot was like crossing glass.   The tide has been coming in for the past few hours.  High tide is only about a half hour away.  From experience, you know this spot is most productive right when the tide changes.  There’s something deeply satisfying about knowing you’re in the right place at the right time.  That sensation is what you’re experiencing now.

When the tide shFlatsifts to outgoing, baitfish are flushed from the estuaries that surround this flat.  Snook and Trout await these baitfish.  You watch the ever-changing imagery beneath your boat slowly pass by.   It’s mesmerizing.  The water is crystal clear.  Kind of like floating on air; and only about 4 feet deep.  Rich, thick turtle grass covers the bottom with intermittent patches of white sand.  A small sea turtle just swam off and away from your boat.

Just like a golfer doesn’t play a round of golf with just one club, you don’t go out on the water with just one rod.  Your favorite rod and reel combos are aboard.  Rigged up and ready in your rod holders.

Your mind begins to drift… You want one of those Minn Kota® iPilot trolling motors; or at least one you can steer with a remote control that hangs around your neck.  Barely audible, a sigh escapes as you think about the latest saltwater fishing technology. . . Then you snap out of that ungrateful reverie.  Fortunately, you’re quick to realize you have more to be grateful for than you’re acknowledging.  You laugh to yourself, knowing you’ll never believe you have enough fishing gear.  You continue your approach while remaining as stealthy as possible.

You’re not certain where the fish are.  You just know they’re in the general vicinity.  You unhook your lure from the hook keeper.  It hangs free at the end of the leader, slowly swinging back and forth about two to three feet from your rod tip.  Yep.  You’re ready to start making casts.

The scenario described above is one in which use of a search bait would be beneficial.  Whether you’re making casts from the bow of your boat, or casting from land, the best way to work a lure while using it as a search bait is to, “fan cast,” the area.  This simply means to cast from one side to the other, throwing your lure in a spot slightly farther away from the last place you threw it out each time.   Once you reach the other side, you move and fan cast another area.  When you’re where fish the fish are, using this method will result in your lure meeting up with one of their mouths soon enough.

At Live to Fish, we’re passionate about much more than just the sport of fishing.  We admit to being obsessive over how our business is run.  We want to ensure that each and every customer finds dealing with us to be easy, enjoyable, and productive.  If our showroom in Hudson, Florida is too far, check out our website at www.livetofish.com   You can contact us through the website.  We’ll gladly answer any questions you have.  Should you want an item you don’t see on our webpage, LET US KNOW!  We take pride in being able to find the products our customers want at competitive prices.  Although we can’t guarantee we’ll find anything you may ask, we can guarantee that if anyone can find your product, it’s us.  What do you have to lose?  Looking forward to hearing from you – Live to Fish

Stilt House Photo

Proper Fishing Reel Drag Settings

 

By Live to Fish Team Member: Josh Stewart

Fishing reels have come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years but the basic engineering concepts remain the same. Progressive changes are seen in terms of the materials used and the construction methods employed with advanced materials. Engineering, design, and material improvements keep your reels working longer, harder, and more smoothly.  With advancements regarding a fishing reel’s drag, bigger fish are capable of being safely landed with smaller reels. By, “safely landed,” I’m referring to fishing with equipment properly suited to the species you’re after. If you choose to chase down a large Tarpon with an unreasonably underweight light tackle spinning outfit, chances are you’ll lose that silver king.  However, if you were to pursue that Tarpon on such light tackle while your buddy drives the boat chasing after it on an open flat, you’re creating conditions that will lead to a battle that could easily last for hours.  An unnecessarily prolonged battle is what becomes unsafe. Fish mortality rates dramatically increase when the battle to bring them boat side is prolonged.  If you know you’re going to be practicing catch and release, make sure you don’t cancel out the main purpose of releasing the fish by engaging in conduct that renders its likelihood of survival remote.

Setting Your Reel Drag Properly

Now we’ll move on with discussing your fishing reel drag setting. Whether you’re fishing with a spinning or baitcasting reel, the reel has what is called a drag. When you hook a fish, they’re going to make a run for it.  When they do, your drag works to provide resistance. You can compare a fishing reel’s drag to the brakes in your car. Both work with friction to either decrease the speed of your car or slow the run of a hooked fish. The study of friction is a complex science called tribology. Without a drag to provide the proper degree of resistance, you’d hook that fish, they’d make a run for it, and you’d likely lose it.  If you set your drag too tight, you’re likely to lose the fish due to your line snapping or a knot failing.  Set your drag too lose and, depending on the species, you could either get, “spooled,” meaning, the fish swims off with all your new and expensive fishing line; or the fish swims for cover.  If the fish makes it to cover, which consists of things like mangroves, dock pilings, weeds, tree trunks, etc., then your line is likely to snap as it’s pulled hard against one of these objects.  There’s an exception to the above general rules for bass fisherman.  Bass fisherman have the option of hooking their bass, cranking down the drag on 20lb test line, and pulling the bass out of whatever cover they hooked him in. That technique doesn’t work for people after cobia, snook, redfish, sharks, and other pelagic species. What’s the correct amount of drag pressure to have? Technically, you’re supposed to set your drag to 25% of the breaking strength of your line. If you’re using 20 lb. test line, 20 divided by 4 = 5 lbs.  The only way to accurately determine if you’ve set your drag to 5 lbs. is to use a scale.  Though a scale will give you accurate feedback, I’ve never seen anyone actually go through the process of measuring their drag setting with a scale; nor do I even know anyone with such a scale.  The most direct and simple way to determine if you’ve set your drag properly is to gauge how difficult it is to pull the line off your reel with your hand against the drag.  By, “against the drag,” I mean with your bail closed.  You want it to be hard to pull the line, but not too hard to where pulling it causes the line to cut into your fingers, or is otherwise uncomfortable.  If you can pull the line off with complete ease, it’s way too loose.  Remember, you can always adjust your drag settings during the fight with the fish.

How Reel Drag Systems Work

Some of you may wonder how a fishing reel’s drag tension is created?  Most fishing reel drag systems work in the same manner as far as the fact that friction is used as the method to produce resistance.  A fishing reel’s drag usually consists of two or more discs, also called drag washers, working face to face.  These discs are made of material that will provide resistance when they’re moving against each other.  One of the oldest materials used for a fishing reel’s drag is cork.  Some companies still use cork today.  In principle, the tighter the two discs are pushed together (through the drag adjustment), the more resistance you create, thereby requiring more pull to cause the line to slip from the spool.  Reels vary in the different washer systems used and in the material the drag washers are made from. When you tighten your drag down, you’re increasing the pressure between the drag washers. Loosen your drag, and you’ll loosen the pressure between the drag washers.

Questions on Setting Your Reel Drag?

If you’re unsure of what type of reel and drag to use, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or comment below with questions. We’re happy to help make any recommendations you need.

 

Fishing Reel Gear Ratios Explained

If you’ve ever shopped online for a fishing reel, you’ve likely come across a product description for a specific model you’re interested in. That description contained a reference to the model’s gear ratio. A specification expressed using three numbers. For instance, 7.0:1, and 6.3:1, are examples of fishing reel gear ratios. One of our goals at Live to Fish, is helping you understand anything and everything about fishing, the gear, tactics, etc. After reading what follows, you’ll never wonder what those figures mean again. When you turn the handle on a fishing reel, you’re engaging gears inside the reel. Those internal gears are what turn the spool. As you know, the spool of a fishing reel refers to the part of the reel that holds your fishing line. Understanding what those numbers mean is easy.  The number before the colon denotes the rotations the spool makes per one complete turn of the reel’s handle. So, a 6.3:1 ratio means the spool revolves 6.3 times with each (1) handle turn. Larger numbers in the first section means that more line is retrieved each time you turn the reel handle because the spool is turning that much faster. See how easy that was?  That’s another thing you’ll come to know about us – we’ll always give you the advice and information you need straight up. As you know, there are spinning reels and casting reels.  Other terms for casting reels are conventional reels and bait casting reels.   Whether you’re shopping for a spinning reel or a casting / conventional reel, the gear ratio explained above will always be expressed in the same manner and have the same meaning.

Technically Speaking
For those who would like more technical specificity in understanding fishing reel gear ratios, this next paragraph is for you. Turning the handle on a fishing reel engages a flat, circular shaped spur gear. This spur gear is located on the internal shaft of the handle. Teeth on the spur gear are precisely machined to interact with a smaller gear that resides on the center shaft of the reel spool. In most reels this is called a helical gear.  This helical gear is shaped like a small barrel. Turning the handle engages these gears which rotate together and turn your spool. How smooth your reel feels when turning the handle is largely a result of how finely these gears match up inside your reel. Some other factors that contribute to the smooth feel and durability are how exact the specifications and tolerances are between these gears, and what type of metal the gears are made of. When you cast a bait casting reel, your spool is spinning freely. The spool’s ability to spin freely is the result of the disengagement of the gears. When casting a bait casting reel, you push down on the thumb bar; also, called the spool release button. With the thumb bar down, the gears are disengaged and you’re able to cast. When you turn the handle after making your cast, you hear the same click encountered when you first pushed the thumb bar down. That audible, “click,” is the sound of the gears re-engaging. For a spinning reel, casts are possible when you flip the bail wire over. That allows your line to flow freely off the spool. The spool itself doesn’t spin like it does on a bait casting reel when you cast.  For anyone who has used both kinds of reels, you know that without the spool spinning on a spinning reel during the cast, you don’t end up with the dreaded, “backlash,” “bird’s nest,” or, “professional overrun.” The foregoing are all terms used to describe the tangle of line that ends up on your spool when a cast goes awry with a bait casting reel.

Low Gear Ratio Reels vs. High Gear Ratio Reels
The lower the gear ration, the more torque the reel provides. However, the downside is less line is recovered with each turn of the handle. The higher the gear ratio, the more line you’ll recover with turn of the handle; but the disadvantage is often a loss in power necessary to subdue large fish. Determining the proper gear ratio is done by considering the species you’re after and the fight you expect to encounter. Just like a golfer doesn’t take to the golf course with just one club, most experienced fisherman don’t head out to go fishing with just one rod and reel combo. A selection of rod and reel combinations accompany fisherman serious about getting as many fish on the line as possible. The selection contains rods capable of handling different size lures or baits and reels with varying gear ratios and line capacities. Certain lures are better fished with a lower gear ratio. Big crank baits that swim deep benefit from the additional torque. More torque from a lower gear ratio means that reeling this lures in requires less effort; as does fighting the fish you hook up with. Another scenario that favors low gear ratios is when fishing in cold weather with low water temperatures. In Florida, when the water temperature is in the 70’s; and certainly below, baits and lures need to be fished more slowly. A slow retrieve matches the generally lethargic behavior exhibited by fish in colder conditions. Working your lure too fast in cold water yanks the lure out of the water column that would encompass the strike zone. The strike zone in colder water is smaller than in warmer temperatures. Moreover, fish are less willing to travel to feed. A slow retrieve and accompanying presentation will result in more strikes.

Pairing Gear Ratios with Lure Types
If using fishing reels with a high gear ratio, you can gobble up more line with each turn of the handle. High gear ratio reels are also called, “high-speed,” reels as a reference to how many revolutions the spool makes. For example, the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket has a gear ratio of 9.0:1. The result is a recovery of 36.5” inches of line per turn. Examples of a high gear ratio are those above 7.1:1. Types of fishing best done with a high gear ratio reel involve fishing with jigs, large jerk baits, large worms, Texas and Carolina rigs, top-water lures, and any lipless crankbaits. In summary, you’ll benefit from a high-speed reel any time you’re fishing a lure that requires you to use your rod to achieve the desired action.  Fishing the types of lures mentioned above creates slack in your line. Especially when working a top-water lure. Slack line can cause problems when a fish strikes. Without tension on the line, you either won’t notice the bite or you won’t be able to properly set the hook. Lastly, if fishing an area exhibiting numerous means through which the fish could break free, a high-speed retrieve is beneficial. Such areas would be docks, bridges, mangrove shorelines, and weeds or lily pads.  Getting the fish away from structure in a hurry increases your chances of landing the fish rather than losing both the fish and your lure in the process.

When you get into fishing offshore, on reefs or other deep-water structures, the definition of high-speed changes based on the different dimensions of the reels. Bigger, heavier, fish tend to live in deeper water. Bigger, heavier, fishing gear is used to bring these fish up from the depths, or otherwise counter their power. Fishing gear rated for offshore use will have the necessary combination of both speed and power. Some offshore gamefish reels have spools that when filled to capacity with line, boast a circumference measuring approximately 8” inches. The recovery rate when reeling in is a whopping of 4’ feet, or 1.33 yards of line with each turn of the handle. Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, and Dorado are some examples of popular off-shore gamefish species. Stories of a large Blue Marlin making a run towards the boat are not unheard of. The ability to quickly recover line and take up slack is critical.  One of the reasons large fish are lost is due to a suddenly slack line. The slack line means the tension on the hook is lost; causing loss of the fish.

We’ve Got What You’re Looking For
Our fishing tackle at Live to Fish contains conventional fishing combinations suitable for offshore fishing. In addition, you’ll find rods and reels suited for pursuing inshore gamefish and freshwater species. We want you to have the right gear for whatever you’re after, so we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the appropriate gear, or any of the items we sell.

By: Josh Stewart

 

 

Fishing First Aid

Here at Live to Fish, we know that it’s always a good idea to be prepared with a first aid kit and other items that could potentially save you from disasters. In this entry, we’ll be discussing a couple of tips and tricks to help you become better prepared when you’re fishing on a boat.

Hook Removal from Skin

Got a hook stuck in your skin? No worries, just stay calm and prepare to remove it. First, you’ll want to clean the area, then decide which method you want to use to remove the hook. There are three common methods for removing fishing hooks from skin. Although every hook is different, these are the methods that have been reported to work best for people:

  1. Push the fish hook through and cut the barb off or crush it with plier cutters. Then gently slide it out.
  2. Grab it and pull it out as quickly as possible (this method may not always work and could potentially hurt more).
  3. Use fishing line to loop through the bend of the stuck hook. Push down on the opposite hook end with a partner and yank the string back (works best for small circle hooks). You can also do this more easily with the emergency hook remover tool by South bend.

Tips for Overcoming Nausea & Sea-Sickness

Motion Sickness is caused by mixed signals in the brain from your inner ears and eyes. Your inner ear has a lot to do with your sense of motion and balance, so being on/in anything that is moving may cause you to feel ill or nauseous. Many people suffer from motion sickness, it’s quite common for people traveling by car, train, plane, and boat. Although you could always take Dramamine and other drugs to help fight motion-sickness, there’s a bundle of ways that you can stop nausea on your own.

Many people don’t understand that much of sea-sickness is mental. The more you focus on your nausea, the more power you’re giving it to take over. Don’t do that! Stop. Breathe. And follow these helpful tips to take control. But just remember, if you get sick –don’t sweat it! Many people deal with sea-sickness on a regular basis. Sometimes it just happens and you have to let it run its course. Plus, in many cases you’ll feel a bit better after you toss your cookies. Here’s a few tips to help you fight sea-sickness:

  • Look up and out towards the horizon. This will help you be able to mentally focus on something that isn’t moving –which in many cases, the horizon may be the only point you can focus on that isn’t moving.
  • Change your direction. Try aiming your head in the same direction that your vessel is moving.
  • Chew gum. Sometimes this chewing motion can help keep away nausea.
  • Avoid alcohol. We know that drinking and fishing can go hand in hand, but if you’re prone to getting sea-sick, this may be something you’ll want to avoid.
  • Avoid harsh smells. Try to seek out fresh air to help you open your lungs and calm your gag reflexes. If you can, lightly spray aromatherapy smells in your surrounding area such as lavender and mint to help calm you down.
  • Pinch your wrist. Your wrists contain pressure points that help relieve nausea symptoms. If you find that this works great for you, pick up a Queaz-Away Wristband. This simple wristband contains a piece that gently pushes into your wrist’s pressure point when wearing it correctly. This option is also great because there’s no drugs involved.
  • Avoid concentrating on screens & reading. The more stress you put on your eyes to focus when you’re moving, the dizzier you’ll become.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and stay hydrated. The less hydrated you are, the more likely you’ll feel light-headed and more prone to nausea. If you’ve already gotten ill, get out of the sun and try to sip on water.
  • Sip on a soda. Many people report that sipping on some type of carbonated beverage helps settle their stomach. Everyone is different, so try for yourself and see if this works!
  • Stay towards the middle of the boat. By avoiding the ends of the boat (which have the most pronounced rocking motions) you’ll be able to keep better balance.
  • Be the captain. If you can, get behind the wheel and steer the boat. This will help keep your mind busy and your eyes on the horizon.
  • Keep your ears clean. If you don’t, the build-up of wax can make you more prone to sea-sickness. This is because your inner ears control your center of gravity.
  • Be rested. Make sure that you’re well-rested and get a good night’s sleep the night before you’re on the water. Good sleep helps your sense of balance and overall state of well-being.
  • Try using MotionEaze. This drug-free, doctor recommended motion sickness relief is safe for children and contains natural oils that fight dizziness & nausea. Simply place a drop behind each ear and feel relief within minutes.

Avoiding Bug Bites

Bug bites are at the top of the list of annoyances for many people trying to fish. Bug spray is a popular method to keep away bugs, but what if you have a skin allergy or just don’t like the idea of putting chemicals on your skin? Lucky for you, there’s a few alternatives to classic bug sprays. Now you can avoid itchy, annoying bug bites with an insect repellent wristband by Bugband or a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance. Bugbands repel mosquitoes, flies, & gnats, and they’re safe for children to wear. Each Bugband works for up to 120 hours. The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance repels mosquitoes, black flies, & other biting insects in a 15’ x 15’ area with the help of flame-less, odorless butane cartridges. This appliance is easy & safe to carry, and the best part is —it fits in your pocket! Any of the above methods will help keep you free of bites & bug-carrying diseases.

Emergency Water Filtration

In the case of an extreme emergency, it’s always good to have an emergency water filter. A single Emergency Water Filter by LifePack can make up to 3 liters of water a day for 3 days. Keeping a water filter handy on your boat is a great idea because you never know what could happen.

Once again, we at Live to Fish want to remind you to always be prepared when you’re heading out on a fishing trip —big or small. Some of these tools & tips might just come in handy someday!

Have questions about the information or products we discussed? We’re ready to answer any product questions that you may have. Just give us a call at 1-844-9FISHIN or drop us a line on our contact page.