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> Texas Rig Training
Attila
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 01:39 pm


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I usually spend the month of August practicing a technique that I either have done in the past or something new that I want to try for the future. This year I decided to train myself to become better at pitching Texas rigged baits under and alongside docks, something that I haven't done in at least 4 years.

As a starting point, I decided to use a Quantum Smoke 7 MHF action rod ($150.00 @ Sail) matched with a Team KVD left handed bait casting reel with a 7.0:1 gear ratio ($150.00 @ Sail). This setup served well as my hollow body frogging combo last year and was an inexpensive combo to purchase to ensure I was getting quality gear. This rod can handle up to 1 1/2oz of weight so if I wanted to learn how to punch this would be able to handle the requirements for that technique as well. Maybe next year...

My next decision was what type of line to spool it up with. Given I fish a lot of rocky lakes and would be fishing around docks and dock pilings, I decided that 20lbs Seaguar Flippin' Fluoro (100yd spool is $19.99 @ Sail -- on sale for $14.99 right now) was the right line for the job. I decided against braid as I've had breaking problems when it comes into contact with rocks and zebra mussels, both of which are prevalent in the areas that I fish. This particular fluorocarbon is heavy and doesn't stretch at all, so it had the same qualities that I like about braid but offered more abrasion resistance. That said, when I came into contact with cover, I still checked for knicks along the way. When spooling it on, I only used approximately 50 yards of line as knew this would be close quarters fishing and also wanted to avoid overruns. I had my spool tension set at 5 which allowed me to control the spool speed while still being able to pitch past docks which were 30ft in length.

Moving on to the weight and hook options, I decided to use tungsten bullet sinkers weighing 1/2 and 1/4oz's made by Ultra Tungsten ($7.99 @ Sail - on sale for $6.79 right now) and went with some ultra stoppers in the small size, also made by Ultra Tungsten (10pk is $1.99 @ Sail - on sale for $1.69 right now). I used the 1/2oz size predominantly as they allowed me to pitch the baits further and provided a faster sink rate which meant my creature baits spent more time on the bottom which is where fish were looking for crayfish to feed on. For hooks, I decided to try 2 completely different brands and styles. First was the VMC Heavy Duty Flippin' Hook 3/0 size (pack of 3 is $4.99 at Sail - on sale for $4.24 right now) and the second style was the Owner Rig 'N Bass Hooks 2/0 size extra wide gap (EWG) hook (pack of 6 is $6.29 at Bass Pro). I started out using the VMC hooks however, after about 5 fish, the keeper was breaking and falling off the hook. This happened on 2 hooks so I decided to make the switch to the Owner hooks. I had no issue with either hook when it came to hook penetration, rolling hook points, or bending when they were in use. Of the two choices, I will be using the Owner EWG hooks going forward in various sizes for Texas rigging as I won't have to worry about the keeper falling off the hook. I am currently testing other flipping hooks to see how their characteristics including their keepers compare to the VMC model.

After reading, watching, and researching which knot to use, I decided to go with a snell knot. There were two reasons for this choice, the first being weight impact on my knot. With the snell knot, the knot is situated on the shank of the hook and not above the eye, thus there was no chance for the tungsten weight to contact and perhaps damage it. The second reason has to do with hook rotation when the weight comes in contact with the hook. This could have been more of a mental decision, as there really isn't any proof that this impacts hook up ratios. That said, I never lost a fish when I used this knot on either hook style. It is easier to tie a snell knot on the VMC hook because of the keeper as opposed to Owner EWG hook but after some practice I was able to make it work and it has held up well in all situations.

Finally the baits I decided to use. I've been a fan of Berkley Powerbaits for years and decided to pick up the Chigger Craw in both the 3" and 4" sizes in the green pumpkin and black/blue fleck patterns (about $6.50/pack at Bass Pro). I also picked up a pack of Yum Wooly Bug's in the 3-1/4" size in a watermelon/red flake pattern (about $4.50/pack at Bass Pro). Both products produced numbers of fish and I will be using both going forward in the future as well. From a durability standpoint, each bait was good for about 2-3 fish. As with all soft plastic creature baits, the claws took a lot of punishment. That said, I caught several fish on baits with one claw missing. A final thought about the baits; if you're looking for a bait with a lot of flapping action on the claws, the Berkley Chigger Craw is the bait for you. I also liked that I could use the 4" version and trim it down to 3" if required for use as either a trailer on a flipping jig or as a standalone bait in the event I ran out of the 3" models.

As a closing note, I was amazed at the variety of fish that I caught using a Texas rigged soft plastic presentation. Sure, the obvious large and smallmouth bass were biting. Along with those were rock bass that reached 9" in length and some surprise crappie that were up to 9" in length as well. While I didn't catch any big bass, I did lose a couple of nice smallmouth which picked up the baits and decided to run faster than I could pick up line with my 7.0:1 reel with. That said, I think that when I fish this way next summer I've found a good rod/reel combo with enough power to horse fish out of heavy cover. I've included photos of my gear and some of the fish I caught below.

As always, I hope you find this post helpful and will aid you in choosing gear that will allow you to expand the techniques you use to catch the fish we all hunt for.


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Attila
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 01:39 pm


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Average largie

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Attila
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 01:40 pm


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Smallmouth


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Attila
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 01:41 pm


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Rock bass


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Attila
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 01:41 pm


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Crappie


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Chevy
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 06:44 pm


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Well written and a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing

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Paul j
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 - 07:13 pm


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An awesome report as always, thanks for sharing your experience.

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Attila
Posted: Sep 16, 2018 - 02:47 pm


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Thanks Chevy and Paul j, glad you like it.

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Simcoe Said
Posted: Sep 16, 2018 - 06:17 pm


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Great post.
But what's wrong with a worm and red and white bobber.
That's how I catch bass

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likeToFish
Posted: Sep 16, 2018 - 06:45 pm


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Nice report!!

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FishingChef
Posted: Sep 16, 2018 - 08:16 pm


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I always enjoy reading your reports...thank you and great pics

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metalbuckle
Posted: Sep 17, 2018 - 12:14 pm


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Very well written article and enjoyable read.

Thank-you for sharing and for the incite.

Yes choosing the right hook to match the plastics and increasing hook-ups, can be challenging. I admit I am still experimenting with hooks. I generally use VMC Wide Gap.

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MikeyLovesMuskies
Posted: Sep 18, 2018 - 11:21 am


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What a post to read Very detailed and informative.

One tip I can add to help you is to learn how to pendulum swing and you'll be able to flip any and everything. Even those tight, dark/shady areas between the docks and boats.

Hope that helps, Attila

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Attila
Posted: Sep 20, 2018 - 10:21 am


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QUOTE (Simcoe Said @ Sep 16, 2018 - 07:17 pm)
Great post.
But what's wrong with a worm and red and white bobber.
That's how I catch bass

Thanks Simcoe Said, likeToFish, FishingChef, metalbuckle, and MikeyLovesMuskies -- appreciate the kind words!

Simcoe Said -- true, a worm under a red and white bobber will catch you the occasional bass. For this style of fishing though, done in confined quarters, there really isn't room to set up a bobber with a length of line and plunk it between a boat dock and boat where the big fish hide. Plus, some of these fish that lurk in such places are after a substantial meal and I don't think plunking a nightcrawler is the ticket there...just my opinion of course!

MikeyLovesMuskies -- practiced that over this weekend while I was sick, going to post my results from yesterday just now! Thanks for the tip!

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Simcoe Said
Posted: Sep 20, 2018 - 11:14 am


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Golden explanation as usual .I will take some time and practice those techniques.

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