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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys still new or returning to the sport of bass fishing. I looked up the Carolina rig and for the smaller lakes I am fishing from sure I don't think it is the best option to fish a soft plastic.

I hit up a small lake this morning before work. I set the hook up the same as the Carolina rig on a 6" chartreuse lizard and put a mid sized split shot about 8" away from the lizard. I found that on this lake most of the bass just hang out a few feet from the shore line. I am walking along the bank and pitching the lizard out about 40 yards or so and bringing it in around 10-15' from sure.

While I am fishing it I am letting it sink then lifting and twitching the lizard a little then letting it sink again. and repeating the whole way in. Some instances I don't think I am letting it hit the bottom completely.

I am a fly fisherman and mainly fish nymphs for trout. Typically the first indication of a strike I am setting the hook. I am finding that may not be the best way to do it with bass.

I am feeling the first bump, and setting the hook, and coming up empty a lot. Now the bass in the lake I fished today aren't really that big, but I have caught some on the gulp alive minnows that take the entire thing.

Should I be pausing after I feel that first strike? Seems to me that maybe they are grabbing the back of the lizard and I am pulling it from their mouth. Maybe I should down size the bait?

Just looking for info on fishing soft plastics and how to handle when you feel the strike.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Most Carolina rigs consist of a hook on a line to a barrel swivel with a sliding weight on the line above. They might be picking it up feeling the weight and dropping it. But more then likely bluegill are spawning and they will nip at the tail.
 

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Generally speaking I'll let them start to move off before I set the hook. Tap, tap then they start going reel up the slack and hit them. It doesn't always work esp. if the fish are small in which case I down size my baits. And you will have the hungry fish that swallows the thing on the first tap(I get this a lot with a wacky rigged Senko so I rarely rig that way anymore).

I also do a lot of shore fishing - a couple of hints. Cast parallel to the banks first instead of straight out.

I also use a normal Carolina rig 1/2Oz weight or better or a heavy jig+pig. More so to find out what the bottom is like than to fish - ie. the lure takes 2seconds to hit bottom but 10 feet over it takes 10seconds. Rocks, gravel, weeds. I have several points and drop offs that most guys don't know about that I found like that.

Plastics are generally my last option I work the water column starting on top then working down. I'll hit one or two spots(I have some that have more than 1 piece of structure or cover) from both sides, then switch lures and go back over it, finishing with a worm.
 

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ive fished a lot of plastics.
there could be a few things going on.
small fish like bluegills can be one of them as stated.
they tend to bang it around in one place
while your larger size fish will move off with it.
when a bass targets, it goes for the head and wants the whole thing

the Carolina rig creates slack line behind the barrel sinker,this can often cover up some strikes.the longer the leader the more difficult to detect
I've found at times its easier to feel the bait when your swivel is not hard against the sliding weight.
also with the rig contrary to belief,because of the hook weight etc the bait stays pretty tight to the bottom regardless of leader length .a floating plastic and lightweight hook will get it off the bottom tho.
and lastly the way your hooking your bait,the more exposed the hook is without fouling up the better.while texas style is most snag proof , its the hardest to get a solid hookset.

when you feel the bump ,pause and feel/look for line movement .
as the fish moves away with the bait point your rod toward it and start reeling in slack.
when you feel the weight of the fish set the hook sweeping the rod overhead

when bass are hanging a few feet off the bottom and I am using plastics, instead of Carolinaing it, i'll use a really light bullet weight unpegged 16th /32nd oz.
after the initial drop , be real light on the line .
with a slight twitch you can float them nicely off bottom
 

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If the lizards are to big and like mentioned above, the bluegill are just nipping at the back, try something in the stick bait family like a dinger or a senko. I usually Texas rig ALL of my plastics with the exception of the occasional whacky rig for the days where the fish are finicky and want more finesse. Sometimes I go weightless as well for a more natural fall depending on how deep I'm fishing. Otherwise I use bullet weights on the dingers with a stop.
You could rig up a drop shot as well but that's a little more in depth.
Ned rigging has also been a big producer for me this year too with smaller stick baits.
 

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In the situation you describe I do not use weight. Just a critter and a hook.

I would suggest two things. Try a "do-nothing worm" and cast along the bank in front of you rather than out away from shore.

If your catching small bass use a smaller worm with the "do-nothing". I have been using circle hooks lately for the "do-nothing". Just pick up the line and the fish is hooked.

With either system watch your line. If I have a pickup I let it run, reel in the slack and then tighten the line or set the hook depending on your rig. It could be 2 to 8 seconds before I set the hook.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tossed a weightless lizard Saturday morning but fished it like a top water rig, chugging it along and such on the surface. Missed 4 but they were slamming it. I think I need to slow down and let them take it. Im so used to trout fishing when you feel the take you set the hook. Ill get there.

I appreciate the tips though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well guys I bit the bullet and got the Abu Garcia, and vengeance combo from Field and stream. I think the sale ends today but it was 49.99 with free shipping.

I picked up some LunkerHunt Lunker frogs today.

Pretty excited.

Hit it up before work this morning, and Had one slam a lizard again top water. I watched the bass come in behind it like submarine and smashing it. Was cool seeing the calm water rise up behind him and then the wallop.

When he hit I waited, and set the hook. I had him on for maybe 20 seconds or so then he threw the lizard when he jumped.

I think that now that I got the pause down better I don't think I am setting the hook hard enough. Im used to using size 16-12 nymph hooks that are small and sharp and easy to get into a trouts mouth. I think that these larger worm holding hooks and such require more effort to plow into the bass's mouth. Maybe I just stink at it but I think I am narrowing down what I am doing wrong.

Thanks again for all the help maybe ill be able to post up some success pics soon LOL









I cant wait to fish these frogs. I used to use top water frogs back in the day but they didn't look anything close to these. We will see how they do tomorrow morning.
 

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if the hook point is exposed a moderately hard solid hookset is usually enough.
if the hook point is buried in the plastic "texas" style due to weeds ,you need to set the hook like its a Bluefin tuna.
between having to free the embedded hookpoint from the plastic and penetrate the jaw and line stretch ,it can take a lot of effort.
it requires heavier line then expected and a lot of spine in the rod
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
10-4. I had the tip of the hook embedded into the plastic, so Ill need to give them a bit of head ache. LOL im getting there but feel like I should have snoopy rod. LOL!!!!
 

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I fish a lot of heavy weeds both pads and milfoil. I do what's known as Texas-pose my hooks. That means that the hook is through the plastic but then the tip is just skinned under the plastic. I use wide gap hooks instead of traditional worm hooks. I also have a diamond file(looks like a pen) that I use on every hook.
 

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I only use texas style when there are a lot of weeds around.
if its not that weedy I often use hooks with the wire hook guard.

if you do go texas,,when rigging instead of just burrowing the hook point run it thru.
then back it into the plastic once or twice then leave it with the hook buried just under the plastic.

don't get discouraged learning to fish plastics.
I can take a bit to get good with them,but they can produce fish when nothing else will
 

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Gami circle hook and an o ring to wacky rig a senko. Bass [censored] it in and spitting it out they hook themselves or starting to reel them in no need to set the hook
 

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TurkeyMike said:
so Ill need to give them a bit of head ache.
A friend on mine would say "let them take it and then try to break their neck"
 

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Begin by casting gently then build up speed and power.
 

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With plastic eventually you will have a bass take the hook deep, Check out the videos on youtube on how to remove the hook. Its super simple and unlike a trout will not harm the bass.

Keep up the work mike, youll get it down in no time.
 

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Dogface said:
TurkeyMike said:
so Ill need to give them a bit of head ache.
A friend on mine would say "let them take it and then try to break their neck"
I was taught; When you set the hook using a Texas rig, you wanna make their eyes go crossed!
I also use a rod with a little more backbone when using plastics.
 
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