Developed in Europe, centerpin fishing has been around for centuries but has just caught on in North America for trout, salmon and steelhead over the last decade or so. Many anglers are learning that this technique is the most effective way to produce salmonids in large streams, rivers or virtually anywhere there is current.
Since centerpin fishing is still considered in its infancy there is much less information about it than other styles of angling. This makes selecting equipment a bit more difficult than selecting spinning or fly equipment.
The main components of any float fishing outfit are the rod, reel, line, leader, shot, swivel, hook and float. All items must be balanced to work together for the best performance.
Rods typically range from 11′ to 15′ with 13′ being the standard and usually have a line recommendation of four to about 12-pound test. Some rods fall outside this range, such as shorter stiffer rods for salmon or very light rods usually used for trout. Float rods typically have guides with a larger offset from the blank than other rods. This prevents line slap that reduces casting distance and allows the line to flow from the spool to be smoother allowing a much better drift.
Actions are usually medium fast, with a stiff butt section for solid hook sets, and a limber tip to protect the light tippets sometimes required for wary trout. While some rods have fixed reel seats like a standard spinning rod, sliding rings are much more popular among pinners.
Beginning anglers often choose rods such as the Okuma Aventa or the Raven Helix as their first rod, as they are inexpensive and function well for the novice. Once the appetite has been whet, many anglers purchase a second, higher quality rod soon thereafter keeping the less expensive rod as a suitable backup.
Top end rods such like G. Loomis’ centerpin float rods are popular with many experienced fishers. Although these rods are more expensive, many anglers feel that the lighter weight, more sensitive rods with less tip sag, as well as a great warranty plan, are well worth the money. These rods also tend to have better guides, reel seats, cork and workmanship.