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Thread: sucker rods and rigs

  1. #1
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    sucker rods and rigs

    not wanting to start anything as i see on the previous locked post there are diff opinions which is good,it makes fishermen think and anaylize things,possibly making changes and modifications for the better. but i've had 5 e-mails from people asking me questions since the post was locked,i 've been busy and haven't had time to see what everyone was up to so i thought i's throw in my 2 cents for what it is worth.
    livebaiting for a few has evolved into a form of art,as much or more complex than casting a bait,(doesn't replace casting or trolling just an added demension and presentation),gone are the days of just "soaking" a sucker under a big bobber with nose hooked singles and big trebles or god forbid single hooks.i have gone from 25-30 years ago and the single hook rigs,big heavy rods and lines experimenting and developing from one extreme to the other to running very long lines,down lines,planner boards,bait and switch pitching baits and more (i'll be putting together a comprehensive article for MH shortly that open a few eyes). i used to be a firm believer in you couldn't be set up heavy enough and in some cases that still is true but over all with the light rubber band and wire nose clip rigs that break free with minimal effort i've made some changes over the past couple seasons to using that up to this point is the most efficient and successful combo i've used or designed to this point.fewer weird or unexplained line breakage on hooksets,fewer fish lost at boatside just outside the net,more stealth for higher pressured fish and or clear water,and better depth control and knowledge of where and what the bait is doing which results in more hits and fewer hang ups.

    reel-line counters for consistancy,duplication,and speed in reset ups,and knowing how far you are away from the fish at hook up time.(abu,diawa,okuma,it doesn't matter as long as it has a good drag

    rod-st croix premier pgm8oh 8'glass composite with a good butt and a heavy moderate action. it' fairly light compared to most glass rods and more user friendly through the course of a full day as my long line rod is always in my hand and the bait is being worked and kept swimming not coasting,line lengths changed according to bait strength/activity,depth and structure changes,etc (many more hits and fewer hang ups).good sensitivity for reading the bait and what it is doing,plenty of power to set the rigs i am using with 1-2 decent snapping hooking sets and alot of forgiveness in fighting fish especially close to the boat with big fish,and alot more fun fighting the fish. and yes you can and will tear some hooks out of fish hooked on the edge of the lip at hookset or twisting/running at boatside with broom stick rods,80-130# no stretch braid,super man hook sets,and locked down drags that you would possibly have brought into the net other wise.

    day in and day out
    line- 50# floro main line,4-6'80# floro with 22-26" 100-130# floro tippet to the snap,all double unied,if over 100# tippet crimped
    50# floro is far harder to break and will actually break at higher # on a test than 80# braid and is much more abrasion resistant,so far have not had 1 weird break which i used to expereince 1-3 heart breaking times a season with braid.
    also braid floats, the floro line and leader is heavier and sinks resulting having to use less weight on the sucker resulting in less fatigue and livelier baits.
    with the rigs ease in breaking free these days there is no problem setting hooks at all and with 1/0-2/0 4x gamatsus you will even penetrate completly to the bend in the hook through the bony roof plate which you will seldom do with the bigger 3/0-4/0- 5/0 reg bronzed hooks commonly found on alot of rigs made either commercially or at home regardless of # or type of line used.
    the whole combo is without question more stealthy especially on sunny days or when fish are finicky and acting weird,remember you are trying to fool a fish that has seen many baits and is 15-25 yrs old. tip: if you are getting fish to follow up your suckers alot reevaluation your set up especially your rig and how visable everything is.

    also this season been testing and using 50# floro to 30' 45# lead core doubled over to create 80-90# 15' long of lead core (creating approx 1-1 1/2 oz of wieght),the doubled over section is tied with dental floss every 12" or so to make essentially 1 line,tied to 6'80# floro and 24" 100# floro for long lining in very rocky/snaggy conditions,so far working with excellent results. keep knots small with double uni and 2 wraps so it will go through line guide on reel.
    with the weight spread out over 15' and the leader there is little baitfish fatigue and very natural swimming of the bait and no problems with the sinker snagging. if real rocky just be sure and check the lead core occasionally down near the leader connection as that is where it will rub on the rocks and it is not as abrasion resistant as the floro and you may need to retie. when tying take out 6" of the lead before tying knots.still experimental so..

    rigs- for longlining,planer boarding and or clear days and water and big baits i still prefer the rubber band (med/light weight dental bands)but use nose clips too mostly on down weihted lines and or smaller baits to 14" ( be sure and rough them up and paint or use perm marker to dullen any shine,same with any split rigs or connections used) 65-90# bronzed wire,blacken snap,and i dull the shine on everything 1-3 times a day with a perm brown marker.
    4x 1/0-2/0 gamatsu blued hooks ( to straighted 1 hook for a stick pin be sure and use a torch to take temper out in the bend or you will break it trying to straighten a hardened hook.
    be sure and place hooks on the bottom 1/3 of the baits facing slightly down as the suckers belly will always be in the back of thier mouth. place 1 on one side 1/2 between front pec fin and dorsal and the other on the other side 1/2 between dorsal and rear pec fin.
    as i said i have livebaited a long time,used and played with countless combos in rods,lines,and rigs. learned most the hard way,many,many heartbreakers.
    boated a few on live baits in my day,over 1000, plenty of good fish 30-45#,several up to and over 50# so take it for what it's worth and regardless of opinion good luck but at this point i feel totally confident in what i'm now using for overall success in getting bites right behind 2-3 others casting in the boat,when others running livebaits are not or getting fewer,high hooking % of over 90%,confidence in durability,having a better fight,and getting fish into the net.
    steve herbeck
    andy myers lodge
    www.andymyerslodge.com

  2. #2
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    Thanks Steve for the great post! Very informative.


    Travis Kopke

    "Let em go, Let em grow"

  3. #3
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    good post...bottom line use what you have confidence in..I only use 130 or 150 lb braid as I don't have confidence in anything less.
    do whatever works and produces results.. ;0)

  4. #4
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    Thanks for the good info Steve!
    Justin Blanchar
    Vibrations Tackle, LLC
    http://www.VibrationsTackle.com/

  5. #5
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    WOW Steve great post talk about bringing sucker fishing out of the dark ages to the present this post was so informative I had to print the post for future referece. Can't wait for the article in MH.
    Thanks again for the info Jim

  6. #6
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    Thanks for the great information. It sounds like the braided line may have more friction and wear on rocks where the slick floro may just slide through with less damage?

    I notice you end with a 100 to 130 pound leader. I would like to mention that I have tried to go with 80 lb and I had a couple heart breakers in the 24 floro leader. I have switched to 100/130 and it has not happened for a couple years. But, I also always check the leader carefully after each fish and I have a bunch of rigs tied and ready to replace so Im not doing it with frozen hands.

  7. #7
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    thanks much.
    braid has little abrasion resistance compared to floro. as brad mentioned in a previous post he uses 100-130 braid and it works for him. i know,thats what i have used 15 yrs.but 80-100#. before good braid was available 50# XT mono. floro has less stretch and more abrasion resistance than either. i have always strived to improve my hit ratio especially on those flat,sunny days and clearer water and also have more fun fighting the fish. on darker days or water it isn't as critical might not even matter at all but...as today me and scott got hits in 80 degree weather ,cloudless,bright sun,and flat when no one else using wire and braid did. could be coincidence... but it's happened to many times. 40-60# floro is extremly tough and regardless of posts you wILL NOT break it on any hookset unless it is cut almost in 1/2 and then none will hold.i have a harder time breaking it off on a snag than 80-100 braid by far and i've never used 130# rope. not talking bad knots or terminal tackle just the actual mainline.but as brad said if you got confidence and it works for you thats great and for sure you will catch fish using it but just like he said theres more ways to skin a cat.
    same here as far as the diff between 80 and 100-130# leaders,you can also add a small 4-6" piece of wire at end of tippet which i do when it's darker and windier just for insurance.i haven't had a bite off from a head hunter but i guess it could happen.

  8. #8
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    Steve, Are you still using safety pins on your hooks?

  9. #9
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    I know I was just talking about this in the "expert" post last week when I mentioned really having to pay attention in both Gelb's and Herbeck's seminars.....but when you read stuff like Herbie just posted above, and you honestly admit to yourself that you are out there not even having a clue about half of what he is keeping track of....well you sort of have an easier time recognizing the difference between the masters of the sport and those of us who are just sort of "soaking a line!" It's amazing, but if you continue to wade through the absolute crap that some of us write about the NFL, (not mine-cuz I am for the Pack) sooner or later you get to sink your teeth into stuff that can make you a lot better angler.

  10. #10
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    RE: sucker rods and rigs

    Well said, Marty.

    Thanks for the input and great info Steve, and others. I can put some of these practices to good use in the next 6 weeks or so.

    I'm not ashamed to say that I'm no "expert" when it comes to chasing muskies.

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