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Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT...

FLASY FISH LURES fishing
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Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake
I Fished off of Vineyard area for two outings this weekend.

Friday I got there about 5:30 and anchored in 2 FOW near where Dave and I had found fish a week ago. Water temp was 65 and air in the low 70’s. Started with two hooks and floating baits on each rod one with shrimp or WB and the other with a piece of crawler to entice a lost white bass. Barely got set up when I got a 19” kitty on a crawler piece. Good sign. Before I even got the rod fishing again the second one took off. I set the hook and this fish had shoulders, or at least it seemed that way in the warmer water. The fish seemed well hooked so I let up for long enough to get the other rod back out and when I started reeling again, the fish was gone. Bad sign. I rarely lose a cat that is well hooked, but I still felt silly that I lost a good one trying to be too greedy.

Then it went dead. I pulled one of the cat rods and tried another rod casting toward the reeds for pan fish. After 45 minutes of nothing on either rod I pulled the anchor and started slow dragging the two double bait rods. Heading south I zigzagged from just under 2 to just over 4 FOW. In the next 2 hours I landed 5 more cats and lost one other that seemed to be hooked and then came off. 3 of the fish hit shrimp, two on crawlers and one on the thawed WB. The wind stayed almost calm the whole evening.

On a side note, about 7 P.M. I saw some people starting to work their way through the reeds and launch paddleboards. It seemed like a great time for it. I was on the shallow side of a zig and fairly close in. One friendly guy paddled out close enough to talk and asked if the cats had started biting yet. I told him I had 3 and they were not red hot, but they were biting. As I got back out to 3’ and just out of visiting range from the paddle boarders I hit a spurt and got the 3 cats in about 5 minutes.

When it hit 8 P.M, I set up the new cleaning station I had just built for my boat. It is high enough that I don’t have to bend over and it worked great. It only took less than 15 minutes to fillet the 6 fish and put the carcasses in a 5 gallon bucket so I wouldn’t be accused of chumming. During the filleting, I had 3 or 4 more pop and drop hits. All pulled free of the line release, but were gone by the time I could get to the rod and reel up the slack.

It was decent evening, except for the one larger fish that I “released.” I had landed 6 cats in just over 3 hours. All were under 23” and were cleaned for future enjoyment. I had lost 2 fish that were hooked and had about 6 more that were solid hits, but spit the bait before I could get set the hook. That meant I had landed about half the fish that hit. The worst part was that 3 of the 6 fish I landed were gut hooked and I lost a fair amount of time (and a little blood) getting them unhooked.


Saturday I headed out of the State park about 10 A.M. with my nephew Terrance and his 4 year old son Kai. This was Kai’s first fishing trip and we were all excited. Before the trip I thought about the fish I had lost and the problems with the gut hooked fish and decided to do a test. I changed the hooks on the bottom/larger FLAT rigs from j-hooks to 3/0 Gamakatsu circle hooks. I was not optimistic that the circles would work because I found that in the shallow water keeping the baits more than 50 feet behind the boat resulted in many more hits. I learned some things though.

We guessed that the fish were likely staying shallow, especially with all the crazy carp activity in the reeds, and that we probably didn’t need to run all the way to Vineyard to find fish. We headed to the shallow flats just north of the dike. The water had cooled to 59 since the day before, but we figured that wouldn’t shut the cats down. It sure didn’t slow the carp, they were everywhere along the reed edges splashing and thrashing.

I should be used to it by now, but every time I take little guys out for the first time, the first fish comes slowly. Right at the point where I’m starting to panic because of their short attention span or right after somebody says “Can we go home now?” we get the first fish. Today was no exception. Almost 40 minutes of dragging and a FLAIT rod went bendo. The circle hook did its job and a few minutes later Kai was grinning ear to ear with his fist cat. Whew! The second one only took another ten minutes to find.

After the first two we went in and anchored within casting distance of the frolicking carp. I thought maybe the cats would be in there cleaning up the eggs, but in 45 minutes we got no love. We couldn’t even get a carp to hit the crawlers. They were a bit distracted though. We pulled the gear and headed back down to the Vineyard area.

Kai’s mom had said he would only last an hour or two, but he was having nothing to do with going home. In the first 3 hours he landed a total of 5 cats that were all 21 to 22 inches, just right for a youngster. Finally, we hit a longer dry spell and he started asking about going home. Now his dad said, “let’s try to get a couple more fish and then we can go.” We got two more, a double, just as Kai asked again, so we ended up with 7 for the morning and I got to catch 1!

It was a great first time outing and fun to be teaching the next generation how to fish. I think he’s hooked!

The hook comparison was also a pleasant surprise. On the circle hooks we landed seven of eight that were hooked and we only had 2 that hit that didn’t stick. So it was under 50% for the j-hooks on Friday and 70 percent for the circle hooks on Saturday. Even when the baits were 120’ behind the boat, the fish usually stuck. We didn’t have to worry about the hook sets and perhaps more importantly, I never had to deal with any hooks way down in the guts. I think I’m going to stick with these circle hooks for a bit longer!
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Sounds like a fun weekend, thanks for the report and glad you were successful... I probably need to go back to circle hooks, I had way too many deep hook ups Friday... Well one is too many, but I had three or four deep hook ups.. Don't like hurting fish and don't like it when they tear me up either ... Later J
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Glad you got some good tugs and some eater cats. Sounds like the little guy had a great time. I look forward to next year moving to Texas and fishing with my Grandkids. I think about how much I miss catching Flatheads and Blue cats. About the Circle hooks. I switched several years ago and will never look back! The percentage of hookup was a lot higher.
Ice_sled
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Re: [ice_sled] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks, I remembered you used circle hooks. That was one of the main factors in my decision to give them a try.

It was hard for me, because I do love a good solid hooksetWink
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
I know what you mean. My figers are all scratched up from Friday, but no new ones from Saturday.
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Re: [ice_sled] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Hey Ben,

I meant to ask you, do you ever fish circle hooks under a bobber? I thought the slack in the line would ruin their effectveness, but after Saturday I'm not sure what to think.

I'll bet you are looking forward to fishing with gandkids! The blues and flatheads sound fun too!
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
I fish only circle hooks, well outside of TD flies now. I fish under a bobber and with a baitrunner reel so conventional wisdom says I shouldn’t get hooksets but I’ve never had a problem. I just make sure I reel down before I pull on the rod.



Respect the fish!
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Re: [Mooseman75] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Hey Mooseman,
Good to hear from you and thanks for the insights! Hopefully we'll meet up an the water again this year.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Good report. Glad you found some playful kitties. I
suspect that a lot of the larger fish are seeking out rock piles and/or flooded vegetation to start making their nests.

About the circle hook thing. I was first exposed to them many years ago while commercial fishing for rockfish with long baited lines in southern California. There was a definite improvement in the numbers of fish that got hooked and stayed on the line. And I have since used them for fishing big halibut. But I have not had your degree of success for ANY freshwater fishing I have done.

The only place I have done well with circle hooks was fishing set lines for flatheads...leaving them out all night. They did what they were supposed to do. However, for some reason I have missed a lot of fish while using circle hooks on a rod. Yeah, I know, you ain't supposed to try to cross their eyes...and I don't. As instructed, I let the fish move off against the pull of the rod to set the hook in itself. Problem is that even with properly exposed points and the right hook size to bait size ratio the hooks simply pulled out of the fishes' mouths without catching. And I have tried several brands and sizes of quality circle hooks in my testing process.

On my last outing to Lindon, I caught somewhere north of 20 cats...up to 27". I had two pop and drop bites...probably bullheads or white bass. Otherwise, I had a 100% hookup rate and only lost one fish on the way to the net. Furthermore, there were only two fish that had the hook deeper than in the corner of their mouths...and I was able to remove both of those without injury to the fish or myself.

Just sayin'...I would really have to go some to improve on those odds with a circle hook. What hooks do I use? Eagle Claw 084 ring eye hooks, in sizes 1/0, 3/0, 5/0 and 7/0. Very strong, offset bend, very sharp, stainless steel.



Of course I also catch plenty of fish on fligs. And those all have regular jig hooks...not circles. And I miss very few strikes.

I really think there are a lot of factors in play when an individual angler decides what hooks they prefer. There is the species pursued, size anticipated, type and size of bait, method of hooking and presentation of bait, length of line from rod to fish, strength of rod and line, mood and activity level of the fish, water temps and clarity, etc. I know that most of these things influence the approach I use on any given day.

Good on ya for initiating some new cataholics.

(This post was edited by TubeDude on Apr 22, 2019, 2:14 PM)
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Hey, Jim I always fish circles under a bobber from shore or anchored up, and they seem to work great. Glad you're giving the circles a try; you could go up in size to 6/0 or even 8/0. The bigger ones handle bigger baits and (to some degree) attract bigger fish. Plus, they tend to keep the bullheads off. Excuse me for trying to tutor the teacher; just sharing my experience that I gained last year (my first) from guys like you and Ben. There's nobody smarter than a sophomoreCrazy.

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((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~~ }<(((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>
~~~}<(((((((((°< ><=;> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }<((((°>

"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Yes I do use circle hooks under a bobber. The bobber has to be large enough to put some resistance on the hook when getting a bite. The floats that I use are homemade. I use a slip bobber knot to adjust the depth. Don’t laugh at my floats in the attachment below. But they are effective. I also use balloons in place of the floats. Harder to adjust the balloons but they work pretty good too
Ice_sled
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Re: [TubeDude] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks for all the insights. The list of all the factors that influence the "right" setup is very thorough. I have had days on J hooks with near perfect ratios and that is why I never experimented much with the others. I figured that bad days were likely more related to the mood of the fish, or as you say, sometimes they are whites or smaller fish.

The first time I tried the circle hooks it was most unimpressive. I hooked on a large WB head and dragged around out by the island with no weight. I had a blast "toying" with the fish that carted that that head around, but they never got hooked. I must have had half a dozen on and no hookups. I guessed that they were not big enough or hungry enough. I kept moving the circle hook to other locations on the head. I finally got one about 2 feet, but I gave up on the hooks. In retrospect my hook was probably too small for that large a bait.

On Friday, I had to dig my blue and silver FLIG out of the bellies of 2 different cats. That is uncommon for me and FLIGs, so it might just have been the day.

Every day is different. I will keep experimenting. The circles did work out well for the less experienced anglers on Saturday, but man it was hard to watch those rods start to dance and not jump up and set the hook!
(This post was edited by Piscophilic on Apr 23, 2019, 6:46 AM)
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Re: [catchinon] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks for the sharing the experience you have had. I do realize that larger hooks may be in order in some situations. These were attached to half a shrimp or fairly small WB chunks and I don't think larger was needed.

The truth is that the day I decided to buy them a couple years back, that was the largest they had in stock and in the style I wanted to try.

I'll have to think about the
Quote:
they tend to keep the bullheads off
I tend to get those guys on the biggest baits I fish easier than on the small ones.

How is the Flotilla coming? I will definitely be at Powell that weekend. It is hard to say I'm bummed about going to Powell, but I was looking forward to finally getting to a real flotilla.
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Re: [ice_sled] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks for sharing the picture and your experience. I wondered if the drag of a bobber would be enough the get the hook "caught" until the line tightened enough to finish the job and bigger bobbers would logically give more drag.

I think your float is creative and it looks effective. I do think the little basketball would have made a fun float with lots of drag, and a great conversation starterWink

Personally I have gone to the smallest floats that will stay up because (with j hooks) I see lots of times the cats spit the bait before I can get the slack out of the line and set the hook. I assume they spit it because they feel the drag, but the hook doesn't stick. This usually happens on windy days in rocky areas around Lincoln Point where the fish are someplace I cant drag the baits.
(This post was edited by Piscophilic on Apr 23, 2019, 9:52 AM)
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks for the report! Great pictures. Glad to hear some good fishing is happening at Utah Lake.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
If it is an aggressive hit the float alone will be enough to hookup without any tightening of the line. Just like jug fishing in the south; except the jug (float) is connected to the rod and reel. If the wind is blowing I just let the float go wherever it wants to go. No need to keep a tight line. I know some folks like to pull the trigger on a cat but I am satisfied to let it do the deadly deed. On less aggressive hits or short strikers I usually go with a two hook setup. One in the bait and one hook about an inch behind.
Ice_sled
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Re: [_6x_] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
It is just beginning. The best is yet to come!
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Where did the Executive Summary go? Laugh




"Last one to catch a fish, makes the campfire"
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Re: [ratnest] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
I had 2 days to report on so I went intermediate length on both. It'll be back on later reports.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Since this subject has come up I have been doing some more research on circles. One point was made against the larger hook: they are big enough to go through the catfish's eye and that's not a good thing for fish we are returning. But then that may have been more of an issue with eating-size cats which makes it a non-issue if you are keeping them to eat. I will be keeping track of this as I fish this year.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~~ }<(((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>
~~~}<(((((((((°< ><=;> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }<((((°>

"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [catchinon] Friday Fun and Saturday Success at UT Lake In reply to
Thanks Craig, I'll watch for that too.