Vic’s Philosophy of Gear:
Catch the Largest Fish on the Lightest Line

I was taught – and I’ve seen this to be true – that the gear does not define the fisherman. Contrary to what many might think – the rod and reel are not going to catch the fish. The fisherman is. 

There’s a cartoon I’ve seen of a little boy with a cane pole and a bobber holding a string of fish. He’s standing next to an older fisherman with all the modern gear at his side, and no fish. So a lot of what happens in the water is up to both luck and fishing savvy. 

That being said, it is important to find the right equipment that works for you. I prefer the ultralites for fishing streams, rivers and lakes in the Maryland/DC area. It’s more of a challenge to fish when you’re using lighter equipment because it takes a lot more finesse to reel in that big one. 

Spin Tackle – This is one combination that I use…

Reel:  Pflueger President Series (ultralite)

Rod:   6′ Ugly Stik by Shakespeare made for 4 to 10 lbs. test line

Line: I have recently started to use braid, the mono-equivalent of an 8 lb. test. This line lays flatter on the spool and it enables longer distances in your casting.  It’s a little more expensive than the monofilament, although I’m losing fewer expensive lures in the trees with it. (Hey – look, even a good fisherman has to cast into the trees now and then to reach that special hole!) However, monofilament has more of a stretch and give – and I miss that with the braid.


More Bearings, Smoother Action

There are many rod and reel packages out there, but remember, when looking at reels, the more bearings in the reel, the smoother the action. The Pflueger I use has 9 bearings. Personally, the minimum I recommend is 6. Although there are a lot of decent 4 bearing rod & reel combos out there that will do the trick, I prefer 6 and above.  

Please comment on your favorite equipment or feel free to send me questions. Stay tuned for Casting Reel and Fly Fishing preferences.

Fly Gear

Back in the 1940’s, way before I was born, my Dad flyfished on the Pere Marquette River in the Lower Penninsula of Michigan, with a split bamboo rod and catgut line.  A decade later he brought the concept of saltwater flyfishing to the Florida Keys where the art of site-casting to permit and bonefish was unknown at the time.   

Like my Dad,  I also got my flyfishing start on the Pere Marquette. I always remember the caddis hatch in the late afternoon. They’d land on the water and the  brown trout  would hit them on the surface. You could site-cast with a caddis fly to where you saw the largest splash  and be assured of catching a fish every time.

Later, I also took flyfishing with me to the saltwater, where I guided permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook  in Belize for the Orvis Company. And now, living in Maryland, I still flyfish any chance I get. Sunfish and bluegills are especially fun to catch.

My Flyrod Setup:

Reel: Orvis Battenkill  5/6 disc

Rod:  Orvis 8 1/2 ft.,  6 wt.   

Line: 9 wt. fwd. with a 3 lb. tippet

Again, I cannot say enough about fishing with a flyrod. It is twice the sport but it’s twice as hard to deliver the fly where it should go. I recommend lessons from a professional.  Feel free to contact me for more information or questions.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Cromartie April 7, 2012 at 7:29 am

Hi Vic,
Thanks for sharing the info. I’ve made use of it! I’d like to know your idea of lessons. I live in Vienna, VA, and know that I am missing out on fun on the Potomac. I’d like to try fly fishing, may be able to get some friends interested, too. Thanks for any info you can give me.


admin April 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

Give me a call when you have the time and we can discuss both spinning and flyfishing options for the Potomac and surrounding streams.
Vic 240 997 3442

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