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River fishing smallies - what line??

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So I went to my local Gander mtn today to get some stinger hooks because I am losing 6 out of seven fish when I am fishing smallies in the river. I was told by a guy that works there that my problem is using a very stiff action pole and power pro line. said I am probably ripping the hooksout of their mouths, not to mention that power pro supposedly doesnt let the lure perform with its true action like mono does. Does this sound right to you?

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With braided line, and any other line with no stretch, you do need to use a lighter hookset than you are used to.

Half of the effort we use to set the hook it just stretching mono line.

I'm not sayng this is definately your problem, but it is a possibility.

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Thanks for the reply Taliesin, I also have a problem with getting plenty of bites, I use topwater so I see them, but few hookups. This is what made me think of using a trailer hook. Any thoughts?

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Power Pro, especially when it fades, is pretty visible to the fish. I still use it for reaction bites and catfishing, but for slower baits (like some topwaters) the line is too visible.

For this you might think about using a leader.

When I am out on the boat I usually have 3 baitcasters and 3 spinning combos ready. The spinners have power Pro and the baitcasters have mono. For fast moving baits (reaction bites) the fish don't have time to see the line, so I use the spinning reels. For my slow presentation (most plastics, jigs, slow spinners, slow topwaters, etc.) I use the baitcasters. I catch plenty of fish with slow, soft plastics, but have never caught one this way while using braid.

I love using Power Pro, but the visibility thing is a problem (the only one I have). Since I have multiple rods I don't use leaders, but if I was limited I would start.

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The problem depends on what lure/ bait you are fishing. For most soft plastics, you need a firm tip, for treble hooks Moderate Action is better. I think you will get more bites using thinner, less visible line, but the hook-up itself has little to do with the line you use. I never use stinger hooks, either.

My number one suggestion with single hook lures is to use a "snap-set." When you detect a bite, lower the tip of your rod while QUICKLY reeling down. Snap your wrist to sharply raise the tip of your rod without raising your reel relative to your body. NEVER double set the hook. Assuming your hooks are razor sharp, the hook will effectively penetrate the fish.

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Hard to tell what you are doing for this dismal ratio of hook ups provided these fish are decent sized. I tend to agree with those who believe a topwater with treble hoks should be fished on mono.  I'd go with 8 or 10 lb. P Line CXX in a heartbeat. Wait a count longer than you have been to set the hook.  I've fished with several guys who are setting on the explosion and not the feel of the bass actually taking the bait in. You'd be surprised how much more successful you'll get by waiting a count longer. I would also go with a 6-7 ft. medium to medium heavy rod.  

Sometimes smallies get that killing attack going instead of the sucking in or "eating" strike.  If you feel they are butting the topwater with a closed mouth, I'd change approaches like go to a fluke.

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Ok, so here is my plan. I am switching to 14# mono for topwater rigs. I have been setting the hook on the hit also, which I know now is a big reason I am not getting more fish. I also had a great reply in another thread about what to use from a guy who has fished exactly where I do. I also have 5 days off this week and weekend, so I will be sure to bring back a report of my success. Also, I don't know if I have a "fluke" but I do have these gulp brand split tail minnow things that seem to fit the bill. Should I just throw them into slack current and jig em in? Thanks all for the great tips, and keep em' coming!

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Make your life simple:

Spinning tackle:  #6 Yo-Zuri Hybrid Ultra Soft,

Baitcasting: #12

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So I went out tonight for a few hours, 4 bites, 3 fish. All I did was a lighter hookset and also switched out the hook on all my topwater baits for Mustad/Gamakatsu hooks. Every bite got hooked and brought in except for one. I would have had that one but an improper knot and too much drag equals a lost lure and fish.  :'( Anyway, got 2 good ones and one lil' guy, a good couple of hours!

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Make your life simple:

Spinning tackle:  #6 Yo-Zuri Hybrid Ultra Soft,

Baitcasting: #12

I think I may take that advice, I like simple! Thanks RW!

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I don't think braid is a good choice for rivers, especially rocky ones like we have in MD and PA plus braid does not do well in fast moving water, as it floats too much. If you are using tubes, I have had days that can be frustrating because the smallies tail grab your tubes at times. I usually go to a 2" tube in these cases. Its just that way at times, mostly in the warm summer months. I like YS in #6 and am still a big fan of green BPS Excel in #8 test. People say this line is junk but, I have caught literally thousands of smallies on the Susquehanna and Potomac using this line. It just works. Don't be afraid to set the hook my friend. I have watched guys throw as far as they could and get bites and just lift up. Take a yard of line and pull on it--lots of stretch--- now, multiply that times 25 or so, thats a lot of stretch. Use the best hooks you can afford and " set the hook !!! ". Good luck.

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Another idea for you:  I use only braid, and almost only Power Pro.  I use 15 # on spinning and it seldom gives any trouble at all on the "no tension" reeling that occurs when fishing plastics by casting upstream and reeling back down.  I use a 6-8 pound fluorocarbon leader about as long as the rod, attached to the Power Pro with a double uni knot.  

I use 6 pound XPS fluorocarbon for vertical jigging in clear water, so had that on one rod, and ended up at the river the other day with that.  Didn't take very long before it balled up and I had about 15 yards of line to cut off.  

If you want trouble free plastics and small crankbait fishing, with line that casts like a bullet and telegraphs every touch of the lure, and has reliable hook sets (like RW said, the "snap" set), try 10-15 pound braid with the flouro leader.  And yes, if you are using braid you probably want rods that are softer than those that are best for mono.

The ONLY disadvantage of this setup is that you have to learn to tie the double uni knot or similar, but that is not difficult.  While braid is expensive, it outlasts mono by a big margin, and you really don't have to use that much of it for most fishing.

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I usually use 6lb test for smallies, sometimes 8 if it's a really rocky river. I used to have trouble with hookups on smallies when I used big hooks. Try using a smaller hook, sometimes they get better penetration in the small mouths of smallies. If you are using braid, remember to use a lighter hookset. On topwaters, make sure to pause after the fish takes the bait. Setting the hook immediately will lose fish. Wait until you feel the weight of the fish to set the hook.

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If you're worried about fish seeing the line you can use even more or a flourocarbon leader - I've used up to 20 feet of flouro leader in really clear water conditions.  Of course you give up a little feel, but it's still way more sensitive than pure flouro and mono.

It may not be textbook, but I use almost exclusively braided line now.  If I need more give, I use a softer tip rod, and if I need to finesse it, I use a long flouro leader.  I do have two rigs with #6 flouro P-Line for certain applications, but I really can't stand giving up the unbelievable sensitivity of braid.

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No braid for me on any rig.

Although I actually use #4, I recommend #6 Yo-Zuri Hybrid or Hybrid Ultra Soft. The line is not a pure fluorocarbon, but is nearly invisible in the water.  I think this line is VERY sensitive and have never been broken off by a fish. This is my ONLY choice for soft plastics and live bait. When fishing hard baits on a baitcaster, I fish #12. With hard baits the line is not a factor from a visibility standpoint and I don't want to lose as many lures when I hang up.

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I know this is a relatively "old" post and it looks like all kinds of great advice has already been offered but I wanted to write anyway.

It's already been said but braided line has almost zero stretch and a stiff, fast-action rod offers no flexing qualities.  The combination of the two is a bit like pulling a bow string really tight.  If a fish rushes and grabs at a lure without getting it back deep in its mouth (which happens a lot, especially in a fast current), the "spring loaded" line will invariably yank the bait right back out of the fishes mouth.  Or the hook set will only catch the edge of their lip and it will pull out easily.  Technique can mediate the problem some but we mere mortals often can't react fast enough to compensate.  I recommend switching either to a (stretchable) monofilament or to a medium action rod.

Glad to hear your hookups are improving!

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Regarding:

I recommend switching either to a (stretchable) monofilament or to a medium action rod.

Definitely-the rod must be chosen based on the line you prefer.  Because I use almost only braid, my rods tend to be softer than if I were using mono, and I just do not have any problems with lures "ripping out of the fish's mouth."  Softer rods are more comfortable to cast with, too (both spinning and casting), and this issue is the same whether you use braid or mono.

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For treble hook lures, I recommend Moderate Action, Slow Action or sometimes, Fast Action with a soft tip (especially for jerkbaits). However, for single hook applications, a firm tip is needed for the "snap-set". Soft rods will not drive the hook point and will often result in missing a bite or because of the delayed reaction, gut hooking the fish.

I STRONGLY recommend Fast Action, firm tipped rods when fishing single hooks.

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Regarding: Soft rods will not drive the hook point and will often result in missing a bite or because of the delayed reaction, gut hooking the fish.

The ability of a rod and line to set the hook depends on the stiffness of the whole system, not just the rod. Since you use a form of mono which is softer, more stretchy, than the almost zero stretch of braid, you may have a fairly stiff rod, but the line softens it up. I use a softer line and zero stretch line, so the overall systems may be a lot alike. And they both most likely work ok with the specific angler, which is another part of the total system.

You have to consider the total system.

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I see your point and understand your thinking, but it seems to me that the initial give in a soft rod would significantly reduce the transfer of energy when setting the hook. Perhaps this is offset by extending the arc and exerting greater force when using a rod with Moderate Action.  

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