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Brad Reid

Big Fish on Light tackle, little baits

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Fishing has been so great here in sort of the pre-spawn/spawn period on Lake Athens in Texas. Well, two evenings ago, the LMB bite was slow; but, my neighbor was seeing plenty of fish on his electronics as he idled by. Hmm? Could it be the white bass have finally come in shallow to spawn? Is he seeing white bass?

 

So, yesterday afternoon I grabbed a finesse rod and reel, spooled with 2lbs. Sufix Nanobraid and a #2 Mepps Plain Aglia inline spinner in silver, thought I'd paddle around in my kayak and see what was down there.

 

No white bass, rats! So much fun to catch on light tackle as they grow extra large on our lake and make for a good fight. What did happen was I got into to some nice LMBs, sort of in the 2.5 lbs. range. On a 7'+ finesse rod, a 1000 series spinning reel and 2 lbs. test, you know I really let the rod do the work, took my time bringing them in.

 

Nothing, so far, over several seasons has ever snapped my 2 lbs. braid. Sufix says it is multiple times stronger than other similar lines, whatever that means. I have landed a 3+ lbs. white bass, an LMB close to 4.5 lbs. and about a 5 lbs. catfish with this in previous seasons.

 

I'd like to hear more stories, anecdotes, since it happens to all of us. We go out with gear for LMBs or SMBs and they want no part of it. Go out with some tiny finesse gear and tackle to target panfish or smaller fish? Some big fish jumps on it!

 

Cheers!  Brad

 

 

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I usually am fishing somewhat small to start with, since my primary technique is the ned rig. If that doesn't work, I try Trig and shakeyhead with bigger plastics.  If the bass are having none of that, I have my ultralight setup with me in the kayak at all times.  I usually throw small jigs with twister tail plastics or crappie magnet type plastics.  I will also throw small spinners such as Panther Martin,as well as small Yozuri pin minnow type baits.  By doing this I will at least be having fun catching all types of panfish; and I will usually catch several bass as well.  As you know, catching bass is a blast on ultralight gear.

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When people find out I fish Senko's and DShads on the Potomac river on 6lb test, they look at me like I'm from outer space.  

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As long as the structure is not too bad, weeds, abrasions etc..You can another site on light line, I never go as light as 2lb braid, but I believe you are correct with it being stronger than 2lb test.

 

I use 4lb Mono as my lightest, and in open water, I have landed some 4-5lb fish, but I prefer 6lb test and feel I can land just about any fish if I am patient and trust my drag....Although, even in open water, I have found that bigger bass will often win the battle since they will find structure to break you off.

 

Getting extra strikes with light tackle is addicting, however the landing ratio with quality fish can be difficult. I just really enjoy lighter tackle and sometimes get a bit greedy with it and use it in places I have no business attempting it. 

 

I have not tried a small spinner in years. I am going to bring one the next time I go pond fishing, I forget about how good a small spinner can work.

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I transitioned from small creek trout fishing to bass fishing. My first couple bass setups were cheap ultralight trout rods and a light rated 2 piece shimano. My lures were inline spinners, the smallest rapalas (jointed shad raps, floating minnows, husky jerks), rebel wee craws, and beetle spins. I remember thinking that all of the bass lures looked way too big for the fish that I thought were near me. (Turns out even small bass hit big lures). Anyways, for the first couple of years before I got really into bass fishing I caught some nice fish on my ultralight crankbaits and inline spinners on light tackle. The other day I put a couple of the jointed shad raps in my backpack to try this Spring.

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My biggest NY state bass is 7-2, caught on a 10" Powerworm and 1/2 oz. bullet weight using 50# braid.  My second largest NY state bass was 7-1, caught on a 3/32 oz. wacky jig using a 6# leader.  Go figure.

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1 hour ago, TOXIC said:

When people find out I fish Senko's and DShads on the Potomac river on 6lb test, they look at me like I'm from outer space.  

I am going to try to fish senkos “the right way” this season but I can’t make myself start with 6lb line.  I am starting with 15lb braid to 10lb Sniper and will work down from there.  

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2 hours ago, TOXIC said:

When people find out I fish Senko's and DShads on the Potomac river on 6lb test, they look at me like I'm from outer space.  

😮

Why do you use 6lb test? 

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3 hours ago, J Francho said:

My biggest NY state bass is 7-2, caught on a 10" Powerworm and 1/2 oz. bullet weight using 50# braid.  My second largest NY state bass was 7-1, caught on a 3/32 oz. wacky jig using a 6# leader.  Go figure.

They were both hungry...

 

oe

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I use 5 lb Maxima Ultra green for most of my finesse spinning and catch bass between 5 lbs to 7 lbs each year, caught a 13.2 lb LMB on 6 lb Maxima mono.

My biggest achievement was a 4 lb line class world record California Yellowtail 14 lbs 2 oz on 4 lb Maxima mono, record didn't last long however someone from New Zealand topped it the next year.

My 2 top LMB 19.3 lbs was caught on 10 lb Big Game mono, the 18.6 lb on 10 lb XT mono, all top 5 LMB were caught on 10 to 12 lb mono using hair jigs. I don't consider myself as a light line angler but sometimes you got to get bit and lighter line allows me make longer casts.

Check your line and retie often, set drags accurately and play the fish, you can't be in a hurry using light line.

Tom

 

 

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   For 5 years (about 9 years ago) I had arthritis so bad that all I could use was an ultralight. I used 4 lb mono, usually. I thought, "There's no big fish gonna hit those tiny little lures!"

   Hahahahaha!  

   So I learned the hard way. Pike on a UL ain't easy, but it teaches you what a light setup really can do. But I know that I'm sooooo lucky to fish unobstructed water. If I had had to deal with slop, I'd have had to give up fishing.     😌😌    jj

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1 hour ago, jimmyjoe said:

   For 5 years (about 9 years ago) I had arthritis so bad that all I could use was an ultralight. I used 4 lb mono, usually. I thought, "There's no big fish gonna hit those tiny little lures!"

   Hahahahaha!  

   So I learned the hard way. Pike on a UL ain't easy, but it teaches you what a light setup really can do. But I know that I'm sooooo lucky to fish unobstructed water. If I had had to deal with slop, I'd have had to give up fishing.     😌😌    jj

Pike on light tackle can be quite an adventure ~ 

 This one sure was for me.

 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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I spent about about 20 years fishing Ontario Canada during vacations with the inlaws at Lake of The Woods trying to catch a 40 lb class musky. Heavy musky tackle and Suick, Musky Hawks, Teddy and Bobby lures. I catch my PB musky one afternoon on my smallmouth bass outfit Abu 2500C reel with 1/4 oz jg on 8 lb mono,37 lbs. my wife was with me so this was a special fish.

Tom

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2 hours ago, WRB said:

I use 5 lb Maxima Ultra green for most of my finesse spinning and catch bass between 5 lbs to 7 lbs each year, caught a 13.2 lb LMB on 6 lb Maxima mono.

My biggest achievement was a 4 lb line class world record California Yellowtail 14 lbs 2 oz on 4 lb Maxima mono, record didn't last long however someone from New Zealand topped it the next year.

My 2 top LMB 19.3 lbs was caught on 10 lb Big Game mono, the 18.6 lb on 10 lb XT mono, all top 5 LMB were caught on 10 to 12 lb mono using hair jigs. I don't consider myself as a light line angler but sometimes you got to get bit and lighter line allows me make longer casts.

Check your line and retie often, set drags accurately and play the fish, you can't be in a hurry using light line.

Tom

 

 

Tom, just based on my own experience, those I hear and read of others, I am sort of surprised that so few pro bass anglers seem to really scale down to get bites. I mean, yes, I know they do Drop Shot, but I mean like little spinnerbaits, finesse jigs and more. Maybe some do and I just don't know it.

 

I went down again this afternoon, just fished off by dock and I caught 2 nice bass and an average sized crappie. 2 lbs. braid and that same long finesse rod, 1000 series spinning reel.

 

With that 2 lbs. braid, I can cast a #2 Mepps Plain Aglia really far, cover a lot of water!

 

Brad

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A year or two ago I was trying for panfish with an ultralight and a small jig head and caught an accidental largemouth. Chunky but probably only a 2+ pounder. What a thrill it was bringing it in on that ultralight.

 

Now I always like to bring one panfish combo. There are many days when I don't land a single bass so on the way back to the launch it's satisfying to know I can at least catch a perch or bluegill before getting off the water. A day on the water without a fish is still a great day, but it's just better when you can land something, even a small something.

 

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2 hours ago, jimmyjoe said:

So I learned the hard way. Pike on a UL ain't easy, but it teaches you what a light setup really can do. But I know that I'm sooooo lucky to fish unobstructed water. If I had had to deal with slop, I'd have had to give up fishing.     😌😌    jj

Same, there's some lily pads in one corner of the 10 lakes I fish and I don't go near 'em.

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The Texas state LMB record was caught by a crappie angler, sometimes elephants eat peanuts.

Tom

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10lb braid, 8lb mono leader, ML/XF spinning rod, 1/16oz head with a #2 hook and a TRD (Ned rig).

Image may contain: Clayton Westgate, outdoor

One of my biggest 5 of the year last year fell for a 1/8oz micro finesse jig on 8lb flouro and a M/F spinning rod under  a dock. Kind of easy to miss but the bait is laying on top of the fish on the measuring board picture.

Image may contain: one or more people, water and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

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14 hours ago, fishwizzard said:

I am going to try to fish senkos “the right way” this season but I can’t make myself start with 6lb line.  I am starting with 15lb braid to 10lb Sniper and will work down from there.  

Give 8lb a try and you'll feel better and it will still work.  The only braid I use on a Senko is in Michigan dragging a Wong rig with no leader.  

13 hours ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Why do you use 6lb test? 

A few reasons.  First thing is that I do not make long casts over the weed beds we usually fish.  The more line you have out the more the advantage goes to the fish.  Second, it gives less resistance to letting the Senko fall through the holes in the mats and keep its signature action.  Make no mistake, I "go to" a lot of my bigger fish hooked on that setup.  I don't try to drag them out.  We fish a lot of windy days as well and the lighter line is less affected by it.  A Senko has always been a finesse bait to me and the lightest line you can get away with is always better.  I know I've posted this pic before, but this 14.9 Northern Snakehead was caught on a Senko and 6lb test mono.

 

Snakehead.jpg

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I dont use anything less than #6 pound test for any kind of fishing anymore. For bass, it's usually 10-12 pound mono.

I have caught a fair number of 4-5 pound bass on the 6, which I thought was pretty good. Ive cuaght several of these while fishing with a 5 ft rod and tiny hook for bream or shiners to use for bait. The bass clobber them while reeling them in. Its harder for me to get a good hookset without breaking the line with light line, but I succeed sometimes.😏 All about the drag !

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I went down last night again, same finesse Soare rod, 1000 spinning reel, 2 lbs. test, and I caught a 2.5 and a 3.5 pounder, LMBs, and one average sized crappie. 30 minutes of fishing.

 

I totally agree with the earlier comment that there is no reason to drop all the way down to 2 lbs. (not if the true goal is LMBs and not really panfish) and that 6 lbs. braid would eliminate margin of error, still allow for longer casts, if needed, say in open water. And, I'd certainly move off of a true finesse rod and go to an L or ML with the proper rod characteristics for what I am doing, how and where I am fishing.

 

"Moving to fish." Since, more often than not, I am fishing out of a canoe or kayak, I know exactly what Toxic means here. Too, my lake has tons of American Lotus and other lily pads making this a skill worth learning. If you can't move the fish, move your boat.

 

*** So, it really makes me wonder for these pro anglers in the new competitive format of weighing fish on the boats, no numbers limitations, why in the heck don't they use lighter gear, again other than maybe just a drop shot, to catch some fish?

 

In that tournament the other day where Mike Iaconelli got off to a huge first round lead? I think Mike was fishing something small. I'll have to go back and watch it again. But, several anglers were just not catching a thing as I recall. Mike had 20 pounds while one or two anglers had zip, zero. Why in the heck would they NOT downsize? Some do, but I think it is sort of far down in the thought process for many of them. Maybe a bit of ego, too? Not certain.

 

I think if I were a pro bass angler, I'd have at least one rod set up in the manner we are talking about, maybe put a red ribbon on it as a reminder. Ha!

 

We ought to discuss what that perfect set-up for finesse, but truly intended for bass and not panfish, would be. The rod, the reel, the line, some favorite small lures. Sure, Ned Rig and Drop Shot, but others???

 

Brad

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I am currently putting together a finesse box, so this is timely for me.  I have some 2 inch grubs with 1/8 - 1/4 oz ball jigs.  Small, 2 inch boot tail storm shad type baits, some Luck E Strike 4 inch curl tail worms, Zoom finesse worms, split shot rigs, some slider rigs, beetle spins, large size.  Variety of Ned rig stuff.  I use 8 lb fireline with 6 lb maxima leader on a M Ugly stick spinning rod with a Pfluger Trion reel.  I have several spinning rods, but this one is the most sensitive and accurate  to me.

 

I am careful to keep Elastec in a separate bag.

 

I also have arthritis which makes fishing with a BC tough on some days.  

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4 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Give 8lb a try and you'll feel better and it will still work.  The only braid I use on a Senko is in Michigan dragging a Wong rig with no leader.  

I use 7lb Sniper for some

stuff and will give that a go.  I want to stick with a braid mainline as the reel I want to use is on the small side and I don’t know how well it will handle any flouro.  

 

What’s the diameter of the 6lb fluoro you use?

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I don't use fluro or leaders on my finesse setups.  6lb mono.  The only thing I use fluro for is 10-12lb on casting reels with cranks.  

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Big fan of "light tackle" and "smaller" baits.

 

My PB of 7.5 was on a 10# leader in thick slop. While not

what I consider "light", it isn't heavy either.

 

Regularly use 6 and 8# leaders in fresh and saltwater.

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