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flatheadhunter87

How Long?

26 posts in this topic

When you guys get a run about how long do you let the fish run with the thing. Just wondering because i had two monsters on the other night and when i got the fish to the top of the water all that the fish had in his mouth was half of the bullhead. As soon as the fish seen the boat there went the fish goodbye. i let it run for a good 30 feet or so. This happen to me twice and i dont want it to happen again. Thanks

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As soon as I feel the fish moving away from me, I set the hook home. Usually this is right away, sometimes it takes a minute or two.

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So as soon as you get the first couple clicks and it starts heading up stream or down stream. Do you think he was maybe already spitting it out cause he felt the hook.

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Normally I watch my rod tip like a hawk and can see the inital hit of the fish sucking it in. In most cases I have the rod in my hand by the time it starts swimming away with the bait.

Sometimes it will eat it and just sit there for a moment. I will hold the rod in my hand to feel for the fish moving away (line will tighten up) as soon as that happens I set the hook. If I hook the fish, great, if not I chalk it up to a missed fish.

This is a topic that has been discussed at length to try and maximize hooking percentage. Many techniques have been tried with positive results. One of them that seems to make quite a bit of sense is a double hook rig (a harness if you will) constructed of 2 circle hooks (see tips of the day by SteveD). There is no setting involved in this setup, just let the fish hook itself.

I guess I wouldn't let the fact that you are missing fish discourage you, it happens to all of us and just part of the Flathead mystique.

and as far as spitting the hook, I'm a firm believer, that hook "spitting" is a myth.

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Quote:
and as far as spitting the hook, I'm a firm believer, that hook "spitting" is a myth.

Yep I agree 100%. You ever felt the spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins of a bullhead wink Try snapping one with your fingers once. They are not as strong as a 10/0 hook shank but they are right up their. Flats seem to crush these little guys all spring long. Maybe a panfish can sense this but I do not know.

In that video of the rat and catfish in the other thread I think the "spitting out" of the mouse is the mouse trying to escape and the fish sucking it back in. I am sure the same instinctual panic occurs in a bullhead. It wants to eat but if the hook set is not done at the right time you pull the bait out (or away) up to 4-6' (depending on the swing) from where the cat found the bait. Who knows what makes the fish swim away or not find the bait again? Sometimes they do and I have found this with channels more so than flats.

I used to think letting the flat run with the bait a little was key and in some cases I am sure is needed or warranted. I know all hook setting situations are different but I am a full believer in what Dtro says above. Keep the hook exposed as much as possible. You do not need much meat hooked to be able to cast and keep a bullhead on. Sacrifice a couple bullhead (if hooking behind the dorsal fin) and just try hooking very little back meat. If you loose one during the cast or it works its self off with out a run occurring, good down and deeper a little.

If my pole does a couple quick rips of the clicker, I pick it up easy (but quickly) out of the rod hold, load the tip up a little (pull back on line) and if I feel that string thump/tug, give'er the onion wink I would much rather do this, come up blank, than sitting the next hour wonder what would have happened if I had set the hook!~ I have also seen some river rats tug on their line and watch for the loading of the tip with no clicker. They pulled fish up when I did not grin Different strokes for different folks and if you are getting fish in the boat keep it up. If not try some new things until you find something that works for you.

It also seems hooking area of the bait, style of hook and (if you get the bum seat in the boat) where you cast in the current has a factor on how things should be done.

Good luck!

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As Darren mentioned, I have gone to using what I call a Cat Bait Harness which is nothing more than an upscaled walleye minnow harness. I did a Cat Tip of the Day on the basic setup which in posted in the "Catfishing Trips, Tips, Pics, Secrets and Hot Topics" post on this forum.

I use circle hooks on my Cat Bait Harness and run an 8/0 Gamakatsu Circle Hook as the front hook and a 5/0 Circle Hook for the stinger hook. I hook that front hook high on their back with the hook point coming out towards the bullies head and then I hook the stinger hook just in front of the tail. I set my rod in a rod holder with the clicker set. When I get a run or detect a bite I immediately pick up the rod, point it in the direction of the fish and engage the reel picking up the slack to get a tight line and then I just start reeling. I don't try to do a hookset - I just start reeling. I have had excellent success with this setup and hookup technique.

That extra stinger hook has really helped and in many cases I have had both hooks firmly hooked in the fish. If you are missing fish I would recommend giving this setup a try.

CatHarnessIDA.jpg

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Hey thanks guys. I am getting fish in the boat just not those two big ones that only had the bullie half in their mouth. I was just wondering if i should just do a little something difffrent. On a circle hook they say there is no need to set the hook but it is just habit for myself should i maybe try just reeling in like steve said. Another question generally where do you guys hook the bullies i have always just hooked them in the lips do you think i should try up un the back or by the tail at all thanks.

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I've hooked them thru the lips, behind the dorsal, and below the adipose fin. There is really no right or wrong way to hook them. I mostly hook them below the adipose fin down by the tail.

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I hook my bullies under the adipose fin and as for the hook set its kind of a feeling you get it starts with how did the fish hit ,did it stop and run , scream the clicker. etc each fish for me is differnt and this year I have had really great success with a sweeping hook set rather than a load up and rip it set. last thursday night I had on a 40 plus and didnt let it run that long because we were so close to the snag when I set the hook I had her but when got her to the side of the boat she was hooked next to the whisker and ended up losing her right along side the boat as she tore the hook out when she made a run. when I fish next to a snag I will not let them run to far as not to get snagged up. If I hit it and no fish oh well thats fishing..

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Good point elwood, each and every run has it's own unique circumstance.

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Dtro your avatar looks cool. wink

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Night vision!

elwood, I've been using a long sweeping hookset as well and have had much better luck hooking up than others in the boat that are reeling down tight and giving it heck setting the hook straight up and hard.

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Thanks again guys i will have to try all the above things you guys just talked about. I am taking my blind uncle out cattin in the next couple of days it should be interesting. I want to try and get him a big flattie.

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Night vision!

Did someone say night vision?

"> " type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">

This is in total darkness and the camera does not shed off any light while doing this.

I have a hot-shoe IR light that should add some more illumination to the area. I figured this feature would come in handy during night filming but have to adjust and learn more about it. Fun stuff.

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OK so if you fish with a the clicker on ( I have never tried) You have to loosten up the star drag way up and put your clicker on. SO when you pick up your rod:

A. when do you tighten your star drag up (how long do you let the clicker go off.

B. when do you shut the clicker off?

My guess is you hear your clicker go off, pick up reel, tighten star drag, turn off clicker, feel fish on the end of your line and than give her heck.

So when you hear your clicker go off, there is no letting the fish run or is there. Just a few questions from a rookie flat head fisherman that I could use some help on. Right now I just have the rod in the holder with the drag tight and no clicker but I know one of these days a big cat is going to pull my rod and reel in the river so I would like to learn another way and to use my clicker...Thanks in advance for any tip you can provide..............

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My guess is you hear your clicker go off, pick up reel, tighten star drag, turn off clicker, feel fish on the end of your line and than give her heck.

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Wall_eye, alot of how long you let them run depends on what the fish dictate to you. Another factor that comes into play is the waters your fishing; alot of debris in the water, at least for me, means I'm getting on 'em alot quicker than I might even like to. I know that sounds ambigious, but its an answer.

As far as your reel, you shouldnt be having to set/adjust your star-drag while using the clicker at all; they are seperate entities, if we are thinking of the same thing. Disengage your spool and engage the bait-feeder; there should be a tensioner on the reel for casting/bait-feeding. Last thing to worry about is making sure the drag is proper right before doing battle with a Big One. Hope this helps.

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slowhand, This helps a lot, I have never used my clicker and now I think I gotcha. Just have your clicker on and the spool disengaged (like you would when you cast it). That is why I never used my clicker because I was thinking you had to keep the drag real loose and than put your clicker on, it just seemed like to many steps to take once your clicker went off. This makes me feel a lot more confident on using my clicker now. Thanks for all your help on this, it is much appreciated.......

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Kirk you will want to keep your drag very tight (depending on your line/tackle). If you have a clicker, like Slowhand mentioned, it's completely separate from the drag. When you have a clicker run (clicker on and spool open) you will let that fish take the bait for a few seconds (the amount of time is debatable and everyone has a different opinion on it) and close the spool but try to do it in a way where you won't spook the fish by putting too much sudden tension on the line. I then usually turn the clicker off real quick before setting the hook but it doesn't really matter much...sometimes I wait until I have the hook set in the fish then I'll flip it off.

We will go out one of these days and I am by no mean an expert but I look forward to helping you out with any questions.

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No problem; just adjust the tension as well. Also, I have posted this picture before pertaining to Strike Sensors, but I use a rubber band around the pole and run a loop through the band and adjust accordingly when I'm running very agressive bait, and/or current, even when not using other indicators. This helps in eliminating false bites when your clicker tensioner is not enough; keeping largemouth bass and other large sized baits from running too far.

PICT0001-1.jpg

Keep loop and snug extra line running down to reel, with clicker engaged. On quiet nights you'll hear the line pulling out from the rubber band before the clicker cracks.

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Yeah most baitcasters have the adjustable brake to help eliminate backlash and after I cast I reel the slack line up and engage the clicker and then open the spool. After I do this I will loosen that brake so that the clicker is more sensitive (depending on how large and active the bait is and how fast the current is moving). I usually have it as loose as I can without having the bait be able to run out too much line. I always test the clicker before I sit back down as well because sometimes the line will be stuck on the spool (especially with braided line) for some reason and the clicker won't work and I would have never known about it.

But yes to add to Slowhand, having some other type of indicator is nice. I usually use small 1.5" glowsticks fastened to the rod tip as well so I can tell if a clicker pull is my bait or a fish.

EDIT: OH and Kirk if you do loosen that brake make sure you remember every time after you reel all the way up to readjust that otherwise you will have a big mess of backlash!

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All I can say is thank you, I have been using ABU Garcia's for many years and never really understood how the clicker worked, I thought you had to have your drag really really loose. I have learned so much just tonight from you guys and now next time I go out I will fish with the clicker on. Slowhand those other indicators are awesome. Minnesnowtawild, Yes we will head out one of these days, shortly I hope. Your explanation of how to set your tension, and all your other tips are really going to help me in my future flathead fishing adventures. I appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out and hopefully with a little more time chasing flatheads I will get better at it which I am sure I will...Thanks again very much....Kirk

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