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Stripers 101 - The Beginners clinic. Saltwater and freshwater surfcasting. Plugging, Bait dunking and boating

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Old 07-16-2014, 10:43 PM
River03053 River03053 is offline
Striper Hunter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 10
Default Having poor landing to hook-up ratio

I'm not getting proper hook-sets on over 50% of the Stripers picking up my live bait (mackerel) and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm hoping to get some help. My rig is set up as follows;

Main line = 50lb. braid tied to small barrel swivel. I slide a 1oz egg sinker onto the braid, then a red bead before I tie to barrel swivel. Three feet of 30lb Fluro leader tied to other side of swivel. A 5/0 Circle hook tied to leader.

I use a 7' Med/heavy spinning rod with a Shimano Baitrunner reel. When the bait gets picked up and the fish is running with it, I do a 1,2,3,4,5 second count and start reeling...I don't yank the rod to set the hook. As I understand with circle hooks, they will hook the fish and yanking just promotes pulling away from the fish.

I hook the mackerel several ways, through the nostrils and up through the bottom of the mouth through the top of the mouth.

It feels like the bait is being pulled out of the Stripers mouth. I look at the bait and I can see the bait has been in the fishes mouth by the marks on it.

It's very frustrating. Any help I can get to increase my hook-up ratio is very much appreciated. The Stripers that I can get the hook into and land are nicely stuck in the corner of the mouth for easy release.

Thank you
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:47 AM
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Salty Salty is offline
Wellcraft V20 w/ 150HP OceanRunner
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Staten Island, New York
Posts: 72
Default Re: Having poor landing to hook-up ratio

What size hook are you using? Maybe try to go up one size, or try a different style hook. I always make sure the barb of the hook is exposed after baiting it. Personally, I have never had good hookup luck using circle type hooks and I fish almost the same gear as you.
"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:56 AM
Bates Bates is offline
Official Member
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: NJ
Posts: 9
Default Re: Having poor landing to hook-up ratio

I would definitely switch to an octopus or a baitholder hook and set the hook after you hear your baitrunner screaming for 3-5 seconds. That's how I always did it but then again I never used live bait.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:54 PM
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JakeF JakeF is offline
Pro Staff
Join Date: May 2005
Location: New Bedford, MA
Posts: 5,858
Default Re: Having poor landing to hook-up ratio

It's possible that your bait is just being picked up by fish that are really too small to swallow it quickly.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:42 AM
River03053 River03053 is offline
Striper Hunter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 10
Default Re: Having poor landing to hook-up ratio

Hi Ron,

Thanks very much for taking time to write and provide fantastic tips. Since I wrote my inquiry, I've gone to snelling my hooks and simply locking the reel (and NOT winding). So far, I haven't lost a picked up bait!

As for the 1oz egg sinker, I fish the Merrimack River in Newburyport, MA. If you're not familiar, there is a strong outgoing current AND tremendous boat traffic/wakes. I didn't think the live Macks would get down deep enough given those two variables.....your thoughts?

Where do you fish? I have several more questions on fishing live bait in deeper water if you don't mind?

Again...I really appreciate your time helping me out!

Kind Regards
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