Tight lines

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by abilene, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. abilene

    abilene New Member

    Messages:
    188
    State:
    abilene, tx
    In other posts I've talked about big fish mouthing the bait but never taking it and oft times we never know it. Not until we reel in and find our bluegill mangled and missing half it's scales.

    I believe in a line being tight enough to transmit the little "tics" that may be a signal that your bait "may be" in somethings mouth. And anytime I think my bait is in a mouth, believe-you-me, I'm going for it. If I miss, I simply cast back to the same spot and this time, the fish will usually go ahead and try to not let that happen again, and so he nails it.

    In most fishing circles, 12 to 18 inches is considered to be the best length for a leader. I question this because the more room a cat has to manuver, the more the chance of our missing a hook up with a possible trophy fish.

    If you've searched the web for catfishing, you've probably seen a well known "monster cat-catcher" that doesn't use a leader. He slips on a slip sinker and ties his hook straight to the line. I just can't make myself "not use a swivel." Old habits die hard. This rig is also harger to hang up, especially with a circle hook.

    I remember spending night after night, watching my rods and waiting for the the bells to do something more than give a gentle jingle once in a while. But for a month straight that's all that happened. Slowly it dawned on me that I might be missing chances to catch fish.

    Then one night, me and Glenn was lighting the lanterns and one of my rods jingled slightly. I stepped over to it and waited for it to jingle again...and when it did, the rod tip dipped slightly and I pulled it from the holder and swept it gently over my head. Fish on!

    I pulled it up close to the bank like a puppy dog on a leash but when he got close to the rocky bank, he just went nuts. He went east, he went west. He went south, directly away from me, heading for open water. I could feel him gearing down like an eighteen wheeler pulling a hard grade. My rod tip was bent down almost to the water. But I finally landed a 30 pound flat.

    I could go on but it would just be repetive. I will relate one more instance, to set the hook, so to speak.

    I was only getting very faint jingles that weren't repeated and decided to spool 'em up and head for the house. It was nigh onto midnight when I picked up one of my 10 foot "Cat Catchers" and danged if it wasn't hung up...I thought. When I really rared back on it, it felt like I was dragging a water soaked log off the bottom. Then it came loose and shot to the surface and slapped the water with a tail the size of both my hands with the ends of my thumbs touching. The water was around six foot deep and the fish surfaced in the yellow circle of light from the hissing Coleman. The end of the rod handle was digging into my lower tummy hard enough to hurt. I pulled him and he pulled me, then the hook came out.

    Now it ticks me off to no end to think that I'm being outsmarted by fish that don't have much in the way of brains. And if they think I'm just going to just sit there and let them play with my bait and suck all the juice out of it, they got another think coming.

    In conclusion, I'd like to say that if someone wants to fish a loose line and wait for a run, that's just fine. You can even go to sleep because when a run does come, the fish will usually hook it's self, unless you jerk it out of it's mouth.

    The next tine you get a little jingle that persists or even if the rod just barely bends and holds that position for even a second or so, try setting the hook, but do it gently. You may get a surprise. Try it, you might like it. And I hope this information will help you catch more fish.
     
  2. Coloman

    Coloman New Member

    Messages:
    441
    State:
    Soddy Daisy, Tn
    I agree 110% ! You need to know what is going on down there and the only way to know for sure is with a tight line!
     

  3. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Jackie, great post!! Already in the library. Thanks.
     
  4. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    Thank you for an educational and entertaining article. I can see the merit with cut bait. Do you have any tips for live bait? I mean those little jingles might be my 10 inch gill.... how do you differentiate?
     
  5. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    Jackie

    From your writing skill and my post in late "04" on the Flathead "Lite Bite" you have gotten a few peoples attention then, thank you. Now your doing it again and I hope that there are members here that are flexible enough to take heed.

    In "04" I've seen a 22# Tabby sit on the Cut Bait fer over 20 min. with my wife sitting right next to me while TIGHT LINING. IT never even jiggle the pole one time. On the 10' Rod it would only bend it down less then 3/4 of an inch every 45 seconds or so. It would not even convince me it was a Shovel but I told my wife Pat that I had to go for it ....22#er.

    One other morning and only this few hours I seen the Flatheads do something I did not know they could do, steal your bait without ya knowing it.
    It was just starting to get light out on the Ohio River and decided to put the bells on and take a nap in my lawn chair. Baited up with some fresh and dosed off. I woke up about an hour later with not hearin a thing/ Checked mmy two rods and the bait was gone!!!!!!! That never happened with out the bells jinglin. Fresh bait goes back on a second time and I dose off fer about 1/2 and I check the poles again and yes the bait is gone on both. OK I know how to put fresh Shad on a hook with it fallin off dang it and my hearin ain't that bad!!!!!!! :cursing: I bait up both poles a thrird time with one hooked through the hard part of the head so as they could not steal it and this time watch closely. Them thar Flatties would move the poles as they stole the baits but NEVER jiggle the poles hard enough to chime a bell. I never got any that morning but seen something that they can do that most would say they can't do. Oh yea they never did get that head but sucked all the meat off around it off. OK IF you want to say it was this or that but I know who done it!

    Guys you buy your new style hooks or nicer rods which is nice. But if you do not tight line on them thar Mud Cats Your missin out on alot of fish and not even seein whats gone on (OPINION & from what little I've seen). IF you think its OK to have slack in your line then pull out yet another 20 yds.

    "Join in the pursuit"
    <><Baitkiller><>
     
  6. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Great Post.
    When I fish in the lake and tight line. I don't have a leader. Just tie the hook straight to the main line.
    That will let me catch fish that other wise I would not even know is there. AS fishing in 50+ ft of water the fish will pick it up and start up with it. And the short leader lets me set the hook on that fish.

    PEte
     
  7. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    This past fall, my dad and I were drift fishing in the Ohio. We were getting good hits, catching several blues. When we got in this one area of the river I saw one of his poles just barely load. Like maybe a half pound of pressure on the end of his rod. I told him that it was probably a flat and to set the hook, but he didn't. A few minutes later one of my rods did the same thing and since I always use J-style hooks, I grabbed the rod and hammered on him. Sure enough about a ten pound flattie. Had he went ahead and done the same thing that I did he would of likely caught one also. Vern
     
  8. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    Good stuff guy's! I cant wait to go try it out on a flathead!
     
  9. abilene

    abilene New Member

    Messages:
    188
    State:
    abilene, tx
    Yes, it's true, big cats can bite so "lite" that they won't even jingle a bell. :sad: I have watched my rod tip slowly bend down and almost touch the water and the little harness bell never even so much as "clinked." :confused: Even more amazing is the fact that they can steal a bait on a tight line without the least movement of a rod tip (the tricky varmits). :crying:

    I have carefully put a bait on a hook in a way no fish could ever steal it and even commented to Glenn, "I'd like to see a fish steal this bait without me knowing it," only to have exactly that happen. :cursing: How do they do that? It seems impossible the brutes could have so much finess. I mean it's not like they are Houdini or something.

    If these ding dong fish can't play fair why should we? I mean it's time to see if we can't out sneak these pick-pockets. :mad: I paid good gold of the realm to buy that bait or spent time hustling it out the lake myself and I'm getting tired of feeding these moochers who never even bother to say thanks without even a fare-the-well. :thumbsup:
     
  10. brinley45cal

    brinley45cal Active Member

    Messages:
    2,606
    State:
    kentucky
    great tip thanks.I dont use a leader either i tie the hook stright to the line so i can pick uo those light bites better,you do sometimes go through alot of line in high snag areas but to me thats just the price you pay for a possible fish of a lifetime.
     
  11. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    And that concludes the lesson for today on why not to use bells.
     
  12. RiverratSC

    RiverratSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,646
    State:
    Gaffney, SC
    The only two methods I use are tight line and slip-floats. It can be rather hard to tell sometimes even when tight lining but thats usually because of fishing in the current.
     
  13. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    Crazy

    I'll still use the bells when I HAVE TO get some sleeeep :rolleyes: ! I've only seen them steal this the one time so far and it was only for about 4 hrs that I know of. Its still best just to keep your eyes on the poles fer sure though and I agree with ya. You see I'm from Akron, Ohio and it takes me about 1.5 hrs to drive to the "Honey Hole" on the Ohio River. When I do go I like to fish for up to 2 days. I have a pavilion type tent for if it rains and lawn chairs to sleep in. I ain't leavin the poles, I love to fish for them Flatties I keep a 3rd pole ready so if I lose a rig I don't waste any time gettin a bait back in. I wonder why I can not find anyone to go with me, LOL :blink: ! Well I say that I'm with the best of company (me, myself & I).

    "Join in the pursuit"
    <><Baitkiller><>
     
  14. Catchinbiguns

    Catchinbiguns Member

    Messages:
    605
    State:
    Kansas City, Ks
    Great post. I'll be sure to incorporate this into my tactics this season.:p
     
  15. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    ive had this happen lots of times....bait gone, guts of my live bait sucked out, nothing but the lips left etc. and never hear a clicker or anything! most often its those nights that you wind up dozing off because nothing is biting. years back i used to call 'em finger fish, fish with fingers that take the bait off the hook lol. one morning we woke up at daybreak after falling asleep about 4am, we reeled all our ploes in to get ready to leave and sure enough one by one were baitless, one had a bluegill still on it with the guts eaten out. the last one in caught the culprit....a crawdad. when craws are out or those 3 inch long channels are poundin your baits its best to go home. they arent scared because nothin else is feeding. as the old saying goes...."when the cats away the mice will play".
     
  16. steve-o

    steve-o New Member

    Messages:
    214
    State:
    ohio
    i,m just southwest of canton, and i,d be interested in planning a 2 day trip. just send me a p.m. sometime
     
  17. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    Steve-O

    No problem and would love to.

    Right now I'm driving fer $$$$$ and don't get home alot. When I do go it maybe mid-week and I would spend 2 days on the water bank fishing the Big River.

    Mid-May I have a 2 1/2 day planned with my brother from Atlanta, GA here in Ohio Steve-O. I will post on tight-lining after our trip out here to afirm what Jackie has posted here.
     
  18. trfoster

    trfoster New Member

    Messages:
    117
    State:
    north carolina
    guys,I agree with the tight line as i do alot of bottom fishing.I have had bait stolen and bait 1/2 eaten but i have found that the soft shell turtles & snappers are mostly to blame as well as crawdads.I have a question,do flatties,channel,blues even chew? I thought they swallow prey,bait whole.Ive opened up fish and found whole brim,crawdads,salimenders,white bass etc,but not pieces of anything.I ask this because i read here were a man said he had a bluegill,with the guts eaten out of it.I think turtles are probably the culprit here.they to can peck at your bait just like cats and eat it out or even peck it off the hook or eat around the hook.I know cats have rows of fine teeth but i thought these were mainly used for grabing prey and holding and then swallowed.like a snake does in a sence.I do know cats will hit and sit with the bait,prey at times. mainly the bigger cats, could be that there not that hungry at the time they come across the prey,bait but not going to pass it up niether,so they sit with it until ready to swallow.I have caught cats that have hit and sat and once opened they have stuff already in there stomachs,brim,crayfish,shad etc.just a thought:big_smile: also the leader thing,I always use leaders due to the fine rows of teeth,once hooked cats tend to start rolling and this tends to fray or saw at the line which then snaps.Ive lost a few big ones not haveing steal leaders.If im wrong about anything please correct me as to I am still learning after 30yrs of fishing.I ALSO HAVE LEARNED A LOT HERE ON THE BOC!! GREAT SITE!
     
  19. Chief

    Chief New Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    Indiana
    i agree with the above post. i dont think its possibly for a flathead to eat the guts out of a bluegill do to the fact of there huge underbite and lack of precision teeth. catfish crush there prey. its possibly that the fish squeezed the guts out of it. but a softshell turtle is better equiped to eat around your hook and actually take little pieces off.why because its head and mouth are way smaller
     
  20. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    Just Keepin Jackie's GREAT POST alive & if anyone want to LEARN about the advantages of tight-lining plz read the above.

    "06" I was not out much:angry: BUT about all I seen were the BIG Flats pecking, mouthing the cut baits (up to 35 1/4#ers)!! Not one fish slammed it for me and I waited to see if they would on some of the "Lite-Bites"....most left!!

    TY Jackie

    .