A fellow fisherman whom I chatted with said “just use shrimp” as I was complaining about having to travel long distances to buy bait. With no fresh clams or worms at my local bait and tackle due to the late season, I made do with fresh shrimp from the fish market.
After many little schoolies, I wanted to target something a little larger, something keeper sized. Typically, I would break the shrimp down into 2 pieces to use them. But this time I tied up a large 8/0 Gamakatsu Oct In-line circle hook on my fish finder rig with a little 1 oz bank sinker, and threaded on the whole shrimp. On the other rod, I had a 3/0 octopus hook in a fish finder rig for the schoolies.
I set up the bells and the lights, and sat down to wait until it rings. The thing about circle hooks is that you don’t set the hook on the fish like you would with a largemouth bass. When the bell first rang I walked over to the rod and picked it up. Given the many false alarms I had experienced from little hits, I tried to feel for the fish on the other end of the line before reeling the bait in. I felt nothing so I put my rod back down, since I was also confident that my shrimp is still be on the hook. Fresh shrimp is tougher to pull off, plus I was using a large hook that was firmly threaded on.
After a while, the bell rings again. I picked up the rod and reeled in the slack. Still I didn’t feel any thing on the other end. The little 1 oz weight was on the seabed, and the swivel is taut against the fish finder slider. I put the rod back down.
The third time the bell rang. And again I pick up the rod and tried to feel for the terminal tackle. It felt like something was different on the other end. I slowly reeled it and and finally begin to feel that my weight was moving in the water. Then with a slow and steady swing I pull the circle hook into the corner of the bass’s mouth and the fight was on!
I had to reach over the line of my other rod since the striper swam out and also slowly navigate my way down to the water on the slippery rocks. This fish was definitely bigger and it was taking a good amount of line as I bring him in. A few minutes later I landed my personal best striper for the year!
Since it was so huge and I had no good way to transport it back on my bike, I called my father-in-law to come pick me up. He was super excited, because I usually catch and release my fishes and this time I called him because I had a big one.
A proper shot.
The 8/0 hook is definitely the right hook to use. Any smaller and it probably would not have been able to hook up on the corner of the mouth successfully.
I filleted the fish and my wife cooked it the next day.
We invited our relatives over to share the fish and 7 of us couldn’t finish it. Everyone loved it!