If I Had To Choose Just 1 Setup…

I’ve always wondered about what I would do if I had to choose just 1 setup to go fishing with for the rest of my life. I know, for sure, that it would be an ultralight setup, but it did take me a while to come to a final decision about what I’d be taking with me. What did I figure out? A 6’0” rod, with a nicely built high quality reel, some sturdy 4lb test line, and 1 specific set of soft plastics. I feel like this setup will let me catch fish almost anywhere, and under any conditions. Let’s get into the specifics of what I think the perfect ultralight setup is, and why I think I could use only it for the rest of my life if I had to.

The Rod: St. Croix Avid Series Spinning

Since I’m going to be using this rod for the rest of my life, in theory, I want something that is built to last and comes with a lifetime warranty. I’m fairly hard on my gear, so I need to make sure it can be replaced, no questions asked, should I do something dumb and break off a tip or snap it in half somehow. The rod that I’ve used that I feel fits into this category is the St. Croix Avid series spinning rods, in a 6’0” Ultralight Fast action.

The Avid series ultralight rod is a 1 piece setup, which helps with the levels of sensitivity you get when you’re using it, and is extremely lightweight – I’m talking slightly over 2 ounces – which makes it incredibly easy for you to cast all day without feeling the fatigue in your wrist that other rods can cause. The rod may cost $150 but it is a rod that is going to perform flawlessly when you need it to the most. The tip is sensitive yet flexible, and the backbone helps give you the confidence you need to turn a bigger fish’s head and bring them back towards you.

The Reel: Tica SB500

This was a tough choice, and came down to either the Tica SB500 or Pflueger Trion GX7 spinning reels. I’ve used both, and was highly impressed by each model for different reasons, but since I have to choose a reel that’s going to be the last UL reel I ever use, the Tica wins out hands down. Again, it is on the pricey end of the spectrum but the build quality is flawless and it feels like it was designed specifically for the Avid series rods that I’d be using.

The Tica SB500 series reels are lightweight with a high gear ratio, to help give you the extra power you need when you need it. They’re also designed with 7 ball bearings that help maintain a smooth retrieve even when the drag has been screaming from the fish taking off large amounts of line. Another aspect I like about the SB500 is the design of the knob. It’s large enough that you don’t have to look down at where you’re grabbing when you need to keep an eye on your line, and comfortable enough to keep from causing sore spots on your thumb or finger like other reels have caused me. It may cost $55 but the level of quality that goes into Tica products made this reel win out over the Pflueger, hands down.

The Line: Sufix Siege 4lb Test

I’ve tried a ton of different lines, with varying results and levels of frustration. When you get into heavier lb test you don’t really have to worry so much about the faults in a manufacturer’s construction of the lines. Once you start getting into 2lb and 4lb test though, you really get to see where the manufacturers dropped the ball and left you hanging. There is one line, though, that has consistently performed above the rest: Sufix Siege. This line is hard to find, but I’d be making sure that I bought it in large quantities when I did purchase it, in both clear and moss green colors.

The 4lb test is .008” in diameter, making it incredibly thin but also very strong at the same time. It casts effortlessly and doesn’t coil up on the reel when you don’t use it, like some other lines that I’ve tried. It is pretty strong, too. When you’re banging it around on structure you want to have the confidence in knowing that you’re not going to have small, invisible nicks and cuts in the line that are going to cause you to break off fish. The Sufix Siege is one of the only lines that is capable of standing up to my punishment every time I go out, and doesn’t force me to change the lines every couple fishing trips.

The Hooks: Gamakatsu G-Lock Wide Gap

This was a fairly simple choice. If I were only allowed to use 1 set of hooks for the rest of my life, it would be a Gamakatsu. Gamakatsu’s G-Lock worm hooks are excellent for fishing soft plastics, my preferred type of bait. In a size 1, or 1/0 these hooks are very hard to beat. They stay sharp even when you’ve been banging them around structure and rocks, and won’t bend like other smaller, ultralight sized hooks will do. The light wire design on the hooks makes it easy to set into a fish’s mouth when you feel the tick on the end of the line, and the offset shank helps keep from hooking anything on the fish other than the corner of their mouth.

The Weights: Walmart Colored Bullet Weights

With my preferred baits, and hooks, you’re going to need to use some weights in a couple different sizes. You can get these at any big box store, but make sure that you get the colored version. It is easy to match the colors up to the color of soft plastic you’re using, which greatly increases your hookup ratio. The weights that I’m talking about are available in a small circular disc, with a door that you spin to get access to different sizes. They’re bullet weights, and will need to be pegged to the hook and soft plastic, with a toothpick or something similar, and you’ll need to keep at least 1/16 and 1/8 ounce sizes with you at all times.

The Baits: Zoom 4″ Finesse Worms

Now for the fun part. If I had to pick just 1 bait that I was going to fish in all types of waters, everywhere in the world, it would be Zoom’s Finesse Worms. These worms are built just like Zoom’s bigger, ultra successful worms – The Trick Worm – but in a smaller bite sized model. It is available in a large amount of colors, and can be fished both weightless and with a pegged bullet weight. I’m going to take the easy way out and say that I can’t pick a favorite color, so I would need to have at least 1 pack of every color available, but I’d still be fishing with the same bait for the rest of my life!

You know, that was easier than I thought it was going to be. Out of all the ultralight gear that I’ve used, I figured I was going to have a hard problem coming to a final decision on which parts of the gear would be my end-all, be-all final fishing setup. Turns out that the cream of the crop really does set itself apart from the rest. It may be slightly on the expensive side, but when it comes to being a master of your waters, only the best will do. Take it from me, I’m the Fishing Fool and if there is one thing I know, it’s ultralight fishing!

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