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Landing Large Smallmouth

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2016/9/23 21:38
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Last year was my first year fishing for smallmouth on the fly. I had good success but caught mostly smaller fish in the 9-12 range. This year I've hooked four large bass (I'm guessing 16-18 range). But, I keep loosing them, not breaking them off, but spitting the hook. Anyone have some sound advice on the best way to play and land a large smallmouth? Best to play it for awhile, bring it in quickly, play it on the reel, or just keep it tight?

Just looking for some tips so I can break this streak of loosing nice bass shortly into the fight! Thanks.

Posted on: 2017/6/22 12:02


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2017/6/15 12:24
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I always try to keep the line tight they are masters of jumping and throwing the hook. Try to get them in as quick as you can without breaking them off.

I would also carry a net. I always have my net when trout fishing but not usually in the river for smallmouth. Last weekend I left my net in the truck and hooked the biggest smallmouth I have had on a line. Fought him for quite awhile in heavy current, actually grabbed him by the lip, he shook, slipped out of my hand and jumped and was gone.

Posted on: 2017/6/22 12:23


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2013/2/16 0:51
From Northern VA
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Try to use the heaviest and shortest amount of tippet you can get away with. It will help you drill the hook in better. It's not always possible to get a good hookset but my experience has been that if you do, it's not coming out no matter how much they try.

If you feel like the hook isn't secure initially I've sometimes tried strip-setting again mid-fight when they go deep and start bulldogging. I have a feeling this could sometimes backfire though.

Another benefit of using heavy tippet is being able to bring them in faster. I really like to bear down and try to horse in smallmouths but you have to be using tippet heavy enough that you have no fear of breaking off.


Posted on: 2017/6/22 12:52
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Re: Landing Large Smallmouth
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2016/1/24 14:30
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Quote:

sarce wrote:
Try to use the heaviest and shortest amount of tippet you can get away with. It will help you drill the hook in better. It's not always possible to get a good hookset but my experience has been that if you do, it's not coming out no matter how much they try.

If you feel like the hook isn't secure initially I've sometimes tried strip-setting again mid-fight when they go deep and start bulldogging. I have a feeling this could sometimes backfire though.

Another benefit of using heavy tippet is being able to bring them in faster. I really like to bear down and try to horse in smallmouths but you have to be using tippet heavy enough that you have no fear of breaking off.


This ^

Larger bass have tougher mouth structure than trout. I use 14 or 15lb tippet and strike then pretty hard.

A landing net helps too as bass will fight you right to the boat and will not quit so getting a hold of them can be more difficult without a net.

Posted on: 2017/6/22 14:20


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2010/2/15 19:09
From Ohio
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Ichthus,

I don't think you're getting a good hookset. Stripset on the initial strike to get a good hookset. to stripset, lift the rod tip like you normally would to set the hook and strip line with your line hand at the same time to really drive it home. If your worried about it, give another stripset once the fish is on as Sarce said. You should be fishing 0x or 2x for smallies, no finer than 3x. The tippet should be plenty strong enough to put some serious pressure on a large smallmouth or even a big carp. No need to go to the reel. I never use finer than 2x, if the water is low and clear I switch from nylon to floro. The only times I've had smallmouth break off were caused by bad knots or tippet that was damaged by abrasion and I was too lazy to change it. Generally, you can crank on the fish with 2x. Try using side pressure by keeping the rod tip low and the rod parallel to the water, using the butt section of the rod to fight the fish rather than the tip (this works for any species).

Posted on: 2017/6/22 14:26


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2008/6/28 15:57
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when they jump, drop that rod tip. the majority of smallies that have spit the hook on me have done it airborne on a tight line, when I forgot to do that. But they shake so hard that sometimes that's just what happens, especially if the barb is pinched down. But I pinch the barbs on my hooks anyway, even when after fish with tough mouths like bass or pickerel, because it's so much less of a hassle to release fish.

Posted on: 2017/6/22 19:18


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Many times a large smallie is lost when it jumps. The most important thing to do is to not keep your rod high during the fight. A high/vertical rod position with yards line over the water, on the jump allows the fish to pull the fly line out of the water, causing slack.

The best thing to do is keep your rod and rod tip low to the water and at a 90* angle to the fish. When your fish jumps the line remains in the water under tension, rather than going slack when coming out of the water when using a high rod angle.

As the fish moves up or down, keep your rod low to the water and keep changing your rod angle to maintain the rod at 90* to the fish. This maximizes rod tension and wears the fish down.

Good posts above: sharp hooks, strip-set, stoudt rod and heavy tippet helps...

Those smallies, especially a decent one, are some of the most fun fish to battle in freshwater.

I did a little smallie fishing this week. Got chased off the river because of a T-storm. Can't wait to get back at it.

Posted on: 2017/6/23 7:12


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2013/3/1 8:29
From West Chester
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Try to land them fast. Watch professional bass fisherman land their fish. Most of the time they are pulling them straight out of the water before they even have a chance to fight. It's not fun, but it minimizes the chance of losing fish.

Prolonged fights allow more time for error and will make the hole the hook is in larger and more loose, allowing the fish to shake the hook easier. Front weighted flies like clousers are especially bad at losing fish if the dumbbell eyes are outside the mouth or anywhere where they can move. An 7 or 8wt rod and heavy tippet will help a lot.

Posted on: 2017/6/23 8:29


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2011/9/13 11:13
From Flourtown, PA
Posts: 267
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Once you get any kind of hookset after the strike, hit him again. And again. Drive that hook in there. And when he jumps, just like tarpon, you bow to the king and drop your rod tip to the water. Once he bulldogs, rotate the rod angle more parallel to the water and go down-and-dirty until you whip him.

Posted on: 2017/6/23 11:11


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2016/9/23 21:38
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Thanks everyone for your great replies. I am using a 7 weight with a 2x Tippet. These occasions have happened with dumbbell eye flies, so good advice there. I now have some things to focus on and try to keep that adrenaline rush to a minimum. I appreciate all the info.

Posted on: 2017/6/23 11:55


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2013/12/7 0:10
From SE Pa
Posts: 833
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SMB have a wonderful way of swimming right at you when they are hooked. Set hard and Keep the line tight by reeling or stripping as fast as you can. Put your rod tip wherever it needs to be to keep the line tight and away from the fish. Most of the time that's up or back. Moving up or back moves more line faster. Don't matter what your rod tip is doing if they are jumping if the line is tight. If your going to drop your tip don't drop it pointing it at the fish or you will be handing him 6 feet of slack line to work with.

I river SMB weekly. It's been my experience that the big ones don't really jump only the small ones do. I caught many over 20" and can't recall any of the bigger ones jumping out of the water. I'll have to make nite if that in the future.

Posted on: 2017/6/24 7:35


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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As I posted above, remember to keep you rod tip low and use side pressure. A vertical rod has no where to go to take up slack when a fish swims right at you, and as I mentioned try to keep the fly line in the water letting water tension to reduce slack in the line. A vertical rod position with much of the fly line out of the water causes slack when the fish jumps....and smallies will jump!

Here are some links to tips about the importance of side pressure when fighting big fish.



https://www.demystifly.com/single-post ... g-Fish-With-Side-Pressure

http://www.current-works.com/fly-fish ... ighting-and-landing-fish/

https://www.deneki.com/2010/10/fighting-big-fish-top-5-mistakes/

Have fun. Good luck!

Posted on: 2017/6/24 8:06


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 1474
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You got wonderful advice.
I will add only to avoid weedless flies and wide gape hooks seem to work much better at holding smallmouth IMO

Posted on: 2017/6/24 11:19
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Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2013/12/8 21:26
From Granville
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Heavy tippet. Keep the lone tight. Use your rod to steer them and control them. When they start coming up lessen the pressure to let them get back down a bit before they jump but keep a tight connection. Once I have a smallmouth on I rarely ever lose one. I have a lot of bass experience, however.

Posted on: 2017/6/25 22:42


Re: Landing Large Smallmouth

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2009/2/13 4:12
From West Chester,PA
Posts: 312
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Speaking of SM:I start to fish SM, 3-4 x a week beginning July 1st through mid September: the Juaniata and Susquehanna.Will be trying the Lehigh for the first time this year.
I fish alone about 50% of the time.Wade and also out of my boat.Both fly rod and spinning tackle.
If any forum members want to join me,just PM
Tom

Posted on: 2017/6/26 17:13
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