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MaineGuideMK

Gin Clear Water Heavier Gear?

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The water here in Maine is very clear. I normally fish 8lb fluoro on 6'6" or 7' medium rods. I throw lots of crank baits and plastics for smallmouth. Recently, I've been getting into some big largemouth on texas rigged craws and 1/4 oz jigs. The big fish keep breaking me off. In open water they go under the boat and rub the line against the boat. In tight cover they rub on a tree or dock post and break me off. If I tighten down my drag and horse them, they break me off. 

Any suggestions? Should I go to braid with a fluoro leader? Can I stick with spinning gear? Thoughts? 

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You can stick with spinning gear and try something like 10lb hybrid since it's a lot stronger than the rating, or try braid and a fluorocarbon leader, but breaking strength is still gonna be the same as the strength of the leader, and actually probably less because of knots. I use casting gear and 14-17lb fluorocarbon in clear water and still catch plenty of fish

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I would switch to EXCALIBUR SILVER THREAD COPOLYMER LINE. Years ago when they did a abrasion test they were way ahead of the other brands. I would use 8lb clear Excalibur.

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2 hours ago, MaineGuideMK said:

The water here in Maine is very clear. I normally fish 8lb fluoro on 6'6" or 7' medium rods. I throw lots of crank baits and plastics for smallmouth. Recently, I've been getting into some big largemouth on texas rigged craws and 1/4 oz jigs. The big fish keep breaking me off. In open water they go under the boat and rub the line against the boat. In tight cover they rub on a tree or dock post and break me off. If I tighten down my drag and horse them, they break me off. 

Any suggestions? Should I go to braid with a fluoro leader? Can I stick with spinning gear? Thoughts? 

Depends where you are fishing. I am in maine as well and have fished many ponds where water is not clear. I fish 12lb mono and 30lb braid. I tend to find myself using my braid rod more. I love the confidence i have in the line. I tend to fish more grass and pads, so mono is necessary. For open water obviously mono is fine. Just may need to bump to 10 or 12lb test. The key is to keep the fish from rubbing the line. Anything can break off once it rubs one stuff. In cover you may want to consider braid. Spinning gear will work fine. Myself, i strickly use baitcasters for all my fishing. I do wish i had a spinning set up for certain situations. But i have 2 spots in my kayak and i have 2 baitcast setups. 

Curious, how old is the line on your reel? be sure to check for nicks or imperfections often, to prevent as many break offs as possible. Are you confident in your knots? How big are these largemouths you are getting into?

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I'm surprised that abrasion was causing breakoffs.  According to those who believe in flurocarbon, (not me)   The line is supposed to be abrasion resistant.

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27 minutes ago, Scott F said:

I'm surprised that abrasion was causing breakoffs.  According to those who believe in flurocarbon, (not me)   The line is supposed to be abrasion resistant.

Abrasion resistant, yes, abrasion proof, no.   

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First, you need to work on boat control when fish go deep.  Before you make a cast, you need to plan what direction you set the hook, and anticipate where you are going to go with boat using the trolling motor to prevent the situation you describe.  You cannot expect to land a fish if the line is rubbing on the boat.  Use the trolling motor, sink the rod under the water - anything to prevent this!

Next step, a medium casting rig with 12# fluoro will give you added control and strength to avoid those break offs, and hopefully give you some muscle to get them boat side before they run deep.

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Usually only VERY big fish should be able to manhandle you as much as you are describing-in which case you don't have my sympathy!  Just kidding!  Among other things, if you can hold your rod and rod tip out further out over the gunwale, this will change the angle the fish can use (or not use) to rub the line against the boat.  A longer, stouter rod can help with this.  And, J Francho suggests, if you need to, plunge the rod down into the water.

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When fishing deep smallies, I've had them come up the other side of the boat, jump, and managed to get them in the net.  It's nuts when they do that. 

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47 minutes ago, J Francho said:

When fishing deep smallies, I've had them come up the other side of the boat, jump, and managed to get them in the net.  It's nuts when they do that. 

Me Too and I hate it when that happens  . . ..

:)

A-Jay

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Also if you do want to stick with spinning gear, or for casting gear, a mh rod will give you more backbone to move fish than a medium. Well, I should say in most cases. I've fished a mh recon2 and a medium abu veritas and the veritas was a more powerful rod. Cxx and hybrid are both abrasion resistant and stronger than rated, but I'd still use at least 10lb and probably 12 if there's any cover. 

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Hello and Welcome to Bass Resource ~

I'm up in northern Michigan and the water here is very clear as well.  Last week I was fortunate enough to hook & land a pretty decent LMB myself.  It was also on spinning gear,   I was using 10 lb braid & and 8 lb mono leader.  Works pretty good but not around heavy cover or  snaggle tooth docks.  I'd suggest bumping your gear up around that stuff.

And like J Francho mentioned, it really does pay off to have some kind of plan thought out ahead of time.

When I'm fishing with lighter gear and I hook a stout bass, my first objective is to get the bass away from any cover and into open water.  Do that and at least half the battle is over.  Then it's just a matter of playing the fish around the boat.  You have to do what you can to keep them out of the motor, trolling motor & from going under the boat and breaking you off.  There's no magic here, just takes practice. 

 Doesn't always go exactly according to plan but no plan often results in No Fish.

Good Luck and I hope they keep biting for you -

A-Jay

 

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I have no problem with cranks and jigs using just braid. 15 and 20lb. I like using this heavy because I don't have to worry about bringing in a 5+ pound bass that decides she wants to dive into the thickest weeds. With 8lb floro . Makes things tough. I guess they use floro because it sinks and harder for the fish to see I suppose. Probably a good idea! I usually just use regular braid tho. And honestly can't remember the last time one broke me off using the Palomar knot. They all shake hooks. That happens every time I go. But break my line. They do not. 

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Thank you everyone for the input. I'm fishing out of an 18' square stern freighter canoe. When I have a client up front I can paddle the boat away from structure. When I'm on my own, I can only do so much without a trolling motor. The rod in the water trick is something I will try to do more consciously. In the deep lakes I fish, they often hit on the edge of a drop off and head straight for bottom once you get them to the boat. 

@BassB8Caster I am in coastal/central Maine. My line is replaced once or twice a season. I check for nicks often and I'm confident with my knots--the line looks frayed after breaking one off.  I'm afraid of using braid because I fish lots of rocks. Maybe mono or 12lb fluoro is the way to go. I have no idea how big these are without getting a scale on them. I just know that they are big. 

@A-Jay and @J Francho a plan sounds nice, but it's hard to know when you will hook a big one, unless they are on a bed or are cruising an area. Still, it's a good idea and I will do my best to try to stay aware of potential hazards. Thanks. 

So it sounds like I need to size up. Why go to a bait caster? Why do so many people fish them? I don't really get it. I think 12lb fluoro and a medium heavy rod may help me. I'm not sure if I should go spinning or bait casting. More ideas? 

 

 

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The problem you have is not being able to control the bass after you hooked it. Your tackle may be part of the problem using medium power rod and spinning reel of unknown brand and model.

Also not sure of what you mean by big LMB? 

It's not easy to increase the # test of FC line using a spinning reel and be able to cast effectively unless the reel is a larger 3000 or 4000 series with larger diameter spool. 10 # FC is about the max and still be able to manage the line on a spinning reel, unless you go to braid.

The key to landing big bass is keeping the fish in front of you and undercontrol. If you watch the pros they follow the fish and keep it in front of them, this is essential.

Going to a good quality 3 power or MH spinning rod and 10 # FC or premium mono line, set the drag at 3.5 lbs* will help you control the bass and shouldn't affect your strike ratio. If you go to 12# FC or premium mono I would change to a baitcasting outfit.

Tom

* 3.5 lbs of drag set with a scale will be about the max MH rod can handle before bottoming out. If you need more drag for a second to turn the bass use your finger tip on the spool.

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Don't let the line rub on the boat. Try and fight the fish at a 90 degree angle. Use the rod for leverage and reel to take up the slack. 

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11 hours ago, MaineGuideMK said:

it's hard to know when you will hook a big one, unless they are on a bed or are cruising an area. Still, it's a good idea and I will do my best to try to stay aware of potential hazards.

I treat every bite like it's a big one.

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2 hours ago, J Francho said:

I treat every bite like it's a big one.

exactly. thats what im after, and im ready for it every bite.

For me fishing out of a kayak, i have had issues in controlling the fish and kayak at the same time. It can be done but is a challenge. I have lost fish (big ones) due to trying to paddle and control my kayak. Add wind to a larger fish and it can get interesting. I have had a fish take me into a tree, only so much i could do. She wrapped her self around a branch. Thankfully i had a good hookset and i landed her. In open water i have no concern at all of a fish breaking me off just running deep. If so, it is either a monster (which i doubt will break 30lb braid or 12lb mono in open water unless there is an issue with the knot or imperfection in the line). 

the biggest fish i lost was when she jumped shaking her head while i was trying to hold the rod tension with one hand and control my kayak with the other. Now i basically care less where the kayak goes (obviously my health over a fish) and concentrate on the fish. If i go into a bush so be it. Im going to focus on landing that fish.

As far as why a baitcaster....prior to getting into bass fishing last summer, i always used spinning gear. Now i only use baitcasters (i have 2 setups). I do wish i had a spinning set up for the smaller lighter baits (casting a popr for example is more of a challenge with a MH rod). But i get by. The biggest advantage i see (other more experience people will be able to give more info) is handling bigger baits that bass like. Once you start adding trailers and creature baits to different lures, it can get heavy for lighter spinning gear. Also, when casting and cranking a lot, a baitcaster is so much easier on the body. I have 2 cheaper (around $100) combos, but with braid, i have full confidence i can handle a big bass even in the thick stuff. The only concern i have is getting a good hookset out of the kayak. There are some good combos under $100 you can try out. 

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1 hour ago, BassB8Caster said:

For me fishing out of a kayak, i have had issues in controlling the fish and kayak at the same time.

You gotta work on that, if you're having issues with bass.  I mainly seek out northern pike in my kayak, and yes, they will drag you around.  If they want to go down, I let them.  If they want to go away from the boat, I lock down on them, and make them drag the kayak, unless they are leading me to some overhanging trees, which happens sometimes.  A long anchor line and trolley, or a leash and a brush clip can go a long way to keeping in place, and let you concentrate on getting the fish in the boat.

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2 hours ago, J Francho said:

You gotta work on that, if you're having issues with bass.  I mainly seek out northern pike in my kayak, and yes, they will drag you around.  If they want to go down, I let them.  If they want to go away from the boat, I lock down on them, and make them drag the kayak, unless they are leading me to some overhanging trees, which happens sometimes.  A long anchor line and trolley, or a leash and a brush clip can go a long way to keeping in place, and let you concentrate on getting the fish in the boat.

Really the only problems are when it's really windy or its a big fish. But yes boat (Canoe, kayak, etc) control is extremely important to landing a strong fish whether it's 3lbs up. I can't imaging a 40" pike pulling my kayak around. It would be fun though!

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Even the little guys will pull you around...

.

pikeSleighRide.jpg

littlePike.jpg

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What I ended up doing was taking an older 4000 size reel and putting 10lb mono on it. Then I put on a 12lb fluoro leader with a surgeon's knot. This seemed to work very well. I didn't get into any fish over 3 lbs, but I pulled some fish out of some nasty trees without breaking off. Had I been using my old 8lb fluoro setup, I know I would have lost several jigs.  

Thanks for the help everyone.

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You can use a longer med heavy spinning rod if you like with a 12# test line. But when im up in Maine?? My preferrence for a "largemouth" rod is a 7' 6" flipping stick with 12# green stren (baitcasting rod) with a jig and pig or texas rigged plastic. Kicks butt, and allows the leverage to pull them out of cover quickly after hookset. Which is key for those "Maine steriod jacked buckets",...if you know what I mean. Some lakes up there they just have shoulders like a linebacker. Hence,.. yet another reason why I love Maine so much

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I would go with baitcasting gear , some 12 to 14 lb test mono and do the sharpie camouflage trick . 

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I have fished a decent amount of gin clear water in washington and had major issues stepping up in test of line as crossing the 6lb line i would get a lot less bites.  I had my best luck on strait 6lb pline flourocarbon and sniper.  If i needed to step it up i did use some seaguar flouro leader which is harder and more abrasion resistant than standard line.  My leader length was the same length as the rod so i did not have to reel in any knots.  My setup was a 2000 daiwa advantage on a 743 dobyns dx rod with 20 lb suffix performance braid and 10 lb seaguar abrazx.  This setup worked wonders for me in very clear water and i had enough muscle to move fish.  4lb LMB on 6 lb flouro is a blast though.

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