Loc: Entire Gulf and Atlantic Coast...
Had a great wade and thought I'd share the results and a little fishing report. Started out throwing a one knocker spook in bone and had a couple missed blow ups. We forget that topwaters miss fish on occasion and especially in the spring when trout are eating small forage like juvi glass minnows or shad. I feel they hit tops this time of year with a nearly closed mouth trying to keep the small forage in their mouths. I ended up with one solid trout on the one knocker before switching to a slow sink TroutSupport Lure (GrassWalker). I focused on finding concentrations of small forage like glass minnows and also found some trout slicks. You have to key in to something to find fish otherwise you're just blindly fishing and usually in dead water that is devoid of fish. Found and area on the south shoreline and noticed a slick as I was idling in, got out and waded the area and between 11 and 2 caught and released 11 more trout and 2 reds. The trout were mostly between 18 and 23 with one to 25.. all solid fish. They were hangin pretty close to the shoreline but still in thigh to waste deep water in grass and potholes and along the edge of that stuff. Some scattered shell in the area as well.
I was using the Trout Support Lure in Bone and also in Pink.. using it rigged weedless and weightless. Since the area was up to waste deep I was fishing it slowly with more of a worm style retrieve. A slow rod pull up, with a couple of twitches on the end.. much how like many of us are working paul brown devils in the winter but probably not quite as slow. The fish were nailing it during the slow pull and right after the twitches. Solid bone jaring thumps.
The key to getting good hook up ratio with weedless rigged baits in saltwater there are several things. We have to realize that we expect to get the same results as treble hooked baits with a bait that's rigged with one hook, and we expect to get the same hook up with that even though we apply the same hook set that we do with exposed hooks. That doensn't work.. it's a different rigging method and needs a different approach much the same way as we have to learn how to fish corkies we have to learn how to fish a different rigging method.
1) start with a tighter drag. I tighten mine down nearly to where a 5 lb trout could just barely pull out drag if I don't get to back off in time. 2) when you feel a trout or red thump it, slowly take out the slack by pointing the rod toward the fish and reeling 'down' the line. Do this without the fish feeling pressure. if they feel pressure they will drop it / spit it out. You'll get better as you practice this. 3) with the slack out, cross their eyes Bill Dance style. We've grown accostomed to the myth that we have to set the hook lightly with trout (and that's partly true with Jhook trebble or jigheads). But with a Kahle style swimbait hook, what you do with the hard hook set is crucial. You have to first move the bait from the crushers in order to get the hook to set in the boney area of the jaw and upper lips. The swimbait style hooks are setting in the corner and upper lips and tear outs are very rare. Sure they happen occasionally, but much less often than the J hooks. 4) after the fish is hooked that is when I back off the drag incase its a substantial fish.
If you use the method above enough you'll get better at it and start to find that you don't have a difference in hook up ratios between your presentations. Enjoy the pics below. Feel free to ask me any questions here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org