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Hook, Line and Thinker

Sometimes the smallest of details or thinking outside the tackle box pays dividends. I’m a fan of modifying commonly used lures or making changes to create a more effective way to lure performance and ultimately catch a few more fish.

The most difficult task is finding fish but once they are located you want to make sure you can “seal the deal” and turn each hit into a catch.
Weight Control – Sometimes making adjustments on the fly is easily accomplished and can produce a few more bites. A simple solution to changing the performance of a lightweight bait is the addition of lead in the form of a “pinch on” lead sinker. (small pliers can be used or simply pushing together firmly with your fingers) A 1/16th ounce jig can be easily doubled in weight with a “pinch on” weight. The extra weight aids in casting (especially on windy days) and feeling the lure, maintaining constant contact as well as changing the rate of fall. In the case of the kayak the wind is NOT your friend and can be frustrating when throwing any wind resistant bait. Even spinnerbaits as well as lighter jigs can gain weight with the addition of the sinkers to the shanks of the fixed hooks.

Line Em’ Up

The changes in lines over my lifetime has been dramatic. Gone is the monofilament that gave off a white powder as it aged and weakened. The old nylon line that literally rotted has been replaced by strong, super sensitive braided lines. The development of fluorocarbon has won me over also. While there are still applications for monofilament (top water, crankbaits and spinnerbaits) I have migrated to braid and fluorocarbon sometimes used together. Discovery of K9 line www.k9fishing has a wide variety of lines starting with crappie braid, heavy test braid for the bass fisherman, and the afore mention flouro. The K9 braid is available in 8 or 9 strand and pound tests strengths from 10 to 60! The no stretch, sensitivity of the braided lines is the biggest advantage. For my jig fishing I use a braid base with a leader of fluorocarbon. My leader is typically a ½ foot shorter than my jigging rod. The fluorocarbon line is virtually invisible in the water and is so strong I can straighten hooks before the line gives way. My frog fishing for bass is done with straight braid (30 pound test) and a double knot, a Palomar backed up by a clinch knot. The braid to fluorocarbon is done with a blood knot.

Fine Tuning Finesse

A simple system that produces fish of a kinds under tough conditions would best describe finesse fishing. A new “sickle head” leadhead from MidSouth tackle located in Jonesboro Arkansas has changed my catch ratio dramatically. Once the hook is set on the sickle head it often requires a pliers for removal. Solid set equals more fish delivered to your hand or landing net. Available in multiple weights standard for me is the 1/8th ounce version for tubes and Slider worms. The ¼ ounce sizes is good for Ragetail swim baits. MidSouth also offers soft plastic tubes that catch crappie, bluegill AND bass.

Hookin’ Up

I’m a huge fan of adding red to my baits. I’ve done it for years and years ago before it became popular begged manufacturers to use red hooks. When no one would do it, I painted my own hooks and now I use red treble hooks from Daiichi on almost all of my cranking baits. A split ring pliers makes the task easier and in order to keep the bait balanced make sure to use the same size hook as a replacement. (most of the time it’s a #4 on larger baits and the #6 size for medium size cranks. Ron Stallings from Daiichi chimes in, “I believe the red hooks stimulate feeding response and initiate more strikes.”

Another hook hack I’ve used effectively for years is the addition of a small treble to the shank of worm hook especially the floating worm rig. (* see photo) That treble safely and securely holds bass attacking the ”snakey” looking intruder. This is also very effective on your swim bait rigs.
Just a few tips I use to change my fishing to catching and to develop my own system of HOOK, LINE and THINKER. m