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Josh Smith

Losing Too Many Fish Lately

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Hello,

I need some advice here.

This year I've been concentrating on improving my crankbait techniques.  As most of you are aware, as the water warms up, a bass's mouth skin gets soft.  A soft mouth is excellent for retrieving dogs, but not so desirable when you're trying to keep a bass buttoned to a lure.

At the lake early last week, I lost a bass near the bank on a crankbait, then another on a frog.  Though I'm not sure how well the bass was hooked on that frog, I do know that the one on the crankbait was hooked well, and it fought for a bit.

Later that week, I lost two smallies on the river.

This evening at the river, I lost one bass but landed another (see

With these crankbaits, I'm only batting about 50%.  I did loosen the drag a bit more and that seems to have helped.  I'm already running mono line on an IM6 M rod that has a fairly soft tip.  I'm thinking about going back to my KVD glass rod to see if that helps, but I really like the rod I'm using now.)

Any thoughts?

Thank you,

Josh

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For the cranks I would recommend using your glass rod, moderate action rods tend to hook and hold fish better when using baits with treble hooks.

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I did not know a basses mouth gets softer in warm weather .

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Softer mouth......that is new wrinkle!

Set the drag with a scale at 3 lbs, check the hooks for sharpness and set the hook using the reel and rod sweep technique.

Tom

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I also was having issues with fish coming unbuttoned on crankbaits earlier this year. During the pre-spawn, I thought it would be a good idea to switch from a composite crankbait rod to a graphite Med Fast rod. I was banging square bill crankbaits around on rip-rap banks and thought graphite would improve my feel so I can better crawl them through the rocks. I compensated for the stiffness of the graphite with mono, yet I was only hooking up with about 50% of the bass. I then speculated that perhaps I need to change out my hooks since they may be dull from banging the crank baits off the rip-rap. Even after changing the hooks though, I was still only boating about 50% of the fish. It was especially infuriating since I was doing everything right on paper (having my drag set correctly, preventing the fish from jumping, playing them carefully, etc). After a couple days of this, I went back to the crankin' stick and didn't look back. My hook-up ratio was back to 75-80% on them. For me anyway, I need the give that composite/glass offers. Especially when the fish is barely hooked. 

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I have been using the St. Croix MF 7' with 10lb mono for my 3XD and 5XD. When youre setting the hook its important to sweep the rod. I have at least a 80-90% catch ratio. Ive only lost 1 fish this year on that so far. I even landed a 33" 15lb Northern on that set up. Definitely find the sweet spot for your drag to where when you set hook you get penetration pressure but if the fish runs will pull. Contstant pressure is key with keeping them on the hooks. Also, a net is a great addition to your crankbait rod lol I try and get them to the boat and in the net asap. 

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I would switch from mono to fluorocarbon. Mono has a lot of stretch in the line so when fish jump they have a lot of time for that hook to wiggle out. Fluorocarbon has no stretch so you get good hook penetration. I generally use 10 pound for deep cranks and 12-17 on shallow runners depending on the cover I'm fishing.

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2 hours ago, pikeman32 said:

I would switch from mono to fluorocarbon. Mono has a lot of stretch in the line so when fish jump they have a lot of time for that hook to wiggle out. Fluorocarbon has no stretch so you get good hook penetration. I generally use 10 pound for deep cranks and 12-17 on shallow runners depending on the cover I'm fishing.

FC line does have stretch. i dont think line is the problem at all in this instance. in fact many people here dont use braid when crank fishing because the no stretch properties of braid causes them to rip the lures out of the fishes mouth on hooksets/during the fight.

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The honest answer is you just have to play around with the various components and come up with a system that works for YOU. A perfect example is David Fritts and David Wright, two of the absolute best crankbait anglers to come out of the Carolina's (combined 16 FLW wins and $1.7 M), yet their approaches to crankbait tackle are almost completely opposite. Fritts likes a flexible ("soft") glass rod with a low stretch mono line, while Wright prefers a stiff rod with only a bit of softness in the tip, a sensitive graphite rod, but then compensates with "stretchy" softer monofilament.

I've tried both setups and there are advantages to each. The only thing I've found that absolutely didn't work for me was using an x-fast rod action. Beyond that, just use what works best for you and ignore the rest.

-T9

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I never heard anything about a "softer mouth."  You gotta link or evidence of this? 

For cranks, you want a slow taper, not just a soft tip.  You might do well to try the KVD rod, but I really think the whole use a special rod to keep them buttoned is one tiny part truth, and one giant part internet conjecture.  Far too many use the "wrong rod" for cranking with great success (myself included) for this to be that critical.  What I do seriously believe is that a slower tapered rod with moderate action offers a better rebound when deflecting and a bit slower time reacting to the sensation of your bait hitting cover - meaning you aren't immediately burying the bait in the weeds or wood, if you're fishing it right.  It's a bit of an art navigating a crank through cover without hanging or fouling, and a slow rod helps. 

As for the problem, I'm going point you in the direction of hooks and how you are playing the fish back to the boat.  I like Owner Stinger ST-36 for most bass lures.  Take a critical look at what you are doing once hooked, and try some different things, like side pressure, and gentle leading while applying light pressure to the fish.

Last thing - small fish seem to have an easier time getting free from cranks, in my experience.  I don't worry about those guys too much.  Seeing is good enough for me.

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For cranking, I like a graphite rod that still has a soft tip and parabolic bend. I use a Duckett Ghost crankin' rod. You may wish to look into one of the cranking rods that has a fiberglass/ graphite hybrid resin, as these can offer you the best of both worlds.

Also, are you changing out the hooks when you purchase a new crankbait? I have never been pleased with hooks that are on lures directly out of the package, as a result, I like to switch to either Gamakatsu or Mustad trebles, depending on whats available at my local shop. 

Finally, I suggest reeling with the tip down and to one side so that you can get the bait deepest, say in a 5 o clock position. When you do feel a hit, in order to set the hook, just turn to the nearest side and reel up the slack. It's tempting to set the hook straight up and down as you would with many other baits, but I find that I hook significantly more fish by setting to the side. 

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When bass are taking a crankbait deep I dont lose many . When they are barely hooked I lose a lot .  Small bass I reel them in and dont care if they come unbuttoned , large bass I am very careful with .

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As usual the BR membership has offered several effective & experienced based solutions to a very common situation.

 And in close to 50 years of bass angling, I have never noticed that warmer water softens a bass's mouth tissue. 

Also, when compared to most braid which has very little, all nylon lines have quite a bit stretch, including Fluorocarbon.

A-Jay

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

I never heard anything about a "softer mouth."  You gotta link or evidence of this?

 

48 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

And in close to 50 years of bass angling, I have never noticed that warmer water softens a bass's mouth tissue.

Hi Guys,

I read something about it on here, what, early last year?  I decided to start watching, and sure enough, they go their mouths torn up a bit more.

Then again, it could be because they're fighting harder in warm water.

I'll see what I can dig up.

Regards,

Josh

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3 hours ago, Choporoz said:

uh oh...

 

 

 

 

If you are thinking what I'm thinking this thread is about to look like other threads.....

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4 hours ago, Choporoz said:

uh oh...

 

 

 

 

 

7 minutes ago, Gundog said:

If you are thinking what I'm thinking this thread is about to look like other threads.....

Yeah.

Please, no line arguments.  I generally use braid for no-stretch, but I want stretch in this application so I'm using Stren.  I do not like fluoro and don't use it except for leader material.

I'd appreciate it if ya'll make a new thread for arguing line.

Thank you!

Josh

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Just saying you can't stretch 12 lb mono line using 3 lbs of drag, what you feel as stretch is line drag creating a belly in the line and this has the same effect. If you want to feel line drag let out about 50 yards without anything tied on the end and run it behind your boat about 5 mph make a slow sweeping turn and straighten back out. The line going through the water creates about 1 lb drag and will follow your turning boat wake, that is the belly of line you think is stretch. Surprising how much coefficient of drag mono has.

Set your drag, use sharp hooks, keep in control and very few bass will toss your treble hooks.

Tom

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40 minutes ago, WRB said:

Just saying you can't stretch 12 lb mono line using 3 lbs of drag, what you feel as stretch is line drag creating a belly in the line and this has the same effect. If you want to feel line drag let out about 50 yards without anything tied on the end and run it behind your boat about 5 mph make a slow sweeping turn and straighten back out. The line going through the water creates about 1 lb drag and will follow your turning boat wake, that is the belly of line you think is stretch. Surprising how much coefficient of drag mono has.

Set your drag, use sharp hooks, keep in control and very few bass will toss your treble hooks.

Tom

Tom, could you elaborate a bit. Does that statement only apply to long line lengths such as in your explanation? What about pitching or short casts with the same line, say 30'-50' where line drag is considerably lessened due to a variety of factors, and where testing has shown that anglers can generate higher forces (2X or better vs 3lb) that would exceed that drag setting and force it into operation (slip)? I know that if you hung a 3lb. weight on any length of monofilament, in water or out, it would certainly stretch. What would be the difference between that and a hookset? The line wouldn't know which end is applying the 3lb of force.

-T9

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

Just saying you can't stretch 12 lb mono line using 3 lbs of drag, what you feel as stretch is line drag creating a belly in the line and this has the same effect. If you want to feel line drag let out about 50 yards without anything tied on the end and run it behind your boat about 5 mph make a slow sweeping turn and straighten back out. The line going through the water creates about 1 lb drag and will follow your turning boat wake, that is the belly of line you think is stretch. Surprising how much coefficient of drag mono has.

Set your drag, use sharp hooks, keep in control and very few bass will toss your treble hooks.

Tom

I'd like to hear more thoughts on this, as well.  I did not intend my prohibition over line type to be a prohibition on discussion of the type being discussed.  Rather, I wasn't interested in comparing apples to oranges to grapefruits.

By all means, discussion of line stretch would be nice.

Regards,

Josh

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Look at the physical properties of nylon that line is made from, percent of yield strength or elongation vs ultimate tensile strength, it's in the neighborhood of 35-40%. This in simple terms means you must apply more then 35-40% of it's tensile strength to yield or elongate/stretch the line. Nylon isn't elastic, it's not a elastomeric material. When a engineering plastic yields it stays elongated or stretched which also reduces it's cross section or dismeter, permanently weakening the line.

Plastics also tend to yield under pressure over time called creep. If you hang a 3lb weight on a few feet length of 12 lb mono it doesn't stretch right away, in time, maybe 1 hour, it will creep under that much force and continue to creek over a 24 hour period. This is the reason to re tie knot often and don't leave them tied over night. FC line behaves the same as nylon regarding creep, has less coeffient of drag going through water. braid has very high tensile strength properties, it's yield or elongation strength is over 80% and doesn't stretch very much before it breaks, being smaller in diameter has lower coeffient of drag, equal diameters are about the same as FC or nylon.

Perception is all the counts, if someone believes mono stretches like a rubber band, then it does in thier minds eye.

Tom

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Josh Smith said:

 

Hi Guys,

I read something about it on here, what, early last year?  I decided to start watching, and sure enough, they go their mouths torn up a bit more.

Then again, it could be because they're fighting harder in warm water.

I'll see what I can dig up.

Regards,

Josh

Not saying it doesn't happen - just that I've not noticed it.

A-Jay

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I agree completely with your latter statement on yielding - When a engineering plastic yields it stays elongated or stretched which also reduces it's cross section or diameter, permanently weakening the line, but in the first part of that paragraph, the yield strength or yield limit would be the point at which that permanent deformation occurred, not the point at which the line first started to stretch at all. The line will still stretch some up to that yield point, just not to the point/percentage of permanent deformation. This would be the elastic phase of the material. It's why if you're not careful, a bait suddenly pulled free from a snag might rocket right back at you like a projectile. That wouldn't happen without the elastic nature of the line. For example, braid won't do that (a nice thing) :)

If you take a length of nylon line (say 12# or 15# test to keep with the discussion) and measure that length, then add a 3# weight (or apply 3 pounds of pressure however you see fit), nylon line will stretch - a good 5-6% depending upon brand, and this would be immediate. As soon as you took the pressure off, the line would return to its original length since you didn't exceed the yield strength/limit. If you left the weight on, creep would eventually set in and that could become a permanent deformation even if you didn't exceed the yield point. In that regard, your point about leaving knots tied is a good one in this regard. Why risk possible deformation and weakness.

-T9

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I use  flourocarbon line when cranking and a medium casting rod I don't seem to lose any fish that have committed to my bait. I try to keep it simple. There are a lot of guys here in Philly that have lost all of their teeth from cranking too much. 

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Have not read all of the replies but my question to you is "are you swinging the rod to the left or right at waist height when setting the treble hook?"

You may also want to use monofilament as it has some stretch to it and it will give you a good cushion when setting the hook. Now let me add that many pros are switching to fluorocarbon for their treble hook baits. Some are using braid with a flouro leader. One is going to the 8.1/1 ratio baitcaster.

Remember, any slack what-so-ever on a treble hook bait and it is bye bye fishy. You have to keep rod tip high and a straight line from the rod's tip to the bass' mouth at all times. No slack at any time.

As for your frog bite, may I make the following suggestion? - Open the hooks a little with two pliers so the hooks are off the body about an eighth of an inch.  Hold rod tip high so that when the bass hits the frog you are giving the bass time to run with the frog before you drop the rod's tip, reel in the slack and make a powerful hook set over your head. This is a pro's trick when fishing a frog so I can't take credit. And remember, if the bass misses the frog you can let it sit there for about 30 seconds before you move it or reel it in and throw a Senko to the location where the bass missed the frog.

Good luck. Now go out and have some fun cranking and frogging.

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