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Luna2406

Detecting Bites on weightless soft plastics...

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So I've come across a problem...When I'm fishing weightless senkos, I cast out, leave line on the water and watch as my line slowly goes under. Once it stops, I assume its reached the bottom, and slowly reel in just in case something picked it up and I didnt feel it. If i see the line drop faster than normal i set the hook and I set the hook right where it needs to be.  I dont feel 80% of the bites, when I start reeling in I realize my line is way to the right or left and that tells me I have a fish, so I set the hook and bring her in. Only issue is that by that time some of them have swallowed the hook. I do feel a slight bump when bigger fish hit the bait, but those 1-2lbers I dont ever really feel. 

I've tried using both a spinning and a bait caster to see if i could detect bites better but i have the same issue with both. I have 15lb braid with 10lb fluorocarbon leader on both set ups, only reason I dont go lighter is because there is a lot of grass and other structure where I fish. What should I try? (besides being better at fishing haha) Thanks guys!

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sometimes it happens.

 

 

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IMG950631_zps112d2e15.jpg

 

With braid and a fluoro leader, you have about the most sensitive setup I could think of. Senkos are known for being a swallowed bait and we've all had that happen. The only other thing I could recommend is try to have the line run over a finger tip; you have some extra sensitivity there and sometimes I feel the "tick" there when I don't see it in my line.

EDIT: Wizard above me beat me to it. And, yes, that braid will remind you if you don't move your finger on a hookset!

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Gotcha, yea I usually have my finger on the line and thats where I feel the bump if I dont see it. Guess its just something I need to get used to, guess its not only me haha 

I noticed something on one of the fish i caught yesterday, I felt the first tick but I didnt set the hook i waited to feel more or to see the line move...is that what you should do? or just swing as soon as you feel the first bump? Guess I'm afraid that he only has the worm in his lips and if i set the hook ill just rip the hook out. 

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5 minutes ago, Luna2406 said:

Gotcha, yea I usually have my finger on the line and thats where I feel the bump if I dont see it. Guess its just something I need to get used to, guess its not only me haha 

I noticed something on one of the fish i caught yesterday, I felt the first tick but I didnt set the hook i waited to feel more or to see the line move...is that what you should do? or just swing as soon as you feel the first bump? Guess I'm afraid that he only has the worm in his lips and if i set the hook ill just rip the hook out. 

I swing on that first bump. That bump usually means the fish has inhaled the bait and while they will hold on to a senko for a long time, I don't want to be throat hooking fish.

I've got a few Senko fish lately, I've gotten a couple different bite types. i've gotten a single bump, a tap tap, a big hit, and then there is the no-feel bite. Not feeling the bite is just one of the bites, sometimes you know because you can feel pressure when you go to make your first movement or because your line rises in the water as they inhale it and move with it.

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Sometimes there is nothing you can do about it, but your description tells me a few things might help.

When you let the bait fall or sit, make sure you stay "in-touch" with it. Use only semi slack line so that you can see/feel it get hit, and if it gets picked up and swam away with, you will see your line moving, whereas if you give it full-slack, you won't know what is going on until much after the fact.

Regardless of how you fish it, make sure you frequently check your bait by picking it up slightly and moving it, or simply applying enough tension to the line so you can feel if something has it. With the right tension you can check without moving the bait if you wanted it to stay there. I hope this helps!

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I think everyone that has used a Senko has had at least one fish they caught, deep hooked. The reason it happens is because it has the best success when fished on a slack line no matter how it is rigged. The fish will hit it as it falls and they don't run and so you don't feel a bite but there are some things to do. The first thing is learn to be a line watcher, any time your line "jumps" or moves in a way that you didn't cause it is normally a bite, also get in the habit of counting down your bait down as it falls to the bottom, if the line stops before it gets to the bottom it is more than likely a bite. I don't deep hook fish anymore since I stopped dead sticking the Senko and instead I stitch it along, for those not familiar with that, it is simply holding your rod with 1 hand and the other you grab the line between your index finger and thumb and move the bait by slowly pulling it along the bottom.  I move the bait like that painfully slow and it works but if the fish want it on the fall then you just have to watch the line and count it down.

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Are you using quality graphite rods?  They are costly but truly a pleasure to fish with.   that being said the braid line should transmit bumps very well unless your setup is a really heavy one like you would use for musky or something.

I never hold the line between my fingers.   but line watching is a habit.  Any unnatural movement gets a hookset.  Oh, and I also don't play the feeling game with bass.  When in doubt set the hook.   I have set the hook on weeds, logs, rocks, and of course fish.  I'm never embarrassed by it.   The only time I regretted it was when I set the hook in a tree and broke a really nice rod.  But then again, I ve broken rods setting the hook on 2 pound bass.  that was kinda funny.  I ended up landing the fish by the old "hand over hand" retrieve method.  Rod was not defective, just not my day.

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Fluorocarbon is by far the most sensitive semi-slack line to use. Keep your rod tip at 2 o'clock with semi slack line and pay attention. I would switch over to fluoro and make sure to keep a semi slack line if you can get away with the fluoro. 

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3 hours ago, Luna2406 said:

I've tried using both a spinning and a bait caster to see if i could detect bites better but i have the same issue with both. I have 15lb braid with 10lb fluorocarbon leader on both set ups, only reason I dont go lighter is because there is a lot of grass and other structure where I fish. What should I try? (besides being better at fishing haha) Thanks guys!

Braid is touted as the "most sensitive" line because it doesn't stretch, but on a semi-slack line it's not line stretch that causes loss of feeling.  Braid is so limp that a bump on your senko will be very poorly transmitted by feel until the line is pulled somewhat tight.  Line watching is key, but the limpness of braid hurts it in that category as well (a stiffer line will transmit a more obvious "twitch").

Any decent copoly, fluoro, or plain old mono will transmit bites better in this scenario IMO.  

 

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This has been my goto lure for years. I am definitely a line watcher, and fo that reason prefer light braid(10-15lbs) but usually mono simply because it tends to float on the water better and alerts me quicker of a hit. The downside is mono gets twisted faster and becomes a major pain on your reel, so watch for loops on your reel every cast.

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Depending on the type of water you fish and cover you fish, you might want to try a 1/0 Circle hook. You can either wacky rig with it or nose hook it. These hooks will at least put the odds in your favor to reduce deep hooking. But then again, it depends on the type of cover you are working in. If you do try the circle hooks, make sure they are the "Inline" design, not off-set.

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4 hours ago, Luna2406 said:

Gotcha, yea I usually have my finger on the line and thats where I feel the bump if I dont see it. Guess its just something I need to get used to, guess its not only me haha 

I noticed something on one of the fish i caught yesterday, I felt the first tick but I didnt set the hook i waited to feel more or to see the line move...is that what you should do? or just swing as soon as you feel the first bump? Guess I'm afraid that he only has the worm in his lips and if i set the hook ill just rip the hook out. 

Almost always, unless it's a complete dink, the first "tick" that you feel on the line is them completely inhaling it, so you should swing when you feel that. When I fish them I usually let them sink all the way to the bottom on completely slack line. I use braid + flouro leader so my line sits on the water and I can watch it travel on the surface as the worm sinks. Actually, my favorite thing in bass fishing is watching that telltale "speed up" or "twitch" the line does on the surface when a fish has it. It's like the equivalent of watching your bobber go under as a kid. If I see that happening, I reel up the slack and set the hook. Now if it gets to the bottom and I don't suspect one has it, I reel up the slack and feel the senko for a second. If there is any extra pressure or my line starts swimming off to one side I set the hook. If I am actively working the senko and twitching it on a slow retrieve, or if there is too much wind to watch the line on the surface, I usually don't swing as soon as I feel the tick, I make sure I feel some of the weight of the fish first. 

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I use the bright yellow braid with my leader. I notice subtle movements much better with it.

 

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As above, I prefer using fluorocarbon line for Senko fishing because braids do not transmit a bite on slack line or when a fish picks up the Senko and swims toward you.  Another thing I don't hesitate to do is pinch down the barb on my EWG hook that I use for Senko fishing.  Will they still sometimes swallow the hook?  Yep, but you can get it back out without damaging the fish.  For me, it kills the joy of fishing to land a deep hooked bass and hurt a fish I have no intention of taking for food while trying to unhook it.  And personally, I've never had a bass spit out a barbless hook during the fight.

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A descent size bass can inhale a 1 oz jig with out you seeing or felling anything what makes you think they can't do it with a weightless Senko?

When fishing weightless plastics on the bottom ya gonna have this problem & it ain't gonna matter what tackle ya use.

Ya also gonna have problems with deep hooked bass.

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I usually watch my line, let them have it for a bit, then set the hook. I do deal with gut hooked fish on occasion but like others said that comes with the territory.

Something I heard recently that I am trying is using a standard EWG hook for weightless wacky rigs; it's supposed to really cut down on gut hooked fish. Today I caught two that way and both were solidly hooked in the side of the mouth. So far it looks promising! I just use a 1/0 or 2/0 EWG.

To give credit where credit is due, I learned this tip from Bass Fishing Jersey. I really like Eric and his channel.

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I've been using circle hooks when I wacky rig weightless stick worms for a few seasons. I started some youngsters out using them and liked the result so much that I started using them myself.  Last season I began using them to nose hook those weightless worms and the only problem I had was not letting the fish get the whole bait in its mouth before I started reeling.  There is a bit of a learning period that you go through, as when you do detect a pick up  you want to set the hook.  Unless the vegetation is heavy, I don't encounter too many problems with the open hook.

 

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Fluorocarbon is the answer to your problem imo. While line watching for side to side swimming away type of deal, with fluoro the line will actually vibrate and shake a bit when a fish hits on slack line. Braid won't do this. Fluoro just transmits better with slack.  It can be a fine line between setting too quick and pulling the bait away, and gut hooking a fish. That small window in between I'll raise my rod tip to make sure there is tension. I may set the hook on a rock from time to time but whatever. Walleye are a whole different story. 

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To be honest u just have to fish it and learn from experience on the water. After 40+ yrs u will become zen like and one with the rod and fish lol. U will get so many different bites by different sz fish. It will just become natural and muscle memory and time on the water will tell u to set or let him take it. I got all new setups this yr and on Lake Fork a Senko is always on deck. Fishing them on a baitcaster this yr finally and it's so much better. The 853 or 893 NRX with a Met XG suline fx2 to fluro or co-poly leader of at least 5 to 6ft but usually double that 5" senko on a 3/0 Owner twistlock light, the GYC hook.  Man these rods r amazing, shimano's qc has gone to well where ever. Man I wish the public could buy these blanks. I would have them built with all Torzite guides and different handles.  But the sensitivity of the blank is amazing. So get the best rod u can afford for your bottom contact/weightless plastics, and get on the water as much as possible and u will do better every time out.

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Agree with BobP above.  Crimp down the barb, makes extracting the hook so much easier.  You will lose some that jump and shake the hook, but so what?  It's supposed to be fun and it's no fun if you end up with a dead fish. 

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This should help:

 

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My senko rig is the only one I have fluoro on.  I use 14 lb sniper that's been conditioned with kvd l&l.  Keep contact with the bait with a semi-slack line.  Keep your index finger under the line as well as watching your line.  I use an nrx 893, which is regarded as one of the most sensitive rods you can buy paired up with a metanium  xg.  I fish senkos and fat ikas a lot so I spent big bucks on this combo.  What does this add up to?  When I feel like I have the best possible rig fishing my favorite bait, my attention is at a peak and confidence is high.  I haven't gut hooked a fish in years.  Do I miss bites?  Probably, but I feel pretty good about my odds.

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19 hours ago, lo n slo said:

sometimes it happens.

do you hold the line between your thumb and forefinger? it will help some but be careful to remove your finger before setting the hook, especially with the braid.

image.png

LOL   Thats the way I do it and the main reason I dont use braid .

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