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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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Old 03-09-2015, 03:03 PM
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Team Phil Team Phil is offline
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Default When bass win

Can you think of times where bass won battles and got loose, that were significant and or obvious as to what happened? Could be anything you've experienced...equipment failure, environment/structure, pilot error, plain old mistake...Was it correctable, did you learn a lesson? Etc. C'mon nobody is perfect...
-Phil
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:00 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: When bass win

One obvious consideration is the unknown quantity of flesh impaled upon the hook which is left entirely to chance. When the contact is made with the fish, we never know just how good that purchase is. Thus, there is a certain amount of chance in the whole connection. While we used to prefer, with bait at least, to let the gamefish "swallow" the bait to increase that chance, the higher ethic of today does not allow for that because of the risk of injury to a fish that will be returned. An end result is that we have less effective hookups today than in the old "swallow" days. With artificials they are not as likely to swallow the offer. Conversely, the element of dropping a fish is ever a possibility.

Remind me to tell yuz tomorrow about the dream striper I dropped at Pochet Hole during the "slaughter at Pochet Hole" event which enjoyed so much publicity.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

Most of the big fish I've lost have were because fights with previous fish had weakened the line somehow. Even though I check the line for nicks and cut back often, when you fish the canal all night your line gets beat up, and you get tired and less careful. Then a cow takes the line right into the rocks and it snaps. I can think of 4 or 5 specific examples of when this happened and a few of them were heartbreakers. One in particular I'm convinced was a monster took a topwater plug close to the bank, and dove right into the submerged rip rap (it was high tide) before I even had time to catch my breath.

I know this has happened to Jon a number of times, as well. The truth is it is just part of fishing there and although you can take measures to tilt the odds in your favor, you are not going to keep them all out of the rocks.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

Impatience, the insistence of trying to land a Large fish immediately might be the most common mistake I see (did myself a couple of times early in my googan days).

They can fool you, especially the big Reds, lolling around at first and even coming in with a wave like small sharks and skates tend to do, only to catch the backwash and turn it into a screaming run. The unprepared may have the drag a tad too tight and end up with a compromised knot or running line.

I find the Black Drums to be very light strikers, almost like your offering just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of their bottom digging, hardly ever hit you hard with a big run right off the bat like other more aggressive fish.

Doug
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

Good one Frank the purchase of hook into fish jaw is a big variable both obvious in importance and variability. A first and obvious (I have the bent open hook) heartbreaker for me was a first very tough fight that ended in an opened hook that was too light to begin with and pressed too hard when "semi-horsing" a bigger fish away from the pier I hooked it near. I thought the line broke when it ran me towards the pilings but the hook came back straightened. As I mentioned I still have the hook and I laugh about the fact I even unknowingly used it for grown up stripers near all that potential trouble... in retrospect I was catching drag taking school bass consistently at that time and getting away with lighter hooks but had never hooked into a good fish like that yet and definitely not near any potential break offs where extra pressure was needed...I can still feel the "plink" and the rod snap straight- Arrrgggg!! Haha
Lesson learned!
-Phil
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:24 PM
clambellies clambellies is offline
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Default Re: When bass win

One night last Sep I was into some 40-46" bass at the Ditch. I had landed and released 7 nice fish on Savage jigs than had a whopper of a hit that peeled line off at a scary rate. I soon felt the line rubbing along a rock and couldn't free it or turn the fish. I got to the point where I knew the line was going to part so I gave the fish his head and shortly felt that the fish was gone.

I was surprised that I was able to recover my jig, but the braid was badly frayed for the whole length. I couldn't believe it hadn't parted. Since I had planned to travel light with one rod, my tide was over. On the way back to my camper I met a friend and I sent him right over to my spot. He caught a 38 pound bass on his first drift with an eel.
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Impatience, the insistence of trying to land a Large fish immediately might be the most common mistake I see (did myself a couple of times early in my googan days).

They can fool you, especially the big Reds, lolling around at first and even coming in with a wave like small sharks and skates tend to do, only to catch the backwash and turn it into a screaming run. The unprepared may have the drag a tad too tight and end up with a compromised knot or running line.

I find the Black Drums to be very light strikers, almost like your offering just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of their bottom digging, hardly ever hit you hard with a big run right off the bat like other more aggressive fish.

Doug

I hear ya on both counts. Big black drum just kiss the bait - but man get an 80lber in the strong current and you got a tackle testing workout waiting for you!
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Old 03-10-2015, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

One of my first lessons learned regarding hookups with large bass was my outfit/tackle was too light. I first used a 9 foot medium action rod and Penn 704 loaded with 15 pound mono. My hookups with large fish ended with loosing many more than I landed. The rod I was using did not have adequate backbone to slow down and tire large bass – consequently many were lost to straightened trebles, cut off on bottom structure, lobster pot buoys, etc. I beefed up to a 10 foot med heavy lamiglas rod and 20 pound mono and my hookup to land ratio increased dramatically. I remember Frank coming to our club to speak about striper fishing during the 1980s. He mentioned the tackle you needed to consistently land large bass was conventional ambassador 7000 with strong line, 30-40 pound mono, or 50 lb Cortland Micron, and a rod with lots of backbone. This was a hard to achieve with spinning tackle.
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Old 03-10-2015, 01:39 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: When bass win

Dennis, back then it was hard to get strong lines for spinning but since the 80s the new super lines are unbreakable. Also, way back you could not effectively spin fish with any mono stronger than 20#. But when Stren Magna-thin and somebody else came out with a 30# that had the diameter (.020) of 20-pound but the strength of 30-pound, fight issues tipped in our favor. You should be able to horse like a buggah with 30-pound.
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

I do that now - of course I no longer have my knees shaking when hooked up. Staying calm is also key. Panic is not your friend during hookups with moby freight trains. I use to marvel at my casting partner who could subdue large bass in record time - he also fished a 7000 with Micron.
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:51 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: When bass win

At the Pochet Hole slaughter, which I must have written and sold at least three times, all the bass caught there were between 30 and 40 pounds. No schoolies, which at the time were fairly common. It was also a blitz that happened on a Sunday afternoon, in broad daylight, when Nauset buggies were all going home after the weekend. As the tide rose the bluebacks were getting pushed closer to the beach from the outer bars. We could see the cows swimming through the sides of waves. But there was one monster way larger than the others which would swim up the side of a wave, slash at a blueback, then disappear. I cast to her several times but I was always either too late or too off my mark to draw a hit. Me and Mom and the kids were all throwing wind Cheater Rebels. One time I cast at the big fish and hooked a different bass that ended up 43 pounds, the best of the day. Not sure how much later, and remember this was over 40 years ago, I hooked a cow right around where I had seen the big one. It went out over the outer bars taking line off my conventional (yes, Dennis, 50-pound micron.) And I just dropped it; the line didn't break' I didn't do anything wrong; I just dropped it Not enough lip skin in the treble hook. It would have had to be a 50-pounder because it dwarfed the 43 laying on the beach behind me.
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

Quote:
Originally Posted by clambellies View Post
One night last Sep I was into some 40-46" bass at the Ditch. I had landed and released 7 nice fish on Savage jigs than had a whopper of a hit that peeled line off at a scary rate. I soon felt the line rubbing along a rock and couldn't free it or turn the fish. I got to the point where I knew the line was going to part so I gave the fish his head and shortly felt that the fish was gone.

I was surprised that I was able to recover my jig, but the braid was badly frayed for the whole length. I couldn't believe it hadn't parted. Since I had planned to travel light with one rod, my tide was over. On the way back to my camper I met a friend and I sent him right over to my spot. He caught a 38 pound bass on his first drift with an eel.
And you didn't call me??
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

One thing worth mentioning is that while drops can't be completely eliminated, they vary depending on the choice of bait or lure. I think that on plugs with smaller treble hooks (2/0 or smaller) the drop rate is way higher than on plugs with larger trebles, or lures with single hooks. But sometimes it has to be sacrificed because the smaller hooks are needed to get the plug the action it needs.
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Old 03-11-2015, 02:10 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: When bass win

Its also a bad idea to "fight" a fish too hard. Once a bass starts being drawn in the wrong direction against its will, the level of resistance against that unknown amount of fish mouth increases. Don't tell them they are being caught by forcing them against their will. It is sometimes possible to lead a fish softly without letting on that it is being drawn against its will. What you do, and I guess I have to tell yuz everything, is just crank slowly without pulling too hard. If it swims parallel to the beach follow it and try to put line on the reel. Then, once you have it in kind of close, pulling it to the wet sand if its facing you. They can't swim backwards! The only violent force is brief at the very end.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: When bass win

I lost two stripers with bent open light "single" hooks in my first two or three years of surfcasting, any of my other memorable losses were with trebles on plugs- not bent open or leveraged open more than a few times, but shaken loose or plain dropped more times than anything else...I just don't have the confidence in plugs anymore the way I do with single hook variations I have been favoring for a while. With bucktails, soft plastics,live and rigged eels (two siwash), cut baits etc. the single hook is what I prefer. I also like the minimal damage and efficient release factor of the single hook- stronger, safer and faster. My super strike needlefish are about the only plugs etc. I use the last few seasons with trebles... Anyone else experience trebles fading out of their surf tackle rotation? In my experience single hooks have been better to me over all... Any thoughts?
-Phil
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