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Lost a big fish.....what's my next move?

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Tried to word this thread so it wasn't like all the other "the big one that got away" discussions. So this weekend I was fishing a 75 acre pond. Overnight we got lots of rain which raised the water level around 3 feet. The raised water level made bushes great deeper water (3 feet) homes that held no fish before the rain. Anyway, weather was overcast and foggy. So I brought out the frog. I saw some splashing around a bush so I made my way over. Throw out my frog and slowly start working it. I see a swirl to the left then boom. She inhales the frog. I set the hook and fish on! I start bringing her to the kayak (I'm fishing with 30lb braid, so I'm confident in my line). After a bit I'm gaining confidence in a good hook set. Wind picks up so I'm keeping tension on my line with one hand and trying to control kayak with other. A few seconds later she surfaces, thrashing, head shaking, goes back under then slack. She spit the frog. She was a big one. 

So, what would you do now? I left the area and went back about 45 minutes later. Tried several things, no dice. Went back later that night, and again nothing. No signs of her. Was she still there? I did not try the frog later that night. Should I have? I tried jitterbug but nothing.

What do you do when a big one is lost?

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Losing a Fatty is always a little frustrating.

If you sore-lipped her, she may lay low for a while and even if you didn't, there's a decent chance she'll be at least a little discombobulated for a bit.  I'd keep checking back in that area off & on. 

Hard to say with any certainty she'll be back.  You may have just lost the fish that will haunt your dreams - For A-While.  We all have one. 

Then again, you may go back next time and she'll end up hanging off your thumb.  One never knows.

Good Luck

A-Jay

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yes, put it behind you. her memory will linger but there will be others. 

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13 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

If you sore-lipped her, she may lay low for a while and even if you didn't, there's a decent chance she'll be at least a little discombobulated for a bit.  I'd keep checking back in that area off & on. 

^^^ This 

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This is just my opinion, but chances are she has become very wary and wont be striking at anything questionable for a while. And by questionable, I mean pretty much any of the baits we throw. I would back off a few days and give some time for her to let her gaurd down. And by that time there is no guarantee she'll be in the same spot. But there's also no guarantee she will have moved either!

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This was the 4th big fish I have lost since picking up bass fishing last summer. The way I look at it is at least I'm getting them to bite. But it is frustrating. Maybe I'm not setting the hook hard enough (sit in kayak is a little tough). Mostly I'm asking how to approach round 2. How long to waiy etc.

Unfortunately this was at a pond my wife and I were camping at. So it's private to campers. I will try to get back though. My wife works with the managers wife. 

5 minutes ago, jtipton91 said:

This is just my opinion, but chances are she has become very wary and wont be striking at anything questionable for a while. And by questionable, I mean pretty much any of the baits we throw. I would back off a few days and give some time for her to let her gaurd down. And by that time there is no guarantee she'll be in the same spot. But there's also no guarantee she will have moved either!

Before the rain I couldn't find any decent fish in these bushes. Just smaller pickerel. Then the rain adding 3 feet of water made perfect homes. At some point I'm sure the water level will go back down. Pushing her and others back where they were before. I was able to find the better fish tied to cover. Mostly wood over the grasses. Lilies with extra pads and accumulated grass and debris held fish too. 

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If you fish a lot, it has happened to everyone.  Don't waste time worrying about it, just keep doing the same thing and you may find another one.  Several weeks ago I broke off a three pounder and two hours later in the same spot I caught it again with my hook still in her jaw.  On the way home I stopped and bought some Lotto Tickets.  I never waste time worrying about things you can't control.

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Trophy bass fishing is about learning where these special fish are located. You now know there is a big bass in your small lake and where it's located at the moment. 

Getting this bass to eat a frog lure again isn't a high % presentation, worked under specific circumstances. Don't give up on this bass, try the frog and some known big bass lures like big worms, bluegill swimbait, rat wake bait etc.

Tom

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I agree with the post above.Go back to the area you lost the bass and try other lures known for catching big bass. 

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Did you try cursing? It usually works for me. Curse alot, over and over again and when you feel like you got it out of your system curse some more. Just make sure no kids are around. They tend to pick those words up easier than most. 

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The hook set from a seated position on or in a yak is generally not powerful.  Its part of the price we pay in the smaller craft.  Keep your hooks sharp and hit them as hard as you can.  Even in a big boat or on land frog lures don't get a good set.

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Sunday, two days ago,  I tossed a Baby Torpedo along a grassy shoreline; a huge bass swirled at it and missed. Next cast: she ignored it. Third cast: she nailed it. I fought the fat six or seven pounder on #14 braid through jump after jump, and I actually impressed myself on how well I kept the line just taut enough through every jump, pulling her big head sideways and back down to the water every time she shook her face in the air. I felt like I was a great matador, Master of the Beast, and when she bolted towards some lily pads I was able to turn her head to keep her just on my side of them. Now I knew I had her! Yet, when she was just three feet from my grasp, a final lunge broke the line at the knot and she swam off with the Torpedo stuck in her mouth.  What a shame!

Okay, I suck. I should have retied that lure that I had tied on three weeks before. Sometimes you remember the ones that got away better than the even bigger ones you occasionally land. This fish will likely be one of those. I've been day-dreaming of hooking that fish again, of even recovering my lure and letting her go free without it. But that ain't gonna happen.

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The raised water is what located that fish to where she was. She probably will drop to its usual location as the water drops. But in the meantime,. she wont likely hit anything un-natural for a while, and i mean days, depending on her size and angler interaction, maybe a couple weeks, a month. By then, the water will have dropped. You've heard the saying? "Big fish dont get big by being stupid",..that holds especially true in northern waters as northern fish take much longer to get big, therefore they have seen more lures to get to that size than a southern fish of same size.. And in Maine? they are smart, believe me I know, many of my Maine outings have ended much like yours, and I've been left  scratching my noggin wondering, what the next move is. My assessment is? let it go, its not going to happen like that again, unless next year your facing the same water levels and conditions, then maybe,..MAYBE.,.. otherwise, its a learning situation. Could that fish be hooked again tommorrow? possibly but highly unlikely

 Was it your hookset? doubt it.,... the way you played her?,..probably. When you see the line show that she's about to surface, stick the tip of the rod into the water and reel like a sob, trying to force her to stay under the surface. This will "sometimes? keep her from jumping and changing the lines tension. thats what they are attempting to do when they jump, change the lines tension, allowing them to shake the hook, or at least loosen it. Im assuming this fish has been hooked before and successfully got away, seeing that this pond has a campground. She knew what to do, and played you like a fiddle. Just when you thought you were in control? She taught you a valuable lesson, Maine pigs are smarter than the average bear! "yeah hay hay, Boo Boo!"

 Sorry for the shameless yogi refference,..it just fit

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Lord...I can't imagine froggin out of a kayak.  I throw frogs into some MAJOR slop

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i spoke with the campground manager and he said he talked to another fisherman who went out that weekend and caught one around 6lbs. Was it the same fish? no idea. Was their fish actually 6lbs? no idea. biggest one i did land was 3.6lbs. It seems as though im taking baby steps to what im landing. Keep getting big ones on, then losing them at the kayak. But keep landing quality fish, slowly beating my pb as i go. I guess my mistake was paying any attention to the wind blowing me around. between her pulling me and the wind, i was going right into the bush she came from. SO i mistakingly tried to control both. Next time its all concentration on landing the fish. 

The more i think back on it, there was one instance before i lost her that the line went a little slack. She was still on, but im sure the frog came a bit loosened. Then the head shake, change of direction and poof. Gone. I really enjoy froggin in the kayak. I feel im closer to the action and i can get in to the back of the slop, where it seems it ends, but there are fish further back there. Leverage is a challenge between setting the hook good, and keeping them out of the weeds. But for the most part it works out pretty good. Going to braid line really helps. 

Anyway, thanks for all the replies. One of these days i (like many others on here) will be talking about the monster i landed, Not the one that got away. 

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Kayak fishing is definitely risky but it sure is awesome when you land a big one from it. My brother lost one of the biggest bass I've ever seen the other day when she jumped and shook his spinnerbait. Leaving us with no choice but to GO BACK!

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Yeah, you can't NOT go back. Just knowing a big bass is around is enough motivation for me. you just never know what the next cast may bring.

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I lost what I believe to be a 12 to 13 pound bass 3 years ago.   I had a 6/0 hook and a 7'2" heavy action road.   I was a bit out gunned, even with that equipment.   It still haunts me, as it happened very close and my son and I both saw it all go down, with a good look at the fish.   

Big bass have tough mouths.   Use stout rods, especially out of a kayak, if technique allows.   A frog qualifies.  Be sure to bend the hooks outward a little, so it grabs flesh more naturally.

The most comforting thing anybody told me when I told the fish story of the 12 to 13 pound fish loss story was:   "The fish have to get lucky every now and then too".  

 

 

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If you really want to catch her again, I would leave that area completely alone for awhile.  I have no research to back this up but the I think the more you cast to her, the more she will continue to "remember" the original unpleasant experience.  Leave it completely alone for several weeks or months and then go back with something a little different.  Bass don't get big by being stupid or forgetful.

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I did it just last night. There's nothing you can do about that particular fish. You've lost her for the outing and you might have educated her to the evils of the frog. That fish in all likelihood won't be in that spot next time. 

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You may want to rig up an anchor system that you can drop or set when a big fish is on.  Over 4lbs the fish will take you where they want to go and your just along for the ride!!!

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On 6/7/2016 at 8:22 PM, BassB8Caster said:

Apart from behave like a child for a moment, cursing myself, the fish, and the universe? Lol...

I'd give her time... and a name.

Is she still there? Hard to say, some big females are kinda territorial but there's no way of knowing. Kinda think that even if she's skittish, if she's still there, it may not be out of the question to end up connected again. Even weary fish can sometimes be annoyed into biting if you can get a bait close enough to them to entice, alternatively (I believe) they can just as easily grow accustomed to seeing seeing the same lure thrown at them enough times that it no longer feels threatened by it and thus won't react at all. Be patient in working a spooked fish, it's not going to hunt down a search bait no matter how many times its burned past its nose. 

If it were me, I'd give it a day or so, and throw a large, dark ribbon tailed worm with an un-pegged tungsten on the nose. Id probably do a lot more short hopping than swimming being that the fish is likely on the offensive and not prone to become particularly adventurous in its feeding habits. If that didn't work I'd work my way up the water column into the middle, and finally back on top, if step 1 & 2 blanked me. 

A large number of people maintain that a bass will not strike a bait which its been previously caught on if it's in the same color and size, and I'm one of them. Just what my experience has suggested. If I'm hunting a fish I know I've missed once before, it's on a different bait than what I lost it on to begin with. 

Feel for ya tho brother, we've all been there and it's the worst of the worst. But perspective is everything right? At least you know you're fishing good water!! 

 

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1 hour ago, Kid Catch said:

 

 

Great information there! My original post was geared more towards trying to learn how to address that situation when it happens again. Rather than losing a great fish, and having the attitude of "oh well, life goes on", i wanted to learn what to do to catch that fish again. Dont get me wrong, i love fishing and am not a trophy fisherman. I do want to catch the biggest fish possible every time i go out. But thats not what it is all about. It is very valuable to learn bits and pieces from the vast range of successful fisherman we have on this awesome forum. Learning that big bass learn a specific bait is extremely valuable to me. Knowing that the bass will lock down and possibly not feed for a good amount of time is valuable as well. Rather than spending an hour after a loss trying to get bit again, i know to move on to another area and give her some time. This is very valuable information for new bass fishermen like myself. Thank you everyone for your imput. The best lessons are learned first hand. But any i can get taught ahead of time puts me that further ahead and makes me that much better of a fisherman. 

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What kind of frog were you using? A soft bodied frog like a scumfrog/spro etc? or a Ribbits style soft bait? It sounds like youre throwing a soft bodied bait, in which case best I can offer up is to trim the legs (if silicone strand) and that a lot of soft bodied lures using a 2-prong often benefit from a bit of tension in opposing direction. 2 pairs of needlenose will open up them up just fine. If you're going to do this be sure to hold the hook low on its shanks and open the gap with even pressure. That'll keep the body from bunching up and preventing a good hookset. I'm sure you've caught plenty of frog bass so you know the whole hookset deal, waiting for the pressure and all that jazz.  

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