See also Gear for the Mountains <===
Many years ago as a teenager (too many!), I used to fish every day I could. Fishing evolved out of my life over time, but the circle turns and I now find it very enjoyable again, particularly the exploration of remote areas and with my cameras—a good combination. I am most definitely not a boat or lake or chair+ice chest fisherman: if it’s easy to hike to, I’m not usually interested. And I am most interested in fishing anything that no one else fishes. The spirit of exploration intrigues me; the well-trodden path offers little appeal.
I most enjoy wily high sierra trout—Brook Trout mainly, but also Golden Trout, and sometimes Rainbow Trout (Brown Trout are generally not stocked in the Sierra). I do not fly fish because it is impossible in many of the small streams with brush and such nearby. And I do like a good trout dinner—I have yet to observe any fly fisherperson land a fish in the waters that I fish.
I buy few things, but just as with lenses, I prefer to buy quality for a lifetime of use, such as the Benchmade Osborne knife seen below (if you’re into high-end check out Benchmade Gold series). Ditto for spinning reel and rod. So here are my recommendations:
- Shimano Stella STLC2000SFI Spinning Reel (see detailed info on Stella). I’ve used a Stella for about 15 years now; the new one is reportedly improved significantly, but the older one remains a bulletproof performer. This is the same Shimano as for cycling equipment and the Stella is to fishing as DuraAce is to cycling. [Shimano has a 48-hour turnaround for service on Stella, a big plus, but with limits: my 2000-model Stella (16 years old) has fallen out of the list of serviceable reels, though 3rd parties can service it. Fortunately it still works well. Shimano does offer a trade-up program at a big discount].
- G.Loomis Travel- Escape Series ETR 75-3 ULS-4 (for travel/hiking) or other G Loomis Classic Trout panfish spinning rod. The rod I use is an older but very similar version of the G Loomis SR 720-2 GLS 6' Ultra-Light Mod-Fast action. See detailed info on G Looms fishing rods.
- Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon 4 lb test line, or sometimes 2 lb test. The problem with 2 lb test is that it is too easily degraded by rocks and such, so even though 2 lb is plenty strong for trout, 4 lb results in far fewer frustrating line breaks due to nicks.
The knife is 7.75 inches, which gives an idea of the fish sizes. The two larger ones are exceptionally large for the extreme elevation at which they were caught, the largest fish I’ve caught in 30 years at similar elevations.