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Smallmouth Bass – Use Smaller Hooks??

  • Bob P
    Shoreview MN
    Posts: 108

    Today I went smallmouth fishing on a tributary of the Mississippi. Using a Senko I got 4 fish. Surprising and disappointing to me, two drew blood from the gills. One was just a small nick but the other was pretty bad. I’m not late with the hookset. Using the same setup for largemouths, I rarely draw blood, maybe one fish a season. I typically use a 3/0 hook. So will using a smaller hook for smallmouths result in a lower chance of drawing blood?

    Posts: 3319

    I use smaller than that – either #1 or #2 but use a VMC Neko hook. It has a longer shank and I almost always hook them in the roof of the mouth. Can’t think of the last time I either lost a fish or hooked them in higher mortality areas like the gills or tongue.

    Mahtomedi, MN
    Posts: 8709

    I don’t normally texas rig for smallies. I normally use a ned rig or dropshot which has smaller hooks. Also use jigs but downsize those as well as tubes. They just eat them better.

    Bob P
    Shoreview MN
    Posts: 108

    I’m fishing totally unweighted and the water depth is maybe 3 feet. I could downsize to a 1/0 and still Texas Rig, or I could try an even smaller hook and throw wacky. Maybe I was just unlucky today with hooking.

    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 9683

    I generally downsize when I switch from largies to brown bass too. Although as Frydog mentioned, I’m still using the same style of hooks. For a wacky rig, I only use neko hooks now too. 95% of the fish are hooked in the roof of the mouth.

    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 7804

    I don’t think the hook size is that much of a factor. Fishing weightless often leads to far more deeper hooked fish in my opinion. For whatever reason fish just seem to take a weighless rigged worm deeper than other techniques. I think there is often a slightly longer bite detection time on weightless baits. If you are not already using a brightly colored line I’d give that a try. Watch the line closely for a slight twitch or movement rather than wait to feel the weight of the fish to set the hook. Like you said it may have just been one of those unlucky days. The fish may have just been really aggressive that day. Don’t beat yourself up over it. No one like to deep hook fish, but if you fish often enough it will happen.

    tim hurley
    Posts: 4672

    Thumper just saved me some typing-totally agree, those weightless rigs really get sucked down deep.

    Bob P
    Shoreview MN
    Posts: 108

    Caught 3 more today. Same location. Same setup. No blood.

    R Petersen
    Posts: 95

    I find the deep swallowers are in a group of competing fish. They suck the lure quite deep. Or if only the tail hook is in the mouth ? Another 1 or 2 fish will keep trying to grab the rest of the lure. 2 fish on 1 lure happens. 2 big Smallies yank all the way in. Can cause bigger wounds than just 1 fish on a lure.

    Posts: 1833

    I agree with thumper.I’ve switched to hi-vis line trying to get the bite sooner.

    Posts: 1510

    Crap I will usually switch down to a #4 even a #6 hook.

    Posts: 219

    I use up to 4/0 hooks on a regular basis for soft plastics around here on the OT. Aggressive smallmouths might be attacking your rig with no intention of eating eat and that’s why they’re getting cut. Bedding bass can be very territorial and will attack almost anything.

    Spoon Minnow
    Posts: 230

    Agree with Thumper:

    I don’t think the hook size is that much of a factor.

    but for other reasons when it comes to strike detection, fast hooksets and hooked location in general. Decades ago my main lures for smallies were 4″ Mr Twister Grubs rigged on a 1/8oz ball head with a #4 hook and small crankbaits with small treble hooks. Hook sets were lip or deeper throat and long nose pliers always handy.

    Strike detection and be tricky if there’s too much slack in the line between lure-imparted motions. I stay as much as possible finger sensitive to the lightest strikes and pill the lure towards me to test if it’s real or not. Many fish I’ve caught do a double-strike: nip once first/ mean business on the second strike. Watching line has never been of help to me and line that has the least bow IMO and great sensitivity light braid.

    When it comes to lure or hook size, it makes no difference. LM and SM have large enough mouths capable of inhaling even the largest hard or soft plastic lures as well as 1/2 oz. skirted jigs and spinnerbaits. Even a large crankbait’s rear treble hook can be hooked deep.

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