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This is a trout question that the bass nuts might be able to help with..

I night fish on Taneycomo throwing mostly small stickbaits and floating minnow baits and last night I had a terrible time getting fish to the net. Must have hooked 20-25 fish but only landed 4. 

I was using my 6'-9" medium light fast action spinning rod with braid tied to about a 6' section of 10 pound fluoro. I usually just tie the braid directly to the bait as it seems like that doesn't bother them at night but I had a leader on from the last outing so i went with it.

I was back and forth between a few different lures so it wasnt dull hooks (both were new baits).

I seemed to do a lot better a few weeks back keeping fish pinned with my 6'-11" medium extra fast action rod with braid direct to the bait but I wanted to try the medium light rod because it loads better throwing smaller baits for better distance.

Is it worth looking into replacing my hooks with premium trebles? I know there are definitely some that are stickier than others. Are there theories about upsizing, downsizing, lighter wire, heavier wire, reverse barbed, etc. that might be helpful? Maybe going barbless would help with better hooksets?

Is the hookset supposed to be different with trebled baits?

Lastly, I've heard walleye anglers talk about setting your drag super light when fishing trebles for a better landing percentage...not sure I follow the logic but wondering if others have experience with this?

Its mostly shallow water situations so I hook the fish, they come straight to the surface, thrash everywhere, and out pop the hooks...

Thanks for any tricks to try!

Happy fall fishing!

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A light drag helps with trolling. You'll get better hookups if the fish can actually get ahold of the bait, and not just rip it away as soon as they touch it. I set them just tight enough to keep them from free spooling, sometimes the clicker alone on a line counter is enough. I don't know if it makes any difference casting though.


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First, you should know I am fussy about my tackle and stubborn in my ways.

I use Daichi Death Traps or Gamakatsu G Finesse Tournament Grade trebles.

Second, IMO, braid is not your problem so long as your rod has a slow enough action to avoid ripping the hooks out. The rods you describe sound fine to me. I fish braid to lure on nearly everything now days. Check out the Finatic line or braid.

Instead, when you feel a fish, you might try reeling quickly until you feel the fish, and then simply lean back against the fish without an explosive jerk of the rod. With both topwaters and cranks, just because you feel or see a fish slap the bait doesn't mean you need to set the hook. Instead, a quality hook pretty much sets itself once you lean back on the fish.

I do keep my drag fairly light but not too light. After I have the fish on, I sometimes need to tighten it a bit, but not very often.

What I have described works for me, but some days while topwater fishing my hook up percentage drops. I feel those are days when the fish just slap at my bait.

Good luck.

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How do these "baits" normally hook up when they do work? where is the treble, in mouth, gill cover, face? do the fish bite these lures or get hooked by smashing into them? I'm trying to picture how much set might be necessary or too much, by design trebles look like they prevent really good hook ups  inside the mouth?

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It could be non-committal on the fishes part coupled with the way trout fight like SIO3 said. 

You get a bass to slap at or bump a crank and he gets stuck in his face you can still land them. I cannot count the number of bass and walleye I've caught with jerkbaits outside the mouth. 

Trout not so much.


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