Tackle for the Cut
The art of lure fishing might be quite a broad church, and just as canals vary, a range of set-ups can be used on different waters. Were I to pick just one outfit, however, I would take a light-to-medium lure or spinning rod capable of casting lures in the 10-30g category. Personally I also find longer rods advantageous too, as you get far better reach with a 9 or 10ft blank than you will with a shorter model. In overgrown or awkward spots, this extra reach can be invaluable.
Much heavier set-ups are sometimes favoured by pike anglers, but I find the mid-weight is much more fun with typical canal pike, which are not usually huge. That said, with 20-30lb braided line, such a set-up is more than capable of landing a large fish, and in fact two of my canal 20-pounders were landed on a mid-weight spinning rod.
Tamiami Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
A pleasant amble is generally involved when lure fishing, with the intention of exploring every corner.
Another fun option is to go with a lighter set-up, capable of casting lures as light as just two grams – indeed, this is the only way to do justice to the smallest of lures. For canals with a good head of perch, chub, small pike or zander, this is about as much fun as it gets. Whatever set-up you choose though, the most important thing is to pick a rod that suits your lure choices. Most rods have a cast rating in grams: a happy match will help you to ‘feel your artificials working properly.
Reel choices can also be varied. Some lure anglers like the feel of a multiplier or ‘baitcaster reel. These work very well with larger lures, but they do take some getting used to. Equally, I’ve never found them very useful with smaller artificials and for most canal anglers a decent fixed-spool reel will be all that is required.
When it comes to your line, there really is no contest between braid and mono. Braid is fine in diameter, exceptionally strong and with virtually no stretch you get a far superior ‘feel for your lures. 20-30lb braid is ideal for general use, or for ultra-light applications, braids of around 10lb cast superbly but are still strong.
Naturally, the other absolute essential on virtually every canal is a wire trace, plus spares. Even if pike are a rarity, you risk losing lures and killing fish by not using one. These consist of a swivel, 16in or so of wire and a snap link, which allows you to change lures in seconds.