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Dave Hull

Floro Leader Length For Fishing Jerkbaits?

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In an effort to catch a PB smallie I made my first dedicated spring smallmouth trip to Erie last year. Usually go there for walleyes and usually go to Dale Hollow for the post spawn smallmouths. Results were disappointing to say the least. In five days I caught what I expected to catch in one day. Studied Dwight Hottle's Bass Resource write-up which he was kind enough to share on how he jerkbait fishes Erie.

http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/topic/100962-dwight-hottle/

There was also a timely article by Joe Balog detailing his Erie smallie techniques in an In-Fisherman article so I thought I had a good game plan! Fished the islands area mostly Kelley's the first week of May. Due to the early spring last year water there was already 70 degrees. That most likely was a factor so I'm going to go earlier this year. There were plenty of fish around as I spotted them under the boat whenever I got in less than 15' of water. Plenty of other bass fisherman trying as well but I never saw any of them land a single fish. Most others appeared to be drop shotting. I suspect the bass were more interested in spawning than anything else. But the ones I caught were still full of eggs and they don't all spawn at the same time anyway so I can't blame my lack of success on that.

I tried a variety new jerkbaits both trolling and casting. I mainly used a spinning reel loaded with 10lb Fireline Crystal with a 8lb floro leader joined together by a mini swivel. To avoid problems with it going thru the guides I only used a 18"-20" leader. So I'm wondering if I chumped myself by not using a longer leader? What length leader do you recommend and how to you join the 2 lines?

Thanks...

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I join the braid to fluoro with an alberto knot. When tied right, it is stupid strong, compact so it goes through guides with ease, and is very easy to tie. Depending on what I am doing, I usually use about 4-5 feet of leader, that allows me several re-ties, before I need to tie a new leader on. And it also keeps the knot out of the reel when casting.

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Your leader length might not have been as much of a problems as the water temps.

 

Mid 50's water temps could lead to a more favorable jerkbait bite though you can get them to go when it's 10-15 degrees cooler and warmer.

 

But 70's is not usually considered Jerkbait water.

 

Perhaps you could get on Erie a little earlier in the spring.

 

A-Jay

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Uni to Uni knot. Basically two slip knots...

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AJ: I realize timing is paramount for the prespawn jerkbait bite. Weather wise last spring was a freak! I'm trying to hit the end of the prespawn period as the wife goes with me and I don't want to freeze her out. But I'm not buying that the jerkbait bite is over the first week of May on Erie. Normally the western basin would be between 50 and 60 degrees the first week of May and usually doesn't hit 70 until mid June. The protected water's temperature at Kelley's North bay rose nearly 10 degrees to 70 degrees during the week that we were there and although I think that did not help the cause I don't think it was the cause for my lack of success.       

How long of a leader do you use?   

 

 

Tytay: Lets rap. Sent you a PM several weeks ago...

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My leader length is 10 - 12 ft.

 

btw- my last trip to Lake Erie in November, the water levels were Way down.

 

So low in fact that the choice of which marina to launch from was predicated on the wind direction as some of the boat ramps lacked sufficient water to launch safely.

 

Might also be why the water temps could raise a bit quicker.

 

A-Jay

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If you want to catch a pre spawn smallie go to presque isle

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I was also a victim to the early spring last year, and I doubt your problem was leader length. I had a 3-day trip on Presque Isle in early May and had couple friends fly in. I had talked up Erie to these guys for years and they finally made the trip, expecting the best fishing they'd ever seen. I felt so bad. 3 days on the water = 9 fish. Couldn't even get on the main lake. The water was stained and I was told the majority of bass were spawning, but we saw little bedding activity thanks to the water clarity - or lack of.

 

 I'm off topic - just wanted to let you know I sympathize; you can probably chalk it more to something other than leader length. I've caught plenty of tube smallies and LM in Erie on straight braid before I even knew what fluorocarbon leaders were (however I do use them now). For what it's worth, we've planned the trip again. This time within the last two weeks of April and that's based on expectations of a normal spring.

 

So, I use an extra long leader for the drop shot, up to 16' sometimes so I can retie constantly - I want that connection knot to last an entire day. I also use the crazy alberto / modified albright. But for jerk baits, I've been using straight Yo-Zuri Hybrid for as long as I can remember. I am far from a jerkbait guru like some guys here but I've caught plenty of Erie bass with them since the late 90s. I'm a bit nervous about the lack of stretch in braid and treble hook lures, but I might give it a try soon with 4-5' leader because I won't retie as often. Also FYI we had success on jerk baits through June. Most years depending on water temp they have worked well through the end of June, but d-shot, spinner baits and tubes eventually take over.

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I join the braid to fluoro with an alberto knot. When tied right, it is stupid strong, compact so it goes through guides with ease, and is very easy to tie. Depending on what I am doing, I usually use about 4-5 feet of leader, that allows me several re-ties, before I need to tie a new leader on. And it also keeps the knot out of the reel when casting.

X2 - it is interesting that a lot of folks believe that jerkbaits are only effective at a particular water temperature. All year long I carry jerkbaits with me. Wouldn't think of leaving home without them! Have never believed that jerks do not perform in warm water - or cold. However, under the conditions you were faced with, I believe the smallies were more bottom orientated. You may have had better success with dragging a tube or a drop shot presentation. But hey....it's fishing....isn't it! :)

 

Edit: As far as leader length goes, don't get yourself tied up in a knot (pun intended) over it. I'd probably opt for 4 to 5 feet. And definitely learn to tie the Alberto.

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I was taught to make my leader approximately twice the length of the rod that I'm using. So that's what I usually do.

 

As for knots I use an albright special (best knot for tying 2 lines of unequal diameter together, IMHO.) Just make sure that you wrap the braid/fireline around the flouro, and not the other way around. The design of the albright special knot wraps the braid around the leader line so that it's the braid hitting the guides and not the flouro. Just be sure to re-tie every so often. The other great thing about this knot is it's extremely small profile. 

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So I was actually lucky to get on the Prespawn bite on Champlain last year (May 7th ish 50-55 degrees).  On the 7th my buddy landed 105 smallies (I got 87) on a Slender Pointer on straight Power Pro, red that had faded to Pink.  No Leader.  I think when the Smallies are in their prespawn feeding frenzie a leader isn't going to make that much of a difference.  But if it turns out to be something that makes you more confident then by all means go for it. 

 

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