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Fishing without pole?
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Robert Klang
(guitarzan) - F
Fishing without pole? on 05/10/2007 12:50:35 MDT Print View

I plan on going backpacking up near some lakes in the high sierras and want to go as light as possible. We were thinking about going with out poles and simply tying the fishing line to a stick or small branch. It seems like there shouldnt be a problem with that...right?

Ryan Luke
(rluke) - F

Locale: Atlanta (missing CA)
Re: Fishing without pole? on 05/10/2007 12:57:20 MDT Print View


Is fishing going to be one of your primary goals/activities or will it be a secondary pursuit? If it is a primary activity and the focus of your trip, you can put together a pretty light package using a pack rod and ultralight reel (if you are spinning and not fly-fishing). If you are interested, I can send you the link for the rod and reel. They are both very affordable.

What lakes are you planning on fishing?

Edited by rluke on 05/10/2007 12:58:06 MDT.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
fishing without pole on 05/10/2007 12:58:06 MDT Print View

i've thought about it before

you could certainly do okay dapping in streams

lakes be a lot more hit & miss - sometimes need to cast or get deep in lakes

but dapping flies in streams would work

Robert Klang
(guitarzan) - F
Re: fishing without pole on 05/10/2007 13:03:24 MDT Print View

well, i guess one of our main goals is to go as light and promitive as possible. Im only 18 and have only been experimenting with backpacking for less than a year, but with each trip we try to go lighter and more primitive. The lightweight poles are definitly a good suggestion, but were trying to go without poles as possible, with only line and hooks, catching insects for bait. Fishing is more secondary to our purpose. It is more of a means to help suppliment the food we are bringing (power bars, beef jerky, dried fruit)

Robert Klang
(guitarzan) - F
Re: Re: fishing without pole on 05/10/2007 13:04:43 MDT Print View

and the lakes we are looking at are high in the sierras up skyranch road if your at all familiar

Ryan Luke
(rluke) - F

Locale: Atlanta (missing CA)
Re: Re: fishing without pole on 05/10/2007 18:14:52 MDT Print View

You may want to bring some small split shot (line weights) with you in case you do need to cast out into deeper water in lakes, but you could probably do pretty well with a homemade rig. Good luck!

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Fishing without pole? on 05/10/2007 20:26:51 MDT Print View

You might check out the Tidelands Casting Handline sold at the following website:


Tamara Logan
(tllogan) - F
Lightweight rod and reel on 07/25/2007 15:53:12 MDT Print View

Can anyone please advise of a good quality rod and reel to use? My son has one of the kits in a case that never worked too well. Looking for something handy, reasonably light and reliable for packing.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Lightweight rod and reel on 07/25/2007 21:59:40 MDT Print View

Tamara, assuming that you’re looking for spinning gear for your son rather than fly fishing gear, here are a few sources that you might check out, with two spinning rods and a spinning reel specifically noted:

A number of inexpensive, lightweight spinning rods and reels are available at Cabela’s. Here’s a spinning reel and a spinning rod that have both received very good reviews, at least by customers at the Cabela web site:

Reel -- Pflueger 4410 Micro ($24.99)

Rod -- Quantum XtraLite XTS562UL Rod ($19.99)

A drawback to the Quantum rod is it's length at 5’ 6” & the fact that it only breaks down to two sections. Not very compact for backpacking.

Another source for a lightweight spinning rod that would fit better for backpacking is Cooks of Oregon. Cooks makes rods that it auctions/sells on eBay, mostly fly rods but some spinning rods. One of Cooks' spinning rods (SB720-4) is half a foot longer (6’) than the Quantum, and uses a little heavier line (4# to 8#). However, the Cooks spinning rod has four sections with a packed length of about 19 ½”, much better for backpacking.

The SB720-4 regularly lists on eBay with a “buy it now” price of $119 and starting bid set at $109. Although it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Quantum, it does appear to be a very good quality rod based on the following description given with its eBay listing:

“This 4pc. rod is custom made by Cooks of Oregon. It features a Forecast RX6 graphite blank, Fuji guides spinning guides, Fuji graphite reel seat, and grade A cork handle. I designed this rod to be super light, and super sensitive. The rod has a fast action, and feels better than any pack rod I have ever built. It has lots of backbone, and would handle smallies, walleye, largemouth, trout, and pretty much any fish under 12 lbs. It breaks down to under 20" and would be great for the traveling sportsmen, or someone who loves to backpack. The blank only weighs 1.4oz. It is rated for 1/16-5/16oz. lures, and 4-8lb.”

The eBay listing for the above Cooks rod is at:


Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Lightweight rod and reel on 07/26/2007 07:24:50 MDT Print View

I like my Daiwa MiniSpin but it is one of those "kits in a case" you might be talking about. They come in both closed reel and open reel versions. I use the open reel version. It is capable of landing big fish as well as the normal variety. I use Vanish 4lb line with 1/8 oz lures.

The rod, reel, and 100 yards of 4lb Vanish line weigh 8 oz.

If you decide on an open reel be sure an buy an extra bail spring. They are what usually fails on an open reel.

Tamara Logan
(tllogan) - F
Re: Re: Lightweight rod and reel on 07/27/2007 19:15:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help. I'll look into these options. 8 oz does pass the lightweight test! I come from a fishing family, but tended to sit and read instead. My husband never fished much.

Larry Tullis
(Larrytullis) - F - M

Locale: Wasatch Mountains
Re: Fishing without pole? on 07/28/2007 11:08:32 MDT Print View

In many less developed parts of the world, people commonly use line wraped around a soda bottle or peach can(or your water bottle or ti water pot) to catch fish on. A weighted lure is tied to the lines end and swung around your head using centrifical force and is launched out and over your fishing water, letting the line slide off the end of the bottle or can. You then wind the line back on your makeshift spool manualy. Work the spoon, spinner diving lure, weight and fly or bait as you would normally. A clear casting bubble you can fill with water is good for casting weight when using flies or bait. Use a swivel to avoid line twist. Casting, hooking and landing the fish this way all takes some real practice but is very lightweight. As was mentioned, dapping flies or bait sneakily in a stream with some line attached to a stick, hiking staff or tent pole also works well.

BTW-the lower end of most fishing rods makes a good tent pole or light duty hiking staff.

Edited by Larrytullis on 07/28/2007 11:12:58 MDT.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Fishing w/o a Pole on 07/28/2007 20:36:53 MDT Print View

How about attaching a spinning reel to your trekking poles with zipties or the like? It might work.

Oliver Budack
(Snuffy) - MLife
sometimes more is more... on 07/29/2007 09:17:54 MDT Print View

Here you see some rods of Shimano. The lightest with 67grams(2oz?). My favorite would be the 180ML. With 78grams still light but this is a real rod. Not a toy as those pen-rods.
People who aren't trained at fishing wouldn't be very successful at fishing with a can and line. They will most likely just get the head oder the mouth.
Another even more important piece of equipment is the reel. A Symetre Fi or Sedona 750 of Shimano weights round 200grams. That pretty much for a lightweight hiker. But if you catch 3 times a fish this weight is compensated. With a good a equipment you will be more "lucky" and you will kill less fishes by trying to pull them out.
Probably that would more fit the image people have of Americans :X.
Anyway if you are on a long hike and you can't carry all your food and don't have the chance to buy something i would use a fishing tackle that i can count on.


Edited by Snuffy on 07/29/2007 09:19:55 MDT.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Fishing without pole? on 07/29/2007 12:26:27 MDT Print View


It would seem that most folks on this site are eventually going to end up suggesting some kind of gear (myself included). If what I gather is correct, you want to catch fish as primatively as possible. That would involve probably researching what should be abundant content on the matter available by web-search.

If you are not expert with the location, conditions during the time of year, target species, and generally a good fisherman to start with, you may be hard pressed to snag something without some kind of pre-made tackle. If you have tons of time to work at it, you might end up figuring out something successful.

By nature of this website though, most fisherman here will probably want to be as successful as possible given smaller windows of time to actually fish. If you only have 40 minutes before it gets dark, you don't want to spend half that time figuring out how to get the line where you need it at the body of water you're at. That is when most folks opt to create traditional setups as light as possible. My whole spinning real (with a 5.5 ft pole) and tackle, etc. weighs in under 10 ounces. Not at all terrible for one of my favorite past times in the backcountry. Some guys around here carry 1.5 pound tripods to take pictures with!!! So, I guess I am not too heavy with my toys yet.

Whatever the case, study or understand what your locations will be like and how best to fish them. From there, develop that "quasi-survivor" fishing set-up and let us know how it works out!

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Snoopy rod and reel on 07/30/2007 18:05:13 MDT Print View

Down here in GA the trout streams can be very overgrown/narrow. and you have no room to cast. You might not believe it but I have had really good look with the snoopy combo made for kids the rod is like 2 or 3 feet long with a
regular push button Zebco style reel. I am catching fish while the fly fishing guys are busy getting they're lines out of the trees.

You could always just make a "cane" pole if you're not a total tree hugger.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Fishing without pole? on 07/30/2007 19:39:54 MDT Print View

This actually works pretty well. We went on 'Survival Campouts' in the past, and used the delaminated webbing from belts and sticks.

Hooks weigh virtually nothing as does 10 yards of monofilimant. You can likely find a stick for a rod (and a float), a rock for a weight, and an insect for bait.

Good luck!