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Bait
22 Jun 2017
by Terry Hearn
Terry Hearn talks hookbait options
Critically-balanced hookbait or straight out of the bag? And does your answer to this differ depending on any particular circumstances?

Slow sinkers on longer hooklinks if the bottom’s a bit mucky, and heavy baits straight from the bag on short hooklinks when it’s clean, especially when fishing over bait. There’s not a lot more I can say on that one, only on how the way I’d fish each bait would differ.

I find that wafters and slow sinking snowman type rigs are best fished with a simple No-Knotted presentation, with the Hair leaving the shank somewhere between just below the eye and level with the point. Curved shanked hooks are my favourite in this situation, and one of the best ways of fishing them is with the hook swinging free, hanging down beneath the bait, which is why the KD Rig is so well suited. Personally I find the KD to be a bit of a tangler, at least it is without PVA and so I rarely use it myself. Instead, I still prefer to whip my curved shanked hooks down a bit further, and rather than trapping the Hair short behind a couple of turns I just fish it standard No-Knot style, sometimes with a little bit of silicone on the shank depending on how hard and far I’m having to punch out the rig.

With wafter and snowman rigs I prefer the hook to be swinging free, but I still use a little piece of silicone if I’m punching out any distance

Sometimes there’s got to be a trade off, and I’d much rather have an untangled rig sat out there fishing with perhaps five per cent less chance of converting a pick-up to a run, than a rig that might well give me that small advantage in pricking terms, but it’s one that’s got a tangled Hair and isn’t fishing fifty per cent of the time anyway. If I’m fishing with wafters then it most likely means that I’m fishing over mucky ground, maybe silkweed, and in that situation I’m likely to be having plenty of casts before leaving a drop that I’m happy with. PVA doesn’t really have any place in my fishing then, not bags and not hooklength spinning foam nuggets either, but maybe that’s just me.

If I’m fishing with heavy baits straight from the bag then I’m almost certainly fishing cleaner ground, probably over bait, and in that situation I prefer to use shorter hooklinks with a wider gaped, beaked pointed pattern of hook, with a little piece of shrink tubing kicked over at the eye and the Hair trapped just past the bend with a small section of 0.5mm silicone tubing. Trapping the Hair at the bend undoubtedly helps the hook to turn and catch hold, and fished correctly with a heavy bait I’ve found it to work better than straightforward No-Knot fished bottom bait rigs.

One thing to remember is, unlike balanced bait rigs which work better with the hook swinging freely beneath the bait, this rig isn’t much good at catching hold on the eject, instead it relies heavily on the fish tightening up to the lead. Because of this, hooklinks are best kept short and baits are best used heavy, straight from the bag. Keep catching ‘em.

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