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Light Tackle on Northeast Angling?

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Question

It is amazing to me that even when you pretend that you are using light tackle on the 2010 Norwalk, CT – Light Tackle Blackfish show, you aren’t. How heavy was your line? Why don’t you ever actually fish with light line and encourage your viewers/customers to do so? We fish for Blackfish in Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay/Elizabeth Islands with 6 and 8 lb test all the time with no problem. We have caught blackfish up to 12lb 5oz. Why not try the light tackle way?

This question was submitted by viewer Benjie Hiller (and is simply an awesome question!)

Answer (from Capt Andy)

I had 20lb braid, I think Capt John had 14lb, while  Capt Rich had 30lb (he simply does not mess around)..

I would never go less than 14lb because our rods barely had enough muscle to keep the fish out of rocks we were fishing and I hate leaving jigs and dead line on a piece. I love fishing the Elizabeths for fluke, but I am guessing the bottom where you are catching blackfish is not as horrendous as the Long Island Sound, NY (it is probably more similar to the bottom at Newport, RI).

The other issue we have with light braided line is the incredible risk of rubbing a rock or wreck with it.  Unless you are using Fireline or Berkley Big Game Braid, the line will either break immediately or pop the very next time you take a big swing.  Most braided lines cannot handle any nicks without breaking.  This is another reason why we like a decent length mono or fluoro leader when fishing wrecks and rocks.

When we fish Block Island, RI with live eels for striped bass I always use a spinning rod with 20lb mono because it catches the most fish and is loads of fun. If you go any lighter the fish there are just way too big to stop and will put you in a lobster pot in an instant. Worse you can run across a pod of monsters and everyone hooks up and the fish all go in different directions. We have never been spooled there, but many others have. I shudder to think what happens to a striper dragging 300ft of mono around.

In many of our other shows we are going for QUANTITY (it makes for better TV – do you really want to see Rich and I yammering about the same fish for 20 minutes) and releasing much of what we catch. We have no desire to beat up the fish in a long fight and then maybe fail to revive them.  That is just heart-breaking.

However, when we are not filming and keeping a lot of fish we will fish much lighter provided we are being responsible…