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jesseTrips

Strikes Close Up - How to Handle

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Just starting out in freshwater bass fishing (I've got some saltwater experience) and I've found what seems to be a nice spot on a lake. I've take a couple of smaller LMB on spoons but yesterday afternoon I had what seemed to be good sized fish hit a swimbait about two yards or less in front of me. I couldn't close the deal.

What I typically do is hang fire for a few moments, let the fish take the lure and then apply steady pressure. This seems to work with Stripers but I'm wondering if this is not a technique for LMB. The fish was so close I didn't know how to handle it. Should I have set the hook hard and quickly? Hook too big? Too much drag? I'm not even sure what my drag should be for this species.

The fish was really slamming the lure and we had a bit of tug-o-war going on for a few moments. Any advice vma.

The swimbait was 4" Keitech Easy Shiner w/ a Buckeye JWill 1/8 head. I was wading in about three feet of water w/ moderate weeds.

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It depends on just how much the bass actually took the bait, setting the hook on a LMB requires the hook to penetrate the roof of the mouth area which is rugged, really good sharp hooks depending on wire size is what determines how much power you put into the hook set, swim bait hooks are pretty stout for the most part, the rod and line strength are other determining factors, with a fish that close, you want to be mindful of your rod position, you don't want to set the hook in a 12 o'clock position or you may be taking a trip to the local hospital, your hook set should still be firm but not to the point that your going to rip the fish out of the water, a short but quick set with just enough force from a medium heavy action Rod to allow the hook to penetrate the roof of its mouth in about the 10 or 2 o'clock position would be my suggestion.

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Ahh, I was actually using a ML rod and didn't give it too much of a set either. On my first hit of the season I thought I'd hooked a Barracuda and ripped the bait clear out of the water. Since then I've been mindful to chill'lax on strike. Time to get a bit more aggressive.

I've got inshore rods that could easily handle these fish but it's a little overweight. Maybe time for more gear:). Do you think I could get away w/ a ML, just bought it? This spot has weeds and I'm sure it's only going to get worse. Thanks NF.

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A medium light rod IMO is too soft, which also hints that you are probably using a light line as well, IMO, something like a drop shot set up would maybe work better with that tackle, with a drop shot the fish normally grab the bait and head down hill at the strike allowing you to vertically lift the rod while cranking and not actually swinging the rod to get the hook to set.

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Ok, good stuff. I've got to do a little research. I've heard the term drop-shot before but don't really know what it means. Line is 30lb braid (had some lying around) with a 15lb flourocarbon leader. 3000 class spinning reel. My spot seems somewhat shallow and the hits are close to the bottom.

Thanks again.

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2 hours ago, jesseTrips said:

Just starting out in freshwater bass fishing (I've got some saltwater experience) and I've found what seems to be a nice spot on a lake. I've take a couple of smaller LMB on spoons but yesterday afternoon I had what seemed to be good sized fish hit a swimbait about two yards or less in front of me. I couldn't close the deal.

What I typically do is hang fire for a few moments, let the fish take the lure and then apply steady pressure. This seems to work with Stripers but I'm wondering if this is not a technique for LMB. The fish was so close I didn't know how to handle it. Should I have set the hook hard and quickly? Hook too big? Too much drag? I'm not even sure what my drag should be for this species.

The fish was really slamming the lure and we had a bit of tug-o-war going on for a few moments. Any advice vma.

The swimbait was 4" Keitech Easy Shiner w/ a Buckeye JWill 1/8 head. I was wading in about three feet of water w/ moderate weeds.

Right off the bat, Hello and Welcome to Bass Resource ~

Just like fighting fish in saltwater, each fish & fight are different.  Often the "Technique" used is dictated by the circumstances of the event.  The type of tackle, the line & lure (single or treble hook bait) govern how to best succeed in landing your quarry.   Stouter tackle & a single hook usually brings the whole thing to a close quickly; wind it in & scoop with net.  Conversely, lighter gear, as in the case here, usually requires a bit more finesse.  It's more of a coaxing rather than tug of war mentality.  Still some fish will come right to you, others will lose their mind by performing all manner of crazy & acrobatic moves in an effort to earn their freedom. 

In these cases, after an appropriate hookset for the tackle & bait used, I try to apply sufficient pressure ( also appropriate to the tackle) in the Opposite direction from where the fishes head (and the hooks) are.  In other words, I want to be pulling back against the fishes tail.  If & when the fish changes direction, I try to reverse the angle of my pressure as well.  What I never try to do is to pull the same way the fish is heading, especially when it's coming right at me.  I've lost many a bass in this scenario pulling the hooks right out of the fishes mouth.  I'll try to pull down here, often plunging the rod in the water, best I can.  Pulling straight up over head with a fish coming right at me is a lost bass more often than not. When a bass is particularly big & or spirited, and determined to make a run(s), I may loosen my drag a bit.   All of this can and usually does happen pretty fast, several times in a row & often in rapid succession.  It's usually pleasantly intense too.

As for your tackle choice, for me a ML anything is too light for a 4' swimbait.  I'm at least going M there.

A-Jay

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Thanks A-Jay, I hear you. I'm not sure if I had the fish proper hooked or what. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will get a better, quicker set. You live you learn.

As far as gear, just picked up this *** rod and am digging it's lightness, accuracy, etc. I've got inshores that are more than up to the task but I think I'll spring for a freshwater medium or medium/heavy.

Learned much in a morning.

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Rats!!! I forgot to welcome you to BR as well, so... HOWDY !!

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I'd cross his eyes. When you are flipping  in thick grass the fish are within feet of the boat. But that's using heavy braid and a stout hook. As lone as you've got good line and good knots I'dput the steel to him

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I lost a good one last week walking a spook along a shore line back to me when about 6 feet away from me an explosive blow up and it just went crazy ripping drag and jumping out of the water to throw the hooks which it did. It was very disappointing lol. It had so much power and fight in her and being so close she won that battle.

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It was the one that got away (I'm sure they'll be more;). I'm wasn't too bummed though. It has just motivated me. I know they're in there now! Just hoping this doesn't become an obsession, ha, good luck with that, lol.

Apologies on the rod name drop. Didn't know that was a no-no. I'll keep it generic here on out.

Happy to be on board and greatly appreciate all the advice and camaraderie.

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2 minutes ago, jesseTrips said:

It was the one that got away (I'm sure they'll be more;). I'm wasn't too bummed though. It has just motivated me. I know they're in there now! Just hoping this doesn't become an obsession, ha, good luck with that, lol.

Apologies on the rod name drop. Didn't know that was a no-no. I'll keep it generic here on out.

Happy to be on board and greatly appreciate all the advice and camaraderie.

It's not every one - just that one.

A-Jay

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Yep, it's just that one company.  Anybody else goes.

Bass on a short leash is a bit of a specialty of mine, often fishing from a kayak.  It really depends on the bait, though in a general sense, use the same hookset you'd use on a long cast, but a little lighter.  If I'm intentionally fishing short range, with say a jig or Texas rig plastic, I'll use a bit shorter rod, but with a decent length rear grip that I can lock into my elbow for leverage.  My preferred rod is a G.Loomis 804c JWR.  Strong, but stout.  Pick your price point with regards what line - they're all pretty nice.  I find longish, 7'+ rods a bit unweildy in this situation, even though 7-3 to 7-4 is my favorite worm and jig rod, otherwise.  Use strong line, and set your drag so it's below the breaking point of the line or the rod.  Keep a net handy and practice landing them yourself!

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3 hours ago, Wbeadlescomb said:

I'd cross his eyes. When you are flipping  in thick grass the fish are within feet of the boat. But that's using heavy braid and a stout hook. As lone as you've got good line and good knots I'dput the steel to him

I'm like that as well for the most part, the way I look at it, I'm either bringing back a fish, or, its lips LOL!! 

In the heat of the moment or a slight lapse in concentration however one may inadvertently forget the position they are in and have a missile launched at theirselves, you'd be surprised at just how well a half oz. weight can take down a 350 lb. guy !!! 

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3 minutes ago, Nitrofreak said:

I'm like that as well for the most part, the way I look at it, I'm either bringing back a fish, or, its lips LOL!! 

In the heat of the moment or a slight lapse in concentration however one may inadvertently forget the position they are in and have a missile launched at theirselves, you'd be surprised at just how well a half oz. weight can take down a 350 lb. guy !!! 

I'm telling ya, that's what happened a few days back. It was like an 8 inch baby bass and I hook'd set it like I'd gotten into Moby Dick. The lure came out of the water like something out of a Trident. That's when I said, alright, easy 'bro. Think I went a little too far the other way though:) That will change.

1 hour ago, J Francho said:

Yep, it's just that one company.  Anybody else goes.

Bass on a short leash is a bit of a specialty of mine, often fishing from a kayak.  It really depends on the bait, though in a general sense, use the same hookset you'd use on a long cast, but a little lighter.  If I'm intentionally fishing short range, with say a jig or Texas rig plastic, I'll use a bit shorter rod, but with a decent length rear grip that I can lock into my elbow for leverage.  My preferred rod is a G.Loomis 804c JWR.  Strong, but stout.  Pick your price point with regards what line - they're all pretty nice.  I find longish, 7'+ rods a bit unweildy in this situation, even though 7-3 to 7-4 is my favorite worm and jig rod, otherwise.  Use strong line, and set your drag so it's below the breaking point of the line or the rod.  Keep a net handy and practice landing them yourself!

My next rod will likely be in the 6'6 range. The spot I'm currently fishing has a lot tree overhang, etc. The 6'10 I'm using now is at the cusp. It looks like I don't need massive cast distance either. I'm wading so I can always go out a bit further in need be.

I will take your advice on the hook set too. Much appreciated.

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If you set your drag properly, you can still whack 'em good.  I do it all the time.  Do as I say, not as I do!

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2 minutes ago, jesseTrips said:

I'm telling ya, that's what happened a few days back. It was like an 8 inch baby bass and I hook'd set it like I'd gotten into Moby Dick. The lure came out of the water like something out of a Trident. That's when I said, alright, easy 'bro. Think I went a little too far the other way though:) That will change.

I have yet to have it happen to me  and I hope it never does to me or anyone else but, on the other hand, I have witnessed it and seen too many times the end result of others misfortunes, that's why I tend preach about keeping your focus.

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7 minutes ago, Nitrofreak said:

I have yet to have it happen to me  and I hope it never does to me or anyone else but, on the other hand, I have witnessed it and seen too many times the end result of others misfortunes, that's why I tend preach about keeping your focus.

That one was my first hit on my first day of fishing this year. Big style over-reaction on my part no question. I'm normally a 'let 'em hook themselves' type of fisherman but that doesn't seem like it's going to cut it here. I need to find that happy medium.

13 minutes ago, J Francho said:

If you set your drag properly, you can still whack 'em good.  I do it all the time.  Do as I say, not as I do!

In the salt I tend to lean somewhat tight. I'm not sure where I should be with LMB though. I read someone say loose because bass inhale their prey and if it's too tight they won't get it in their mouths properly. I'm a little leery of loose drag as I've lost fish that way before. I guess it'll be trial and error.

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1/3 of the weakest rated link in your system.  So, 50# braid on a 12# drag reel mounted on a 25# rod = around 7-8# of drag. The rod is the weak link.  Another example, 6# fluoro on a 10# drag reel mounted to a 12# rod = 2# drag.  The line is the weak link.

Make sense?

This <almost> guarantees you don't snap anything. 

You can easily feather a spinning reel for more drag, or thumb the spool on a baitcaster.

Bass don't make long runs, so no need to worry too much about that.

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A bass striking a few feet from you will set the hook without you doing anything but lifting the rod upwards.

ML spinning rod is too light for swim jigs, you will be better off with a MH rod with your current reel/ line combo.

Tom

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3 minutes ago, WRB said:

A bass striking a few feet from you will set the hook without you doing anything but lifting the rod upwards.

ML spinning rod is too light for swim jigs, you will be better off with a MH rod with your current reel/ line combo.

Tom

This is what I had thought, just apply pressure to the fish (lift rod) and they would hook themselves. I am almost sure I waited too long to do this though. I am looking at MH freshwater rods as I type, lol.

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A J-Will isn't gonna set itself, MH rod or whatever...the hook is just too thick, so you have to pop them with a hook set.

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Ever seen a proper-form Kung fu punch?  You bend your knees as you throw it, as opposed to twisting at the waist as is usually done in karate.

I sink at the knees, and have a definite start and stop, the stop being terminated by a tightening of the hand and arm.  It's just like the punch I've been throwing for years.

It's not a wide arc, but it's very fast and powerful.  I've been hooking a lot of gar recently, and this technique has me penetrating their bony mouths.  It does work well.

Regards,

Josh

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4 minutes ago, J Francho said:

A J-Will isn't gonna set itself, MH rod or whatever...the hook is just too thick, so you have to pop them with a hook set.

You know what, I was looking at that J-Will and my first thought was the hook's too big. I almost swapped it out for smaller, thinner one. Nothing against J-Will, that's a stout little hook.

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Best hook for the that bait!  Don't swap it out.

6 minutes ago, Josh Smith said:

Ever seen a proper-form Kung fu punch?

LOL...

kungFu.jpg

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