Slowwwride

Why are bucktails so hard for newbies

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So I was out fishing with my bro-in-law last week who's a newbie and given the conditions we were throwing bucktails at my recommendation. I set him up with a 1 oz white bucktail with a an ottertail white trailer. I threw the same thing. We were fishing a set of structure consisting of boulders around the second bar of a bay beach. I caught two and he caught none. He kept saying I'm doing what you're doing but really he was plowing the bottom with the BT. I said you gotta hold it up high and glide it across the bottom and sometimes vary your retrieve. He could not do it. He had a blast throwing minnow plugs last time out and did great bait and wait the time before. I'm trying to teach him the technique but he's not getting it. Any recs?

 

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You do not know what you do not know.

You have to mentor a person, meet them at their level and be patient

 

To learn they have to know that they need to learn and be open to it

I am thick headed as anyone, I am a slow learning at least I was.

Watching your buddy catch fish gets old sooner or later you gotta know IT IS YOU!

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No instant success in fishing usually... he needs to learn how to fish a bucktail... you do that by persistance, trying differrent techniques and that first fish... then he'll get it.....

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Three things come to mind immediately: 

 

1.There's no lip on a BT that tells you that the lure is working correctly 

2. BTs have no set depth that they run at based and depth is based on a large number of factors (weight, amount of hair, trailer, line diameter, current, wind, casting direction in relation to current/wind, rod angle) 

3. The first piece of advice many people get when buck tailing is  "bounce it off the bottom"

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Throw a lighter bucktail if conditions allow, or one with denser hair, so it will not sink as quickly and be easier to help feel what it’s doing. A heavier bucktail, for someone like a newbie is a recipe for failure, especially in a “snaggy” type of bottom. I think it’s the reason most people give up on them so quickly. Just purely frustrated.

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19 hours ago, Mack26 said:

Throw a lighter bucktail if conditions allow, or one with denser hair, so it will not sink as quickly and be easier to help feel what it’s doing. A heavier bucktail, for someone like a newbie is a recipe for failure, especially in a “snaggy” type of bottom. I think it’s the reason most people give up on them so quickly. Just purely frustrated.

Although I agree with this line of thinking, he might do better with a heavier bucktail. "Feel" is something you have to develop & depending on other factors, like winds & currents, a lighter jig might make it more difficult for him to gain that feel. Sounds like he's has no clue about envisioning what's going on below the surface, and is relying on the jig hitting bottom, which he can probably feel,  and has no idea about where it is or what it's doing otherwise. He'll certainly most likely lose total contact with a lighter bucktail and that might make the matter worse. 

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One issue is that when you fishing jigs and bucktails, you can't see what the action. You are relying on feel. Which no one can teach you.

 

The only thing is to gauge how it's moving by your action, and it's very hard to visualize. I can mimic what you are doing on the rod, but like you said, he can be plowing the bottom with the BT and the action is the same as yours. 

 

Took me a few years to learn and practice and still learning how to move the damn thing under the water.

 

Also gear is another important thing. A lot of times the rod you use can't feel how the BT moves or if it hit bottom. So that's another factor.

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19 hours ago, Mack26 said:

Throw a lighter bucktail if conditions allow, or one with denser hair, so it will not sink as quickly and be easier to help feel what it’s doing.

Even a rubber shad or other paddle tail would increase the drag in the water, and keep him from dragging bottom.

 

Fishing from somewhere higher, like off a tall jetty or bridge would help him learn how fast that bucktail falls and begins to glide

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32 mins ago, Jim H said:

Although I agree with this line of thinking, he might do better with a heavier bucktail. "Feel" is something you have to develop & depending on other factors, like winds & currents, a lighter jig might make it more difficult for him to gain that feel. Sounds like he's has no clue about envisioning what's going on below the surface, and is relying on the jig hitting bottom, which he can probably feel,  and has no idea about where it is or what it's doing otherwise. He'll certainly most likely lose total contact with a lighter bucktail and that might make the matter worse. 

I guess the point i was making, is that he should learn “feel” in an appropriate place or location that is conducive to learning. Throwing a heavy bucktail in heavy winds, or strong current, is a sure bet that he won’t even be able to tell where he is in the water column. 
When i say a lighter weight, i’m just talking a 1/4 oz or so. My favorite bucktail is 3/4 oz. It gives me the perfect balance of lift and drop, that i need to keep it close to the bottom or structure.  Obviously, it’s not gonna hold in heavy current or sweep, or in a big blow, in which case i’ll bump up to 1 or 1 1/2 oz. But, in 90% of my bucktail fishing, the 3/4 oz gets the nod. That’s just me.

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Time on the beach throwing a bucktail is really the only way to figure it out, some coaching and tips are helpful but are not a substitute for TIME . 

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