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How do you like to land larger smallmouth?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 robow7

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 11:15 PM

Maybe a simple question to some but how do you like to land a hard charging sizable smallmouth bass when they make those power runs?  Do you take up your slack line and try to get him on the reel? or do you concentrate on other aspects such line control with your left hand (assuming you're right handed).  The reason I ask this is that I seem to lose a lot of really good smallmouth after I set the hook, and after a jump and a hard run, the hook seems all too often to just come out.  I know to keep my rod tip down and pulling against his general direction but maybe I should be doing something else like letting the line run thru my fingers more easily when they make run, or maybe I should try and spin my reel with my palm trying to take up slack line quickly to get it on the reel and let the drag do its thing?  What say ye.



#2 Rocco

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 02:30 AM

Assuming your tackle is meant to be used on the bigger smallies over 5 lbs -- say, a 7 wt and 8-10 lb leader minimum -- you can land most of them. They are surely no tougher than steelhead. 

 

If they set off on a run getting them  on the reel is no problem and IMHO this is essential. (The big one that is already near snags when you hook him will often make a monkey of anyone.)   

 

Really sharp hooks and lusty hook sets -- several -- on a tight line also are necessary. 

 

Hooks mostly 'come out' on slack line. Palming the reel to put max pressure with with the power in the mid rod; making instant adjustments; and taking up slack fast when needed are  part of the game. 

 

Never let them rest. -- pull their heads off center line with side pressure -- forget the old saw ' keep the rod  tip up' .  Nag them into moving. 

 

You can't stop a big guy from jumping. (I never want to anyway.) Head shakes are heart stoppers but not always fatal end games if enough rod pressure is there.  

 

With lighter tackle. do the same things but your odds are worse because you are at his disposal in terms of the limited range of pressure you can bring to bear.

 

Forget netting them if alone with a fly rod, lip them. 

 

Rocco



#3 Dave G.

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 05:23 AM

Not sure where you got the idea to keep the rod tip down but I think part of your problem is keeping the rod tip down actually. Try keeping it up at a 30-45 deg angle or so and then the flex in the rod will ride the waves of the fishes thrusts and shakes. If it's a 5 or 6 lb fish it's going to bend your rod, That's ok. Also  this gives flex on the jumps. You have him fighting your line with no shock absorption when pointed at the fish,making it easier for the fish to tear the hook out.. Just my opinion.

 

Also on bass, they have bony mouths, give and extra hook set, enough to feel resistance. It's unlike trout where you can just flip the rod tip and hook them with smaller hooks.. I have fished smallies with size 10 hooks but more usual is size 4-1. It takes a little more ooomph to set the larger hooks too, plus the bones. Largemouth are even more bony in the mouth fwiw.

 

I lip all bass big enough to lip. Keep some rod tension on as you lip the fish.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#4 mikechell

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 05:44 AM

Keeping the rod tip down is an old trick to keep fish from jumping as often, and it does reduce the number and height if jumps.

 

I am not sure what "bony" means in terms of a fishes mouth, but large and small mouth bass have plenty of flesh in there for hooks to bury into.  You're not going to pull a hook point through bone.

The next time you actually catch a bass, look at the area the hook is in.  Most times, you'll see that the site is torn with a much larger hole than the hook made on entry.  Fighting a fish always tears at the point of entry, and enlarges the hole ... which is a main reason, even with barbed hooks, we often lose fish.  Strip set the hook, that's enough.Setting the hook too hard can enlarge the point of entry, making it easier for the fish to throw the hook.  As noted above, always apply side to side pressure to tire the fish out.  

 

I've never put a fish on the reel, even the 5 lb. + Large Mouths I've caught.  The one time I tried, I lost it.  I use my left hand to pull line in, and a stripping guard and one finger on my rod holding hand to apply drag when the fish runs.


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#5 Rocco

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 05:49 AM

Dave G.

 

I did not mean  --or say --  to keep the rod tip in the water. It needs to be angled downward, as you said , or even parallel for side pressure at times,  to give the mid section and butt a fill range of adjustments. 

 

Things go wrong fast with the tip straight up or even angled backward as those positions limit your ability to increase pressure and quickly adjust line angles .

 

Some guys do actually bury their tips in the water to discourage jumps but I don't think it works on trophy size fish and actually enjoy the spectacle anyway.  

 

Rocco



#6 tjm

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:14 AM

I think I do all of the above, just not all the time.

Since I never had a teacher, most all my methods are self invented and as such possibly wrong.

I don't catch many over 3# so most don't give much trouble and I don't usually kill one so if it gets off, it was fun while it lasted. I love it when a fish jumps and dances in the air, and some times I lose them; two reactions that seem to have merit part of the time; when the fish jumps turn the rod to apply the pressure in the other direction that it was in, so as to off balance the jump keeping a tight line and as the fish reenters the water I might point the rod straight at it for a moment giving slack quickly, this because I have torn lose or broken off as the fish's momentum maxes out and the current takes it at the same time; this action would be as quickly followed by a hard side pressure with the rod parallel to the water.

 

Whether or not the reel is used depends on how far and fast the run is, if the run takes up all the loose line, I'm on the reel.

If the run takes up most of  the loose line, I might get on the reel; but if there are yards of line to be picked up on a single action reel I don't try to get that done while tending to the fish.

 

When I fished still water trout with tiny flies and 1# tippets plunging the rod into the water was the best way to keep from breaking a tippet, keeping the trout down at all times. Rarely  a fish jumps on a very fine tippet and it doesn't break.

I never put the rod up high or over head because watching the bend is important to me; how much bend can my tippet stand and will the rod break questions. Some times I think easing the rod bend can prevent pullout as well as broken  tippets.

 

On the hook tearing the entry hole as the fish fights and the fisher jerks the rod; yeah that happens. I think there is more tear out with barbed hooks because they have a saw effect, each time the fish is turned the hook twists and the barb cuts a new slot.



#7 Poopdeck

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:49 AM

Maybe this is just me but a SMB's jump happens so suddenly and last for but a fraction of a second that I don't care what you do. By the time you react the fish is already back in the water so whatever you think you did came late to the jump. Keep the slack out of the line if the fish is running, jumping or shaking its head. Keep your rod low but under the load of the fish. A 9' rod is your best tool to take up slack but if the rod is held high you have no room to do that when you have to.

I hate fly reels. You can strip line in faster then you can wind it in with a fly reel. River SMB love to charge directly at the boat after being hooked and fly reels simply can't gather the line fast enough when they do this. I have reels that have a 6:1 ratio that can't keep up to some of the charges back at the boat. I don't lose to many fish but when I do it's not because they are jumping or running away, it's because they came straight back at me.

#8 Dave G.

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:56 AM

 Actually I took the OP to mean he pointed the rod tip at the fish Rocco, .I could be wrong though.

 

Mike , bass have bones around the mouth, heavier than on trout ( we do a lot of both kind of fishing up this way), You need enough pressure to deflect off the bone not penetrate the bone.. My view might be skewed  a bit though where in the early spring and again in the fall we still water trout fish with size 20 and 18 hooks for trout in the 14"-20" range in the midge hatches and just flick the rod tip for a hook set. It's a completely different technique from bass fishing.

 

Once on, my technique isn't so different for trout or bass, keep a bend in the rod. This loads the fish, when the fish jump the rod takes up the shock ( this I learned salmon fishing). Don't hold the rod too high, 30 degrees to the fish is good. And if it is running straight at you then yes of course that is a whole different matter, you have to strip line, Just be ready to change it up if he turns back out again.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#9 Dave G.

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:13 AM

Maybe this is just me but a SMB's jump happens so suddenly and last for but a fraction of a second that I don't care what you do.

 

 The initial jump is almost instant sometimes, I agree and that's a good time to lose a fish because you haven't even set up for the fish yet.. In my experience later jumps can be anticipated better, maybe the fish went a little deep you can sense he is headed for the surface and let the pressure up a bit unless you want to see another jump.. But easing off can deter the jump sometimes.

 

That's OK salmon tumble down river lol ! I've seen them roll over the surface too trying to throw the hook.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#10 robow7

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:24 AM

No, I never point the rod tip towards the fish itself, but always try and keep more or less a right angle to the fish and/or the way he is traveling.  I'm talking 17-18+ inch and up smallies here.  Yea, when they jump, I try to keep tension but that's not my concern, it seems they make that tear down stream (before or after the leap) where it seems I'm losing too many fish where it just seems to pull out.  My hooks are barbed, and generally I tie most of my smallmouth flies with size 4 hooks.  Funny thing is when I'm using an articulated pattern of two size 4 hooks, I don't get the pull offs as much.  I'm afraid too often I keep too much tension on my line with my pointer finger of my right (rod) hand when he makes those runs, would it be better to allow the line to slide more easily under my finger in effect trying to create drag?  My friend recommended getting the fish on the reel as quickly as possible but if I've stripped in a lot of line before the strike, that's not an easy thing to do while concentrating on the fish, though he uses a reel which really spools freely and he just slaps at the reel rim to take the line up quickly, not using the actual handle.  Btw, I definitely feel I lose more fish with longer shanked hooks, whether it's a leverage thing or not as some have claimed, I don't know.  Also, I fish big largemouth and sorry, it's not the same game  as a 18+" river smallie, the bucket mouths roll over and wave the white flag much more quickly.



#11 robow7

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:26 AM

Btw, when people talk about setting the hook a second time, do you really give it the snap twice?  I thought keeping even pressure would have been better less risky, but maybe I'm wrong here.



#12 Dave G.

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:40 AM

Btw, when people talk about setting the hook a second time, do you really give it the snap twice?  I thought keeping even pressure would have been better less risky, but maybe I'm wrong here.

A good firm hook set will do but let off the pressure of that hook set,don't hold the fish with that much pressure of the full hook set..i have done two though yes, because i'm often coming off trout season with light hook sets on small hooks and feel its a heavy fish and so give it a good set. It's like two stages, twitch and set.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#13 mikechell

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:12 AM

I'll only do a second hook set if I think the fish "came towards me" with the first one.  If the first hook set felt like I was hanging into a log, then I know it's in there.  If it felt "mushy", then I'm suspecting a poor set and I'll snap the line again to ensure the barb penetrated.

 

If you're losing fish WHILE they are running AWAY from you or turning, then the hook was not in.  (probably)

Either you're not getting a good hook set to begin with, or you've already torn such a large hole that the hook is free to pull out.


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#14 tjm

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 10:08 PM

  Strip set the hook, that's enough.

Want to elaborate on that? I see very few people that don't jerk the rod  and wonder why the jerk is so common.



#15 mikechell

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 10:37 PM

Tjm ... I can't find it, but there was a video comparing rod sets to strip sets.  This is basically what it showed.

 

Attached File  strip set.jpg   41.42KB   3 downloads

 

Obviously, you'll get a much more solid hook penetration using a strip set.


Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis