Hook, Line and Sinker If you live in “plastic paradise” you might take for granted the components in completing your favorite soft plastic bass rig. Picking each out, organizing them and creating a balanced set up is a critical factor to your catches. Lots of choices, included are price, preference and performance. Here’s a peek inside my tackle box.
Hooks– The market and shelves are flooded with hooks. All claim to be the sharpest. Billed as razor sharp, every hook eventually needs to be sharpened by the angler. Brushes with wood, rocks, docks and hopefully bass dull the hook. Check the points closely, the smaller they are honed down the less material there is and the more likely you are to bend or break the tip off. Check often and keep a small diamond file to touch up the point. I’m a fan of hooks equipped with the screw type springs that attach to the hook eye. This feature stabilizes the bait, helps to get it to hang straight and helps you to fish a soft plastic lure longer. When a worm, craw or creature bait gets “roughed up” bite off the first ½ inch and rethread the plastic lure. The correct size hook is essential, for big flipping tubes consider how much plastic you must penetrate to get a good hook set. I opt for 5/0 or 6/0 hooks when pitching tubes. Finesse worm and floating worms call for downsizing, consider 2/0 and 3/0 respectively and don’t dismiss circle hooks for some applications. With treble hooks apply the same procedure about taking the file to each point and you might as well do your spinners and crankbaits. Keep a good supply of worm style hooks and you might want a small tackle box for hooks, sinkers and accessories of various sizes. Don’t try to go cheap when you pick hooks. Buy a quality (not the most expensive) hooks. Most of my hooks are Owner and Daiichi.
Line– Each angler makes a case for their favorite “fishin’ string”. Monofilament has been around a long time. Good knot strength and a fairly high degree of stretch mono is a good all-purpose choice. Where stretch is a problem go up in pound test for more solid hook sets and playing fish. The knot strength attributed to monofilament is in the high 90% rate when tied properly. With the arrival of fluorocarbon many anglers were anxious to re-spool. Fluorocarbon disappears under water and has minimal stretch. The down side fluorocarbon lines are heavier and not a good choice for topwater and floating lures. It’s also the opinion of many that “fluoro “ has suspect knot strength, Generally thought of as in the 80% range that makes tying on any bait with fluorocarbon a more precise procedure. Many anglers choose to use fluorocarbon for leader material. For the fans of braided line be aware that rods and their guides typically were not made for braid. The pressure you can exert with braided line can snap a rod. The guides could become damaged or grooved from the constant line travel in and out from casting and retrieving. There are now rods made to accommodate the braided line. Super strong, braid offers the maximum in sensitivity. Keep a sharp scissors handy for cutting this line. P-line Triple Fish camo and Power Pro are on most of my reels.
Sinkers – Lead is not dead, brass and tungsten are other sinker materials that are popular and available. Lead is the least expensive material for slip sinkers, clamp on as well as bell shaped and others models are effective. The tungsten slip sinkers are expensive and rumor has it they will cut monofilament line over time. These weights offer the ultimate in sensitivity and smaller sizes makes them attractive to “feel bait” fishermen. Strike King Lures offers them in various popular sizes and even in colors. The sinker is the critical factor in balancing your Texas and Carolina rigs. The speed of the fall of your soft plastics is dependent on the sinker. The line diameter also contributes to the descent of the lure. The heavier line has a larger diameter and of course the opposite holds true, lighter line small diameter and the faster fall.
Setting the hook in a kayak is safe and effective. Understand a hook solid set is the direct result of the rod, line and lure weight all working in concert. The proper hook set can generate 11pounds of pressure on the point of the hook. That is enough to penetrate any part of the jaw of a bass. If you stand and fish (I do) spread your feet for stability and use your arms and wrists to snap that hook home. Keep your arms in close when hook setting feel baits. In explain this I always use the example of someone trying to open a stubborn jar, they hold it in close because that’s where your power is located.
Lifejackets on always and now you know how to get that fish to take the bait hook, line and sinker.