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jeremyt

Saltwater fishing is killing me for bass

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I have been bass fishing a few months now. Before that I fished saltwater. For the most part ( redfish aside ) you don't do a hard hookset, especially with speckled trout and flounder just a small bump will suffice. I am having a real hard time with a snap hookset from my years of salt fishing and it is getting frustrating. I am not going to sit here and say that I have lost lunkers ( that would be a lie ) but I am loosing bass. Anyone out there saltwater fish and have some advice. ?

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It can be equally hard to go from bass fishing to SW fishing, especially bottom fishing with circle hooks.  It's really hard to basically let the fish take the bait and hook itself.  There's this immediate reaction to want to set the hook and hard.

As a pointer, make sure you're using quality hooks regardless what technique you're using and sharpen them.  Unless a bait came with premium hooks on it you need to change them.  That also goes for any hook you're using with soft plastics. Spend the extra money and go with premium hooks,  You'll get more hook-ups because of it.

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Jeremyth I use the X point hooks and I make a sweep with my rod and it will almost always get them. You don't have to set the hook all that hard. The only time I have to use a lot of power is when I am CRing ;)

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Hey Jeremy.   I fish lite tackle for Trout, Redfish, Snook and bass.  I'm doing more bass fishing than Trout and Redfish now but found myself slamming the hookset on trout the other day, thus ripping the hook out of its tender mouth.  Circle hooks are mostly the blame since you don't have to really "set" the hook so you get used to using them until you go bass fishing.  All I can say is try and remember what species you are going after and force yourself to adjust accordingly.  I know it's aggravating.....you're not alone.....

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In my experience, LM bass hook sets aren't all that different from setting the hook on a striper, especially if you're using a stout rod.  A firm sweeping hook-set will work for both, not a jerky motion, mind you, but fluid and purposeful.  Just remember that when fishing fresh water, you're using (usually) much lighter rods and working smaller waters, and won't have to pull nearly as hard to set the hook.  A little patience will go a long way, too.  Don't try to set the hook at the first tug on the bait, give the fish a second to get the bait in his mouth, then a nice sweeping pull (after you reel the slack out of your line, of course) and you should have a goot hook set.

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My brother and I had the exact opposite problem this past summer when we went down to Miami, FL for a "wedding" (moreso a fishing trip).  We did a deep sea charter and when we ran into a school of dolphin, on the first strike my brother set the hook so hard (and missed) that he almost fell over backwards.  The captain was looking down from the tuna tower, laughed and said, "Sonny, we ain't fishin for marlin here!"  

Then we were fishing the Everglades for snook/tarpon/redfish/trout and lost several fish from hooksets that were too hard.  It seems like an easy adjustment, but when you feel that strike and get all excited, it's really tough not to do your reflexive hook-set.  I can easily see it being the same way going from salt to fresh.  

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Just watch the good ol'boys on TV.  They got that samurai set down.  Looks like they are gonna catapult the fish clean out of the water.  ;D  They even give it one or two extra sets.

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Regardless of species of fish I set hook the same way by letting the rod do the work it was meant to do which is to cast the lure, set the hook, & fight the fish.

Proper hook set by Roadworrier

#1 Start with high quality, ultra sharp hooks. For most soft plastics I use XPoint or Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG Offset Worm Hooks. Set your drag properly (with a scale) considering line and rod ratings.

#2 Use a "snap set" sometimes called a "quick set". When you detect a bite, lower your rod tip and QUICKLY reel down. Snap your wrists raising the rod without moving the reel position relative to your body. This will drive the hook home. DO NOT "double set", that will do more harm than good.

#3 Keep your rod UP! (10 - 12 o'clock) and maintain CONSTANT pressure.

NEVER give the fish any slack, NEVER. Make the fish fight the rod and retrieve line when you can.

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Proper hook set by Roadworrier

#1 Start with high quality, ultra sharp hooks. For most soft plastics I use XPoint or Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG Offset Worm Hooks. Set your drag properly (with a scale) considering line and rod ratings.

What pound setting do most use for their drag, I got really specific about this when fishing for king macks and completely understand that.

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The drag setting on your reel should allow slippage at 25 - 30% of actual line breaking strength with no more than 75% of maximum flex in your rod. This can be measured with a scale attached directly to the line on a rigged rod or indirectly using a plastic grocery bag filled with the appropriate weight. When using the indirect technique, lift the bag GENTLY with your rod.

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Jeremyt,

I normally have the opposite problem, I come up with "spec lips" and parts when I head to the coast... but 2 years ago when I had rotator cuff surgury, the Dr said 6-8 months before I could fish... I said no way.  Long story short, I started using circle hooks with soft plastics with good success. (got clearance for spinning tackle only in 4 months since my "bad" arm was reeling.)  Anyway, very gentle hooksets can be done with only minor changes to rigging.

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I dunno, if this is the right method or not, but I learned to set hooks by fishing for panfish ...  Brim, Sunfish, Pumpkins, etc.  I used a small tube 1-1.5in with a 1/16th jig head, if you don't set the hook they can spit your jig out, and there's so many that you can just cast in and retry if you miss it.  

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Thanks for all the replies, I am trying to really concentrate on a good hookset when bass fishing now. It is still really hard, I mostly fished for flounder before and you can't set a hook on them when you feel a strike, you have to let them take it and run. That has been the hardest thing to overcome for me as when you get a mindset on one thing its a hard habit to break.

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