Jmichaeljawn

Issues with setting the hook; tons of bites but no luck

Rate this topic

14 posts in this topic

Hey y'all Im new to the forum but Ive been following and using the info.

Last night after sunset and until midnight I was out near a popular fishing spot in my town (Near Sag Harbor, LI). I picked up some frozen clam and tied it with elastic band onto a Gamakatsu octopus hook size 8/0. Attached a 2oz weight to make a basic fish finder rig. Ive been to this spot before and haven't gotten much luck but the other guys I was chatting up were catching porgies, dogfish, skate, sea robin, and occasionally some stripers. I casted out the clam and let it sit and with the fresh clam I was able to get bite after bite all night long (especially with a fresh juicy clam tied on). After every bite I would yank the rod back in attempt to set the hook but I had no luck. After a couple hours of bites with no hookset I decided to try a smaller baitholder hook; I think about 4/0 size. My theory was that the hook was too large and maybe a smaller hook would work better.

As the night progressed I kept hearing and seeing splashes out of the water accompanied by dark shapes moving and swimming around. I originally thought these were boulders or seaweed but I started to pick up on their movements and could even see some small fish in there. My guess is some sort of baitfish so I casted out my rig in their direction and hit dead center. I hooked onto a fish and was thrilled, it was swimming left and right real quick. Not a real heavy fight but more of a quick one. Unfortunately it got away when I brought it closer to shore (I even had my line taught and rod up). My guess it could have been porgy, bunker, cocktail blue, or maybe even a schoolie. I don't think it was too big.

 

My question is where did I go wrong? Why couldn't I set the hook?

Originally I thought maybe it was a couple of crabs biting but it was more of a pull. Either way I had a blast. Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of reel are you using?  When fishing with bait, I like to use bait feeder reel, like a Shimano Baitrunner or a Penn Live Liner.  Without that baitfeeder feature to let the fish take the bait, more often then not, once they feel that line tension, they spook and drop the bait.  I also prefer to use circle hooks when baitfishing as well.  No more swing and miss...  that’s for tog season.  Let the fish run with the bait in it’s mouth, lift the rod tip and start reeling.  Always a nice hookset right in the corner of the fish’s mouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I had a Baitrunner, I would cast out, take up the slack line, then open the bail.  When the fish takes the bait and runs, close the bail and set the hook.  I highly recommend circle hooks if you’re targeting stripers with bait.  No need to set the hook, just close the bail and reel.  Much safer for the fish as well as I’ve never gut hooked a striper using a circle hook.  Hooked right in the corner of the mouth every time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

   You mentioned a popular spot so I'm assuming you mean backwater and not ocean front. This time of year baby sea bass are becoming prevalent (at least in south jersey) and they peck away at bait. Picturing this in my mind a bunch of baby sb pecking away draws the attention of other fish. A larger fish moves in and they scatter not wanting to become the meal and then you hooked the larger fish   

   If you get annoyed with the small bites try a small jig 3/8 oz or so with plastic or a small plug. Fan cast the area and maybe catch a predator looking to eat the young of the year fish. Remember the clam is just laying on the bottom but a jig moving by is meal lost if they don't strike. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Wire For Fire said:

Just down size your hook and all will be good . It’s prob porgies nipping your clams apart 

This is what I was thinking. Ive seen tons of porgy taken from this spot. Im going to use a smaller size circle hook and see how it goes. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Outside of a bass, ray or shark, you're not hooking any of the usual clam stealing suspects with an 8/0. I would use a 1/0 octopus (or even smaller j-hook) if porgies are the target.

Edited by C.Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, you're probably yanking the bait away before they've had a chance to get it in their mouth.  Use a light hookset when you feel pressure, or none at all and just start reeling in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.