Fish with Confidence
For the last month, I have been trying new liter lines, knots, jig heads, and baits to find ways to catch the bigger fish and not spook them. I have read, seen videos and talked to other anglers who all say that the liter, knot size, jig head weight, jig head style, weed less hook style, bait size, bait profile, and bait color make a difference. The best part about being told all that is the next guy and video will tell you it doesn’t. Either way, I needed to find something that produced bigger fish that I could find confidence in.
I started out with using a different size braid with a longer liter. The water is so clear here that I believe they might be able to recognize the braid, at least the older fish that have been caught before. I feel with a longer fluorocarbon liter, the braid would be out of sight out of mine. While using longer liter I got more bites, but not the bigger bites. That tells me that it might make a difference but still need to make more changes. The issue that can occur from the longer liter is having to reel some up into the eyes to be able to make the cast.
I continued using the FG knot for liter to braid. The FG knot is the slimmest, strongest knot to have but also one of the hardest to tie. I did change from a cinch knot to a loop knot from the liter to the hook/jig head. Everything I have read, heard, and seen is that the loop knot allows the bait to look a little more natural when using artificial. With the loop knot and the longer liter, I was catching more fish, but not the right fish yet.
Next I moved onto the jig head. I usually don’t throw hook pins or Texas rigged until fall when the grass is falling out and you catch it with any open hook. I am not a spoon guy, so I use soft baits. I had been using Charlies Worms red ¼ ounce jig head, and decided to change to Eye Strike jig heads. I am very intrigued by the big colorful eye and supposedly predators attack the eye or why do reds have spots on their tails? I like the look, the feel, the way it swims, and the fact it has a Mustad hook. Using Eye Strike trout eyes, longer liter, and loop knot, I started catching more 6-pound reds and even some bigger. I wasn’t catching them constantly enough to be convinced.
Now came the hardest choice, the bait. I believe when the fish are honed in on a certain bait, you try to replicate enough so they will eat but different enough to get their attention and stand out. I am a paddle tail guy. I have tried TRDs, SSBs, Spoons, Topwater, Hard plastics, and always come back to the paddle tail. I grew up fishing curl tails, paddle tails, grubs; they are my confidence bait. I changed to Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad. I figured if the number 1 redfish guy in the nation can throw them, I can, too. I liked the color selection (about 100), the profile, how it swam, and the price. The paddle had great action, even just on the fall, and it had a natural wobble on the retrieve. I picked my five favorite colors and have been experimenting with them until I narrowed down to my three favorite clear water, and my three favorite dirty water.
With everything above we just talked about, I caught my personal best slot, the 8.2 pound red I wrote of in my last article. I went out again last Friday evening and Saturday morning to a couple of new spots I have never been. If I am going to test it, I want to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I caught my personal best trout, 31 inches at 7.4 pounds, a 5-pound trout and another 8-pound slot red. By listening, watching, trying, and time on water, I found my new confidence setup.