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When fishing jigs and plastics, most folks can sense that tap. If you're watching the line for bumps and walk offs, those should be fairly easy too with just a little practice.

 

The ones that still get me after 25 years of fishing plastics are those pressure bites. You go to move the lure after a bit and there is some pressure. Is it wedged between rocks, a tree, or is it in Big Mama's mouth with her just sitting there.

 

We are told to swing on anything and that might be good advice if you are fishing a empty flat, but around cover, especially rocks, there is almost always a little pressure as the jig comes up through the cover.  I'd be setting the hook 2 or 3 times a cast if I swung on every little bit of pressure. 

 

Here's where this is coming from...I fished Saturday and the bite was off...and the ones I were getting were just the small pressure. I don't think I felt one good tap all day, maybe one, but for the most part they were barely taking it. So I decided that I was going to swing on everything and caught a few doing that but if somebody had watched me from a distance, they would've thought I had gone mad on how many times I was swinging. How do you guys handle this when the bite is off?

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I usually end up not catching anything when that happens. I’ll have tears in my Senko when I inspect it after a few casts. 

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Todd

I couldn't care less what other people think I'm doing. 

You caught fish swinging didn't you?

Other than throwing a moving trebled hard bait how else are you to know.?

 

 I fish in, through and around grass all the time. Matter of fact I'd like to fish around rock once in a while. 

 

Keep doing what you're doing. It works. 

 

 

 

Mike

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Its hard to explain. I  lift the lure slowly at first as if weighing my line .  When I sense the lure is not moving  sometimes I set the hook sometimes not . A lot of trips I miss  a  fish or two at first but usually dont miss many more after that . 

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you have to figure out how the fish are taking your lure that day. if you dont swing, then you wont know. after a little trial and error you will learn if its a bite or rocks. who cares what other people watching might think.

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Yeah, I'm not concerned about the people so much ...more my rotator cuff....lol. I saw the video where Hackney reels into the fish a little and sweeps, that helps because it buys some time in determining whether its a fish or not. But.......the fish around here don't always hang on that long. Sometimes, but a lot of the time if you dont reel down and pop em pretty quick....they gone.

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Hooksets are free....

 

I grew up fishing all moving baits, so I still don't consider myself an expert with bottom contact baits. I've been known to send quite a few jigs/t-rigs flying through the air during a day of fishing.

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I like the drawn out anticipation of picking my Senko up off the bottom and feeling "weight".  A lot of years on the water goes into my decision on whether or not to pull the trigger.  I amaze my fishing partner all the time by how I can tell the difference between a leaf, some grass or some wood on my Senko.  I don't know how I can but I can.  And it can be just a very small amount for me to be able to sense the weight difference.  

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I wrote a jig fishing article for In-Fisherman back in '95 titled Horizontal Jigging, the presentation technique of making a cast with a jig and retreiving along the bottom.

In this article I discribe my hook setting technique as a "reel" set and rod sweep, the same as Hackney shows in his recent video. I bring this up because strike detection when casting a jig over 30 yards becomes difficult if you loose contact with the feel of the jig, you can't know what it's doing.

Pressure strikes are really a nothing or rubber band resistant feel when a bass has engulfed the jig and not moving, this happens more often then we realize. When you fish the same weight jig on the same diameter line with similar types of trailers you will learn what that jig feels like as it moves along structure by feeling the line. Most bass anglers rely on feed back from the rod without realizing all feed back is generated by the line movement, changes in resistance or lack of resistance and line movements going through the rod guides are all detected using your finger tips. Controlling "controlled slack" requires keeping the rod tip down in lieu of up to shorten the distance and mount if line between the rod tip and water surface. Using the rod to move the jig is necessary to lift the jig over obstructions or shake it free on snags, otherwise I point the rod  tip at the jig and move it using my reel. When I detect any changes in line tension it alerts me subconsciously something is happening and often I just make a few quick handle turns to increase line tension and sweep the rod back firmly when I suspect the tension is a bass.  After years and years of experience all this happens very quickly without thinking about it and often results in hooking big bass you miss otherwise.

Casting a jig the jig design become critical, you want the sharpest possible hook and a longer distance between the jig head and the hook point so when a bass engulfs the jig the hook point is back inside the mouth. The bass often crunches down on the jig and the sharp hook point makes contact with tissue, when you put more line pressure the point penetrates deeper so the bass can't easily spit it out, the reel moves more line faster to initiate hook penetratration and the rod sweep completes it.

Tom

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A Bassmaster University video titled “Denny Brauer on flipping and pitching”, in it Denny answers viewer questions and one question was “what does a jig bite feel like?” Denny’s answer was “I don’t know but I know what it doesn’t feel like!”, he went on to say he felt 100% confident that not a single bass wrapped it’s lips around his lure and he didn’t take a shot at it.

 

His next commit was “observers in my boat might think I’m a complete idiot because I set hook 20 times but only landed 5 bass so the other 15 times I didn’t have a clue want was going on and they may be right but one thing for sure the other 15 times were not bass.

 

When in doubt, drop the rod, reel the slack, & set the hook! 

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5 hours ago, Todd2 said:

So I decided that I was going to swing on everything and caught a few doing that but if somebody had watched me from a distance, they would've thought I had gone mad on how many times I was swinging. How do you guys handle this when the bite is off?

I have set the hook on the bottom more times than I care to admit. :blush:

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2 weeks ago the bass in my local lake were hitting my plastic worm with a definite "tap". We caught several that morning. Last Saturday, the first fish was simply there when I lifted the rod. I figured they were striking much lighter, and they were. It always varies for me. Even between 1 or 2 days the bite can be different.As Catt says, go ahead and set the hook. If I would have waited for a definite tap last trip, I wouldn't have caught any fish. I've set the hook on nothing a lot of times too. By doing this your increasing your chances to hook more bass overall. Nothing wrong with a false hookset.

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I "weigh" my bait constantly. I'll also watch my rod tip for any sign of movement, this has tipped me off to tons of fish that I could feel nothing but saw the tip move very slightly. Usually by weighing the bait, I can tell if there's a fish or not. No way to explain how to tell the difference between a bass, stick, rock, or grass, but it feels different when a bass is just sitting there holding it than it does when it's stuck on something. 

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Trust your instincts.

"do or do not... there is no try" Yoda :)

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12 hours ago, Catt said:

A Bassmaster University video titled “Denny Brauer on flipping and pitching”, in it Denny answers viewer questions and one question was “what does a jig bite feel like?” Denny’s answer was “I don’t know but I know what it doesn’t feel like!”, he went on to say he felt 100% confident that not a single bass wrapped it’s lips around his lure and he didn’t take a shot at it.

 

His next commit was “observers in my boat might think I’m a complete idiot because I set hook 20 times but only landed 5 bass so the other 15 times I didn’t have a clue want was going on and they may be right but one thing for sure the other 15 times were not bass.

 

When in doubt, drop the rod, reel the slack, & set the hook! 

100% correct!

 

Todd, you know how the bait feels by itself and when it feels different you set the hook.

 

You can go from a snag to a new personal best. But you set the hook.

 

To add what Catt penned, Hank Parker always says, "It doesn't cost anything to set the hook."

 

I do the same thing you do when the bait feels "different." Better to be safe than sorry.

 

Just be careful not to set the phantom hookset too hard and knock yourself out of the boat!!!!!

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Just to add, I could give a hoot what others think of me while fishing.  It's a standing joke to watch me go "on point" when I'm fishing a Senko and I feel like I am getting bit.  I get in the zone when fishing a Senko and my "minds eye" is watching what the bait is doing underwater and if it changes from normal, I go on point.  :lol:

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Some of the lightest most subtle bites you'll feel will be from the biggest bass!

 

In my personal opinion there are 4 elements to feeling the bite.

 

Line, rod, hands, & brain 😉

 

The absolute most essential element is the brain, interpretation of what's going on with our lure. I've found the fastest way to speed up interpretation is to take my students night fishing during the New Moon phase.

 

In total darkness your sense of feel heightens to a degree that will surprise you.

Ya know how it felt the first time you used tungsten? Darkness does the same thing!

 

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A lot of great points by everybody...here's a few thoughts I had after reading.

18 hours ago, WRB said:

I wrote a jig fishing article for In-Fisherman back in '95 titled Horizontal Jigging, the presentation technique of making a cast with a jig and retreiving along the bottom.

 

Pressure strikes are really a nothing or rubber band resistant feel when a bass has engulfed the jig and not moving, this happens more often then we realize. 

You sent me that article a few years back and it has helped me a lot and I do think we get bit more than any of us know.

 

 

 

20 hours ago, Hyrule Bass said:

you have to figure out how the fish are taking your lure that day. 

Yup, even from fish to fish on the same day it seems like they take it different. When they hit it and run, I've always heard there are more fish around. When they suck it in and don't move they are alone, or just too big to be messed with, or so I've read.

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Catt said:

Some of the lightest most subtle bites you'll feel will be from the biggest bass!

 

In my personal opinion there are 4 elements to feeling the bite.

 

Line, rod, hands, & brain 😉

 

The absolute most essential element is the brain, interpretation of what's going on with our lure. I've found the fastest way to speed up interpretation is to take my students night fishing during the New Moon phase.

 

In total darkness your sense of feel heightens to a degree that will surprise you.

Ya know how it felt the first time you used tungsten? Darkness does the same thing!

 

I totally agree that my lightest bites are my bigger fish. I've using braid and tungsten for the first time and mostly night fishing (Saturday was a day trip) and it's almost like information overload. I can feel everything and it sounds weird, but I think that is some of my problem. I'm feeling everything. 

 

 

 

 

6 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

. No way to explain how to tell the difference between a bass, stick, rock, or grass, but it feels different when a bass is just sitting there holding it than it does when it's stuck on something. 

When I go to weigh it and feel weightlessness or movement, I can tell. But when just a steady pressure, I still can't decide. Most of the times I'm sure it's rock. But the only keeper I caught Saturday was a feel that I know I've passed on swinging in the past. Not anymore!!!

 

 

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I think part of the problem anglers have is self inflicted, they go into each cast, flip, pitch, or punch expecting to feel that classic "tap" or see that classic "line movement".

 

My mind set is I'm expecting the lightest most subtle bite...anything more is lagniappe!

 

When in doubt, drop the rod, reel the slack, & set the hook!

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

lagniappe!

Had to look that one up ..... ;)

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We are not all equal in sense of touch, hand eye coordination and reflex reaction time.

We can improve skills with practice but reach our limitation and start to loose those skills over time.

Catt has repeated more times then I can recall how important it is to fish at night to improve your focus on feeling jig and worm strikes. At night our sight isn't good and our sense of feel becomes more important and strikes seem more intense because we are not distracted and consentrate on feel.

When fishing we use our sense of feel using our finger tips because they have lots of nerve endings, some of us are like a safe cracker and others numb with little feed back, most of us are somewhere inbetween.

During day light we combine our senses of sight and feel to detect strike. If you can focus more on feel, like night fishing during the day, detecting pressure strikes becomes easier.

Pressure strikes are very common with split shot or Carolina rigs because you feel the weight and not what is going on behind it due to slack line until the bass moves away with the soft plastic in it's mouth. Pressure jig strike feels similar until the bass moves with the jig in it's mouth. Focus every second on what the underwater lure is doing and react to any changes you detect.

Tom

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