Terminal tackle is the most over looked reason for loosing bass before you get them in the boat. Hooks, snaps, swivels, line, and the knot that connects it all has to be sharp, strong, and in good working order or you will miss, loose, or not draw a strike from bass! That’s a mouthful.
Hooks – Whether it’s the treble hooks on a hard bait or a worm hook; a dull or rusty hook will prevent the hook from penetrating the jaw of a bass. This is extremely vital with hard baits, more often than not the treble hooks of a crank bait or top water bait will only grab the soft skin inside the mouth of a bass. So having sharp hooks that will dig deeper into that soft tissue will help ensure you boat your strikes. A larger bass (5 pounds and up) has very hard bones and tissue in their mouth that are to their advantage and prevent hooks from penetrating. Because of this, it very important that your hooks are sharp and smooth to ensure when the bait is in mouth of a larger bass, it will grab some of the soft tissue. Hooks used with soft plastics give you a better chance at completely penetrating the mouth of a bass; however, if it’s dull or rusty this penetration is greatly reduced. Check your hooks often when fishing; hang ups, rubbing rocks, and even catching fish will dull hook points. Rusty hooks should simply be removed and tossed out. Sure you can sharpen them, but the hook it’s self will never be smooth again and prevent travel when setting the hook. Swing by your local tackle store and pick up a small hook sharpener for on the water touch ups. I drag hooks across my thumbnail, and if it sticks without dragging then it’s good to go.
Snaps and Swivels – These need to be strong and in good working order. You don’t want a snap that you have to fight to change baits. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a snap if you waste time trying to get it to work when you want to change colors or style of baits. If your swivels don’t spin freely, then they are not helping with line twist, so why even use them. Take some time before your fishing outings to inspect these items to make sure they are working correctly, this will prevent frustration on the water. If they are not working correctly this also means that they are likely to fail in the near future, don’t risk the big fish of the day on bad terminal tackle.
Line – While some will tell you that you need to change it every trip, most of us can’t afford that! I cut off 6-8 feet of line and retie my baits before every outing. Minor nicks happen throughout the fishing day so check your line often. I will pinch the line between my finger and thumb and drag it along the line to feel for nicks, also visually inspect your line for damage. If you see, or feel anything cut off the damaged line and retie. I honestly do this a dozen times a day, again I don’t want to risk the fish of the day because I was in a hurry or lazy about my line.
Knots – No matter what kind of knot you use make sure it’s tied well and didn’t damage your line when you pulled it tight. I like to put saliva on the line before I pull the knot tight. This lubricates the line and prevents damage when pulling it tight. Friction is the biggest factor for knot failure. Retie often throughout the day. Hang ups and catching fish damages your knot. I always retie after catching a good fish or after catching several smaller fish. The teeth of a bass can damage line along with the scales and fins during a fight.
Your terminal tackle is what connects you to the fish, keeping it in good shape will help you catch more bass!
Get the Net it’s a Hawg