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BrackishBassin

Gut hooked fish on a Wacky Rig

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So, I got a chance to hit the lake today. Blue bird skies, hot, and not a breath of wind. Decided to throw a wacky rig from the bank. I was targeting lay downs and other pieces of structure/cover I could find. 

 

First fish (pickerel) I had zero issues. Next two fish (both bass) were gut hooked. I was able to remove the hook from one, but the other one died shortly after I put it back in the water. I absolutely hate killing fish I'm not going to eat. 

 

With both bass, I never felt a tug or saw the line (braid with a mono leader) move. I went to shake it up off the bottom , felt resistance, and set the hook. After the second one was gut hooked (the one that didn't make it), I switched up to moving baits and never got another bite. I was just too gun shy to continue fishing it. 

 

My question is, does or has anyone else had a similar issue fishing a wacky rigged trick worm from the bank? After today's experience, I'd be hesitant to throw them again. What if that fish that hadn't made it was a big one? Then I would've really felt like crap. What was I doing wrong?

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It just means there was too much time between the when the fish takes the bait and your hookset. Try to keep your line semi-slack so its taught enough to feel any tension, but slack enough to let the bait fall naturally. There should be a slight bow in the line, not allowing it to lay limp on top of the water. With most soft plastic presentations, if you're not totally focused, more often than not a bass will swallow the rig. A wacky rig is especially easy for a bass to swallow because smaller hooks are often used. 

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If you pinch down the barb on the hook you use, you can easily remove the hook even if the bass is gut hooked. Before you say I think I'd loose too many fish, the pinched barb penetrates more easily and if you keep good pressure on, you'll land just about as many fish and most importantly most if not all with swim off alive.

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If you don't know how to go through the gills and turn the hook around, take the time to look it up and learn to do it.  It is easy and saves those for you to catch in the future.

 

 

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+remove+a+hook+from+a+fish's+throat&docid=608016054638741501&mid=A780E4C3C33CC0B1F974A780E4C3C33CC0B1F974&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT

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Assuming that you are a 'line-watcher', gut-hooking is only a problem

on days when bass are highly aggressive, which is not the norm.

The chances are good that you won't encounter a similar day for quite a while.

If you continue dealing with gut-hooked fish, crimping the barb on your hook

will make it easier on the fish and the fisherman.

 

Roger

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Light wire circle hook will eliminate gut hooking.

Owner #5114 or 5185 light wire depending on the type of line you use.

Tom

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I do crimp my barbs. The one I couldn't save swallowed everything but the eye. I cut the line after I realized there was no way I was getting it out, but he flipped around for a while in front of me and then went belly up. 

 

I use circle hooks for saltwater, but haven't tried them for fresh. I guess I can give it a shot. Have to retrain myself not to set the hook though. 

 

I'm definitely a line watcher, but I never even saw it twitch. Never had that happen to me before. I spend quite a bit of time fishing ponds because they're local for me. 99 percent of the time I'm throwing a soft plastic of some sort and have only ever had 1 fish die on me. That one I chalked up to bad luck. Fish came out of the water bleeding like a stuck pig and was dead within 30 seconds of me tossing it back. 

 

I'm familiar with the through the gills method, but these were on the smaller side and I couldn't access the hook through the gills for one that died. 

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Weightless Senko drifting down through the water column with slight life like wiggles, to a bass it's pret and taste and feels alive so they engulf it and continue to swallow it without moving off with the meal. You can't detect that type of strike unless you see it or know the sink rate or see the line stop sinking.

You may miss a few fish until you get the sweep set timing down with a circle hook, it's works very well wacky rigged.

Tom

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Last year I was throwing t-rig Yum dinger and felt a fish toying with the bait. When he finally felt on, I set the hook. The thing comes it like a sack of potatoes which has me scratching my head. When it gets to the top I realized why, he was hooked through the eye and into his head. The fish at some point must have picked up the bait and spit it out. The thing was stone dead.

 

Simple solution for things like that, deep gut hook or otherwise, eat them. It's not the tastiest fish but I feel better getting a fillet out of a fish I killed accidentally.

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I use Gamakatsu No. 4 Octopus Circle hooks with an O-ring when wacky-rigging. I almost always end up setting the hook into the lip of the fish.

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Circle hooks will definitely help if not totally remedy the issue but I find I miss hook ups with them. To me wacky rigging a weightless worm and gut hooking is just something that's going to happen. I use octopus hooks with no barb and line watch but they just swallow this rig without hesitation. No one likes killing fish and for good reason but I don't know why no one likes eating fish. If I don't think they will survive then they get ate.

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Keep em and eat em. No biggie. At least he wont go to waste. Like jay kumar says- "they are just bass"

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If you are that worried about it I'd switch to either a circle hook or crimp down the barb. I would also recommend watching this video or others like it. This method has saved dozens of fish for me and I'm sure it can help you out as well. 

 

 

And if all else fails...no shame in eating them if they're going to die anyways. It happens occasionally to all of us whether we know it or not. If you know it...might as well put the fish to good use. But you should have a few options to avoid this now. 

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It happens often, and the question comes up often how to deal with it. If you learn how to properly remove a gut hooked bass, very few of them will go belly up on you like that.

 

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I would have kept the bass if it had been legal, but it wasn't. So, I had to toss it back. 

 

I'll give circle hooks a shot. 

 

Guess there's always a drop shot if I want to go finesse. Never had a bass gut hook themselves on a drop shot. 

5 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

It happens often, and the question comes up often how to deal with it. If you learn how to properly remove a gut hooked bass, very few of them will go belly up on you like that.

 

 

Yeah, there was no removing this hook. It had swallowed everything but the eye so there was no place to turn the hook to. Would have just stuck it deeper into his gut. 

 

I've used that method with worm hooks before, but it's much easier due to the long shank of the hook. 

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10 minutes ago, BrackishBassin said:

 Yeah, there was no removing this hook. It had swallowed everything but the eye so there was no place to turn the hook to. Would have just stuck it deeper into his gut. 

 

I've used that method with worm hooks before, but it's much easier due to the long shank of the hook. 

I've seen this often, many times on Thursday as the older gentleman in the boat couldn't feel or see the strikes on his wacky rig. If you gently pull on the line the hook will usually move up further where you're able to reach it. I hate leaving the hook in them because I have a hard time believing those fish make it. Feel it's better for them to go fairly quickly bleeding out versus starving to death because they can't eat properly. 

It's still going to happen, you'll still lose one once in awhile. I killed one on a frog last week. Inhaled it on the strike and got the hook right through the gills, belly up as soon as it hit the water. Just one of those things that's going to happen no matter what you do. 

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My guess is that you just missed your cue.  If you're fishing wacky baits on a semi-slack line or even a really slack line, like dead sticking, you should see the strike prior to feeling it.  The line will move (or stop moving) or do something out of the ordinary, indicating that you might think about setting the hook.   Hooksets are free.  Fluorocarbon line can sometimes be a challenge to watch.   Braid/fluorocarbon leader set ups are relatively easy.

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+1 for crimping down the barb on the wacky hooks, it's just an easy bait for them to swallow, I dont how much it would have helped if he swallowed it up to the eye (i picture it could have helped, at least make it easier to pass). I caught a fish with a entire jig head coming out of it, whoever caught it had crimped down the barb and I was able to pull it out easy, Im sure that fish is still swimming now. 

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Senkos are killing too many bass!  Time to ban that darn thing once and for all ;). Sorry Mr. Yamamoto. 

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If they're getting it so deep you can't use the gill removal method I would just crimp down the barbs. I do that for ice fishing now. I use the same type of finesse wide gap hooks popular for wacky rigging and just crimp down the barb on all of them. Most of the times they swallow it since you have to run to the hole but with the barbs pinched it still takes no effort to remove them. 

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I use a size 1/0 wacky worm hook with an O ring. 8lb stren clear blue fluorescent line (easy to see)

 

Cast the worm when it hits the water I leave the slight slack in the line watching it at all times to see if it moves. Most of the time even with the semi-slack line I feel the initial tug of a bass taking the bait.

 

It seems to me the wacky hook with the O ring almost sets itself when the bass strikes as the hook is totally exposed.

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I use Tru-turn hooks and they have greatly reduced gut hooked fish. Most are hooked in the lip or nose. If gut hooked, I'll cut off the line as close as possible and let 'em go. Get's 'em back in the water fast and those hooks will rust out or the fish has a chance to work it out.  Once had a Texas Wildlife & Fisheries official tell me the most important thing is to get the fish back in the water quickly. Just because they swim off does not mean they will make it.

 

Each to his own.

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Gotta set the hook sooner. The longer you wait the more likely the fish will swallow the the hook. Try using octopus circle or finess wide gap hooks, they usually hook them on the side of the mouth. Never had a problem with them getting gut hooked.

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One of the many reasons why I don't like wacky rigging.  Having been sponsored by Yamamoto for over 15 years and guiding, I see my share of gut hooked fish.  I'm an expert at removal through the gill.  No tournament fisherman is gonna bend a barb in to reduce hookups.  Also be advised that there are other places where you can hook a bass that will kill it immediately.  The tongue is a delicate spot as well as the gills and some other spots in the mouth.  I have found no less bites and far less gut hooks with the Texas rigged Senkos on a 4.0 Gamakatsu EWG hook.  Reason being, the EWG creates a bigger mass that the bass can't inhale as easily without either a line jump or it banging off the inside of the mouth.  But, they can also spit a Texas rigged Senko easier.  With Clients, I actually watch their line as they fish.  If they are really inexperienced, I will move up to a 5.0 EWG.  Here's a picture from last weekend and if these big girls don't swallow it whole then the smaller ones are safer.  You can zoom in on the hook.

 

 

aquia.jpg

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Seen my share, as well...

 

Thus, one of the reasons I use yellow Power Pro. I am a

line watcher. So I have put a lot of time in and have gotten

pretty good at hooking the *vast* majority of wacky bass in

the mouth area, not the gut.

 

But there are those times when the take is so soft and the

line is still, but when you reel in, a bass is there. Have seen

that with both wacky and weightless TX rigging, although

less TX.

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