Hook pulls and lost fish are the most frustrating thing for a fisherman. You do all the hard work to get the fish hooked and then they fall off. In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways you might be losing fish and hopefully, after reading this you will catch more fish.
The most common reason for losing fish on the pole is that the elastic is too strong or the hook isn’t sharp enough which means they can pull out quite easily.
Why Are you Getting Hook Pulls and losing fish?
The first thing you should check is your hook and make sure you have a sharp hook.
Although we all rarely do it, your hooks should really be changed after each session.
If you are fishing in a 5-hour match and let’s say catching 20 fish (I just picked a random number, I wish I could catch 20 in a match) then that’s 20 times the hook point has pulled through a fish’s mouth. This means that you are more likely to get a hook pull.
Over time, the hook becomes blunt and therefore should be changed on each rig at the start of each session.
Even though your hook might feel sharp, there’s a good chance that it has actually lost a lot of its sharpness. Also, remember that fish have soft mouths which is why you need something as sharp as possible.
Using Elastics That Are Too Strong
This one was one that I only realised recently that I had been doing wrong for years.
All the elastics in my pole were far too strong. I was using black and grey hydro when trying to catch a large amount of Ide on maggots in a match. I was getting loads of bites, hooking the fish, then as the fish pulled away it would come off.
This happened a few times and I became frustrated. I changed my hook to a new one and tried again, but again, I kept bumping the fish and they kept coming off.
It was only after the match that another angler I got chatting to about losing loads of fish asked what elastic I was using. I explained what I was doing and he said that my elastic choice was all wrong. He suggested I put orange hydro in my top kits (rated 5 to 8 I think) and try that next time. It didn’t make sense to me, as I thought if I hooked some big fish I would have no chance to get them in.
Anyway, I did as he suggested and the changes were like night and day. When I hooked the smaller fish, such as Ide, they could swim off a bit because of the elastic being nice and light and it stopped them from pinging off. The F1’s I hooked were also easy enough to get out and just needed a few extra pulls on the elastic.
Maybe the hook was too big or too small for the fish you were after? Commercial venues now only let you use barbless hooks which is great for a fish’s mouth but it does make them harder to catch.
The hook is too big
If you are fishing for roach and small silverfish, then you really don’t want anything bigger than a size 18’s hook. The fish is less likely to swallow it as well due to its size.
The hook is too small
The same could be said about using a hook that’s too small. If its a venue with a lot of big carp that are mainly 5lb and over then you want to be looking at using a 16 as a minimum.
Basically, adjust your hook size according to the size of fish you are catching.
Bigger fish = bigger hooks
Smaller fish = smaller hooks
Hook Bait Size
This goes hand in hand with the hook size that’s mentioned above.
You want to ensure that the hook bait size matches up with the size of the hook.
You don’t want to fish a single maggot on a size 16 hook.
You also don’t want to fish a 4mm soft pellet on a size 20 hook.
Have a think about how balanced they are and make sure they match up.
Personally, I love a size 18 as a rough hook size that does most stuff.
Also, using hair rigs or a bait band when fishing pellets can be a big help. This leaves your hook 100% free of the bait and therefore its more likely to make a good connection.
Foul Hooking Fish
If you find that you are hooking fish, they are shooting off, pinging off and then you have a scale left on your hook then that’s because it was foul hooked.
This happens to all fishermen, but if it’s happening a lot in one session then it’s maybe a sign that you are overfeeding. The fish are getting too giddy and there are too many fish in your swim. I know that sounds like a real problem, but actually having too many fish can be an issue.
Shipping back your pole incorrectly
I can be quite bad for this and you might find that you are losing fish this way without realising.
On one lake the room behind me was very small and the bank was very steep. Therefore the pole rollers were on an angle that wasn’t ideal. When shipping back I was angling the pole in such a way that I was always turned around facing behind me and not paying attention to what was going on in front of me. Before I knew it, I had made the elastic become slack, the hook came out because of this and the fish swam off.
Make sure you keep a tight line when shipping back.