This column will self destruct in t-minus three, two, one ...

I am about to commit the unthinkable - the worst Cardinal Sin of any speckle trout fisherman: Divulge a few of my closely guarded secrets.

I therefore respectfully request that after reading the aforementioned classified information you commit it to memory, tear this column into tiny pieces and bury those pieces in the garden.

Okay, not really.

I wouldn't want you blaming your dead vegetables on my feeble prose.

Actually I thought I'd share some of my time-honed practices in hopes they might help you hook that brookie of a lifetime - and then, more importantly, help avoid heartbreak when you do.

As in any outdoor pursuit, I've always been one to leave as little as possible to chance. Enough can go wrong on its own without adding the uncertainty of equipment malfunction to the equation.

For me, that means spotlessly clean equipment and constant attention to detail.

I keep both my hunting and fishing equipment as pristine as the day I purchased it and I never skimp on either. I buy the best, take care of it and it takes care of me.

I also sweat the small stuff. A chain is only as good as its weakest link - so the smallest fray or burr in a line, a weakened snap swivel or a dull hook can mean the difference between putting a lunker in the boat or going home empty-handed.

Okay, so enough jibbering- jabbering - here is how I do it (at least with spinning gear).

I run two light, fast-action 7-foot Orvis rods with ultra-light Okuma reels spooled with 8-pound Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon line.

I like the longer rods because it allows the fish to fight the pole and not the line.

I've been a fan of fluorocarbon since its introduction a decade ago. It does not soak up water like traditional line, so it doesn't stretch and knot strength is never compromised. It also has a high tensile strength and very low diameter. That means you can bump up to a higher weight line without sacrificing spool capacity or line maneuverability.

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