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jiggin' fool

To freespool, or not to freespool.., that is the question

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I am curious. How many of you disengage the reel on a hot-fish during the figure-8 at boatside. Or, do most of you let a properly set drag take care of a "short-hit"? I just think about the fish that hit boatside as it is now, before we can see them.., or even night-fishing..., and we are not in "freespool". Thoughts?

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I have gotten into the habit of disengaging the spool when the lure comes to the boat and I start my figure eight or figure zero. Even if I catch a fish out a ways, once I get it up to the boat and it is going to take a run, I will put the reel into freespool and use my thumb as the drag. I just feel that I can control it better with my thumb on the spool rather than the drag.

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I naturally hit the freespool halfway into my figure 8 and then it is just thumb pressure. I like the ability to let a fish get away from the boat a little. I had a 48" class fish that I had trouble bringing her to the net-hooked her on the 3rd turn on the 8- I thought I was hooked up with a 45-ish size fish. My partner later asked if I knew why I was having trouble bringing her to the net and I said yeh she was bigger than 45" blush

One thing I started to really pay attention to is to try and have the bait comming in at 45 degrees to the side of the boat. It makes the transition into the 8 much easier and my hookups and strikes at boatside have gone up.

Now I just have to have the number of muskies that are willing to chase go up. smirk

Good Luck

Steve

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Everyone is probably going to have a little bit different take on this, but overall free spooling is something that can be used in many different situations. When it comes to the figure eight, I do not free spool until I have a set of trebels firmly lodged into a muskies mouth. As soon as that happens, I hit the free spool and play it how the fish wants. Sometimes they decide to do the classic head-shake and gator roll right at the boat, others will immediatley take a run and bull dog on you. It's nice to be in control in those situations and not rely on your drag to do the work. I have also used the free spool in mid-fight situations when the fish is close to the boat and wants to make another run. In one specific situation I lost a fish last year because I didn't use the free spool. The wind was blowing at about 30mph and I hooked a nice fish on a drift casting with the wind. The fish decided to take a long run and before I knew it the musky was up wind on me making the tension incredible do to the heavy wind pushing us and the fish swimming the opposite way. The trolling motor was no match in the 3 foot waves. If I would have free spooled and let the fish tire out a little more while decreasing the tension, I probably would have put it in the boat. Instead the hooks ended up ripping out after a couple head shakes. Lesson learned I guess.

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I always hit the freespool when going into the figure-8... way I figure... its better to let the muskie go into a run by itself with the lure instead of dragging the rod behind when this one HUGE hit happens unexpectedly...

I also feel that I can control the drag with my thumb... and with the thumb combined with the hook set along with the muskie zooming in the opposite direction, it should be enough to get them hooked...

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I put it into freespool and thumb it at boatside. Prior to switching, I lost a few fish due to them taking off at boatside and the hooks pulled out. Also, my bro in law nearly lost his rod and reel a few years ago night fishing. We ended up landing the fish but it darn near took the whole rig with him. During the day when there is no following fish behind I will sometimes not freespool, but upon dusk or for sure nightfishing. I always freesppool since you just never know when that strike is going to happen. When it does and the drag is pulling hard, it is difficult to dissengage the reel when your mind is on controlling the fish.

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