Get your Sturgeon fishing tackle ready and be prepared
The peak fishing season for Fraser river White Sturgeon approaches as we head into spring. It won’t be long before we are hooking up with some beasts from the river! This is the perfect time to learn all the proper tackle setups and to ensure that you are ready to successfully fight that big fish. The primary objective of having your tackle adequately setup is to ensure success of landing that dream fish and for the health of the fish. We’ll go over the details below.
Keeping in mind that Sturgeon can grow to epic proportions and fight with insane strength you will need a rod that can handle everything a Sturgeon dishes out. Sturgeon can also be very gentle biters so that’s another thing to keep in mind. You’ll need a rod that can detect soft bites yet have the backbone to withstand some hard core pulling. Fortunately there are many specific Sturgeon rods to choose from. Brands like Shimano, Okuma & Lamiglas come to mind. Manufacturers will rate the rods for line weight. You need to have a rod that is rated for 80 lb line or higher. Sturgeon regulations in BC require a minimum main line weight of 100 lbs. Sturgeon rods are generally 8 feet long so make sure you don’t get a 6 ft or 10 ft rod. It likely won’t be designed with Sturgeon in mind. Local tackle stores should have a few options for you to purchase.
This is going to be your most important investment. A well performing reel will make life so much better and will allow you to gain the upper edge. If you choose to go cheap you’ll probably regret it down the road. We invested in some high end reels over the years and they are still going strong while the cheaper ones have ‘passed on’. The punishment that Sturgeon deliver requires quality and design to withstand the stress.Some really good choices for Sturgeon reels are Shimano Talica, Tiagra or Tyrnos.
Drag: A larger Sturgeon will often scream off 200 or even 300 yards of line on the initial run so you need a good quality drag system. Smooth and consistent are essentials. Lever drag is the way to go. Most well made big game sport fishing reels incorporate this system. Other types of drags can and do FAIL. I have seen reels break and blow smoke while on the water. These fish will test the limits of many reels.
Spool: You need to have at least 250 yards of line in the 100 – 150 lb class if you are fishing from a boat, and even more if you choose to fish from shore. I do not recommend shore fishing. Hooking into a giant Sturgeon from the shore will likely mean the fish will ‘spool’ you and then there will be a poor fish swimming around with hundreds of feet of line attached to it’s head.
Line: Modern day Sturgeon anglers use braided line. With zero stretch and thin diameters it’s the best choice for your main line. It’s the only way you’re going to get 250 yards of line on a spool. Monofilament just won’t do it. One of the best big game braided fishing lines on the market today is PowerPro.
Leader: One thing that’s really important when selecting leader is this: Will it damage the Sturgeon’s face during battle? Thin leaders will and fat leaders probably won’t. Do NOT use PowerPro as your leader choice. Go fat or go home! It’s OK to run heavier leaders than your mainline. Sturgeon are almost blind so visibility is not a concern especially on the Fraser river. I recommend Sea King brand braided dacron or Bass Pro Shops MagiBraid in 150 or 200 lb.
Swivels: Once again quality is the game. There are good swivels and bad swivels. I like Kodiak brand swivels. Use a rolling swivel in between main line to leader in sizes 3/0 – 5/0. You’ll also need a big snap swivel to secure the weight. Go big because a small wired snap will bend out when you’re fighting a big fish. Nobody like to donate $10 weights to the river depths.
Hooks: This is where you make or break, literally. A larger Sturgeon such as over 6 feet can straighten out a cheaper hook or break it. Spend the extra $3 and get a pack of Owner hooks. Sizes 6/0 to 10/0 will cover you. Go Barbless! Make sure to flatten out the barb! Keep some tough pliers on the boat and even a file to ensure the barb is 100% gone. It’s the law and it’s good for the fish.
When you’ve got all your Sturgeon tackle in order it will make landing Sturgeon like this much easier and way more fun!