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  #1  
Old 06-28-2005, 07:52 AM
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Roccus Roccus is offline
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Default Battle technique, putting' on the brakes...and wild fights

This is the last day of your"Striper Vacation" you've fished all the best tides,night and day,you've landed some nice fish but are still looking for that trophy,grey dawn streaks the sky,you get a solid whack on a sub surface swimming plug,line melts off the spool,you cant remember if you "reset" your drag after the last fish,so in a desperate move you tighten the drag..... the line goes slack,the line parted or the plug pulled loose.... sound familiar?

Fighting large fish takes practice and top notch equiptment...
The following are some of the reasons why large fish are lost...
#1) too little line on the spool,this is probably the main reason that large fish are lost,all spools should be filled to 1/8 of an inch from the lip of the spool,having less than that affects the drag in several ways, (A) by having too little line, the starting drag is increased from what the factory designed it to be,a violent strike often ends in a broken line because the drag can not slip as designed unless too lose, (B) the running drag is affected because the drag coefficient INCREASES as the spool diameter DECREASES, often exposing any weakness in the system,usually in the form of a erratic,jerky drag or broken line...

#2) improper drag settings, how many people really know how much drag tension they have versus the breaking strength of the line?
I set all my drags with a spring scale, 1/4 the breaking strength of the line is the recommended setting by most line and reel manufactures,this leaves a solid safety margin, some anglers go as high as 1/3,personally I prefer to "thumb" the spool on a "runaway" fish, if I feel that I need a little more pressure on the fish....
To do this, your index finger can be LIGHTLY applied to the edge of the spool to add additional drag,thus sparing "monkeying" with your original drag setting,same applies to using your thumb on a conventional,but you must make sure you don't allow your thumb to get pulled into the cross brace...it hurts!
#3) Rod position, some anglers fail to use the rod as a tool for fighting a fish,if a fish makes a long run,keeping the rod at about 1:00 position will maintain maximum pressure and also give a "spring like" cushion to the line, once the fish is close to the boat(or surf) the rod should be lowered to the 2:00 position to relive some of the pressure,if the fish should make a surge,drop the rod tip(maintaining slight pressure,this is called bowing to a fish,a tactic also used for "jumpers") pointing the rod at the fish, as the fish gets further away bring the rod tip up to maintain control...
#4)pumping in the fish,OK your fish is whipped,she's lying out there,now what????? Slowly,methodically "pump" the rod applying pressure between the 1:00 and 3:00 positions,NEVER,reel if the drag is paying out line,this will lead to twisted line,tangles and lost fish,lift the rod from 3:00 to the 1:00 position,reel down,keeping slight pressure on the fish,if the weight of the fish makes the drag slip while you are "pumping" the fish, slight finger pressure to the spool with an 'educated" finger will provide the needed resistance to get the fish close...if the fish makes a sudden surge,point the rod right at it,this will give you the best chance of keeping the fish from breaking the line..

Types of fights:
Not all bass fight the same,they have personalities...that what makes then great...

Screamers, the name speaks for itself,you set the hook and they SCREAM! often taking 50-75 yards at a run,fish in the 38-45lb class seem most prone to this, they make several long powerful runs and tire themselves out..
Kamikazes: these fish are nuts,probably the hardest fish to land, these fish tend to be in the 20-35lb range, they are wild and crazy, they'll scream off,turn and run at you,requiring both a good drag and a fast retrieve to take up the slack,they often times will do several about faces requiring quick reflexes,steady nerves and a perfectly functioning drag.

The bull dogs: these are usually the "Big uns" 45lbs and up,most have been hooked before,they don't burn themselves on long sizzling runs, they head out to sea slow and steady,turn,slow deliberate circles,roll on the line, shake their heads violently, rub bottom and look for structure to foul the line in,then use their big broom like tails to dig deep or slash the surface,all the while rolling,smashing and shaking their heads, steady rod pressure is a must,bowing (pushing the rod tip to wards the fish) is critical when one of these brutes rolls on a line close up,these fish often win their freedom with these tactics, angler awareness,prepared equipment and a good deal of luck are needed to put the brakes on a trophy fish....

Tight lines
Rock
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2005, 08:13 AM
jbrotz24 jbrotz24 is offline
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Are there different types of spring scales or a certain type you recommend or they all the same. How much do they usually cost? How exactly do you use the spring scales! Never seen one so not to sure how they work. How often do you recommend replacing the line? Great post by the way. Some great info.
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:14 AM
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Great post as usual Roccus! I just got done resetting my drags last night to 1/4 the line strength as you had mentioned that to me before. For some reason I never thought about "thumbing" it before if I wanted a little more drag momentarily. Makes perfect sense not to screw up the drag setting once you've set it so carefully. I also just got done putting a mono backing on my reels that are loaded with braid so that they are as full as they should be. Now I just need to put a shock leader on em and I'm good to go.

I think I tend to be a little too gentle sometimes with bringing the fish in. I'm always hesitant to really fight it much,, scared of losing it by being too aggressive with the retrieve. But I lost what was probably a decent sized fish last weekend because I was so gentle I don't think I ever got a good hookset. I was casting a top water plug and treated it like I was using a circle hook :doh: . Problem with being too gentle is that the fish is pretty worn out by the time you get it in, so I need to find the balance there I think. I don't want a fish I release to be too worn out to make a quick recovery.
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:36 AM
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I dont know if you remember that old brass scale that hangs on the portside console of the boat....It's been there for years...

Anyway, a didgital scale can be used,they are just harder to see,I mark the spring scale with a piece of colored electrical tape, red @4lbs(15lb test),Blue @5lbs(20 lb test) etc. so I can quickly Identify where the pointer is at,it only takes a few minutes before each trip...

I've had mine a long time,west marine sells a 50lb capacity one for about 40 bucks,I'm sure a suitable one can be had for alot less... I'll check into it.

I back off the drags after each and every trip,this keeps the drag washers from getting compressed and failing prematurely,the rod can be placed in a rod holder or sand spike to set the drag,be sure the rod is in the 1:00 posistion when setting the drag,this ensures that your max setting is equal to the max pressure/fighting posistion that you will encounter....

Line needs to be replaced anytime it is beat up or there are nicks in it,I cut back 10' or so and replace leaders after every trip, the ten feet of line closest to the leader gets the most abuse and should be watched carefully.
All the line does not need to be replaced, I cut back about 1/3 the way down and replace the top 1/3... for knots(monofiliment) I use a blood knot.... If for some reason I use lines of different diameters I use a double uni knot,for braids I use a allbright knot,I lock BOTH ends and coat them with a thin coat of pliobond (water proof contact cement) I'm experimenting with another knot I've seen recently for braids,but havent caught a big enough fish on it YET to give it the thumbs up.....

On all my reels with braid,I run a 10' shocker leader, this saves from cutting back the braid and gives a slight cushion to the unforgiving braid..
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:41 AM
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Bait,
being gentle with a big fish never hurts,but NEVER let them rest,keep them moving,make them earn every bit of line they take,I never "horse" a fish that I'm sure is a big one,I'll fight 'em all night if that is what it takes,i just never let 'em rest,constant pressure...

the little ones ...I winch 'em in! there interupting my hunt!
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:51 AM
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Yah,, I know what you mean. Thanks for the advise!
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:57 AM
jbrotz24 jbrotz24 is offline
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Great info, thanks. I think I do remember it just don't remember using it I guess. Next question I have is weight, when your fishing s strong current and you've gotta put heavier weight on, does it affect how the fish hits and/or keep it from taking the bait?
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Old 06-28-2005, 09:09 AM
mrbuster mrbuster is offline
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Great post Rock. I lost a screamer this year. IM chunk fishing on the Hudson in an area I like. All of a sudden one rod go's crazy. You can imagine the rush, I grab the rod, I let the fish run, (Im using a 5/0 circle hook). I do everything IM suppose to do, I click the reel so it locks, at that moment my rod bends like crazy. I relized somthing was wrong. Some how, I dont know how or why, the drag was as tight as it can go! :wall: Needles to say, the line broke. I learne a very valuble lesson.

Now, after my line is in the water, I check the drag on every rod EVERY TIME. No matter what, EVERY ROD, EVERY TIME. IM sure I will lose more fish, but not that way.
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Old 06-28-2005, 09:09 AM
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sometimes fish get line shy,this is more apt to happen in daylight,when the water is warm and there is alot of bait present,it also happens at night during dark moon periods when there is alot of fire in the water...

Although heavy weights require heavy line,heavy line has more resistance in the water than light line,so it's a trade off, try a different style sinker,in areas with fast strong running current, a flat sinker will often hold the bottom where a pyramid style will not,when i fished the cape cod cannal as a teen ager the "old timers" used to take a hammer and beat their bank sinkers flat, keeping a low profile in the current,another thing to consider where the water flow is strong,instead of using a "chunk" which has alot of resistance in the water,cut your bait in strips, there is less resistance and the action of the strip working in the current gives an added sight appeal as well.....
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:17 AM
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Great Post. Your insight is truly invaluable. I had a great day on the water yesterday and ended up tangling with many a kamikaze. it seemed everytime my balloon took off it was straight back at the boat. caught up with probably half of them.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:48 AM
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ROC another thing to consider when fighting a big fish is the position of your rodtip. as i learned fighting salmon up in ny in the rivers on light line if you just sit there with your rod tip high and don't move the fish it sits there recovering by switching the angle of your rod you can put more presure on a fish with the same drag .if a fish runs to your right turn your rod to the left and drop it down to the 3oclock pos. you will turn the fish same for a fish runnin to your left . its one thing if you have tons of line and the open water to let the fish play its self out but when fishing around structure you must turn the fish. buy changing the rod angle durring the fight you will tier the fish quicker .that along with cupping or thumbing the spool will allow you to set the drag looser and still be in controll of big fish
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:12 AM
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Goz, it's all in there.....
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:32 AM
Goz Goz is offline
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roc ,i just see a lot of people with there rod tip high putting some presure on a fish but could do more by pulling sideways on a fish . great post :wtg:
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:37 AM
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your absolutly right! hence the reason for this post,NEVER let 'em rest,like you said make 'em move, sometimes WE get tired and want to rest,but it just cant happen,something I learned a long time a go,the longer the fight the better the chance for a lost fish...
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Old 06-28-2005, 12:11 PM
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Roc, anutha great post! I will add this to your "Ode to Joe" page, along with your other articles :wtg:

I was always taught that you lose pretty much all your power with the rod after 10 oclock. I think your 2 oclock is my 10 oclock



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