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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spent 6 hours today trying to keep my streak alive. There were so many drum where is was fishing I just couldn't believe it. I've never seen this amount of fish tearing through bait like these fish were. I mean it wasn't like a blitz like Bonita or bluefish etc but I could see drum chain bait almost constantly over a large area where I was staked out. I don't know how to describe it but these are not dense schools of drum. More like "singles" but enough of them where the flipping bait, sucking sounds and huge blow ups were plentiful. I had top water in mind but I also had some live mullet. After about an hour I got a hit on the baited rod and reeled in a short. I was using a 1/0 circle hook with a 12" leader and 1/4 Oz pinch weight. I hooked the bait hooked through the top behind the dorsal fun and clipped off the tails. I was disappointed to see the hook was deep in the the throat of this fish. It wasn't bleeding much so I clipped the leader and it swam away looking fine. I didn't take a picture of it. The second drum I caught the same way but I sized up the hook to 2/0 and it was about 18-19".it is in one of the photos. It also swallowed the hook. I clipped off the hook and released it because I had high hopes of getting another larger one. After 5+ hours I finally got hooked up with the spook with this nice 23" fish. I also caught my first flounder on a gold spoon but it was maybe 12". The drum were stuffing themselves on shrimp so they showed very little interest in what I was offering them. Super super slow day for sure. Other than the fish caught I had only one other blow up and a little sniff the entire 6 hours. My patients paid off but I'm thinking maybe I'm out of control spending all this time trying to get my top water fix? It turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon/evening though I did feel like my shoes were on fire sitting in the sun. I don't know how or if it is possible to compete with all the shrimp in the water so putting in the time may be what is needed??


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if they are focused on shrimp you need to use shrimp style baits. A soft shrimp under a popping cork would have been the ticket. Perhaps an odd color, like pink, pepper flaked or chartreuse, even white/pearl and scent to make it stand out but still shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should have included that I tried at least 20 different artificials. I didn't try a popping cork however. I did try two different types of "shrimp". I tried a "storm" shrimp in pink with procure men Haden scent as well as a floating shrimp. I forget the name of the shrimp but I think it is made by tsunami. I could be wrong as usual. It attaches to the line so it floats backward. When pulled it dives down a bit and it also has a rattle in it. I was sure this would have done the trick with procure as well but not a sniff. I thought I'd find a load of shrimp in this fishes stomach but instead I found a small blue claw crab. I have to think there were a lot of drum swimming around with stomachs full of shrimp regardless of what came out of the one I caught & the kept. Who knows? Maybe it would have been best to put a fat piece of finger mullet under a popping cork as an easy meal. This would have meant putting the top water rod down which could have caused some severe mental and physical trauma. Plus who would think a fresh wounded mullet would be less than pure fantasy food for a red drum? One missing ingredient from my past several most productive outings was the tide. Today I fished the last 2 hours of the outgoing and the first 3-4 of the incoming. Previously I'd been fishing the last half of the incoming and fist 1-3 hours of the out going. This change of tide timing is something I'm pondering as the main reason for the slow fishing and perhaps all the action I witnessed was just the same as the previous trips buy today was much more calm???
I'd really like to hear other theories as well. I do. Plan on hitting up my favorite local crab and try to see if they will bless me with some dead loss blueclaws gratis. I think they can't charge for dead crabs and if someone can use them then that someone should be me. What does that tactic do for anyone?
Thanks



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I have had better luck fishing inshore at the start of the outgoing tide. I believe the thought is the bait that has swam up in the grass starts to get washed out and the fish become active. Don't know what to say about the drum swallowing the hook except maybe it was the way you were hooking the bait? I would be interested to see what others say as well. I usually mash the barbs down when I am soaking boat just so when I catch a less desirable fish it makes for an easier release. Also helps when the other fishes swallow the bait.

Regardless you are still doing an awesome job man! The dude abides.
 

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As Crappie said, I really like the beginning out outgoing. Have done well on all tides in various places though. Dead high tide I like to throw topwater over known oyster beds. Get strikes just as it's coming away from the bed. Also like to work parallel to marsh grass. Low tide I target deeper holes, or any kind of water about 1-2ft deep around the holes.

As for the hooks, a lot of people I talk to will size the hook in accordance w/ the size of the bait. When I 1st started getting into kayak fishing a lot I was using a 4/0 circle hook (always smashed barbs) and was finding that I was gut hooking fish sometimes. I then started using a 5/0 circle hook and rarely deep hook a drum. So w/ that said I would tend to believe using such a small hook like a 1/0 is why they are deep hooked. It's so small it doesnt give the circle hook a chance to hook him in the corner of the mouth before he's just gulped the bait down. Just my theory....
 

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I also think that shortening up the leader between the weight and the hook can help with gut hooking them, at least from my experience. It seems like if there is to much distance between the weight and the hook they can swallow the bait and take off before they feel the weight and it pulls the hook the corner of their mouth. If I start gut hooking them I will shorten it up until it stops happening. It seems like 4 to 5 inches is about right for me, the only problem is that also keeps the bait in crab territory and that can be a pain in the rear as well.
 

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A tight line will help more than the size of the hook. I don't soak bait very much anymore, but used to quite a bit and when I did I used 2/0 circle hooks for finger mullet and 1/0 circle hooks for live shrimp. Deep hooking was only ever an issue when I wasn't able to keep my line tight.
 

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I typically don't go smaller than a 1/2 oz. I sort of pieced the information together from seeing/using that Lupton rig we were talking about last night ramrod and the fact that they keep the leader short, but like you said I think it can be too short if you are using a larger weight as it pulls out too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I actually checked the hooks and they are larger than I reported. I think they are 3/0 & 4/0 but it seems like there really isn't a standard?
I will use shorter leaders and a little heavier weight. There are a lot of crabs. Yesterday I put a mullet on the hook and cut the tail. I dropped it in the water, picked up the rod and there was a keeper size female blue Claw on it. It was literally 2-3 seconds and it had already ripped off the head. I held it out of the water and I'd say it stayed on trying to eat the mullet for 20 seconds. Usually they hold on for maybe 5??


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I typically use a 1/0 Kayle hook or 2/0 for most of my fishing. I like about 18 in. flourocarbon leader Carolina rig 1oz weight. Fish like this and never, when I do catch one, have had a drum swallow hook. Most of the time gets him in corner of mouth. I do keep tight line and mostly target flounder, but occasionally may catct a drum. Looks like you are having a ball either way. Most of my trips I dont catch anything. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Seems like keeping a tight line is best and I will do so next time. The problem is the the fish doesn't know which way to swim in order to get hooked in the mouth right? So it picks up the bait and swims toward the rod?? If I gut hook any more I'm going to stop using a dead stick. I'm still thinking the circle hook isn't all its cracked up to be? In some locals it is required too! The Kahl hook seems very similar but without the sharp curve right at the point. In looking at a circle hook at appears that a fish would actually have a difficult time getting the hook to sink the point into its flesh inside the throat/gut? I really have no idea about the mechanics of how the circle hook "operates". The two I caught on the mullet were actually not hooked down in the gut. To be clear they were hooked in the throat right past the crushers. I never pulled either one out of the water. I just saw the hook was not in the mouth, looked down the throats and saw the hook shanks. I wasn't about to hack the fish up trying to get the hooks out.
I appreciate the support here. I am just lucky to have found a hot spot. I'm not doing anything anybody else can't do. Ii

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Challenger, I know they say a hook rust away, but how long it takes, I dont know. I have a pair of fisherman plers that will reach way down to remove a hook. I will occassionally leave a hook in a flounder if its under limit size and hes swallowed the hook out of sight, but I try to always remove hook. I have caught fish with a hook in mouth, belly, etc. seems like it takes a little while to rust away to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree. It is a controversy and a dilemma. If I catch a 19" fish with a hook in its throat, like I did, and I know there are much larger fish waiting to hopefully get caught what are the options? Legally I can put it back and hope it survives but I feel anguish putting the throat hooked fish back with the leader section and hook still in it. I'm struggling with decision to do this but I also struggle with the law that allows only one slot fish. I'm going to crush the barbs on my circle hooks and if I get another shot size bleeder I'm keeping it. From that point I'll stop using a dead stick I guess. It's turning into a hassle. Who knows? Even the process of removing a deep hook may fatally injure a fish? I have the long hook removers as well but it means handling the fish longer and rougher.

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If I can see the shank of the hook and the point, I'll use a pair of dikes and cut the eye off the hook and pull it through that way. Works well if the situation allows. I don't like leaving tackle in fish and letting them swim if I can help it.

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I feel ya on that dilemma you speak of. One of my last times out I had gut hooked a 22" red and it was bleeding when I got it in the kayak. I wasn't planning on keeping a fish that day but I decided it was better for me to keep it than to let it go and die. Right after that I picked up a nice 23.5" fish that was a lot thicker through the shoulders and I really wanted to trade out the one that was on my stringer but I knew he wasn't in the best shape so I let the bigger one swim away healthy.
 

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Hook on the left in your picture is an offset eye.
Always snell offset eye hooks to work properly.
Prefer thin gauge wire circle hooks to thick.
You can also offset the point from the shank of a straight in line hook for better results, too. ..... ICM



 

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A Circle hook is perfect for soaking bait. The line must be tight with a good 1/2 oz or more weight. Plenty of hook must be exposed after the bait is on the hook. If there is a tight line, good weight, plenty of exposed hook and short enough leader, it will hook him in the corner of his mouth every time. If any of these are lacking, the functionality of the circle hook is lost. The biggest circle hook you can get by with the better.
 
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