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Codfish meditation

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BrianBM

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My codfishing is limited to partyboats that may drift or sit at anchor. I can't stand at the rail steadily any more, therefore I often fish a dead stick. 30' of mono uniknotted to braid, which braid was first doubled through a surgeon's knot.

 

For deadsticking a rod for cod on a stationary partyboat, is there any benefit in a circle hook? Otherwise I'd use an Octopus, or really any quality J-hook with a very sharp point.

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I have been a huge proponent of circle hooks for groundfishing for what must be coming up on 30 years.

 

As you observe, the game is primarily bait and wait. With J hooks, you're waiting for the bite and setting the hook. After as little as one miss, you could have no bait, with one stolen on the strike and the other shaken off by the hookset.

 

With a properly sized circle hook, you don't so much set the hook as investigate whether the fish has engulfed the hook by slowly lifting your rig off the bottom without reeling. If the fish is buttoned up, you reel in, if not, lower the rig, and the fish or its compatriots generaly pounce right back on it. Circles are also pretty hard to escape from, so if you're detecting an undersized or unremarkable fish, and the action warrants it, you can let the rig stay in the strike zone for a while and see if the commotion draws in another customer.

 

I also run a bit less mono than you, and actually only started using a bit when the fishery turned entirely haddock based, as straight braid to the rig was resulting in a lot of hook pulls. With cod and pollack or other hard mouthed creatures, I was pretty much 100% taking a fish over the rail once it was hooked, with haddock I was losing a good one out of four. 10' of mono seems to have cured the problem.

 

I'm hesitant to add a lot of mono because the sensitivity of straight braid is exquisite. I was fishing a day when there were big cod mixed with redfish in the barely legal and under size range. I detected a fish, but quickly decided it must be a little red, so I left it alone hoping the second bait would draw a strike. I ended up boating a pool winning 43 lb cod on the bootom hook, with the top hook still baited. The cod had eaten the redfish.

 

There is one definite shortcoming with circles, which is the sensitivity of sizing. I used to use 8/0 when it was a cod fishing game. The 8/0 is just a bit big for haddock, as evidenced by my recent huge increase in misses. Similarly to lost fish on the retreive, I had grown to expect that a solid bump meant I was going to unhook something, but the bigger circles are a challenge for haddock to engulf. I now use something between 4/0 and 6/0, that carries the rish of a gap too small to get around the jaw of a larger fish and increasing the chance of losing a trophy. "Fortunately" the size of fish caught recently is an embarrassment, and it's rare that anything over ten pounds takes the pool. Mostly a seven pound cusk or thereabouts, which a 4/0 will handle with aplomb.

Massachusetts EPO:

1-800-632-8075

 

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10 hours ago, Running Ape said:

I’ve done exactly that and both circles and semicircles work well. I also use a long leader when bait fishing. I think that they like some slack in the line when bait fishing.

 

That's a good point. I go 8-12" (longer on the bottom, a long top loop wraps more often) and drop the rod tip a few inches below what would keep the line tight. Give them a second to vacuum the bait.

Massachusetts EPO:

1-800-632-8075

 

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For whenever reason, I do best with an overweight sinker and belly in the line so it lays down on the bottom like a tub trawl. It’s not hard to feel the bites with braid or mono, I just lift the rod very slowly with a thumb or finger in the line. This is what a I learned working for Joe Huckemeyer. Since there aren’t enough fish to make worth keeping may secrets I figured I’d share. 

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16 hours ago, DrBob said:

image.png.d60bc90887656761d613a03fb8158633.png

I like kahle patterns a lot too. For groundfishing the shiner hooks seem rather light, but I use the Big River hooks when I'm concerned about a range of fish sizes pushing the limits of circles. I also use them for inshore bottom fishing. Top notch hooks and available in pretty big sizes.

Massachusetts EPO:

1-800-632-8075

 

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