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  1. Beginner's Guide: Your First Set of Fishing Tackle
  2. Beginner's Guide: Saltwater Game Fishing
  3. Beginner's Guide: Setting the Drag on Your Game Fishing Reel
  4. How To Maintain Your Game Fishing Reel
  5. How To Use Baitleader/Baitrunner Reels

Beginner's Guide: Your First Set of Fishing Tackle

Need help choosing your first set of fishing tackle? Want something that can be used for a range of applications? The following fishing tackle should give you an all-round set up. This type of fishing gear will work for bay fishing, pier/jetty fishing and some rock fishing, estuary and beach fishing.

There is no true one size fits all when it comes to fishing tackle, you will have to compromise and take local advice. Sea Fishing tackle is like any sporting equipment, the more role specific it becomes the less forgiving it is.

Fishing Reel

A mid-sized fixed spool fishing reel will set you up nicely. It will cope with heavy lure work, pier fishing and everything mentioned above.

Casting with a fixed spool reel is quite easy and requires a lot less skill than a multiplier or overhead/bait caster reel for basic casts.

$30-$60 should buy you a nice fishing reel, if looked after should last you a few good seasons.

Check out some of the spinning fishing reels and surf fishing reels in our store.

Fishing Rod

Look for a fishing rod with a soft through action, meaning as it sounds: a fishing rod that flexes easily and gently without snapping back straight, taking the curve from the tip gradually down towards the butt. A fishing rod of this make up will not fight you back and will allow for initial mistakes in casting and playing fish.

A 10-12 foot fishing rod would be sound. A shorter fishing rod makes rock and pier fishing hard, and any longer makes it very ungainly and hard to use for the beginner.

Think about what type of fishing you are going to do most often. A lighter casting weight will suit the pier / estuary angler, if casting distance is more important then consider a heavier casting weight. A casting weight of 1-3 ozs is considered light, 3–6 ozs moderate and 4–8 ozs heavy.

One of our spinning fishing rods, surf fishing rods or boat fishing rods should do the job nicely.

Fishing Line

You will hear a lot about braid and new hi-tech fishing lines which out-fish standard mono-filament. Don’t worry and stick to good old fashioned mono. It's far more forgiving than many of the new fishing lines on the market and until you become confident at what you are doing stick to the old favorite.

Fishing Rigs and Fishing Gear

When you have decided on the location you are going to fish and your target species, take advice from you local fishing tackle shop and get good quality fishing rigs, weights and other fishing tackle. Feel free to contact us for advice and help with selecting tackle.

Beginner's Guide: Saltwater Game Fishing

The following guidance assumes you are fairly new to big game saltwater fishing and are out fishing on a charter boat with a variety of fishing tackle. This type of information is given to all guests and customers if they are not experienced anglers. Occasionally we have to remind experienced anglers as well!

Let's assume you have your fishing tackle and you are out doing some general trolling for wahoo, mahi mahi or tuna on 30lb class IGFA fishing tackle. The deckie has set a pattern of 4 fishing lures behind the boat and one of the fishing reels starts to scream...

1. Pick up the fishing rod

Sounds simple but sometimes the fishing rod seems to be jammed in the fishing rod holder. Don't try to yank or force it out. It's wedged because of the pressure the fish is exerting on the rod tip. Grasp the fishing rod fore-grip in front of the fishing reel and pull it slightly backwards (away from the fish). You will find that the fishing rod then easily comes out of the rod holder.

2. Assume the position

Unless you are fighting a fish from a game chair, hold the fishing rod with the reel uppermost, your left hand well up the fore-grip and the butt of the fishing rod resting low down on your hip. This leaves your right hand free to wind the fishing reel handle. Hold the fishing rod at about 45 degrees. The higher up the fishing rod your left hand is, the more leverage you can apply. It’s important that you feel comfortable. Some fights can last hours though 10-20 minutes is the norm so you had better be comfy.

It is usual at this point for the deckie to put a fishing gimbal pad on you. No, it’s not a comfy cushion for you to sit on - it’s a plastic cushioned pad that hangs from your waist, rests on your thighs and has a slot where you rest the butt of the rod. This will stop the fishing rod butt digging into you and causing bruising and spread the load over your thighs during a prolonged fight. With the end of the fishing rod sitting in the gimbal pad and your left hand holding the fore-grip you should feel stable and comfortable. You are on a boat, its moving around so step up to the side of the boat or better still the corner, bend your knees slightly and wedge your knees slightly under the cockpit combing - the padded edge. This is a good stable position even on a pitching and rolling boat.

3. Keep The Fishing Rod Tip Bent

It's that simple. The greatest cause of fish being lost is the line not being tight between the rod tip and the fish. If the fishing line is not tight, the hook is not being held in place and the fish will likely spit the lure out. If the rod tip is bent at all times, then pressure is being applied to the fish at all times. This also means that the fish doesn’t get a free rest and you will wear him out more quickly and get him to the boat sooner. If the fish swims towards you, wind wind wind to keep that line tight and the rod tip bent.

The fishing rod also acts as a shock absorber. Any jerks from sudden movements by the fish are absorbed by the rod tip. If you point the fishing rod straight at the fish, it's not doing anything and sudden jerks are transmitted straight to you and the fishing reel. (Trust me – it will end in tears)

4. Slow Down – It’s Not a Race!

Most ALL novice anglers when confronted with a screaming fishing reel panic and frantically wind like crazy. You are wasting your time and energy. If the fishing reel is screaming it means that it is paying out line and will continue to do so whether you try to wind or not. Wait for the fish to end its run for cover. Then you can think about winding.

5. Lift Up and Wind Down

Good quality game fishing reels have a sophisticated drag system. A reasonable analogy would be the clutch in a manual car. Adjusting the lever drag on a game fishing reel is like depressing the car's clutch pedal. All the way out and the engine is engaged, (reel drag engaged), all the way in and the engine is freewheeling (Reel is in Free-spool).

This means that an angler can set the lever drag somewhere in the middle. The fishing reel will then pay out line (clutch will slip) when the line is pulled with sufficient force. To put it simply, you can set the drag to pay out line if the fish pulls harder than a set amount.

It is normal for the drag to be set at between one quarter and one third the breaking strain of the fishing line. In theory it is therefore impossible for the fish to snap the line. If the fish pulls really hard, instead of the line snapping, the fishing reel just lets line out.

When the fish ends its run, the fishing reel will go quiet and the pressure on the rod tip will ease up a little. Now is the time to win some of that fishing line back. Raise the rod tip, start to wind the fishing reel and whilst winding, slowly lower the rod tip. Don’t raise the rod tip so high that it’s over your head and don’t lower it so low that the fishing rod is pointing at the fish.

Lift up and wind down. Try to keep your movements as smooth as possible and keep that rod tip bent at all times.

6. Tag & Release or Boating a fish

Different fish react in different ways when near the boat. Yellow fin tuna for example go into a circular pattern underneath the hull. The most important thing here is to not let the fishing line touch any part of the boat. If it does, it will probably break. The skipper will manoeuvre the vessel as best he can to keep the fishing line and fish away from the props and rudders but it's also your job not to let the line touch the side of the boat. Feel free to move about the cockpit. Change sides if the fish swims in the other direction. Don’t plant yourself in one spot and stay there. Listen up for instructions from the crew and move to anywhere where it’s just you and the fish with no boat in between.

Usually the boat will be slowly moving forwards. You are trying to work the fish up alongside the boat so that the fish can then be tagged or gaffed. Moving the boat forwards maintains a flow of water over the fish and its gills. This keeps the fish much happier than if you stopped and the fish is therefore less stressed and less likely to do something unexpected. It is always a good idea to do this if you intend on tagging and releasing the fish.

7. And Lastly...

Everybody loses fish and fishing tackle, even the real pros. Don't knock yourself down. Learn from mistakes and it won't happen again. Every trip out there I learn something new. Don't be shy to ask questions. Game fishing is a sport and like all sports, you need to practice...

Just make sure you have fun practicing...

Beginner's Guide: Setting the Drag on Your Game Fishing Reel

Pre-setting The Drag


The lever drag setting on your game fishing reel, as in all drag settings, should be set to slip at only 25 to 30 percent of the line's breaking strength. The low setting builds in a good safety margin in case there are any weak links in your line or fishing tackle. Frays, nicks, general line wear and even knots can reduce the line strength, so you will need this extra large margin of safety.

Start by moving the lever to "FREE" and turning the Pre-Set Knob clockwise to increase the drag range. Now move the lever forward to the "STRIKE" position where it will automatically stop. Pull line from the reel or check the scale reading as the line is released. Continue to fine tune your drag range adjustments (with the lever at "FREE" each time) until you are satisfied with the tension at "STRIKE".

Warning: Always turn the pre-set knob with the drag lever in the "FREE" position. Turning the pre-set knob with the lever in the "STRIKE" position can damage the reel.

Game fishing reel drag setting controls


If you are an experienced angler you may be able to set your drag tension by pulling line from the fishing reel by hand while it is in "STRIKE" and judging it through feel. If you have any doubts, scale your drag. Many anglers overestimate their drags by 100%. To scale your drag, first place the fishing reel on the fishing rod and run the line through the guide. Then, have a friend hold the scale and pull the fishing line so that it puts a bend in the fishing rod. Using this method you can be assured your drag is set accurately.

Scaling drag tension


Once you have established your drag setting, you can return to the pre-set "STRIKE" setting at any time. Your fishing reel will "remember" this setting forever, so you will never be in doubt about what drag pressure you are exerting on the fish. If you wish to go past your "STRIKE" setting to put even more pressure on a fish just press the strike stop button located in the drag lever quadrant so you can move the lever towards the "FULL" position. This will gradually increase the drag force, up to a maximum of an additional 30%. This setting is to be used with caution since the combination of programmed control and increased line leverage may exceed your line strength. It is recommended that the "STRIKE" setting be checked before each use and after encountering any long running fish. Do this as part of the regular checks you should be doing with the rest of your fishing tackle and fishing gear.


Well first off, drag means controls the amount of force the fishing reel should give up line to keep the line or fishing rod from snapping. It's a life saver! To adjust this there should be a round adjusting knob or something that clockwise and anti-clockwise. If you adjust this device one way it tightens the drag and if you adjust it the other way it loosens the drag.

The unwritten rule for drag adjusting is simple: whatever the strength of the line you're using, divide it by 4 and that's how much pound of force it should take to get the drag working. So for example if you are using 30 pound monofilament line then you should get a spring scale and attach the end of the line to the hook of the spring scale and pull on the line just enough to where the spring scale reads 7 pounds (ie. 7 pounds x 4 = 28 pounds which is just under 30 pounds). Then twist the drag knob until the line starts to pull out of the fishing reel right at 8 pounds of pressure.

How To Maintain Your Game Fishing Reel


During most of the time spent in use, the fishing reel will be exposed to salt spray, rain or hot sun, all of which are a potent combination. Although each fishing reel is constructed of the most corrosion resistant materials, the combination of heat and salt water could cause salt build-up if left unattended.

The best way to prevent these problems is to simply spray the reel with a water displacing lubricant such as INOX. This product will lift water and salt from the surface of the fishing reel allowing you to wipe away these deposits. Simply spray the fishing reel with the aerosol, let soak for a few minutes and wipe it off. It is not necessary to wipe the fishing reel dry. In fact, leaving a slight coating on the fishing reel will protect it and make the next clean-up even easier. Do not worry about the aerosol spray damaging your line - it won't.

If you don't have a chance to spray your fishing reels and fishing tackle after a day's fishing, you may hose them off lightly with fresh water. Do not hose your reel heavily with fresh water, as all this does is drive salt and other rubbish into your reel. A very light spray will do the job properly. If you must spray your fishing reel, always do so with the lever in the "FULL" position. Also your fishing reel should never be "dunked" in water to clean it. Like heavy spraying, this will eventually damage your reel.

Periodically check that all the screws are firmly tightened to prevent loss due to engine/boat vibrations.


Don't enclose fishing reels in air-tight plastic bags for storage. They will constantly trap moisture around the reel which will cause corrosion damage.

When not in use, set the drag control lever at the "FREE" position and the strike alert "ON". These two simple steps remove unnecessary pressure from the drag components and still control the line on the spool. Your drag will last longer and run smoother.


It is unfortunate, but true, that problems fishermen have with fishing reels are the result of the angler himself taking them apart and reassembling them improperly. Modern fishing reels are complex, sophisticated pieces of equipment which require a great amount of care when taking them apart and putting them back together.

We recommend that you send the your reels to a dealer for servicing if required. If, however, you choose to service your own fishing reels, a few basic guidelines should be followed in order to keep them operating efficiently. They are:

  1. When assembling the brake lever, ensure that the Lift and Brake Cam are assembled in the correct direction (see diagram below). Also make sure the lever is in the "FREE" position.
    Game fishing reel lift and brake cam assembly
  2. When replacing the drag washer, remember to unscrew the waterproof cover in an anti-clockwise direction. Also be sure to screw the waterproof cover back on very tightly - a loose installation will cause the drag to be jerky.
  3. Apply lubricant to the positions indicated:
    Game fishing reel lubrication chart

How To Use Baitleader/Baitrunner Reels

Have you been out fishing and, out of the corner of your eye, seen a rod tip gracefully bend as a fish picks up the bait and starts to run? Yes you have because the bail arm was closed and the drag had been set to the breaking strain of the line, no line releases from the spool so the fishing rod quickly loads up putting strain on your whole fishing tackle set-up.

The fish meanwhile senses there is something very wrong and drops the bait. All this usually happens within a few seconds, before you have had time to grab the fishing rod and, either release the bail arm, or loosen the drag. Even if you did have the drag set on a loose setting, how do you know how much to screw it down to accommodate the line class you are using? All this whilst trying to battle a fighting fish.

This has long been a problem when fishing light baits or live baits, especially when the fishing rod is left unattended. There is however, a solution. There are fishing reels available that have a "baitfishing type" of threadline which allows a fish to pick up the bait and move off, feeling no resistance even with the bail arm closed. When the decision to strike is made, you simply wind the handle to engage your pre-set drag and fight the fish in the normal way.

Example of a baitleader fishing reel - Pelagic Extreme Xpro 6500 Another example of a baitleader fishing reel - Pelagic Extreme Thunder 8000

The operation of these fishing reels is very simple. By activating a small lever on the fishing reel, it throws the line spool into "free spin". You are now in bait fishing mode. On some models there is a separate drag nut to control the amount of tension in free spin you want on the spool whilst the fishing reel is in bait fishing mode. As per normal, keep the main drag at about one third of the breaking strain of the fishing line. You now have a system which allows a fish to run with bait without feeling any resistance at all, while the angler is still in total control. To set the hook you can either wind the handle to cancel the bait fishing system, or flick the small lever to return the line spool to the main pre-set drag calibration.

Pelagic Extreme has several baitleader thread line series fishing reels and these are the Thunder and Xpro series fishing reels. There are several models in the range from the small Xpro 3500 series to fish 4 kilo, right through to the Thunder 10000 to fish 10 kilo and beyond.