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michang5

Need Help From Kayakers That Fish Wacky Senkos

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Preface: I throw wacky GYCB senkos and wacky Zoom finesse worms about 75% of time. Until recently I only fished from the bank. 

 

My wacky senko setup: 20# braid > 10# fluoro > Gamakatsu weedless finesse WG hook (http://www.amazon.com/Gamakatsu-Finesse-Weedless-Hook-5-Black/dp/B0010G283A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391917685&sr=8-1&keywords=gamakatsu+weedless+hooks) > o-ring > 4" or 5" senko.

Hook sizes: I used to use 2/0. Recently downsized to Size 1.

 

I have confidence in the rig from the bank. I've had very few missed hook sets or spit hooks with either hook size.

 

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My last two kayak fishing trips (which included my first tournament outing today) have chipped away at my confidence. Using the Size 1 hook last week, I lost two fish after setting the hook. I felt the weight and was reeling in when they popped off early during the retrieve. Using the Size 1 today, I lost two good fish as they jumped out of the water.

 

A friend mentioned that he has had difficulties setting the hook and subsequently losing fish after he started fishing from a kayak. That leads me to question whether I am setting the hook well enough from a seated position.

 

Question 1: Any suggestions on setting a hook from a seated, water-level position?

 

Question 2: And/or should I go back to the larger 2/0 weedless hook?

 

Question 3: And/or should I switch weedless hook brands or find a hook without a weed guard? I tried throwing o-ringed senkos with the open Gamakatsu Size 1 drop-shot hooks that I use for wacky finesse worms, but I didn't like the results.

 

Thanks for the insight.

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1) I fish all the way down to size 4 Gamakatsu Wide-Gap Finesse hooks. I fish them both seated and standing from my yak, no real issues to speak of.

 

2) 2/0 - not necessarily. How are you setting the hook? Do you reel down the slack, then sweep your rod? Or do you do a quick jerk of the rod? I personally find the former a more consistent method to hooking the fish, that as well as the ONE....TWO...THREEE hook set.

 

3) I have tested a lot of different hook brands. I like the Gammy WGF hooks probably best. Gammy drop shots next, I like Owner wacky hooks, as well. Tested much more, these are just my favs right now.

 

I also never use an O ring. I know some swear by them, but I never have. I prefer to use heat shrink and hook perpendicular to the worm - if I even use the heat shrink at all.

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You need to pay careful attention to how much slack is in your line.  When you're standing up on the bank you probably back up when you hook a fish, even if you don't realize you do it.  In a kayak the opposite happens, you are pulled toward the fish.  Make sure your line is tight enough when you set the hook and then reel to keep pressure on the fish after you set the hook.  With open hook finesse techniques, I would reel until the line is tight before sweeping the rod.  Your hook size is fine.

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You need to pay careful attention to how much slack is in your line.  When you're standing up on the bank you probably back up when you hook a fish, even if you don't realize you do it.  In a kayak the opposite happens, you are pulled toward the fish.  Make sure your line is tight enough when you set the hook and then reel to keep pressure on the fish after you set the hook.  With open hook finesse techniques, I would reel until the line is tight before sweeping the rod.  Your hook size is fine.

I agree. I've fished out of a float tube quite a bit and you really have to reel up the slack while leaning back as you set the hook...two guys setting the hook at the same time in a canoe can put you in the water quick though (I'll only do that once! :) )Your hook size is fine. I've had good success using the Owner mosquito hook, but I haven't tried the weedless version. When it comes to weedless senkos i love texas rigging them weightless using 2/0 EWG offset hooks.

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Thank you very much, everyone! Every time I ask a question, I get such greet responses.

After reading the above, I'm pretty certain that my hooksets -- when paired with the weedless hooks -- are to blame. I keep a pretty slack line at times, and my hooksets is pretty much a lift up paired with hope that the fish will hook itself.

Previously I've thought about sitting on a folding chair while bank fishing to practice my kayak casting. I think I need to actually do it now to practice my seated reel-down-and-sweep hooksets.

And/or I need to make a switch to open Gama finesse WG hooks while kayak fishing. It sounds like you guys aren't using the weedguard versions.

Thanks again!

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Sharp hooks and braid means you don't really need the hero hook set.  Get out the slack and snap the rod.  Also, when setting the hook in the kayak you won't pull yourself towards the fish enough if at all to make any impact on the hook set.  Once they are hooked then yes, you can get pulled around pretty easily for sure.  

 

 Some days they just don't take the bait as well though and they get off, it is just how it works.

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Previously I've thought about sitting on a folding chair while bank fishing to practice my kayak casting. I think I need to actually do it now to practice my seated reel-down-and-sweep hooksets.

 

That's a really good idea.  If you can get good hook ups from a stationary, seated position, you should be in good shape while on your kayak.

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It's just the slack in your line - reel down while lowering your rod until you feel it come tight and bam - sweep set and you're hooked up solid. A bright braid will help with seeing the bite happen, too.

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  Sounds to me like it is just a practice issue.  With more time in your boat you will get better at hook setting.  If you are used to setting the hook from the bank, just be aware that setting the hook from the boat is a different deal, both from a feel and physics standpoint.  That takes time on the water.

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FWIW, take with requisite grain of salt, etc etc.

 

I found that I had to be really conscious of line slack, especially around hook sets.  I needed to be much more 'decisive', in terms of timing, when laying into a fish.  A kayak moves so easily on the water that, if there's any wind or current, I found that the movement could introduce just enough slack into the line to dampen the hookset (if I didn't time things well).

 

And, though I'm not 100% sure, I have a theory that even my leaning as I reel down can cause the boat to start to move on the water.

 

So, when I first started fishing from a kayak, I found a lot of fish were getting off.  Once I started being more aggressive in reeling down and swiftly setting the hook, my hook-up ratio seemed to return to normal.  No equipment change was necessary compared to what I was previously using on the bank.  Just needed a slight adjustment to technique.

 

Again, your mileage may vary.

 

ed:  To try to put a point on it... From the bank with soft plastics, my hook set could be thought of as having two 'beats'.  "Reel-and-Set"... Now it's more like a beat and a half - "ReelSet".  I try to keep the reel turning the same as it was on dry land, but just accelerate the time I start to pull up into the set.

 

FWIW, I've found that line management while unanchored has been the hardest part of kayak fishing so far.  I dead-stick a lot of soft plastics....

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I had really bad results with that hook in size 1 same as you describe. Size 2/0 work much better. 

 

They are a thin wire finesse hook that is very sharp. Not much of a hookset is needed.

 

Let the fish take the Senko longer. I normally wait 3-5 seconds before reeling down.

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Sharp hooks and braid means you don't really need the hero hook set. Get out the slack and snap the rod. Also, when setting the hook in the kayak you won't pull yourself towards the fish enough if at all to make any impact on the hook set. Once they are hooked then yes, you can get pulled around pretty easily for sure.

Some days they just don't take the bait as well though and they get off, it is just how it works.

Pretty much exactly what I would have said.

I fish weedless wacky worms on a 6'8 M/XF Mojo wacky spinning rod with the exact same line setup. Actually, I have it rigged and al walking out the door to fish this morning in the yaks with the girlfriend.

My hook of choice is the Owner weedless wacky in 2/0 for 5 inch worms, 1/0 for 4 inch. My PB in my avatar was caught on the 2/0.

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Excellent additions, everyone. Thanks again.

 

I went out for an hour today and sat on a folding stool practicing my casts, slack-line management and hooksets. In the middle of each retrieve, I would drop the rod tip, reel up slack quickly, and sweep set left or right. Definitely not a home-run-swing set, but done with purpose as HeavyDluxe suggested.

 

Didn't care if I caught anything. Just trying to build muscle memory. I hope to practice several more times this week (from the bank) and get more on-water practice before the next tournament event in late March.

 

Finally, I plan on ordering the Owner weedless wacky hooks that a few have suggested above.

 

I hope to report back with improvements. 

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Question 3: And/or should I switch weedless hook brands or find a hook without a weed guard? I tried throwing o-ringed senkos with the open Gamakatsu Size 1 drop-shot hooks that I use for wacky finesse worms, but I didn't like the results.

 

Thanks for the insight.

 

Darren mentioned getting the hook perpendicular, if you use o-rings use 2 of them crossed to get the hook that way

 

399747317.jpg

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I fish a lot of wacky rigged senko's out of a yak.  It is hard to keep slack out of thin braid on the yak, wind always being a factor and pushing you ever so slightly towards your bait.  I've settled on Owners Weedless Wacky wide gap hook in 1/0 but used to use a lot of circle hooks for this tactic.  Hook set becomes much less important with them, just be sure to find a non kirbed style.

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I've been known to throw a few stick baits from time to time.  Check your PM.

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Rain and cold prevented me from practicing today, so I have been researching different wacky hooks — weedless and open.

  • Seems like an equal number of folks love and hate the Gamakatsu weedless finesse WG hook with the plastic weedguard.
  • More people dislike the VMC version with the metal guard than like it
  • More people like the Owner wacky hooks than dislike it. General criticism is that the fiber weedguard really doesn't help much on the weedless version, but it doesn't seem to get in the way of the excellent hook

At lunch I stopped by Gander Mountain to check out their options (which was pretty pitiful BTW). However, they did have Owner wacky hooks (open, no weedguard), and I stood there for 5 minutes debating between Size 1, 1/0 and 2/0. I ultimately grabbed a pack of Size 1, and I'm now uncertain about the choice.

 

QUESTION: For folks that hook through the senko, I can understand using a larger 2/0 hook. But what size hook do you o-ring or Goody-band fans use? I've googled and haven't seen any definitive pairings — "I use o-rings and I use a Size XXX hook."

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Rain and cold prevented me from practicing today, so I have been researching different wacky hooks — weedless and open.

  • Seems like an equal number of folks love and hate the Gamakatsu weedless finesse WG hook with the plastic weedguard.
  • More people dislike the VMC version with the metal guard than like it
  • More people like the Owner wacky hooks than dislike it. General criticism is that the fiber weedguard really doesn't help much on the weedless version, but it doesn't seem to disrupt the hook set.

At lunch I stopped by Gander Mountain to check out their options (which was pretty pitiful BTW). However, they did have Owner wacky hooks (open, no weedguard), and I stood there for 5 minutes debating between Size 1, 1/0 and 2/0. I ultimately grabbed a pack of Size 1, and I'm now uncertain about the choice.

 

QUESTION: For folks that hook through the senko, I can understand using a larger 2/0 hook. But what size hook do you o-ring or Goody-band fans use? I've googled and haven't seen any definitive pairings — "I use o-rings and I use a Size XXX hook."

 

Those are fine hooks, I have quite a few of them, but I don't use them that much as I prefer to snell my hooks and the straight shank plus straight eye make that a little less than my cup-o-tea. Although I still do it. And you can use the same size with O rings.

 

As well, a size 1 is FINE! I use all the way from a size 4 up to a 2/0, with size 1 being my primary go-to these days. Everyone has their opinion on hook sizes, and this is mine. People use tiny hooks for huge salmon all the time. Vast majority of my fish are caught (when wacky) in the top of the lip, more times than down in the fish body. Either way your line, whether using a 2/0 or a size 4, is subject to the abrasive teeth if the bass inhales the worm.

 

I caught my personal best of 7.5 lbs in thick slop with a size 1 Gammy Wide Gap Finesse.

 

Other thing I have to say about the Owner hooks, is the hook makes a beak to the point. In other words, the point is slightly turned in to the rest of the hook body.

 

Now that hasn't hurt me much at all - that I know of - but I personally found the Gammy brand to be better as there's no beak. That's a personal preference, but when I had questions on the subject, I googled it and found quite a few hits and detailed pix about how the beak is a problem. Your mileage may vary with it.

 

BTW, I've never broken a Gammy or Owner off on a fish. Just sayin'.

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Darren mentioned getting the hook perpendicular, if you use o-rings use 2 of them crossed to get the hook that way

 

399747317.jpg

 

Yeah, this is true. And I know of that rigging, failed to mention it. Good point.

 

Still for me, and this is just how I run with it, I prefer shrink wrap, if I use it at all. Probably need to grab some O rings at a hardware store to try them out.

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I just rig mine weightless texas rigged instead lol :) 

 

I never got into the wacky rigging but i know it produces and i might have to give it another whirl this season.

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BOOM!

300! rubber band hair ties from Walgreens for $2.50. Three loops around the senko and insert new Owner hook in recommended perpendicular position.

If these don't melt from the senko salt like the clear poly hair ties I used to use, we will have a winner. Oh...and it's gotta catch fish, of course. ;)

post-44662-0-14460200-1392159577_thumb.j

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I use 1 o ring and a 1/0 open owner wacky hook on Gary Y 5" and a size 1 on 4". Also a Gamy finesse wide gap works well. Use a baitcast with 12# fluro on the 5 and a spinning reel set up with 6# copolymer for the 4.

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Single o-ring. I order slightly tighter (7/32") than the standard 1/4" ID that most use. I install with pliers. 2/0 Mustad weedless hooks. 

 

http://www.theoringstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=367_23_22&products_id=1069

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYK18yQVFsQ

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If you are fishing the weedless hooks, I've had the same problems. Its different than the open Gammy's, and you need to develop a wrist-snap hookset. You just can't sweep, or apply pressure like open hooks, they'll come unpinned. When you get a bite, its more of a very sudden snap, not a full jerk, as you have to knock the titanium guard down...Its helped me, a lot.

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I wanted to update this tread with my learnings. 

 

  • Switched to Owner Weedless Wacky hooks in 1/0 size.
    • The Gamakatsu weedguard seems to work a tiny bit better when it accidentally gets thrown into a tree branch. That said, I've only lost one Owner hook due to snag.
    • The Owner hook isn't a cure-all to my hookset problems. I lost one fish (see below), but landed 4.
    • Owner weedguard seems to keep its shape and stay glued better. The Gama ones only last about 3-4 fish before weakening/ungluing.

 

  • I'm still testing rubber bands versus o-rings, but o-rings currently have the edge.
    • Perpendicular hook placement with rubber bands = 2 fish
    • Parallel hook placement with o-ring = 2 fish
    • I've lost three senkos due to rubber-band failure. One the bands snapped on hookset. A fish pulled the senko out of another, leaving band and hook. Third one snapped during cast.
    • With old Gama hooks, I lost several o-ringed 4" senkos. With the looser o-ring fit, they seemed to just work their way off the hook. I haven't experienced this with the Owner hooks so far.

 

  • As most have noted here, slack management and hookset technique have been the more/most important factors.
    • I've been practicing (while standing on bank, sitting on bank, and in kayak) counting to 3 as I reel up slack with tip down and then lifting or sweeping the rod tip. This has proven successful for the 4 wacky senko fish, as well as the numerous other fish I've caught the last few weeks with open-hook wacky and drop-shot setups.
    • The one wacky senko fish I lost was because I dorked out and didn't do the above steps.
    • Minding the line slack has helped as well. I suspect just paying more attention to line in general has translated to better attention placed on the hookset when a fish does bite.

 

Thanks again to everyone for the help! While I feel like I still have lots of room for improvement, I think I've "solved" the problem.

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