Baffin trip and 1st experience with TSL's - 2CoolFishing
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
JJGold
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ride Baffin trip and 1st experience with TSL's

Headed to Port A this past Saturday for a couple of days of fun with an old buddy.

The front that we thought would have passed by Sunday morning had stalled and made for a cold wade and grim fishing. By Monday morning the temps (outside and water) had risen enough to get the bait moving.


We had decent action from 8:00AM until 10:30 boxing 4 Redfish to 28" and 8 Trout to 25". Both pictured fish (the largest ) were caught on TSL Grasswalker . As far as the plastic goes, with the exception of one big trout blowing up and going air born (and missing) the bite was very subtle and I was getting a little frustrated missing numerous bites/fish. Switched up presentation, hookset, fished it non-weedless, although never with weighted. My buddy was fishing a Corky Fatboy and was missing the same number of fish, so I'm guessing it was just the bite.


Stayed at the Old Town Cottages (https://oldtowncottagesportaransas.com/) in Port A. The place is super nice, with every amenity one could ask for.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:30 PM   #2
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That's a nice box of fish, and the two big ones are just beautiful specimens. Thanks for sharing.

I had a similar experience the first time I fished them. I learned a couple of things that I think may be worth passing on:

When you're fishing them weightless, you tend to get a little more bow in your line than you might with a weighted rig. I found that it was important to reel down before setting the hook. A lot of the energy of my hook set was going into pulling out the bow in the line. My own belief is that the fish suck them in and don't feel the weight or the hook, so they don't spit them like they might another lure. You have time to reel down before crossing their eyes.

A couple of months later I was fishing with another type of weedless jig, and I realized that I was missing more hooksets than with open jigs. That's just the nature of the beast. I was so used to that with the weedless jig heads that I no longer even thought about it. I realized I was just more aware of it with the Grasswalkers, because they were new to me. The other side of the coin is that being weedless allows me to fish in places, and get strikes, that I couldn't get any other way because the lure would be loaded down with grass.

Okay, a third thing. As you fish with them longer, you develop a better feel for exactly how to rig them to make the hook point get exposed the best during the hook set. You'll develop a feel for it pretty quickly. It's not that they are difficult to rig, but you can fine tune it to make it better.

Still... hard to argue with the results you had.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:42 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great trip thanks for sharing. What hook were you using?


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Old 02-13-2019, 03:27 AM   #4
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Sounds like a great trip thanks for sharing. What hook were you using?

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Old 02-13-2019, 09:44 AM   #5
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That's a beautiful grass Trout!

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Old 02-13-2019, 03:30 PM   #6
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Congrats on some great fish, and thanks for the honest post; it will get better the more you use it.. and like you said, your buddy was missing strikes with a corky too which has 2 trebles.

Here is what I suggest which has worked for me... granted i've fished the bait over 7 years and during that time I too had to figure out a better way / get better with hooking them with a weedless rigged bait. That said, I currently get about a low 90% hook up ratio on Trout doing the following. High 90% on redfish. My rod is a med light / fast action tip taper. Braided line / 20 or 25lb fluoro leader.

Below is from the website.. really it's exactly what POC stated above.

Notes for fishing weedless in saltwater:

Just like many of us had to learn new fishing methods when Paul Brown lures came onto the scene, getting the best hook up ratio with weedless rigged baits also takes learning something new. If we treat them like treble hooked lures, or exposed hooks like jigheads that won't work for a weedless rig very well. They are different and require different hook setting methods to achieve best results. There are some lures in this category that even with the below recommendations will not achieve decent hook up ratios, but the below will certainly help all weedless rig hook up effectiveness.

In fishing for inshore species, we tend to use light to medium action rods with little backbone. That does not help hook up ratio with weedless rigged lures of any brand. But I think some compensations in other areas can make up for the rod; there's no need to buy another rod.

First, I think it is important to note what happens in a fishes mouth when they eat a lure that is rigged weedless. Just like a live baitfish they can quickly move this bait to the back of their mouths where they have pads of teeth referred to as crushers. These teeth are used for holding prey and moving it in the gullet. They can hold tight enough that weak hook sets will not move the bait enough to move it to the lip or jaw region. The hook set has to deliver enough energy to move the bait out of the pads of teeth in the back of the mouth.

Secondly, use braided line because it has little to no stretch. Monofilament has way too much stretch to get a good hook set here. A monofilament main line, in this instance, would take all the energy in the hook set and just abosrb it; We have to MOVE the bait. I do recommend using a Fluoro or Mono leader tied to the main line via your choice of line to leader knot.

Tighten your drag down to where only the largest trout or red could pull line off the reel. This is done to reduce slippage so we can move the bait in the fishes mouth upon hookset. If drag is loose, the line slips on the hookset and doesn't move the bait to the lips. The drag should be able to be pulled out but only for a big red or trout.. I can barely pull mine out by hand (take care not to cut your hand with small braid diameters).

Upon getting a strike from a predator, stealthily, without the fish noticing, point the rod toward the fish and take up line without putting pressure on the fish. Just a couple cranks of the reel; this doesn't have to be perfect, the intent is to prepare for the hook set by starting with the rod lower and with less line 'out'.

Now set the hook hard like you would a bass. Cross them eyeballs. Since we are using kahle style Extra Wide Gap hooks like the afforementioned brands and models we can rely on the hook setting mostly into the jaw and lips, through bone and cartilage. J hooks like jigheads tend to set in the thin skin like a top of mouth.. the hooks we recommend lend toward setting in firm hook holding areas. So set the hook hard starting with rod pointing to the fish make a quick hard hook setting upward move of the rod.

If you find the fish are dropping the bait when reeling the line to take out slack, then you are putting too much pressure trying to reel too fast or taking up line faster than moving the rod toward the fish... be stealthy; it's a quick precise action. Point rod at fish, reel 2 cranks, then set the hook hard.

Immediately after setting the hook, reduce your drag a couple of turns and then adjust as needed to finish out the fight of the fish. You still need to allow the drag to work on upper slot reds and trout over 25 inches. They can bust tackle and line.. I've not had any problems by doing this immediately after the hookset.
Finally, after releasing your fish, straighten the bait and retighten your drag prior to the next cast.

A note about strikes. All sizes of fish like to bite on this lure. From pin and piggy perch (aka turd tappers), needle gar, all the way to oversized reds and trophy trout. Many of the bites that you feel and mis are actually just the little stuff pecking at it. Needle gar will bite the bait and swim with it. Perch will nibble the **** out of it.. Bait trout and sand trout do have trouble getting it in their mouths, but honestly, who wants to catch a dink anyway? And every time a keeper trout, red, or flounder eats it they will be there when you set the hook like above. Yeah sometimes even I regress and have a 'puss' hookset and that results in a poor hook up even with jig heads and fat boys.. Set the hook! Also, for comparison we should take a look at what topwater and corkies as well as other bait hook up ratios are.. we miss fish on all lures... its always frustrating. Once day last spring my hook up ratio on a topwater was dismal .... around 60%. Nothing is 100%.

But like POC said above it will allow us to fish areas where the grass is floating and catch more fish than our buds that are getting grassed.
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