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Randyjr.

Open bail question #1

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When bottom fishing or still fishing, how many leave the bail open and let the carp run/wander with the bait before setting the hook? I used to hold the line between my fingers and wait for the subtle pulls and then try and set the hook. Much of the time now (whether on a slow rolling river or small reservoir) I let the carp unspool a few yards and my catch rate has gone up (I keep track in a small notebook). On the flip side of this, the number of hooks imbedded deeper into the carp's mouth have gone up as well. Any other experiences with this?

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I have never tried leaving the bail open, but i know a lot of people like to do that. I normally like to keep my line tight so i can recognize the bites sooner. Once i see a bite i just drop the rod tip giving the fish a couple extra feet of line and then i wait and feel him to set the hook. I haven't had any problems hooking up this way.

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I have never left my bail open, but I keep my line somewhat tight and back my drag way off. So that when that fish hits, my pole does not become airborne and end up in the river..it has happened...

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I agree. In my experience, the longer a fish has the opportunity to swallow bait the more likely it will gut hook. It's the classic inverse relationship between catch success rate and kill rate.

Personally, I don't like dealing with gut hooked fish so I keep my bail closed. If I loose a fish, it just makes me want to fish more. My ego can handle that.

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Tight line and a size 8 or 6 circle hook. I have never hooked a carp or redhorse deep and by the time the rod starts to bounce the fish has hooked itself.

When I hold the rod I feel more takes, but I think I actually miss more fish then because then I set the hook too early. With the above method, the fish hook themselves.

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Yup, a circle hook helps. They're not just for cats - they're perfect for carp and suckers. I like to leave just a little slack on the line, so that the fish will not feel the weight right away. By the time he feels any tension, it's too late. Just don't set the hook like normal. Pick up the rod and start crankin'.

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circle hooks are a good idea. i'll have to give them a shot. I usually let the bait (usually corn) sink to the bottom and pull some line out of the reel to create slack. Keep an eye on the line and when it starts to move and get tight... reel in any slack and game on. One time I left my bail open and wasn't paying attention. By the time I saw I had a fish, it'd pulled at least 50yds of line out.

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