Do fish fight harder on heavier tackle?

Zerkalo

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Just some musings today after catching a few Barbel and Chub recently.

It may very well be a figment of my imagination, but there's often a saying that 'the harder you pull the harder the fish pulls back'.

I have had a few Barbel on a 1.25lb Rod and 'light' 0.16 hooklength and although the fight has been decent I've had them in the net within a couple of minutes. Now I can't be sure if it's because it's a different river, but on the Severn I have played 6lb fish for maybe 5 minutes with a lot of 'arm ache' to get the net under it on a 1.75lb rod rather than just 'popping up' like they do on the Stour.

Part of this might be because of using a heavier feeder, only 10g in it though, 60g on the Severn, 50g Black Cap on the Stour. But, I think a lot of it is down to using a softer rod. I have said before that I think Chub fight harder on the feeder than they do on the float, I think this is because they have the weight of the feeder to fight against rather than just the soft cushion of a light float rod.

Thinking to other fish, common sense tells me if I'm snag fishing on a commercial to fish heavier. And on a canal, even a Gudgeon puts up a good fight on a number 2 elastic. But my recent experiences with Barbel and Chub tells me there might be something in this train of thought? I have certainly heard 'stories' of Barbel being landed on very light tackle, but I think I would be right in saying this is not on a 1.75lb rod.
 

Wise Owl

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When double 8 elastic come onto the scene I was a bit unenthusiastic to find a better word, but I have landed more big fish without any hassle on it than bigger laggy ?
 

Silverfisher

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I’d say generally not as obviously you’ve got less control on lighter gear so they can take advantage of that. However at times big fish can almost act like they don’t know the are hooked on light gear so I guess from that point of view they can fight harder on heavier gear when they know for sure they are hooked.
 

Zerkalo

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I am very basic in my pole fishing. Most of it done years ago and only having a second hand pole at the moment so my elastic choice is equally basic. A 12 solid sees me for most of my commercial fishing when the pole does come out unfortunately. I remember using an 8 solid at Moorlands Farm and being way under-gunned for the Carp, actually broke a top kit using it, but that was before puller kits. Although it makes sense to me to use light elastics where possible.

I have said before that the Chub fight harder on this weir than on the Severn, but it seems the other way round with Barbel. Thinking about it, I think part of it is down to the flow as much as the rod. The Severn is quite powerful and Barbel are adept at holding in and using the flow to their advantage. I would use my Greys rod on the Severn to try it but the heaviest 3.5lb carbon tip would only be usable when the river is very low.
 

OldTaff

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I’m not sure if the fish do pull harder on heavier gear - currently I’m method fishing with 8lb Drennan mainline and a dinky 15g inline feeder.

This is the heaviest I’ve ever fished - back in the day 6lb was tops on my reels but I know this water has a usual stamp of fish around 5-6lbs with tales of lumps that used to be there but have all been fished out. The fish offer great sport on this setup but on Saturday I hit a fabled lump that ran me a Merry chase for ten minutes or more - 12lb 10oz.

It fought and fought but i cannot imagine it could have fought harder had it been hooked by one of the dedicated carpers arrayed along the far bank whose minimum gear runs around 15lb line with huge bombs.

I shall be investing in 12 & 14 elastics for my margin pole if we can still fish the water next spring & summer because anything less would be rig suicide.
 

Robwooly

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It may very well be a figment of my imagination, but there's often a saying that 'the harder you pull the harder the fish pulls back'.
Absolutely, especially in winter you can coax double figure barbel and carp in on really light lines, even pike too by accident. Chub are a bit different on snaggy rivers as they will head for snags regardless but the other species can be got in surprisingly quickly on light gear without them really pulling hard.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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I don't think you can generalise. A lot depends on the angler and how they play fish.

Obviously there are a lot who can get large fish in on light elastics or soft rods & light lines. Others could not because they winch and haul, having little skill in the fish playing department. Others like me just don't feel comfortable with ultra light tackle/elastics.

For myself I have found that large fish on light elastics just take off for the horizon. Having lost more than enough when this happened I switched to heavier elastics and lines. But I think I am getting the balance right - for me. Yesterday with 12-14 NG Ultra Core I landed carp to 5 1/2lb with no problem. Hook and hooklength was a B611 18 on Reflo 0.10, 2lb 10oz. The same gear has handled fish to near 10lb with no issues.
 

Zerkalo

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I don't think you can generalise. A lot depends on the angler and how they play fish.

Obviously there are a lot who can get large fish in on light elastics or soft rods & light lines. Others could not because they winch and haul, having little skill in the fish playing department. Others like me just don't feel comfortable with ultra light tackle/elastics.

For myself I have found that large fish on light elastics just take off for the horizon. Having lost more than enough when this happened I switched to heavier elastics and lines. But I think I am getting the balance right - for me. Yesterday with 12-14 NG Ultra Core I landed carp to 5 1/2lb with no problem. Hook and hooklength was a B611 18 on Reflo 0.10, 2lb 10oz. The same gear has handled fish to near 10lb with no issues.

Do you not find that elastic is a bit heavy for an 0.10 hooklength? :) Obviously not as you use it and it works for you but does seem a bit light?

Absolutely, especially in winter you can coax double figure barbel and carp in on really light lines, even pike too by accident. Chub are a bit different on snaggy rivers as they will head for snags regardless but the other species can be got in surprisingly quickly on light gear without them really pulling hard.

I think you're spot on with that and about how Chub fight and head for snags. They also sometimes violently shake their head and against the weight of the feeder this can break light lines despite not being a top tier fighter. I always say they are a medium fighting strength fish. Carp I find no problem on 0.12 hooklengths in winter on rod and line in snag free pegs as I find they usually fight a lot a tamer.
 

tipitinmick

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Puller kits. Best thing since sliced bread. Light elastics to save hook pulls yet power and control when needed. If you don’t have one yet Zerkalo save your pennies, buy a generic top kit for your pole and fit a puller kit. Doesn’t have to be a side puller to begin with. A old style will be sufficient but, give it a go. You’ll enjoy your pole fishing more I’ll guarantee that. ?
 

gingert76

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as NOTN points out there are many many factors, fish themselves i think have personalities that mean some fight hard and some just think meh and give up straight away. I dont think heavy tackle matters in that the tackle itselfs makes any difference, i think the way teh angler strikes is the most important thing, i have seen people doing great impressions of Zorro or striking really hard in teh direction of open water when fishing to snags etc.

I personally think the harder you pull the harder they pull back and the more they panic/surprised and that starts off from the very moment they realise there is a hook and/or the strike. i always take my time and the only time i am ever in trouble is foul hooked fish but even then i land more than i lose. I do not do snag fishing anymore, i do not enjoy it and it stresses me out and the fish!

I have fished for big carp fully locked up to snags and the fish fight incredibly hard and its not my cup of tea, i have done the same with snag fishing on the pole though ive seen people use power gum instead of elastic but that is catching at all costs and not for me. same as ive caught 20lb carp that have fought way harder than my PB 57+ in the pic above.

my mantra is strike softly (really just a lift on teh pole or pick up of the rod) and play the fish softly, and its surprising just how quickly and easily big fish can be landed

orange Slik 10-14 is my carp elastic, have no problems landing double figure carp, now its mostly green or red as getting colder
 

Zerkalo

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Puller kits. Best thing since sliced bread. Light elastics to save hook pulls yet power and control when needed. If you don’t have one yet Zerkalo save your pennies, buy a generic top kit for your pole and fit a puller kit. Doesn’t have to be a side puller to begin with. A old style will be sufficient but, give it a go. You’ll enjoy your pole fishing more I’ll guarantee that. ?

Does feel daft having 4 or more sections in the air with elastic in the air playing a big fish with these things about. I'm saving for a new pole. At the moment I have an old Browning Access Berylium and the 4th or 5th section (I forget how they number them) is broken, telescoped and sleeved, and probably in danger of breaking again though I've had decent size Carp on it, I want a proper tool for the job eventually.
 

gingert76

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i have never broken a top kit on a fish but have to say i love side pullers, i couldn't fish the way i do without them
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Do you not find that elastic is a bit heavy for an 0.10 hooklength? :) Obviously not as you use it and it works for you but does seem a bit light?



I think you're spot on with that and about how Chub fight and head for snags. They also sometimes violently shake their head and against the weight of the feeder this can break light lines despite not being a top tier fighter. I always say they are a medium fighting strength fish. Carp I find no problem on 0.12 hooklengths in winter on rod and line in snag free pegs as I find they usually fight a lot a tamer.

Been using 0.10 hooklength in Winter for quite a few years (commercials). Previously with a 14 solid, then 12 solid and now trying the 12-14. Yesterday the B611 18 straightened on what I thought was a foulhooked fish but the hook fell out in the net so unable to be sure. I think it was hooked near the mouth but outside. Very, very rare to straighten the hook on a mouth hooked fish. But that this can happen with the 0.10 hooklength shows the hook will go before the line.
 

tipitinmick

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Does feel daft having 4 or more sections in the air with elastic in the air playing a big fish with these things about. I'm saving for a new pole. At the moment I have an old Browning Access Berylium and the 4th or 5th section (I forget how they number them) is broken, telescoped and sleeved, and probably in danger of breaking again though I've had decent size Carp on it, I want a proper tool for the job eventually.
When you go to your commercial fishery Zerkalo. Is it mostly margin fishing ?
 

rudd

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You have to look at tackle as a big elastic band.
An avon type rod say 1.25lb test coupled with 8lb line has alot of stretch - as rod bends the line also streches.
As a fish fights this stretch it gets tired out quickly because when the fish slakens off its fight that whole stretch contracts and the fish then has to stretch every thing again.
A 1.75 rod takes more pressure to bend it and is used with heavier line, in this case say 11lb - the line is harder to stretch than 8lb. So less stretch and a heavy line heavier line a fish will have to pullback harder.
 

Zerkalo

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i have never broken a top kit on a fish but have to say i love side pullers, i couldn't fish the way i do without them

I had a top kit break on my old Milo Carp Crusader at Moorlands Farm. Only time it has happened to me. At the time without pullers I felt undergunned for Carp and it broke trying to net it with 5 or so sections in the air, an 8lb fish if I remember right.

Been using 0.10 hooklength in Winter for quite a few years (commercials). Previously with a 14 solid, then 12 solid and now trying the 12-14. Yesterday the B611 18 straightened on what I thought was a foulhooked fish but the hook fell out in the net so unable to be sure. I think it was hooked near the mouth but outside. Very, very rare to straighten the hook on a mouth hooked fish. But that this can happen with the 0.10 hooklength shows the hook will go before the line.

Reflo is pretty indestructible! I had a 22lb Carp on 0.14 but got broke twice on the same day at Sion Farm. So I would fish heavier if I went back, but it's not likely I would use the pole I have at the moment knowing how big the fish run in there now.

When you go to your commercial fishery Zerkalo. Is it mostly margin fishing ?

Margins, snake lake mud lines, and up in the water mostly. I try to avoid snaggy pegs and big fish as I only want to put a 12 maximum in the pole I have at the moment, though I have done it.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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On the subject of playing fish. I'm sure that most pole anglers understand the benefits of keeping the pole tip low, even underwater. Time and again I have dipped the tip on a running fish and within seconds the elastic starts retracting as the fish calms down and accepts the sideways pressure. I refer to it like having a dog on a lead. It works on rod & line also.

The way to tire a larger fish I find is to play the fish with the tip low, lift it and see if the fish can be netted. If it runs again instead then dip the tip and get the fish back without having to do anything else. Repeat until the fish can be netted.

If you have not tried the technique of dropping the pole or rod tip underwater then try it, you will be surprised how compliant the fish becomes. It can even work on foulhookers.

The reason it works is that in trying to force the fish to the surface you panic it. The fish knows there is something wrong and it associated the surface with danger and thus will fight to get down deeper and away from the danger. Allow it to hug the bottom and it calms down and follows the pressure from pole tip or rod.
 

gingert76

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i remember way back in the day on my first carbon maver pole fishing for tench, max elastic rating a size 8 and having 10 meters of pole, with 8 meters of elastic stretched out of it, in the air to net 4-5lb tench! so fully agree bud, thats why side pullers have made such a huge difference to me
 

Zerkalo

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On thing that always amazed me, as I mention, is Gudgeon will put up a decent fight on a 2 elastic. Not in danger of getting broken by them but they do run around a bit on the lightest elastics. Hook a 4oz Perch and you better hold on.
 

Silverfisher

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On thing that always amazed me, as I mention, is Gudgeon will put up a decent fight on a 2 elastic. Not in danger of getting broken by them but they do run around a bit on the lightest elastics. Hook a 4oz Perch and you better hold on.
It's all relative isn't it really to the fish, the tackle and their environment.

When people say small fish don't fight I always say well no they don't much on say a 3-6lb float rod on a 3ft-4ft deep low oxgygen lake. But hook the same fish on 2-4lb float rod in a 5ft plus deep flowing well oxgygenated river and anything over about a quarter pound will put up enough of a fight that you'll have to play it a bit rather than just wind it in. Another example is how you can just wind up 6 mackerel on feathers on a boat rod but 1 mackerel on a spinning rod is like a mini tuna!
 
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