Gene and Micah teamed up on this nice redfish!

Capt. Dickie Colburn – For The Record

“I was already pretty good, but I am really good now,” announced the youngster as he launched his quarter ounce jig well out into deeper water.As far as I was concerned, the first part of that statement was right on the money while the second part could best be termed an overly exuberant fabrication.
The truth in its entirety was that thirty minutes prior to that very proficient cast, eight year old Cade didn’t know a spinning rod from an anvil.In that short span of time, however, the youngster had mastered casting a seven foot medium action rod with a Stradic 2500 spinning reel…….the same combination I fish with every day!

The day before, I fished with Gene Locke and his ten year old grandson, Micah, and while he had obviously spent at least a little time with a spinning combination in his hands, there was still room for improvement.

Within a very few minutes, we had made a few minor changes in his grip and release point and he was not only casting farther, but retrieving his lure at whatever pace was required to keep his lure in front of the fish.I was duly impressed as it is much easier to teach a youngster to cast, even an adult for that matter, than it is to teach them the value of different retrieves.

There was a time when spinning gear was not held in very high regard, but that is no longer the case.It still falls shy of meeting every need for the bass fisherman, but not for the saltwater angler.Having said that, I prefer to fish a Whacky worm, drop shot, or tube jigs with a spinning rod when bass fishing, but for the main course of techniques like pitching, flipping, slow rolling a spinner bait or grinding on a deep diving crankbait, casting gear is a much better option.

Most live bait fishermen and dyed-in-the-wool trout fishermen that rely on hard plastic lures and mullet imitations like the Corky rightfully prefer casting gear, but many of those same fishermen also reach for their spinning rod when fishing a lure under a cork or light tails in a tough wind.

I personally think that suspending baits and topwaters can be fished more efficiently with casting gear, but for every other technique the spinning rod is just as good if not better.The drag system is as smooth and dependable as any level wind reel, broken bail springs are no longer a problem and an occasional drop of oil on the roller bearing totally eliminates that problem.

Unlike casting combinations, I use a minimum of three different actions, there is no need for a boat load of different actions when using spinning gear.Age is not even a consideration when I hand a client the exact same combination that I fish every day.Smaller hands may necessitate a slight grip change and they may prefer to reel right or left handed, but the rod length and action is the same for all.

You can spend as much money as you like, but you can put a very adequate spinning combination together for $100.Regardless of age or skill level, my clients are handed a 7 foot medium action Laguna spinning rod with a Shimano Stradic spinning reel spooled with 20 pound braid.That one combination will handle a wide variety of lures and any fish we hope to encounter.

Regardless of your choice of reels, I find the 2500 or 3000 series to be the best size reel for everything we do.If we are not fishing a cork, I add a couple of feet of 20 pound test monofilament for a leader.The mono is easier to tie a loop knot with and reduces line visibility at the lure.

More than one spectator at the recent Redfish Classic noted the fact that nearly every pro was armed with one or more spinning rods.It wasn’t because they were worried about backlashing in the wind!

While thousands of kids started out fishing with a Zebco 33, I believe you are handicapping your aspiring fisherman with a push button spinning reels.Any youngster that can cast that iconic parent-friendly push button rig can cast the same combination I am fishing and never have to deal with the frustration of line that will inevitably fail to exit that small hole in the cover at the wrong time.

Regardless of age or gender, spinning gear is an excellent option!