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Fishing from Yachts for Beginners - Part 2 - Fishing Tackle Setup Guide

In part one of this article we looked at the basic tackle needed for fishing in warmer waters around the globe. In the second part of this article, I will look at setting the gear up correctly and give you some guidance how to get the best results from your new tackle.

Setting Up Yacht Fishing Tackle

Before you can fish you will need to fill your reel with fishing line. As it won’t be possible to stop a sailing vessel quickly it will be advantageous to have a reel that will hold at least 500m of nylon monofilament line.

As suggested in the previous article, the rod and reel should be at least IGFA 50lb class so the line should be 50lb breaking strain, it could be stronger but this will reduce the capacity of the reel as the heavier line will be thicker.

The reel will be a lever drag multiplier – these are used on top of the rod (guides or roller guides facing up). Most right-handed anglers prefer to wind the reel with their stronger right arm.

Reel Setup Guide

How to Fill Your Reel With Line Correctly

Your fishing tackle dealer will probably have an electric winding machine to make the process of putting the line on as quick and effortless as possible. Please bear in mind that the reel clamp supplied with the reel may need to be fixed to the reel prior to the reel being filled with line!

  1. If you are filling the reel yourself it will help if you have some assistance. You will need one person to control the spool of line and apply pressure while you wind the line onto the reel and manage the travel of the line back and forth across the reel’s spool. The line needs to build up in neat level layers. Attach the reel to the rod and ideally put the rod in a rod holder – by doing this you can concentrate on winding the line on and keeping the line lay even across the spool.
  2. The line is first attached to the centre of the spool by winding it around 5/6 times then tying a Uni Knot (see video below) with the tag end around the mainline. This will make the line grip the spool firmly as you tighten the Uni Knot – the connection to the spool must not slip otherwise the clutch on the reel cannot operate correctly. Leave a tag end of 2/3cm just in case anything slips – this will be buried under a lot of line anyway.
  3. The person holding the spool of line will need something like a large screwdriver to push into the middle of the spool and a couple of pieces of cloth to press against each end of the line spool. These will get quite hot as the spool spins. By putting pressure on the spool from each side this will tension the line – it should be enough tension to make winding the reel hard work and if it’s a large reel this exercise will take some time and should not be rushed.
  4. Ensure that the reel’s drag is set at a high enough pressure to make sure the clutch is not slipping as you wind. Continue filling the reel until the level of line is about 5-10mm from the edge of the reel’s spool. If you under-fill the reel you will limit the amount of line you get back with each turn of the handle. Over-filling may cause problems with the line fouling reel’s cage just when you don’t need it!

Fishing from Yachts for Beginners - Part 2 – Fishing Tackle Set-Up Guide

Setting Up the Rod & Reel On the Yacht

The reel should be attached to the rod using a combination of the reel seat on the rod (there are usually two screw fittings, one to tighten the reel seat on to the reel foot and one to lock the tightened reel fitting into position) and the reel clamp. Ensure that the reel is firmly attached to the rod. It could be dangerous if the reel suddenly became detached from the rod under a lot of pressure.

Yacht Fishing Tackle SetupThe next job is to set the drag on your reel to match the weakest part of your gear. If you are using 50lb breaking strain line the drag should be set at around 12-13lbs (25% of the breaking strain of the line) when the lever is in the strike position. A major benefit of lever drag multiplier reels is the accuracy they bring to setting the drag. This setting should protect the line from snapping (provided there is no damage to the line) with some margin for error.

You will need a Spring Balance or Digital Scale to measure the pressure needed to pull line off the spool at the strike position. Pull the line directly from the spool and not via the rod otherwise you will get a false reading. Make any adjustments to the drag pre-set only with the reel in free spool. It helps if you have someone to hold the rod reel firmly while you measure the drag setting with the scales. Guessing what the drag pressure is doesn’t work!

Finally, thread the line through the guides or rollers making sure none are missed. If a roller guide has double rollers make sure the line goes through between the two rollers and over the top of the roller in any single roller guides.

Basic Knots to Learn

The following knots will get you fishing, they are for use with nylon monofilament line:-

Uni Knot

Use for attaching eyed hooks, lures and swivels to reel line and traces.

Double Uni Knot

This is the ‘go to’ knot for joining lengths of monofilament line together – it works best if the two pieces of line you are joining are not too dissimilar in diameter.

Bimini Twist

This looks very complicated initially but I relatively straightforward once you get the hang of it. Use to form a large loop in the end of your reel line to attach a wind-on leader to.

Cat’s Paw

Use to join wind-on leaders to the loop (loop to loop) in the end of your reel line.

Cat's Paw Guide

Final Tackle Setup Steps

So now you have your reel clamped to your rod and loaded with line. The line threaded through the roller or ring guides and you have attached a wind-on leader using the relevant knots detailed above.

You now need to attach a good quality ball bearing link swivel to the end of your wind-on leader and you are nearly ready to fish. The link swivel will allow you swap pre-rigged lures on traces without having to tie any further knots.

You are now ready to go! If you have any questions or would like a quote for a set of gear tailored to your needs and budget please contact me either by email using the contact form or phone 01635 736436.

Look out for Part 3 when we will take a detailed look at fishing techniques.

Allan Shephard
I've spent a big chunk of my life either fishing, talking about fishing, teaching fishing or working in the tackle trade. My hunger for ever more extreme and challenging fishing adventures continues to grow and can only be satisfied by a regular angling fix! I hold AAPGAI advanced instruction qualifications in single & double-handed fly-casting and have had articles published by some of the biggest UK fishing magazine titles. I consider myself very much an all-round angler. I have fished in over 20 countries worldwide for a variety of species in both fresh and saltwater. Advising people how to kit themselves out with tackle and clothing for their next fishing adventure is always a pleasure – please take advantage of my experience and knowledge.