Use of rods, reels, flies and terminal tackle is included with guided fishing trips, but here is a list of the gear we will be using for anglers who prefer to use their own equipment.
Steelhead Fishing Gear
Nine- to ten-foot 7 and 8 weights are pretty standard steelhead rigs, with the longer rods making roll casts and mending line a bit easier than with the 9 footers. Switch rods in an 11′ 6 or 7wt configuration also work very well, extending the angler’s reach even more. Temple Fork Outfitters’ Professional Series in a 10′ 7 wt has become one of our standard guide rods and we have several sizes of switch rods available for our guests to use as well.
Reels should have a smooth dependable drag since steelhead will many times make some very quick runs. A weight forward floating line like Scientific Anglers’ Steelhead taper is designed to turn over weighted float rigs and will make roll casting and mending more manageable.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Gear
Nine-foot fly rods from 6 to 8 weight will work well for smallmouth bass. Bigger flies and stronger breezes are easier to handle with 7 or 8 weight rods. Floating lines with a heavy front end are helpful in turning over flies like poppers that have a bit of drag in the air. The reel doesn’t come into play all that much so any model that balances the rod well and holds enough line will work just fine.
Musky Fishing Gear
Musky fly fishing presentations can vary a great deal in size and water depth so a range of rod and line combos can come into play. Much like smallmouth bass fishing, the reel doesn’t come into play very often at all, so focus your investment on the line and rod when purchasing musky fly fishing gear. Rod weights can vary from 9 on the low end to 11 or 12 on the high. Properly matched intermediate or sinking head lines in a shooting head configuration are probably the most used, but topwater fishing with floating lines can be effective and exciting too. Temple Fork Outfitters came out with a new Esox Series last year and we’ve been impressed with the performance and durability of these rods which come in at a pretty reasonable price point as well. Matched with the proper weight Scientific Anglers Wet Tip Express lines these rods are work horses that make throwing big flies all day about as easy as you can make it.
Hand-crafted in McMinnville, TN, Towee skiffs are one of the most versatile watercraft I’ve fished from. Since 2010 I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the Pro Staff for Towee and have really put these boats through some trials in that time. The sixteen-foot fiberglass River Master Skiff was initially created as a back country motorboat, but a couple seasons of prototyping and testing resulted in the removable rowing frame- a solid, aluminum platform from which full 9′ oars can be deployed. Designed to float in extremely skinny water whether drifting or under motor power, the River Master now allows anglers to access remote, intimate waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Border Waters. Check out the Towee website or email email@example.com for more info.