Smiles like this can only occur when fish bite and stay hooked up. A little
hooking knowledge has helped the angler land countless fish like this over
the years and avoid that “kicked in the guts” feeling that happens
when a quality fish escapes!!
Even the most devoted “catch and release” angler needs to lay hands on the fish to be happy. Fortunately there are things an angler can do to mitigate losing fish and suffering that “kicked in the guts” feeling that follows.
SINGLE HOOK RIGGING
Lots of fish like trout and salmon love to roll when they get hooked. Twisting and rolling up in the line leverages pressure on the hook and literally rips them free. This phenomenon is most commonly associated with lures that have treble hooks on them like crankbaits and in-line spinners.
This Mag Lip plug has been modified to include two siwash hooks mounted
onto crane swivels. This simple step allows the hook to swivel and
prevents powerful fish like this brown trout from leveraging the hooks
free and escaping.
This simple process takes about two or three minutes and works best when both treble hooks are removed and replaced with siwash hooks. A few crankbait manufacturers offer their lures factory rigged with single hooks. A good example is the Yakima Flatfish and Hog Nose which can be ordered with traditional treble hooks or single hooks. Yakima also offers many of their in-line spinners like the popular Flash Glo in single hook versions as well.
STICKY SHARP HOOKS
Treble hooks for example are easier to file with a double rattail. Single hooks sharpen best with a flat file.
Now that more and more anglers are fishing with super braid lines, it’s abundantly obvious that low stretch lines can often allow fish to tear free and escape. To reduce the chances of a powerful fish ripping and tearing the hook free, try fishing a “shock leader” made out of high grade fluorocarbon line.
Fluorocarbon line is very tough and has a modest degree of stretch that nicely compensates for super braids which have zero give in them. A short leader of fluorocarbon line (24 to 72 inches) depending on the presentation can make a huge difference in how many fish that bite are ultimately landed.
Staying “hooked up” can be as simple as understanding how to properly
file a factory supplied treble hook to “sticky” sharp status.
For casting and jigging applications a 24 to 36 inch fluorocarbon leader is ideal.
SUMMING IT UP
It would be great if every fish that bites ended up flopping in the bottom of a landing net. Unfortunately, some fish are going to escape as part of the process we call “fishing”. With the tips above it is possible to hook and land a higher percentage of those precious “bites” and insure that fishing creates more smiles than frowns.