Rivers and Small Hooks

Zerkalo

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Nice catch! I don't think small hooks are a problem for Chub, tends to hook them right in the lip and holds tight, but light lines and Chub takes a bit of skill!
 

Silverfisher

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I rarely, if not ever go below a 2lb hooklength

presentation is more the key, as is noted above, if your after shoal fish and trotting through, the quarry tend not to get a great look at the offering, especally if its in the flow with loose feed, the way you work the float in the current gets me more bit
Yep 18 to 2.5lb is my standard and I'll go down to 18 to 2lb occasionally (very occasionally 20 to 2lb) which sometimes make a bit of a difference but not a massive difference. I catch well enough on 2lb and 2.5lb to have not bothered with sub 2lb for years. If it's so hard that I can't catch well on 2lb I'm not sure I want to bother!

That said I may default more to 2lb than 2.5lb next year just as an experiment to see how much of a difference it makes over a longer period. In reality 2lb is plenty strong enough on rivers around here as you never get proper chub or barbel and bream and big perch aren't strong enough to break you off. I just kind of default to 2.5lb as a hangover from when I did more Stillwater fishing where they provide a bit more insurance from carp although they do the same a little with pike on rivers as well. Using 2.5lb certainly has done me no harm but would be interesting to try 2lb more often to get a better benchmark for it as so far it just seems to bring marginal gains but way well prove more beneficial with more use ? This thread has certainly got me thinking ?? And waffling ?
 

G0zzer2

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I have radically altered my thinking in the past 20 years. Fish in commercials are caught time after time after time. Yet they are still caught, in Winter, on hair rigs where the whole hook is showing.

So, like mickthechippy, I think that presentation is nearly always the key, and that the size of hook will often not be important, provided it suits the size of the fish (rather than the size of the bait, which was always the perceived rule).

The same goes for the thickness of line and the size of the float.

Of course there will be times when a small hook will outfish a larger one, but I suspect that it's the weight of the hook, and the way it affects presentation that is sometimes the most important factor.

I know this goes against the advice often published by top anglers; but then top anglers at one time insisted that groundbait on the Trent would put fish completely off,l and it should never be used there. Using a feeder on the Trent was also poo-pooed. It was also thought, when The Method first came out, that bream would never be caught on it because it was too crude. How wrong that all was.

I can remember the first match to be won my a matchangler using a hair rig (which we all assumed would never work on match waters because fish were too clever to take a bait when the hook was showing). It was on a complex near London (I forget the name) and it was won by Andy Love. (I was disqualified for leaving my peg). After that, some matchmen (not including me) gingerly tried it and found it worked. So for years everyone had laboured under a common misapprehension.

Of course, I might be completely wrong! ;)
 

HALTON DANGLER

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yes i agree 100 percent, you have to play the fish which to most people fishing baits like maggots and for silvers and carp is the norm but its not for everyone and one thing i do get lots of comments on in my videos is how quick i am on the clutch and thats me almost pre empting a lunge as thats when you do get snapped.not so much while the fish is coming in but shaking head side to side or going on a long run bit its that sudden change of direction that snaps you.

i will add though you do need to take swim into account as well, if your in snaggy swims then i do carry heavlir lines but very rare i use them it has to be ultra snaggy,
 

mickthechippy

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My favourite swim is a long mill pool

deep in the area of the drop off, around 8ft, and slightly shallower on the tail runs leading to gravel beds and the end where a small island forms

you never know what your liable to hook, three or four runs through might net you just a dace or two or small chublets, but the next could well be their bigger brother

over the gravel dragging the quarry could be minnows, gonks or the dace again

coming back round on the return, its more often roach or perch, and in the eddies next to the wall you could be on bream,

the longer pegs below the mill pools are the haunt of chub, that go to some decent sizes, 4lbers are not uncommon, these have pushed the roach out of what used to be thier haunts,

then theres the trout, brown and rainbows, and old slippery the eel,

the slower glides have a fair bit of streamer weed growth in summer and autumn

hence my preference for a 2lb bottom
 

MarkW

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I found many occasions in my match career on rivers where the difference between a fine wire 20 (original Drennan Carbon Match) to 1.1 Bayer and a 22 to either 1.1 or 12oz was the difference between NO bites and catching, and I'm talking about good chub, and won me two winter league one year and a big match on Medley another with chub to 4-2. Yes, they took some playing but that was what practice was all about, learning to lead chub out of a swim. Then there was the day on Evesham where I couldn't get bites on a fine wire (again Drennan Carbon Match) 22 to 0.08 on a high river where a switch to a Mustad 90340 23 to 0.06 brought roach.

Incidentally, the original Drennan Carbon Chub hook came about because too many Oxford match anglers were finding the Drennan Carbon Match hooks (size 20) were straightening trying to lift the Medley chub out of the weed, or pull them away from the Channel far-bank snags.
 

HALTON DANGLER

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ive tried a few over years but i guess with all things you get confidence in ones, my go too is kamasan animals for small hooks fishing for chub. you are right though about changes can make huge difference it amazes me with chub how little changes can make huge difference like a chub on a single maggot, then nothing,put a double mag on after 30 mins with none and bue imediately. love a day fooling a shoal of chub
 

Robwooly

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I sometimes fish a running section of canal in winter with a mate who is a match angler, he is on much, much finer line than me yet we get the same amount of bites. Remember also that the line diameters we are all using now are much finer than we used to use back in the day so the modern 3lb is perhaps the equivalent of an old 2,8 or even 2lb line. On many of the snaggy urban rivers I fish, fishing under 3lb line will nearly always end in tears no matter how good you are at playing fish especially with chub who are much better at finding snags than barbel twice their size. As others have said matching the size of the hook to the bait is key as it presentation, if that line is supple enough and the bait is falling naturally then it's game on.

This will fly in the face of popular advice but I never go below 3lb hooklength even in winter, even when the water is gin clear because of all the snags. I never blank on these little rivers despite the 'heavy' line as it's supple and plenty fine enough to trick wary chub. It makes sense to go lighter if the river is snag free and open though as that's gotta be more fun with the roach and dace

Watching Chub in clear streams shows they are more sensitive to bankside disturbance and the size of the hook, plus how the bait is falling, and whether it's in tandem with free offerings. I'd actually put line diameter low down the list as long as it's supple especially if the compromise is losing fish
 

mickthechippy

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Much as in my view dude

Sometimes you can think you hook more fish or have more bites the lighter you fish, yet there is no reason for it being as you coulda started of with a heavier set up and still caught around the same

match fishing is different where your trying to force a peg, rather than just having a day on the water
 

NoCarpPlease

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I have radically altered my thinking in the past 20 years. Fish in commercials are caught time after time after time. Yet they are still caught, in Winter, on hair rigs where the whole hook is showing.

So, like mickthechippy, I think that presentation is nearly always the key, and that the size of hook will often not be important, provided it suits the size of the fish (rather than the size of the bait, which was always the perceived rule).
Mac, do you think there are now two rules of thumb ... for hair rigged /banded baits and “hooked” baits?
i do agree that weight of hook is more important than size for presentation.
Watching Chub in clear streams shows they are more sensitive to bankside disturbance and the size of the hook, plus how the bait is falling, and whether it's in tandem with free offerings. I'd actually put line diameter low down the list as long as it's supple especially if the compromise is losing fish
Agree, with the caveat that it’s really difficult to tie small hooks to thick line, hence some semblance of Balance is required.
 

G0zzer2

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Mac, do you think there are now two rules of thumb ... for hair rigged /banded baits and “hooked” baits?
i do agree that weight of hook is more important than size for presentation.

The bottom line is that it appears to me that having a hook sticking a long way out of a bait is often (probably not always) no bar to a fish taking that bait.

Small roach are often fished for with, say, a single maggot on a 20 or 18, yet they will happily take a single maggot on a size 14, when lots of hook is showing, provided they can get it into their mouths. Even a bunch of four dead maggots on a 14 - which is a standard bait for carp in summer - leaves lots of hook showing.

I can only go by what I have seen, of course. As I have posted many times, attention to one single aspect of presentation will not do much good unless everything else is working well. So having a hook stick out is now low on my list of worries.
 

NoCarpPlease

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The bottom line is that it appears to me that having a hook sticking a long way out of a bait is often (probably not always) no bar to a fish taking that bait.

Small roach are often fished for with, say, a single maggot on a 20 or 18, yet they will happily take a single maggot on a size 14, when lots of hook is showing, provided they can get it into their mouths. Even a bunch of four dead maggots on a 14 - which is a standard bait for carp in summer - leaves lots of hook showing.

I can only go by what I have seen, of course. As I have posted many times, attention to one single aspect of presentation will not do much good unless everything else is working well. So having a hook stick out is now low on my list of worries.
I agree that there are days when it matters and definitely days when it doesn't (talking about single maggot and size of hook example).

And maybe it's more a confidence/belief thing. I've fished casters as my main summer bait for nearly 40 years ... and in all that time I've hardly had a fish with the caster "hooked liked a maggot" as opposed to the classical "buried hook". I can bury a hook in a caster much more quickly than I can hook it like a maggot or even hook a maggot, but I keep trying the end hooked approach and getting fewer or less hittable bites (or at least that is my perception).
 

nejohn

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If I am fishing small baits like maggot, caster etc then my starting point will be a size 20 Mustard 90340 to either 1lb or 1.5lb hook length , if bites are hard to come by I will then scale down to a size 21 or 22 to 12oz hook length or if the fish are really having a go or some larger chub make an appearance then I will scale up to a 19 or 18 to 2lb hook length. Try watching a bait go through the the swim with different size hooks and line you will be really surprised at the difference between a size 18 to 2lb line and a 22 to 12oz line and the faster the river the more pronounced you will find the difference
 

G0zzer2

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I agree that confidence is a huge factor. Like anyone else I sometimes feel restless if I think I've done something wrong, and simply have to bring on the tackle and alter it before I can fish it with maximum concentration.

And I am the same as you with a single caster - I bury the hook, but also find that I burst fewer casters doing this. Not that I fish a single caster very often now, on commercials. But I used to on the drains.
 

Robwooly

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I'm the same trotting pellet, it has to be on a small hook and flush, looking like the real thing as much as possible. I can only dream of using 2lb line though :D
 

G0zzer2

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If I am fishing small baits like maggot, caster etc then my starting point will be a size 20 Mustard 90340 to either 1lb or 1.5lb hook length , if bites are hard to come by I will then scale down to a size 21 or 22 to 12oz hook length or if the fish are really having a go or some larger chub make an appearance then I will scale up to a 19 or 18 to 2lb hook length. Try watching a bait go through the the swim with different size hooks and line you will be really surprised at the difference between a size 18 to 2lb line and a 22 to 12oz line and the faster the river the more pronounced you will find the difference.

I agree. But it's not always that the lighter gear gives the presentation which will catch most fish, of course.
 

JayD

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Another tale from the 'ark', a session from my early years that had an effect on my thinking and confidence.
Way back in my teens, on our annual first week of the Yorkshire season holiday, camping on the banks of the Swale I had a kind of epiphany. The first half of the week we had struggled to find our main quarry, barbel, so we'd spent time just chasing anything that swims. There was a match on the length on the Wednesday so we had a day off, and decided on a renewed effort on the Thursday. We chose a swim that we could both fish, on the inside of a sharp bend with the flow on the far side, and a large eddy under our feet. The river held more barbel back then, but of a smaller size, with an average of about 3lb, with a 5lber a good fish, a 7lber the fish of the season, and a 10lber the fish of a life time. We tackled up with the usual gear, 5lb line straight through to a size 6 or 8, with a bomb, and a 'tail' of about 3ft, bait was cheese, our 'go to bait' at the time. In light of our recent failures I took my match rod as a back up. After a half hour or so, of flicking lumps of cheese to the head of the swim, I started to get very slight knocks that I couldn't hit, I eventually pointed the rod at the leger, and felt for the bites with my fingers, it worked and I landed a roach of about 6oz. Next three casts had the same result, roach all a similar size. I thought 'sod this' and got my match rod, took off the float, put on a small bomb, a size 16 to 1.7 with a small piece of cheese, and cast out. Almost immediately, my tip shot round, and I found myself attached to, and duly landed a barbel, of about 3lb. I though that they'd arrived so changed back to the heavier gear, and got another couple of roach! Same gear, but with a smaller hook, roach, back to match rod, barbel. This went on several times during the session, with me taking a half dozen barbel to 4.5 lb, on the match rod, and a dozen or so roach on the heavier gear. I switched to just using the match rod, and ended up with 10 barbel to just under 5lb, until I hit something that just played me up and down the swim for a good 20 minutes, until the hook length snapped. Meanwhile my mate fishing 5 or 6 yards above me had a similar number of barbel, but no roach, all on the heavier gear.
That session taught me to not panic, and have the confidence to play larger fish when accidently hooked on light gear, or when conditions dictated the use of lighter gear. It also taught me that there are few 'hard and fast rules' in angling, and to be prepared to adapt to the unexpected.

John.
 

richox12

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That session taught me to not panic, and have the confidence to play larger fish when accidently hooked on light gear, or when conditions dictated the use of lighter gear. It also taught me that there are few 'hard and fast rules' in angling, and to be prepared to adapt to the unexpected.

John.

Exactly that
 
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