Baitcasters for Steelhead Fishing?

Posted on April 1st, 2009
Rapala's Avantis baitcaster is ideal to use with it's North Coast steelhead baitcasting rods.
Rapala's Avantis baitcaster is ideal to use with it's North Coast steelhead baitcasting rods.

When most Ontario anglers think of baitcasting outfits they think of fishing for bass, walleye, pike & musky.  BC river anglers have known for decades that baitcasting outfits are ideal for drift-fishing and for fishing artificial lures from drift-boats in many of our coastl rivers for steelhead & Pacific salmon.  For the last few years I have been testing the www.rapala.ca , Avantis baitcasting reels for steelhead fishing with excellent results.  Rapala has designes a complete line of specialized baitcasting rods specifically for steelhead & salmon fishing.  Their North Coast Salmon/Steelhead Rods offers three baitcasting models:

  • 2-piece, 8 1/2′ (ideal for casting steelhead artificials such as plugs, spoons, spinners, etc., in larger tributaries).
  • 2-piece, 9 1/2′ (ideal for bottom-bouncing with split-shot or 3-way swivel-larger tributaries).
  • 2-piece, 10′ (ideal for float-fishing/bottom bouncing with split-shot in smaller to medium tributaries).

I have fished the Rapala Avantis  baitcasting reel with 8 & 6 lb. test monofilament ( www.sufix.com , Siege, smoke-green color), in the Niagara River, on the larger NY tributaries such as the Cattaraquas River & Oak Orchard Rivers, and also in our southern Ontario tributary streams.   The Avantis baitcaster casts well with lighter line and with standard steelhead float-rigs.  The free-spool is ideal for “feathering” out line when the float-rig travels down-stream with the current and as soon as you have a hit, a quick snap of the reel handle forward locks the spool and the fish is on.  I’m also impressed with the reels drag system which worked well even with larger rainbows & browns on 6 lb. test.  The Avantis has not magnets, but instead it is equipped with a 6-pin system that can be easily set by popping-off the side of the reel and adjusting the pin-placement to your liking.  I have found that having 3-pins in the “in-position” , and 3-pins in the “out-position” allows for long casts and virtually eliminates any chance of back-slashes.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on stream steelhead fishing with baitcasting outfits in Ontario.  Personally I think it’s cool to see a steelheader with a long steelhead baitcasting outfit.

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