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I've been catching trout on a regular basis for thirty years or so. One of the things I've never been able to figure out is why so many trout can hit a spinner or spoon and not get hooked. I keep my hook points needle-sharp, and the fish are defin

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  • I've been catching trout on a regular basis for thirty years or so. One of the things I've never been able to figure out is why so many trout can hit a spinner or spoon and not get hooked. I keep my hook points needle-sharp, and the fish are defin

    I've been catching trout on a regular basis for thirty years or so. One of the things I've never been able to figure out is why so many trout can hit a spinner or spoon and not get hooked. I keep my hook points needle-sharp, and the fish are definitely biting the lure, as the thump I feel is substantial. I know it's a fish and not a snag because I see the fish flash and turn behind the lure. Sometimes, in a long pool or run, I'll see a small brookie or brown following the spinner and rushing forward here and there to hit it -- but again, no hook-up. Do you think they're just tapping it somehow and not actually biting it? Do you think it has something to do with the size or shape of their mouths? And now that I think of it, this seems to happen more in the summertime, when the water is low and clear. Last evening, in one pool, I had about a dozen hits and hooked only three fish; I felt and saw all of the others, but no hook-ups. And as I said, my hooks are never dull. I feel like a total amateur asking this, but I don't care, as my pride doesn't run in those directions. It's always interested me, especially since it doesn't seem to happen with other species of fish. What do you think?

  • #2
    I should also mention that I use only the smallest of spinners and spoons, with very small hooks.

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    • #3
      I've had similar experiences with different kinds of fish. The multi-hook lure will completely disappear inside the fish's mouth and the rod will bow over, but, somehow the fish won't be hooked. It's a puzzlement.

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      • #4
        I exclusively use spinners for trout, and I've experienced the same thing. I mostly use #4 or #2 Panther Martins, and my hooks are generally quite sharp too. But I would say I have at least as many hits as hooked fish on average. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that the fish must be hitting the lure from the side, not from behind, and only getting the blade in their mouth. Then when they taste metal, they usually let go before the hooks sink in. This theory is backed up by the fact that I occasionally hook trout on the outside of the mouth. That could only happen if the hooks weren't even in the fish's mouth when I set the hook. That's my theory anyway...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Okwaho View Post
          I should also mention that I use only the smallest of spinners and spoons, with very small hooks.
          Hey Guys---I've got a couple of thoughts that might help.
          1--Try tipping your spinner or spoon with a short, soft-plastic twister-type tail.
          2--Tie on a green wooly bugger trailer using a 8-inch piece of light fluorocarbon.
          If these don't work, I suggest experimenting with lure color, size and time of day. That's what's so cool about fishing—experimentation to find the right formula. Above all else, let us know how you make out.—Gerry Bethge

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          • #6
            Hey Guys---I've got a couple of thoughts that might help. 1--Try tipping your spinner or spoon with a short, soft-plastic twister-type tail. 2--Tie on a green wooly bugger trailer using a 8-inch piece of light fluorocarbon. If these don't work, I suggest experimenting with lure color, size and time of day. That's what's so cool about fishing—experimentation to find the right formula. Above all else, let us know how you make out.—Gerry Bethge
            GerryBethge - 20 Aug 2015 2:00 pm

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            • #7
              I use a Phoebe with good results, although I have had something like you describe. A couple things, change to the next size larger, or at least the next size larger hook. Make sure the points of the hook angle outward slightly. If that does not help, try a trailer hook at 1 1/2" behind the treble. If you are catch and release be sure to pinch the barbs closed. Good luck. Happy fishing.

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              • #8
                They do not always hit it with their mouth open. You'd be surprised at how hard they hit the lure, and if you are using a sensitive rod it does not take much to feel like a bite. Fish miss sometimes...With largemouth they can hit a bait with 9 hooks(3 treble hooks) and not get hooked.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JM View Post
                  They do not always hit it with their mouth open. You'd be surprised at how hard they hit the lure, and if you are using a sensitive rod it does not take much to feel like a bite. Fish miss sometimes...With largemouth they can hit a bait with 9 hooks(3 treble hooks) and not get hooked.
                  Yes, I've always believed that fish go after things because their territory is being intruded upon, at least as often as they chase because they're hungry. That's common knowledge when it comes to spawning bass, for example, but gets overlooked with other fish. The closed-mouth hits might also be another reason that HFT's fish are sometimes hooked on the outside of the mouth.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JM View Post
                    They do not always hit it with their mouth open. You'd be surprised at how hard they hit the lure, and if you are using a sensitive rod it does not take much to feel like a bite. Fish miss sometimes...With largemouth they can hit a bait with 9 hooks(3 treble hooks) and not get hooked.
                    Could be. I ran the question past my brother, who taught me how to fish for trout. He said basically what JM did - he thought "empty" hits were the result of fish bumping the lure with their mouth closed.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
                      I use a Phoebe with good results, although I have had something like you describe. A couple things, change to the next size larger, or at least the next size larger hook. Make sure the points of the hook angle outward slightly. If that does not help, try a trailer hook at 1 1/2" behind the treble. If you are catch and release be sure to pinch the barbs closed. Good luck. Happy fishing.
                      Hi...


                      I am also a believer in the "trailer" hook...sometimes that will do the trick...!!

                      Comment

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