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I fish in a small club in central Florida with a buddy of mine, and after every tournament we analyze the day, how we fished, what we could have done differently (as I’m sure most everyone who fished tourneys does) one consistent theme is that we realize that if we didn’t place, we probably lost fish that would have put us in the money. There seem to be a wide range of reasons, and I can’t quite pinpoint any one circumstance that frequently happens that is causing it, for instance this past weekend he lost a 4-5 on a top water that just cane unbuttoned, and 10 minutes before weigh in I lost a 5+ when my 25lb flouro leader snapped (I had caught previous fish on the line and there were no nicks in the line) 

 

    I guess what I’m wondering is what you guys do to try and minimize losing fish? Obviously if I could track down one root cause I could correct it, but I can’t say it is one specific thing causing it. 

 

   It sucks when you know you’re competitive but don’t quite get in the money because of one or two lost fish.

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Everyone loses fish one time or another for one reason or another.  

 

All you can do is try to control what you can and there's still no guarantee. 

 

Sharp hooks

Solid hook set

Best knot for what you're using

Better knot tying 

Better reeling technique especially with treble hook lures

Better landing technique

etc etc

 

Accept it's gonna happen 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike

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Mike sums it up pretty good.

You will get a lot of input on trebles, but since I went to the Aaron Martins, it doesn’t happen often.

If your in a tournament and don’t retie every 2 fish, it’s on you.

Why 25 lb?  Just asking.

......

side note, I had a spool of blue label and it was junk, and Was sent a replacement.

.....I would also look at quality mono for top water, there are some very good options out there

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Pretty much what Mike said. 

Best you can do is eliminate every variable you can on your side of the water. This means using quality gear, tackle, and line. Using cheap line, rods, reels, hooks = lost fish eventually. I've had cheap reels lock up fighting a fish and then break off. I've had cheap line snap whenever it felt like. Cheap hooks bend. etc. 

Beyond gear, quality of hooksets is another thing. For the longest time I had a bad hookset and fish would come unpinned all the time. That paired with me using underpowered rods. I eventually started practicing the mechanics of my hookset. Instead of just feeling the bite and slamming the rod back with slack in the line, I learned that reeling down a turn or two and picking up that slack gives you way more power in the hookset. 

 

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6 minutes ago, NHBull said:

Mike sums it up pretty good.

You will get a lot of input on trebles, but since I went to the Aaron Martins, it doesn’t happen often.

If your in a tournament and don’t retie every 2 fish, it’s on you.

Why 25 lb?  Just asking.

......

side note, I had a spool of blue label and it was junk, and Was sent a replacement.

.....I would also look at quality mono for top water, there are some very good options out there

I use 25lb flouro leader on some braid set ups that are in heavier cover, down here in Florida almost every fish is gonna run for the thickest hydrilla or pads around, in my particular case this was a spinner bait running through pads and over hydrilla clumps. I expected full contact and got it. 

 

As for top water, we basically use braid on everything, with flouro leaders of varying sizes depending on applications. 

 

I use XPS flouro and have never had problems with it, I believe this particular case was a fluke and not in relation to line, or hookset. My hookset was textbook. 

 

 

Whatever the case case while I gave this weekends examples, every time we lose them it’s different circumstances. For instance the top water fish he lost he had caught 5-6 before that, without an issue. 

 

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Why do you use a leader with braid in cover areas?

Do you button down your drag?

Losing bass is usually because you lost control of the bass by not keeping the fish in front of you.

Random tackle failures can be eliminated, sometimes the bass win. Losing bass during a tournament is always a problem to be minized because it cost you. 2 knots failure 109% more then 1 knot.

My advice is don't button down your drag, adjust it and control the bass using extra thumb pressure when needed.

FC line is problematic and fails randomly from fishing stress. No LMB bass on the planet can break 25 lb line by pulling on it.

Treble hooked bass can be hooked lightly and shake off, a risk if using them.

As Mike said control what you can, small details make a big difference.

Tom

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14 minutes ago, WRB said:

Why do you use a leader with braid in cover areas?

Do you button down your drag?

Losing bass is usually because you lost control of the bass by not keeping the fish in front of you.

Random tackle failures can be eliminated, sometimes the bass win. Losing bass during a tournament is always a problem to be minized because it cost you. 2 knots failure 109% more then 1 knot.

My advice is don't button down your drag, adjust it and control the bass using extra thumb pressure when needed.

FC line is problematic and fails randomly from fishing stress. No LMB bass on the planet can break 25 lb line by pulling on it.

Treble hooked bass can be hooked lightly and shake off, a risk if using them.

As Mike said control what you can, small details make a big difference.

Tom

I’ve actually been contemplating dropping the FC leader on my spinnerbait and swim jig set ups because of this. I guess that’s one answer. I do know that in some applications I’ve seen noticeable increase in strikes when using FC vs not. But in the case of moving baits in moderate to heavy cover I agree it may not be as necessary 

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I switched to a mono leader for spinner baits recently because the braid was getting tangled in the spinners too often. It solved the problem and so far doesn't seem to have added any new ones.

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Happens to all of us.  I was in a tournament 3 weeks ago where I made a rookie mistake, setting the hook on a topwater explosion (toad) before I felt the weight of the fish.  I missed a 5-pounder and all I have is a footless toad to show for it.

 

As for minimizing lost fish:

  • Don't use leader.  I want a direct connection to the bait. The extra knot is simply another point-of-failure, plus you have 2 different pound test lines working against each other - a recipe for snapped line.
  • Always sharpen your hooks, and keep checking throughout the day
  • Retie - often. Even the best line can fray or get nicks.
  • Master your knots. I always use the uni-knot, but the Palomar and San Diego Jam knots are also excellent knots.  Pick one, and master it.
  • Match your rod, reel, line, and hooks for the technique and cover you're fishing. I cannot over-state this. One mismatched component is the weak link that will cause you to loose a fish.
  • Use the right line for the technique you're using.  Braid is not a universal, do-it-all line.  No line is. Each type of line has it's benefits. Learn them, and exploit their strengths. 

Hope that helps!

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One thing I would add to Glenn's post above is to know and use the right hookset for the bait you are using.  I broke 2 off on St Clair last week first thing because I forgot to adjust my hookset to the dropshot I was using.  I was trying to cross their eyes like I do with Senkos and other presentations then I realized I was overpowering my equipment.  Never lost another fish on the dropshot all week.  Had a few pike/musky bite offs but no more lost smallmouth.  Every technique has a different or best type of hookset.  

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On 5/28/2019 at 10:43 PM, Glenn said:
 
 
 
 
3
6 hours ago, Glenn said:

As for minimizing lost fish:

  • Don't use leader.  I want a direct connection to the bait. The extra knot is simply another point-of-failure, plus you have 2 different pound test lines working against each other - a recipe for snapped line.
  • Always sharpen your hooks, and keep checking throughout the day
  • Retie - often. Even the best line can fray or get nicks.
  • Master your knots. I always use the uni-knot, but the Palomar and San Diego Jam knots are also excellent knots.  Pick one, and master it.
  • Match your rod, reel, line, and hooks for the technique and cover you're fishing. I cannot over-state this. One mismatched component is the weak link that will cause you to loose a fish.
  • Use the right line for the technique you're using.  Braid is not a universal, do-it-all line.  No line is. Each type of line has it's benefits. Learn them, and exploit their strengths. 

Hope that helps!

Great Advice!

 

I was fishing last week and I missed at least 10 bass on the hookset. I was fishing a fluke and those 1 pound bass were killing (some hit it topwater) it but, I kept missing the hook set, so I only ended up catching only one bass... 😥

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Im with Glenn on leaders. Never use them for bass fishing. If I want a floro set up, I spool with floro.  Only place I can see leaders as being effective is in finesse presentations with softer rods and loose drags.

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I lost one big bass after another one season while  trying to emulate professional tournament anglers and horse them in .  Now when I have a big bass on , the only time I do that is to get them out of cover .  I also dont use braid . A big old bass coming out of the water shaking its massive  head attached to no stretch braid ,that could easily rip a big old hole in its mouth .

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Some people saying not to use line to leader.  I would have to disagree.  braid to leader has so many more pros than it does cons and more pros than using straight flouro or mono.  Using straight flouro or mono and you will be re spooling with new line a lot.  Especially if you frequent heavy cover and rock piles.  I personally like braid to leader on most of my setups because I dont have to worry about my line through out the day or season for the most part.  The only rods I use straight flouro on is my cranking setup and jig rod.  Everything else its braid to leader for me especially my spinning gear.  Learn to tie a good leader not.  Ive found the fg knot to really be the strongest but it takes a little more time, so when you or in a rush tie on a double uni.  They are still very reliable.  Ive never lost a fish from my leader breaking. 

 

Rod selection to me is so much more important than picking the fancy high end reels.  Especially your cranking and jig rods.  A nice medium action parabolic bend in a cranking and jig rod is a must.  Can mean the difference between keeping a fishing pegged on those trebles and loosing him.  I avoid glass rods because they are heavy and you loose sensitivity with them, but go to the store and hand pick you rods.  Dont just blindly order rods online like some people because some pro angler said its a good rod.  Also make sure your changing out the treble hooks and snap rings on your lures to something sharper, stouter, and just better quality.  Even many of the most expensive lures will come with garbage trebles.  Its a way for companies to cut cost and maximize profit so make sure you are changing them.  Dont be overzealous when setting the hook.  A lot of times with lures like jigs ans soft plastics.  The bass will bump it before they take it.  You have to let them take it.   Thats where good sensitive rods come into play. Also use the proper hook set when setting.  Some lures its more affective to set over the head and some you want to sweep off to the side when setting. .  Something that no one ever seems to mention is guides.  Make sure you are checking the guides on your rods.  A mangled or missing insert is brutal on any line.  If you are putting rods in a locker.  Use rod socks.  Taking rods in and out of a rod locker with all the rubbing degrades the line so use rods socks.  The only other thing I can think of is drag.  Having your drag set properly is a must especially on a fast and extra fast action rods.  The only rod I tighten my drag all the way down on is my frog rod.  Fish need you to give a little otherwise you will loose them.  Having the drag set properly allows you to effortlessly give a little. 

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1 hour ago, diversity210 said:

Some people saying not to use line to leader.  I would have to disagree.  braid to leader has so many more pros than it does cons and more pros than using straight flouro or mono.  Using straight flouro or mono and you will be re spooling with new line a lot.  Especially if you frequent heavy cover and rock piles.  I personally like braid to leader on most of my setups because I dont have to worry about my line through out the day or season for the most part.  The only rods I use straight flouro on is my cranking setup and jig rod.  Everything else its braid to leader for me especially my spinning gear.  Learn to tie a good leader not.  Ive found the fg knot to really be the strongest but it takes a little more time, so when you or in a rush tie on a double uni.  They are still very reliable.  Ive never lost a fish from my leader breaking. 

Everyone has their own way. For me and my style of fishing, there are no pros for using a leader, only cons. 

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On 5/28/2019 at 10:43 PM, Glenn said:

 

  • Don't use leader.  I want a direct connection to the bait. The extra knot is simply another point-of-failure, plus you have 2 different pound test lines working against each other - a recipe for snapped line...

Bad advice for spinning gear. 

 

Braid or super lines solve most issues of spinning gear and a leader increases bites in clear water.

 

A Crazy Alberto knot between braid & fluorocarbon will be stronger than any knot between fluorocarbon & a metal line tie.  Nicks in & around the line tie is the typical cause for line breaks.

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Nope, sorry, but I don't recommend braid in spinning gear.  It doesn't "solve" line twists, it merely masks it.  And if you're using spinning gear, it's for lighter lures, finesse tactics, etc, that require low-viz light line that has some stretch - that's not braid.

 

Sorry man, but I never use leaders, and never recommend it.  Nor do I recommend braid on spinning gear.

 

That's just me.  Knock yourself out if you think there's something to it, but you won't find braid on any of my spinning outfits, nor leaders on any of my rods - ever.

 

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If I'm having problems with hooksets, I start at the business end and work back from there.

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Everyone has their own way in deed, but brraid to leader is just so much more versatile than straight line and it saves money as well.  By versatile I mean you can always tie a leader on to braid, but being met with a situation where straight mono and flouro just wont do and you are out of luck.  It is for this reason braid to leader is much better for those who only have a couple rigs to fish with.  Not everyone has an arsenal of rods on the boat.  Any serious bass angler, whether fishing is just a serious hobby or a profession for you knows how expensive it is.  I personally welcome any effective and reliable method that saves money.  Braid is cheaper than fluorocarbon and it lasts longer.  It is essential to learn to tie a good strong leader knot and you dont have to worry about loosing fish from a failed leader.  Braid will also add sensitivity to even the cheapest setup which is why I love it for my spinning gear.  I dont have any misconception about it getting rid of line twist because it does not.  I dont know how anyone could recommend against it when there are more reasons to do it than not do it.  To each is own though. 

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I'm surprised you haven't found that FC line or leaders on surface presentations, exc for stuff like the whopper plopper, screws up the action on surface lures by pulling them under the surface.

 

I'm getting more and more convinced that FC is simply too fragile.  I'm using leader grade mono.  I have one casting reel with FC, and I think I'll take it off and replace it with mono.  The water clarity advantage is insignificant, IMO.  Its sink rate is advantageous, but I think thinner braid, even though less dense, sinks OK since it cuts the water better.  

 

There just seems to always be something going wrong with FC.

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4 hours ago, Glenn said:

Nope, sorry, but I don't recommend braid in spinning gear...

I am aware of that, but it is still bad advice. 

 

Maybe you should say that you don't use braid or lines like Nanofil with leaders on spinning gear & leave it at that.  Recommending to others to "never, ever, ever" do it is pretty rigid and infers expertise.  Considering that someone like Skeet Reese (to name just one pro) uses braid & Nanofil with leaders, I don't think you are really in the position to claim it should never be done.

 

If you don't want to use leaders, have at it, but don't discourage someone who wants to take advantage of its pluses just because you don't like it.

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4 hours ago, Glenn said:

Nope, sorry, but I don't recommend braid in spinning gear.  It doesn't "solve" line twists, it merely masks it.  And if you're using spinning gear, it's for lighter lures, finesse tactics, etc, that require low-viz light line that has some stretch - that's not braid.

 

Sorry man, but I never use leaders, and never recommend it.  Nor do I recommend braid on spinning gear.

 

That's just me.  Knock yourself out if you think there's something to it, but you won't find braid on any of my spinning outfits, nor leaders on any of my rods - ever.

 

^^^this^^^been saying the same thing for years

Tom

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I have never used a leader once in 45 years bass fishing. I get plenty of bites in the moderately clear water I fish. I don’t see how using a leader would catch me more or bigger fish. It definitely opens the door for more to go wrong. I tried floro once and hated it because it sinks, and I rely on mono or braid because they float, and it helps me to see that “ twitch “ when they bite.

As for braid, I don’t prefer it on spinning either, but I tone down the hook set considerably and it helps. But I lose a lot more fish with braid on spinning gear than mono.

 

My keys to not losing fish:

• Use sharp hooks that match the bait you are using

• Check diligently for nicks, and retie  frequently even without having one.

• Don’t let the fish jump.

• Maintain constant pressure on the fish.

• Religiously check and readjust the drag 

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I am among the older crowd on this forum, old enough to have been a BASS member in their first decade of existence.  There are some things about gear that I like from the past, like pistol grip handles on casting rods and double handles on spinning gear.  However, my personal preference and how long I have been doing something does not translate to recommending that others always, always, always do what I do.

 

The length of time something has been done or avoided does not automatically give it credibility.

 

There are pro's & cons to using leaders with braid or other lines.  To summarily dismiss what one doesn't do or like is a bit closed minded.  Don't change what you do if you don't want to, just realize there is more than one way to skin a cat.

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23 hours ago, OCdockskipper said:

Considering that someone like Skeet Reese (to name just one pro) uses braid & Nanofil with leaders, I don't think you are really in the position to claim it should never be done.

I had no idea that if you're not a pro, your advice didn't matter. 

 

 

But let's be abundantly clear what I said, because some of you are taking liberties with it. Here's the direct quote:

On 5/29/2019 at 10:00 AM, Glenn said:

I never use leaders, and never recommend it.

Meaning, I never tell anyone to use leaders.  That's it.  I did not say "Never, ever, ever use leaders ever, period...the MIGHTY OZ HAS SPOKEN!"  LOL  I merely said I never tell anyone to do it...and I don't.  And your advice is meaningless unless you follow your own advice, so I personally don't use leaders.  But never did I imply that everyone else must do as I do.  That's absurd.

 

In fact, I then said

Quote

That's just me.  Knock yourself out if you think there's something to it

Reign it back in and stop trying to make a mountain out of nothing guys.  :)

 

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