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Dan Szepesi

Another blank session at Lake Fork

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Ok, throwing myself on the mercy of the mob here. Another six hour session at Lake Fork Saturday morning and nothing but catfish. In past trips we have at least pulled a few 5-6 lb common carp, no love this time. Here is what I tried:

1. Baited with deer corn that had been soaked, boiled and used vanilla & strawberry extract.

---Seen from some videos that I would be better off using concentrate, like CC Moores stuff?

---Not a big fan of the SPOD, kept spilling corn in flight or bringing it back with corn still in it. Think I like the concept of a spomb better.

2. Using pre-tied hair rigs that I bought online. The hair is shorter than I used to tie them - barely have room for a small boilie and popup. When both are on it, almost the entire hair is filled up and the bait doesn't hang, it kinda sticks off to the side, should I be using longer hairs for this rig? I want to fish a boilie with a pop up on top to get it off the bottom.

3. When it wasn't raining, I was using PVA bags with method mix in it (various types that I have bought online) and crushed up boilies. I would put the hook and my weight in the bag and seal it, cast out, etc. I was wading out to cast and according to my hummingbird, I was in 15-17 ft of water.

4. Weight is 3-5oz inline weight that slides on the line - stops of course at the swivel where I tie my hair rig on. I haven't figured out the more complex rigs so a couple of times when I wasn't using PVA bags, the hook might have tangled around the weight. I use the PVA to reduce the chance of a tangle as well as drop some free food.

We had a couple of big runs on the rod where I have a baitrunner reel but when my son set the hook, it missed. Kinda curious, with this type of set up and hair rigs, is a big hook set just pulling the hook out? Should we just be clicking off the bait runner and holding the rod steady or do we need a big 'set the hook' pull?

We got about 5-6 catfish, a couple of them upwards of two pounds but no carp or buffalo. I am fishing at the west 515 bridge where I am pretty sure some monsters were caught in the tournament. Do I just need a shot of patience or am I really doing something wrong here?

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As said, some days it just isn't on the cards.

It would seem from your list, that you have figured out what needs to be done for next time.

...W

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I'm no expert, but I'll share my opinion on hook setting. Several factors need to be considered, such as line type and rod action. A fast rod with braid needs a lighter touch than a slow rod with mono. It's my understanding that you can jerk the hook right out of a carps fragile mouth and possibly damage it's jaw. It's also my understanding that a carp can have two runs. On the first run the bait hasn't been swallowed. That seems to contradict the idea behind a bolt rig though. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

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When using a hair rig the carp will generally panic when it cannot expel the bait and then it bolts. At this point, especially with the sticky sharp hooks these days, it is usually hooked. A fixed lead will drive the hook in further and the resistance on a running rig will do the same but more gently. I believe that full hook penetration happens during the fight.

Fish do come unbuttoned occasionally but usually, a run means a hooked fish.

The only time I ever actually set the hook per se is when using side hooked baits under a float or free lining side hooked baits to visible fish when I can see them take the bait.

...W

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ok, so it sounds like we should just be picking up the rod, clicking off the bait runner and adding resistance. We had a couple of really nice runs, always so exciting with a bait runner and a bite alarm. Plus its fun to see the 13 yr old jumping clear out of his skin to dive for the rod :)

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I think you are getting more catfish because the rig seems to be geared to them. Running lead for cats, for carp fix the lead for a bolt rig. I'm not familiar with the area you are fishing but if it isn't heavy pressure I don't think the flavors really matter. Locate the fish and bait little and often. You want to bring the carp in and keep them there. Little and often baiting may help with creating an environment where the fish feed competitively and as a result are less careful in the way they feed. Bait based on the population of fish you think are in the venue. you don't want to under feed a big pack because they won't stay around long and the same goes you don't want to pile on bait to a small pond with a dozen carp. The hair rig I usually want about 1/4 inch between my bait and the bottom of the hook so that the hook has room to turn over in the mouth. I don't set the hook with a bolt rig. took me a while to push my bad habits out of my muscle memory but if the line is ripping that fish is hooked just apply pressure to bury it. Good luck!

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Ok, throwing myself on the mercy of the mob here. Another six hour session at Lake Fork Saturday morning and nothing but catfish. In past trips we have at least pulled a few 5-6 lb common carp, no love this time. Here is what I tried:

2. Using pre-tied hair rigs that I bought online. The hair is shorter than I used to tie them - barely have room for a small boilie and popup. When both are on it, almost the entire hair is filled up and the bait doesn't hang, it kinda sticks off to the side, should I be using longer hairs for this rig? I want to fish a boilie with a pop up on top to get it off the bottom.

That sounds short. I try to get the bait just free of the bend of the hook, maybe just a little further, 1/4" at most.

4. Weight is 3-5oz inline weight that slides on the line - stops of course at the swivel where I tie my hair rig on. I haven't figured out the more complex rigs so a couple of times when I wasn't using PVA bags, the hook might have tangled around the weight. I use the PVA to reduce the chance of a tangle as well as drop some free food.

Try temporarily fixing the lead to the swivel. I used to kep little hair elastics in my box before I stocked up on carp-specific gear, just cut one to make a short length, and tie it behind/above the lead. Slide the knot down until it traps the weight against the swivel. This will make he bolt effect more immediate.

We had a couple of big runs on the rod where I have a baitrunner reel but when my son set the hook, it missed. Kinda curious, with this type of set up and hair rigs, is a big hook set just pulling the hook out? Should we just be clicking off the bait runner and holding the rod steady or do we need a big 'set the hook' pull?

I just reel in the slack with the rod pointed down, and point the rod up to load it as the slack is gone. If the run is in progress, I point the rod up and activate the main drag.

If I am missing cleanly, especially if I am getting quick drop-offs, I'll go to a longer leader/hooklength. If I'm not seeing hookups, especially when there are line bumps, I'll shorten up. Thinking being: dropped baits aren't getting deep enough to get a good chunk of lip, and too long a leader means the carp can mouth and reject a bait without causing the bolt action.

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Time to fix my weight, that's for sure. Is the theory that the fish feels the weight, bolts and that sets the hook in?

Pretty much. Have you seen Jerome's videos?

That said, if you're into buffalo, you may need to hawk over your rods and set the hook. I've never caught one, but my understanding is they don't tend to hook themselves.

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I have been trying an oatmeal pack bait for both chum and as PVA filler. I usually throw a little bit of pineapple flavor in it and this past time I used a few drops of clove essential oil that my wife was trying to get rid of. Had good luck this past weekend, will try again this weekend Lord permitting.

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Maybe hair to short not letting the hook turn good enough for a proper hook set as the fish bolts whether running rig or bolt rig the fish will hook itself try a pop up piece of corn on a boilie jmo but to me it sounds as if it's not getting hooked good the run is the fish with the bait in its mouth and it drops it also do a palm test with both the baits u have on see if it turns in ur hand if it don't I would Def try tying ur own up to get the length of hair u need for the bait ur using

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You need longer time on the bank or prebait for multiple days before fishing. Try two pieces of maize as your bait. Tigers work really well on fork as well

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