One thing I have learnt is that time is valuable when it comes to kids.
- The time you spend with them.
- The time you don’t.
- The amount of time you spend fluffing around sorting out fishing rigs while they are waiting and getting bored.
To be fair, the kids actually just kept themselves busy playing on the beach – the big girl made a new friend (in the form of the wave) and was busy describing the waves life story to her little sister. Regardless though, I quickly realised, that while I was happy to rig up on the spot, I needed to get something sorted for the next time we headed out so I could get the girls cast out and fishing quickly.
A dedicated setup
A while ago, I got both the girls their own setups. Something about them smacking some of my rods into the wharf, truck, me, any solid structure was doing my head in. So, I got a couple of cheap and cheerful Shimano Kidstix Rods with Sienna FG Reels on them.
While cheap, these are good little combos – the rods are light and a good length for the girls and the spinner reels reduce the bird’s nests I remember getting as a kid on overhead reels.
This also means I can rig them up and leave them that way – so when I have the girls and they are keen for a fish, I can just grab them and go.
While I like to keep the reels off my rods when transporting them (and I tend to switch and swap the Baitrunner around depending on where I am anyhow) I figure the ready to go nature of the girl’s rigs are more important.
This is how I have them set up.
Simple but modular
So – to start, I don’t actually know what line weight is spooled onto the reels – whatever originally came with the combo. The 1.5m long rod has a weight ‘rating’ of 4-6kg – so figure it’s probably somewhere around there.
I slip on a small rubber bead – this is primarily there to protect the final guide from an over-excited kid reeling the line all the way in quickly. Rather than the weight hitting the guide – it gets a bit of cushioning.
Then there is a weight and I tie on a swivel with a clip with a Uni Knott. I suppose I could put another bead between the weight and the swivel – maybe next time.
It’s a simple setup – but forms the basis of the rig. I can then either attach a rig and leave it on the rod, or, make a few up prior to heading out and quickly attach and swap them around on the day. While I can tie knots fairly quickly – I find every movement counts – and – my knot tying skills seem to go out the window with a couple of extra little ones moving about. If I don’t need to fixate on something and can keep my attention on them, all the better.
This is the main rig I use for them – it is a fairly standard, simple setup – i.e. leader and hook!
One end is a barrel swivel which is what gets clipped to the mainline, then around .5m of 20lb fluorocarbon and a circle hook on the end. I am actually unsure of the exact size of the hook. I think it’s around a 4 or 5. I tend to have another rig ready – and if we start catching a lot of undersized fish – I swap it out for a larger hook. Both the girls already understand the small ones go back – and – they understand if go to the bigger hook, then we may catch less, but also less of the babies.
The length of tube and bead is really just there to flashen up their rigs. It’s as much for the girls as it is for the fish.
Also – my OCD is very, very pleased by the way the Hi-Catch 20lb reel fits inside the ProSpec 60LB – a small thing, but very satisfying!
I have tended to start using mainly circle hooks. For myself, it means more lip hooks, rather than having to deal with a fish that has swallowed the hook – which – for releasing fish – it’s a lot easier and less stressful. For the kids, they don’t need to strike on the bite – just wait, then start to reel in, and that generally hooks them well.
What this also means though, is you want to ensure you tie them right to maximise the hookup rate – I use an easy snell knot which then curves the hook back in ‘towards’ the line – when you retrieve the line, it tends to pull into the corner of the fishes mouth.
So – now you can either leave the terminal tackle off or, leave it attached, hook the hook around the handle and twist the line around rod. It all holds together nicely and I simply bungee cord them all into the top of the truck (inside).
I will then take the rods, ready to go, with a couple of extra rigs. I would have a spare one the same, one with a bigger hook and a Sabiki rig of some kind. Then, depending on what we are up to, I can quickly change them around. Simple!
Now – we just need to catch some more fish!