Fishing with a clunker

By: Noble Smith
Special to the Sun

A few days back a friend of mine brought me a gift. To my surprise it was a Mitchell 300 spinning reel, a true classic. As a matter of fact the Mitchell 300 was the first serious spinning reel I used as a young fisherman. In the late sixties it was the reel to have. As I took the reel out of the box I thought to myself what a beauty. The next move was to attach it to one of my old time fiberglass spinning rods. What a cool looking rig! It is a shame that the 300 is obsolete compared to the reels of today. It is much heavier, not nearly as smooth. The reel handle is loose when setting the hook. I just love the history of the reel. It’s all about old school.

Just like old lures that are taken out of the tackle box to make room for the new stuff. The old lures that have been catching fish for years do not stop catching fish. Fisherman just like to upgrade to keep up with the times. I know I can throw a Heston Supersonic with a Mitchell 300 and catch bass. I can cast or troll a red and white daredevil and catch trout.

I still love all the new stuff, I just like to take a walk down memory lane every now and then. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of anglers are going back to spinning equipment. Spinning does have a lot of advantages. When the winds are blowing hard on Isabella, a spinning outfit is much more forgiving. A fisherman will not have to worry about backlashes (professional over pin) as he would using a bait caster. A fisherman can also throw much lighter baits with spinning equipment.

It seems like the hot tip for bass fishing is finesse fishing. When the bite gets tough, downsize; light line and small bait. This is probably true in all kinds of fishing. Some of the hot techniques are better used with a spinning rod and reel. When I watch the bigshots on T.V. using the ned, neko, wacky rig, or drop shotting they seem to always have a spinning combo in hand. I personally like a heavier rig. I have lost a lot of fish using light tackle. I have to admit I have gotten a lot more bites on a light tackle. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. Whatever is more comfortable for each individual fisherman. Whether it be a medium-heavy bait caster or an ultra-light spinning outfit, whatever gives a fisherman confidence. In any kind of fishing format, I believe confidence is half the battle in catching fish.

If it were a car, a Mitchell 300 would probably be referred to as a clunker. I do not know what category a 300 falls under. Somewhere between finesse and power fishing I suppose. I will call it old school fun fishing. I really cannot wait to cast it. I will have my clunker on board on my next fishing trip. The best part of the 300 was the special sticker on the side of the box. Big Five special $19.99. That’s a down payment on some of the reels us fisherman buy nowadays. Maybe I will grab a handful of $1.99 lures that I have been afraid to throw away. I will throw them with my 300 and see what I can do. If I catch fish I will have to explain to my wife about the forty years of investing in new equipment.

Fishing has been good on Lake Isabella lately. Fishing pressure is very light. People are getting busy getting ready for the holidays. It is hard for me to hit the water this time of year. A lot of family gatherings I wouldn’t miss for the world. I will get out soon to cast my clunker. See you on the water!