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I set the hook immediately when I detect a bite. Even a small bass can and will quickly inhale a surprisingly large bait. Look up Bigmouth Forever on Youtube and it'll open your eyes to how easy a bass takes in a bait. 

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Top water: with these baits the bass will generally suck the bait in from underneath, from behind, or come completely out of the water.

 

Spinner bait/crank bait: with these baits the bass will generally hit from the side or from underneath.

 

With these baits there is a certain amount of line movement because the bass are moving when they hit the bait.

 

Worm/jig: with these baits the bass will simply flare its gills causing a vacuum which moves water and your bait into their mouth. With this bite there is very little if any line movement thereby not much is transmitted to your rod tip.

 

The art of feeling a worm/jig bite is a fine combination of watching your line and feeling for unnatural sensations of what your bait should feel like. Some times you will feel that classic Tap, some times you'll only see line movement, some times your line will simply go slack, but some times there will only be a feeling of heaviness that is almost like your line will not move. The bites where the bass moves after inhaling you bait are the easy ones to feel because there is line movement, the bites where the bass simply inhales your bait and just sits there are the hardest to feel. Feeling a worm/jig bite requires keeping a certain amount of tension on your line while at the same time keeping a certain amount of slackness in your line. To the average angler this makes no sense at all but the worm/jig angler it makes total sense.

Tommy T

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OP my advice for you is simple. Keep a tighter line on the lure till you get a feel for when to set the hook (sometimes you'll think you have a sixth sense about when a fish is gonna bite) and don't worry about missing fish. It happens.

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4 hours ago, scaleface said:

 The old braid slice . I dont use braid because of that .

would have said braid myself but it was 12 lb sunline fluoro. usually happens early in the season, but it was the first time this year, and i did it twice in one day, exact same spot. first one was nothing, but the second one got my attention. 

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On 5/11/2017 at 10:45 AM, WRB said:

...if you feel something different ...

This was my initial thought here too. How you control your tackle (rod, reel, and line), is the critical piece. Esp early on in the process, I suggest retrieving holding the rod rock solid still. Any changes, then, were not you.

 

What are they? Well that comes with experience, but you can steepen the learning curve by casting to visible submerged objects. Each has it's own feel: rock, wood, brush, weeds, gravel, muck, current, etc...

 

My description of a fish bite, peck, slap, nip, rush, etc... is that it "feels alive", and/or was "something" that wasn't in that particular spot on previous casts. And I've always told people not to worry to much about it, "You'll know it when you feel it." You can trust that. If you are getting bites you are not detecting... so what, you didn't detect them! You'll get much better at this. If you miss fish, so what. You just learned something. Take it in.

 

Soft plastics are often good to start with bc bass will often hold them for a time before spitting them, giving you plenty of time to detect that "aliveness" and respond. Jigs are great depth and speed control and contact lures, but bass often spit them quicker. Don't shy away from them, as they are the best teaching tools in my mind, bass LOVE them, and you'll detect plenty. 

 

Also, part of this control of your tackle is knowing where in the water column you are, sink rate (timing), the tension on the line created by depth, until you can visualize where your lure is. This comes with experience -sheer time doing it. The only short cuts I guess is as I suggested, practicing some in controlled environments.

 

The toughest thing is feeling... lost and... out of control. Stay with it. The fish will teach you fast. You were built for it. Trust that.

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8 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

And I've always told people not to worry to much about it, "You'll know it when you feel it." You can trust that. If you are getting bites you are not detecting... so what, you didn't detect them! You'll get much better at this. If you miss fish, so what. You just learned something. Take it in.

 

Jigs are great depth and speed control and contact lures, but bass often spit them quicker. Don't shy away from them, as they are the best teaching tools in my mind, bass LOVE them, and you'll detect plenty. 

 

Those bumps, thumps, tics, & taps are easy to detect, so are the ones where ya see line movement.

It's the ones where the bass inhales your jig without any tell-tale signs or movement & proceeds to sit there until you apply to much pressure at which time they spit it.

 

Those bites you don't feel WILL often be the biggest bass!

 

I don't know where this nonsense comes from that bass do not hold a jig for long!

 

A jig imitates a crawfish correct?

Yes I believes they do

A crawfish has a hard shell does it not?

Yes they in fact have a hard shell

Why would a bass spit what it preceives to be a crawfish because it feels somthing hard?

When the bass "crushes" the jig to kill it; it feels the hardness of a shell, the softness of the skirt, & the firmness of the trailer just like a crawfish

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Jigs imitate fishes too. And in most waters, LM are primarily piscivorous. Crayfish tend to make up a small percentage of their food.

 

How long they hold? IME, they are much quicker to spit a jig. I almost never have jig caught fish hooked in the esophagus. But it's not uncommon with soft plastics. I have gone barbless with a lot of my soft plastics now, bc of this.

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35 minutes ago, Paul Roberts said:

Jigs imitate fishes too. And in most waters, LM are primarily piscivorous. Crayfish tend to make up a small percentage of their food.

 

How long they hold? IME, they are much quicker to spit a jig. I almost never have jig caught fish hooked in the esophagus. But it's not uncommon with soft plastics. I have gone barbless with a lot of my soft plastics now, bc of this.

 

I can not count the number of times while pre-fishing a tournament I've had bass pick up my jig & I tried to shake em off & they refuse to let go!

 

90% of bass I stick with a jig is solidly in the roof of their mouth!

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I can relate to that experience, Catt.  I had one that refused to let go, I got her all the way to the boat, gently reeling back in, hoping she'd spit the bit.  Last minute, tuns, and sets the hook on herself.  She was 6-7, caught her on the wrong day.  Lunker for that tourney was 6-0.  We won anyway, but the lunker bonus would have been nice.

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LOL. I don't purposely shake fish off very often. I'll defer to you guys on this one.

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From the outside, looking it in, it does sound stupid.  But I have caught fish that bit in prefishing, and shook off.

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I firmly believe bass that are deeply hooked on plastics is because the angler waited to long before setting hook.The small size of plastics we fish allows it to easily be swallowed.

 

Most of my bass on plastics are hooked around the tongue or the side of the jaw.

 

I also firmly believe anglers set hook faster on a jig believing they'll spit it quicker which ain't a bad thing but ya ought to be setting that quick on plastics.

 

I've showed friends a little experiment where after a bass has picked up my jig, I hit the button free spooling it & watched the bass swim off with the jig.

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Definitely makes sense to locate but not catch them when prefishing 

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"Shaking" fish when pre-fishing has been a common practice since the mid 70s.

 

It's easier to do with a jig because of the weight, a 1/4 oz jig, 4/0-5/0 hook, skirt, & trailer ain't close to a 1/4 oz.

 

If ya wanna miss up someone's "honey hole", pre-fishing it & sore lip every fish ya can!

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6 minutes ago, Catt said:

If ya wanna miss up someone's "honey hole", pre-fishing it & sore lip every fish ya can!

 

And take them on a livewell ride, LOLOL.

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If the bass is intent on eating anything you should be able to detect the strike because your line is moving and the bass has whatever inside it's big mouth. On the other hand bass often are not sure what your lure is and often bite it to check it out, not sure it's food and reject it quickly. If you instantly hook set lures you can't see but feel something, you can't do that too fast, hesitate and you miss that fish.

Surface lures are different because the bass bites the lure in lieu of engulfing it and often needs to engulf the critter when it is underwater, so give the bass a few seconds to get the lure inside it's mouth.

Tom

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Anytime you feel something different jack him. As the Gman says "he aint got it in his pocket".

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I can relate to most of the descriptions here, but have a different perception as to 'why'.

 

In my opinion, the holding interval for a mouthed Soft-Plastic and a mouthed Jig are the same.

If you believe that bait hardness will alter the holding period, be reminded that soft-plastics

are frequently rigged on a hard jighead, and skirted jigs are typically accompanied by a soft plastic.

Although the holding interval may be the same at the fish’s end, a soft-plastic and a jig are not

seized in the same way, which makes a big difference in the reaction time at the angler's end

 

Soft-plastics spend a lot of time gliding off bottom, while jigs spend a lot of time on the bottom.

A gliding lure that's intercepted in flight will generally produce a ‘tap’ or ‘peck’ sensation.

On the other hand, a jig that's vacuumed off the bottom tends to produce a feeling

of weightlessness...that is...until the fish moves. The time lost between the pickup

and sensing the fish will create the illusion of a short mouthing interval, which in my opinion

explains why jigs are routinely touted as the hardest lures for detecting a strike.

BTW, that same nothingness feeling will also be experienced with Soft Plastics,

whenever a bass picks up the lure while moving toward the angler.

 

Roger

 

 

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We all have developed our own methods of hook setting and timing when to hook set.

I have been fishing bass jigs since the late 50's, before soft plastics were popular. When you consider that I never had a bass of any size get gut hooked fishing a bass jig with a skirt and trailer of any type. Hooked in the back of the throat past the crunchers, yes. Down the throat in the stomach, no. I had bass pick up a jig while working out a backlash and watched the line moving off and reeled in all the slack line and got a hook set with the jig still in the mouth.

Soft plastics fished with a sliding bullet weight, split or slip shot, drop shot, fly lined Senko with no weight, nail weight, I have had hundreds of bass get gut hooked, the hook out of sight down the basses throat. This happens regularly with new bass anglers until they develope hook set timing. Bach in the 60's it was common practice to let the bass run with the worm for a count of 10 before hook setting.

I am in the camp you can't hook set to fast with jigs or worms. One exception is Spotted bass that tendency  to peck at jigs with big soft plastic claws trailers. If you bring back a jig with the trailer ripped or plastic worm pulled down or off the hook, you may need to adjust your timing a second or two.

Tom

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true

 

sometimes spots are difficult to figure and it can be very frustrating. they'll bite the tails off your worms, the legs off your lizards, hit it, leave it, comeback for it, all the above. you'll miss the first three and then gut hook the next one. 

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8 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

fish hooked in the esophagus. But it's not uncommon with soft plastics. I have gone barbless with a lot of my soft plastics now, bc of this.

I crimp the barb down on all my soft plastics as well.  Better to have a fish come off (not very often) than to have to try to extricate a barbed EWG hook from deep in the throat.  Gut hooking is never a good thing, however, barbless gives the fish a better chance at survival.

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It depends on the lure. A lot of trial and error. Moving baits you will feel the pressure and all you will need to do is a slight sideways sweeping action. I was taught to wait 2 to 3 seconds on top water strikes and it works well for me. I mainly us braid with a leader for bottom applications and weightless plastics so I can feel anything that touches the lure. But I'm nobody, when in doubt set the hook! 

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On 5/15/2017 at 10:10 AM, Catt said:

I firmly believe bass that are deeply hooked on plastics is because the angler waited to long before setting hook.The small size of plastics we fish allows it to easily be swallowed.

 

Most of my bass on plastics are hooked around the tongue or the side of the jaw.

 

I also firmly believe anglers set hook faster on a jig believing they'll spit it quicker which ain't a bad thing but ya ought to be setting that quick on plastics.

 

I've showed friends a little experiment where after a bass has picked up my jig, I hit the button free spooling it & watched the bass swim off with the jig.

Couldn't agree more on this point. I remember watching an interview with Greg Hackney about why his hookup ratio with jigs is phenomenal. He said it was because he would take his time and apply steady pressure and feel the fish before setting the hook. Bass will almost go into a tug-o-war with a jig. Plastics, as Catt mentioned, will just get swallowed or spit out immediately.

 

On a slightly different note, speaking from experience of sight fishing in clear, shallow water, even a small bass can inhale a large worm in one gulp often. I've watched a 10" bass inhale a 12" worm in one gulp. You'd be surprised at how long the fish can have the bait entirely before it is ever felt. While not as common, I've also watched fish spit plastics out almost immediately. If not having seen the fish do this, I'd never have known they had the bait at all. Not to beat a dead horse, but I've never seen a small fish spit plastic out that fast. It was always the larger, wearier bass.

 

IMO If you're fishing soft plastics, set the hook as soon as you feel the fish.

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Many times,I have heard something along the lines of this:

 

The first tap is the bass biting your lure

The second tap is him spitting it out

The third tap is your buddy tapping you on the shoulder asking you why you didn't set the hook!

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I've spent most of the summer teaching my wife how to fish a t-rig Trick worm.  At first she was gut hooking just about everyone because she felt like she had to tell me that something just tapped her worm a couple times.  After telling her to set the hook instead of first relating her experiences, she's been getting better hook sets in the mouth and rarely loses a fish.  I can't tell you how many she's missed because she's bad about staying in contact with the bait.  

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