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Messages - senkosam

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The Hawg Forum / Re:Drag Question
« on: February 16, 2003, 07:58:12 PM »
Drag and all the ingredients of the hook-set, go hand-in-hand.

I'm likeBruce - set the drag so the sharpness of the hook causes the strike-force to be 70% fish-power and 30% angler-force. Nowhere is this best illustrated than with drop-shotting and with no-stretch braid or superline. Whipping back the rod like you see on tv only makes a bigger hole for the hook to slip out of.

The primary ingredients of the hook-set is a sharp hook and a firm sideways or upwards  sweep of the rod tip. With a drag set at 60% of the pound test, you can assume that an unknown knick or line defect has brought the actual test to 60% or a little less. The action of the rod determines how forgiving the line or knot is - (a limber rod is very forgiving; a medium -heavy rod, much less forgiving.

Lb.- test is a consideration for drag set. As mentioned, 30 lb. test/ medium-heavy rod in heavy cover and 20 yard casts, require the reel to winch the fish out, fast. Therefore, drag can't be tight enough.

Open water and sparse cover allow you to play a fish on lighter line, using faster action rods (especially spinning), and  then the first  two paragraphs apply. Of course if your only targeting panfish on 8lb. test, 70% of line-test is adequate because most panfish hook themselves once line slack is taken out.

You've got to know how old the line is on the spool and the quality and characteristics of the line-type your using. Casting distance/expected hook force, determines line-type preference. Long-distance casts and hook sets = braid or flourocarbon no-stretch. Short-distance with  light tackle and finesse presentations that utilize smaller and  lighter (but sharp) hooks, allow the use of a good, mono. Drag is different for both because rod action and line stretch gives differently for both.

Finally, you suspect the fish on your line is probably the biggest you've ever caught, because it's dragging your boat around like in 'The Old Man and The Sea'. This fish requires backreeling or a very educated thumb on your reel-spool. Drag is the last thing you want to depend on when your rod is bent under the starboard side and the fish is fighting on the port side behind you.

If you're unfamiliar with backreeling, tie the line onto the collar of you neighbor's dog, flick the anti-reverse off, and throw a dog cookie 10' or so away. If you let go of the handle, a bird's nest will result. If you back-reel, you control the speed of the line going out, giving you time more time to control the fish (or dog). Depending on species and expected lunker size, you usually back-reel usually no more than six times, and quite often only three times. The rest is the rod bringing the fish in closer.

The old, whiplash-style hook-set is still used successfully by many anglers and with tightened drag, but new techniques, new lines and light-tackle, require more thought into setting your drag than just only setting your drag!

Frank M

The Hawg Forum / Dying soft plastics
« on: February 11, 2003, 08:01:29 AM »
Many anglers enjoy making or modifying their own lures,(especially in winter). It gives us a chance to create something that no one else has used to catch fish. It also allows one to continue the pursuit of fishing knowledge concerning color, size, action, speed of retrieve etc. or lureology.

Soft plastics, I believe, are unique because of their soft density, eye catching motion and color qualities. In another post I've related my beliefs concerning lure 'contrast' as a primary strike provoker. Soft plastics utilize inherent color either by see-through transmission of overhead light(translucent colors), blocking overhead light (solid colors), or reflection of color when the lure is between the fish and a darker background. Hard plastics or skirted baits usually only have a color-reflective quality. The fact that a soft plastic lure constantly changes appearance either dramatically, (like a neon sign), or subtlely, (like a fish or lizard), makes me believe that constant color change is an important characteristic of solt plastics.

Spike-It and Color Rite  manufacture dyes and paints that quickly and permanently change the surface color of a worm, grub, tube, shad etc. There is no need to buy two-tone plastics or those with contrasting tails. Your imagination and experimentation can result in color combos that may be one of the most important, up-close, strike-triggers, depending on water quality and light availability .

To alter the color of a soft plastic lure, first, take a pipe cleaner, dip the tip and rub color onto the area of the lure you want to enhance. You may dip the tail in chartreuse or fire to emphasize its action, but never dip the entire plastic lure -  the plastic of some brands may soften too much.  Always rub on color to be safe. If you must dip it, the hook must be out.

Light colored plastics such as chartreuse (solid or transparent), white, pearl, rootbeer, watermelon and clear are the best transmitters of light in tinted or cloudy water. They show off dye colors better than darker, solid dark colors. Fish may look up when tracking a potential life form they expect to munch on and color contrast sets the lure apart from the water/sky's surface color or the bottom or background color. Silver, blue, green or black flakes within the plastic add a subtle flash that keeps their attention regardless of any real prey swimming near by.

An example of a perfect color combo is as follows:
1. use a chartreuse or rootbeer lure (ie. a Bass Pro Spring grub) with black or silver flake
2. dye the back of the lure purple.
3. dye the belly orange
4. use orange (fire) dye over the purple-dyed back. (This results in a rich 'blood' color that has been a hot chartreuse-combo for the last 3 years.)
Hold the lure up to the sunlight. Behold a multicolored lure that has 3 separate colors that merge and change as the lure rolls or wobbles with your rod tip or the lure's inherent action.

Many soft lures have superb color-emitting and light reflecting properties. Hoo Daddy, Zoom's Brush hog, Sassy shad or Sqirmin Shad, Slider grubs and worms, lizards,  Fin s Fish or Fin s Shad, Bacon Rind by Gambler, and Bass Pro's Spring grubs, to name a few, all respond to color alterations, which enhances their action.

Just a note on paint (not dye). Spike-It Paint is opaque and is used to make spots, eyes or stripes. To make flourescent eyes or dots, use a white undercoat first. Let dry. Cover with a bright color,(ie. orange or chartreuse). You may put a small dot of black paint for a pupil-affect, (but it's not necessary, unless your a realism-freak). Black stripes or coach dog patterns are best applied with paint. Paint does not blend with the surrounding plastic and adheres permanently to the surface.

With paint and dye, you can simulate a true, fire-tiger, crankbait-pattern onto a fluke, FinS Fish or Squirmin Shad, just to name a few.

Experiment with various color-over-color combos and remember a little dye goes a long way - a little here, a little there. I'd be interested in any new discoveries you come up with.

By the way:
1. pumpkin over pearl yields copper;
2. chartreuse or pearl yields pearltruese- (fantastic at dusk);
3. orange over chartreuse yields a florescent orange,
4. purple over rootbeer yields an orangy-purple or blood
**Note: Eventually the dye color blends  through the entire lure part (body or tail), (which isn't necessarily bad), or the color may fade in sun light. Just reapply or keep your tackle box lid closed and covered. Fading occurs particularly with chartreuse (regardless of dyed or manufactured color). (Using aluminum foil under the lid of your tackle box, reflects ultraviolet and prevents excessive heat in the box. this goes a long way to prevent softening of grubs and worms.)

Keep track of the color combos you've had success with, per the lure you've altered. You never know when you'll stumble on a color combo no manufacturer has produced or could produce due to cost and that no angler who fishes your water has in his or her tackle box.  ;D

Frank M

The Hawg Forum / Re:Who's who
« on: February 10, 2003, 08:47:11 PM »
Hi guys,
I'm fifty-something and have fished most of my life.
I started with a bobber and line on a stick when I was hitting puberty and now that I'm an eternal adolescent, fish out of a bass boat, canoe, jon boat or out of my waders or just in my shorts.

I disdain carp and sucker,  believing them to be obscene-looking, and fish for everything else, including catfish.

I've fished in many states, from N.Y. (residence) to Cal. to Fl. to Texas and have done the best in N.Y.

I did the tournament thing, learned a lot, blew a lot, and finally got tired of losing sleep. Good and bad memories are stored and one day I'll find a 'just for fun of it' or 'just for the love-of-it' type fishing club.

I fish tidal and non-tidal rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and swamps. I used to night-fish until the idea of being bit by a rabid bat , scared me off.

I believe in sportsmanship, educated C&R and courtesy on the water. I hate jet-skis with a passion and ski-boats that are oblivious to angler boats 15 yds. away.

My granddaughters already like fishing at 4 and 3, so they will inherit a warehouse full of tackle, as will my oldest son.

I like reading and writing about fishing and tape hours of fishing shows every Sat.  I spend at least an hour a day in my work shop making lures, combining lures and cleaning up my tackle.

You could say I'm avid.

Frank M

The Hawg Forum / Jerks aren't just for kids!
« on: January 28, 2003, 05:02:44 PM »
A question was asked as to how to work a jerkbait on another forum. Here was my brief reply.

Jerkbaits such as Rapala's Husky Jerk, Jointed-Minnows, Floating Minnows, Smithwick's Rogues, Bomber's Long-A's, Rebel's Minnows, and Bagley's Ratlin' Twitcher, can be worked different ways. (They are typically referred to as floating minnows.)

The least used retrieve is a steady one, unless trolled on a long line or off a downrigger at plus 10'. Depth worked is anywhere from surface to 3' down, though you may catch surface-feeding fish over 40' of water.

Floating jerkbaits, when allowed to come to the surface and sit, (after jerking or twitching  just -subsurface), garner very aggressive strikes. Crappie typically jump clear-over the bait, and come back every time to smack it. Bass and pike don't fool around either, and hit 'minnows' from all directions.

If you wish to alter the buoyancy, use sticky-weights sold at BPS or Cabelas and be sure to position just behind the bill. The rate of rise may make a difference, especially for balsa.

Suspending jerkbaits,( i.e.Husky), have neutral buoyancy built-in, and 'hang' at the depth you work the bait down to.

Countdown jerkbaits sink at 1 foot per second and do very well when the school has dropped down in the water column, yet is still feeding on 'falling' objects.

The nice thing about jerkbaits is their multi-season success and the fact that they excel in moving water. Smallies kick the crap out of them, especially in early morning or when a fog hasn't lifted.

Bait size may be important! I start small (2") and work my way up to a maximum of 4". This indicates prey size being fed on per fish aggressiveness. Sometimes size doesn't matter , but at least you can do something about it when it does   ;D !

The variables of a retrieve must be fine-tuned to what the fish will strike. Super-slow-with-long-surface-pauses, may be the best retrieve, (similar to 'do-nothing' of a soft plastic). Cadence-retrieves include the number of jerks and pauses, similar to Morse code, but always mixed on the same retrieve. This type of retrieve may be completely, though barely, subsurface.

Sound bounces off the bottom of the surface of water and creates an echo of the lure's sonic or pressure vibrations. This probably accounts for it's success in murky or muddy water. Rattles may be a plus, but my experience tells me that the mood of the angler sometimes has more to do with their necessity, than the need of the fish to hear them. Rapala and Bagley jerks have worked well for years and never contained rattle chambers.

The only time bb's might make a difference is when included in the higher price jerks of Lucky Craft, Yozuri and Excalibur. These baits are extreme examples of engineering marvels that have patented, weight-transfer systems that offer maximum action with the slightest rod twitch. Again, higher price never guarentees better results, especially in the hands of the unperceptive or inexperienced. (In fact, I've done just as well on Lew's Speed Minnow for $2.49  and Renegade's high-back minnows for $1.97 at Walmart.)

Hope this didn't overload you with info, but what else is there to do in winter other than think about things to try after ice-out.

Frank M

The Hawg Forum / Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« on: January 14, 2003, 08:47:52 PM »
My 'scent-iments exactly!  ;D

The Hawg Forum / To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« on: January 11, 2003, 08:02:25 PM »
Just a few thoughts relating to common perceptions of 'IQ', bass behavior and scent  as related by a knowledgable  angler that replied to my post. His quote is in bold type.

"Ignorance- Yep, some fish are just plain stupid. Although this simply is not the same as a remote pond that gets little pressure. Here bass will bite a bare hook because they don't know any better."

I might get some flack on this thought, but I can never attribute 'IQ' to brain-stem feeders. Some fish are very aggressive, like the meanmouth hybrid that became a menace in southern waters, or laid-back like the potential world record, presently sunning herself in southern California. Genetic coding may account for far more then we know at present about aggressiveness, irritablity to stimuli, ease of being 'programmed' to react a certain way to positive and negative stimuli and an inherent metabolic rate/nervous system connection. (Do different fish of the same species have different metabolic rates at the same time, resulting in different levels of 'nervous-activity' or  hyperactivity, (like certain kids I know)? All fish don't spawn at the same time, why should they all feed at the same time?

Maybe biologists should investigate  AQ  or  aggressiveness quotient  based on comparisons of many bass of the same age, health, of different and the same parents; also,  LQ, or learning quotient that  exists in all animals,  from one-cell organisms to humans.

Is learning ability IQ-related in humans? Most definitely! Humans have the capacity for long term memory and memory-emotion connections. Fish can't even remember who they mated with last month, much less last year. In the same line of thought, we attribute the lack of strikes on particular colors or lures to burnout or desensitization.

The latter term makes sense because it doesn't require thought or emotion as does the former. Burnout usually is associated with a build-up of negative emotions and memories which results in emotional fatique and rejection. Whereas, if humans smell boiled cabbage long enough, they become desensitized or overloaded with the odor stimulus such that it's no longer noticed.

(Might a sense-apathty be the fish's reaction to certain lures or certain colors, over a certain period of time? Might that also apply to certain manufactured scents? Who says a fish will always prefer shad versus craw in the same month? (I doubt they enjoy eating the same thing everday! ::)

  Changing metabolic rates and irritability, coupled with water visibility and temperature changes, may have a profound affect on a bass's reaction to certain colors and other lure elements over the course of a season. Just maybe, the fish sees and reacts differently to say, red,  when the water is turbid and 85 degrees versus 60 degrees and semi-clear.

(A fishing buddy of mine saw the change in strikes of a certain color Senko in early to mid spring. He changed colors, did well at first and then saw the same decline in strikes from mid-summer to late summer, etc. He's not one to change colors very often.)

"Anger- How many times have you flipped to a bush 99 times only to get a strike on your 100th presentation? You annoyed that bass into striking. We read about it all the time in BASSMASTER." (Homer Circle implied the same theory in his video, "Feeding Habits of Bass.")

Anger implies emotion. Irritability implies my wife when I've done nothing to provoke her except breathe!  :-X. (Good thing she doesn't read anything I write!  ) If enough objects pass by your face, whether it be the same or different object, your reaction is to react  in some way.
 Play along with me on this one:

I'm a bass and a lizard swims past me. Then another lizard swims past. And then another. (One  lizard was cast three times, for those rocket scientists who couldn't figure that out!)  To continue:

Now to my thinking, this smorgasborg is not going to last forever, so now it's time to get me some! I'm not angry in the human sense, but temptation, irritation , curiousity (or an oral fixation for lizards), finally got the better of me and got me off my lazy, finny-behind to partake of at least one of these, one-dumb-family-of-lizards!   ;D

"I feel that scent can allow a bass to hold a bait longer than a bait without scent."

This implies (to paraphrase my bud Tony), that a bass bites down on a crawfish and thinks, "My, that's one mighty-tasty crawfish!"  Therefore, I guess you're thinking as it bites down on a tube with craw-scent, it also thinks..."My, that's one mighty-tasty crawfish!"

(Even dumb and dumber wouldn't fall for that one!)

"The bass's brain is just a little bigger then a pea. The physiology of the thing suggests that these fish are brain stem, spinal cord dominated animals. It's a safe bet they don't have a psychological reaction to food or even pain, like we humans do." (See the latest Bassmaster issue on the subject of pain and fish.)If they did experience psychological reactions to stimuli, then that would mean that PETA is right - that when we hook them, they are terrified and in excruciating pain. It's now believed that this is untrue and  that  fish are only displaying a flight response, (the same as an earthworm that is being pulled out of its hole).

 Similarly, I don't think the fish bites into a craw and thinks, "yumm, I'm gonna mush that around in my mouth for a while and savor the taste." Additionally, I don't believe that the fish swims up to a crawfish, smells it to verify that it might be the real McCoy , then decides whether  to eat it or not." (to quote Tony- Bassn dude).

(What if the craw is having a bowel movement; does the fish interpret this as an offensive smell or just fear? "Man, the thing just crapped it's shell at the sight of me, guess I'll eat it anyway!)  ;D

The belief that freshwater fish only discern water-soluble smells, leaves me confused as to the fact that oil-scents, dispersed in water, can not be in any way be smelled or tasted by a fish due to the large, molecular composition of protein and fat. (ala Dr. Jones, PhD.)

Unscented soft plastics have been known to be injested and come out the other end - I've seen this with my own eyes. (I have to admit, I pulled one out the out the back-end and smelled it, (just like on CSI), and behold, non- scented! - Just kidding. ;D )

With all the hype constantly being integrated into the media of fishing, many have begun to question the old and new theories and reasoning as to why fish strike an abstraction-of-life as much as they do. Berkely has some fine products, but their justifications for buying them leave a lot to be desired.

Some truths will always be hidden, which makes the sport continually fascinating and unpredictable at times. Only the open-minded win classics, but even professional anglers view trendy thought with a certain degree of suspicion that is understandable.


The Hawg Forum / Re:Enough!
« on: January 11, 2003, 06:56:14 PM »
Pretty soon cabin fever will force me onto the ice. The only problem is the wind chill, which has been aroung 20 degrees or less recently. You get tired of blue nose (and other parts) that take an hour to thaw once you're back inside. It's either that or go through the Bass Pro catalog for the fiftieth time, trying to figure out what I really don't need, but that I can look forward to receiving, in order to put it away, so that I can repeat the process all over again until ice out!

Madness!  :(

Frank M

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