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Thread: Surf Fishing for Steelhead - Detecting Bites

  1. #1
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    Default Surf Fishing for Steelhead - Detecting Bites

    Hi everyone,

    I hope you all had a good Christmas.

    I went surf fishing for steelhead for the first time today at my local tributary mouth on Georgian Bay. I was fishing the lake for steelhead, since it's open all year, with floating spawn bags on the typical Georgian Bay sliding egg sinker rig. There were major waves coming towards the shore, causing my rod tip to be constantly moving. This made it very difficult to detect bites. I could not tell if I was getting bit or if it was the waves. I swore it had to be a fish a few times but I reeled, set the hook, and had nothing, and the spawn bag had no signs of being disturbed. Does anyone have any tips on detecting bites from waves? And how long do steelhead hold onto a roe bag? It seems like they would spit it out quickly, which means you have to be fast setting the hook.

    Also, if anyone knows how long into winter it's worth sitting at the river mouth for, that would be good to know.

    Thanks and I hope everyone has a good end to 2020 and a good new year.

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  3. #2
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    They usually swallow it. If its fresh spawn in the bag.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JUDGE View Post
    They usually swallow it. If its fresh spawn in the bag.
    Thanks for your reply. That makes it a lot easier then. I was thinking it would be impossible to time the bite if they didn't swallow it.

  5. #4
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    Try and keep your running line off or laying on the water. At times it's impossible to do so, but try to stay in direct contact with the float. If you can it'll make detecting a pick up or bite easier. This is where a longer rod will help i.e. 14 - 16 ft in length...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bo D View Post
    Try and keep your running line off or laying on the water. At times it's impossible to do so, but try to stay in direct contact with the float. If you can it'll make detecting a pick up or bite easier. This is where a longer rod will help i.e. 14 - 16 ft in length...
    Thanks for your reply. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by float. The rig I and most people use doesn't have a float. It does make sense that a longer rod will keep the line off of the waves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG1 View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by float. The rig I and most people use doesn't have a float. It does make sense that a longer rod will keep the line off of the waves.
    He didn't read that you are using a slip sinker set up. I let the sinker drop and then slowly reel up to take the slack out of the line, makes it easier to detect. Buy yes, if it's blowing, it can be annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherman View Post
    He didn't read that you are using a slip sinker set up. I let the sinker drop and then slowly reel up to take the slack out of the line, makes it easier to detect. Buy yes, if it's blowing, it can be annoying.
    Thanks for your reply. That's what I figured.

    I'll make sure to take as much slack out as possible next time. How long into winter do you think it's worth fishing this way for? It doesn't look like there will be much ice near shore for the next couple of weeks at least.

  9. #8
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    I've used a similar rig for cats, perch etc. and always found that if you don't cover the tip of the hook as soon as they feel a sharp point they will spit the bait.

    I've seen some of the shows where they show the bag and the hook is out and obvious, to me that would seem to only work for a rig where you can set the hook the instance there is a pick up. I have seen others cover the tip, how are people hooking the bag for a rig like that where there are waves too? Hook exposed or tip covered?
    Last edited by mosquito; December 26th, 2020 at 04:08 PM.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG1 View Post
    Thanks for your reply. That's what I figured.

    I'll make sure to take as much slack out as possible next time. How long into winter do you think it's worth fishing this way for? It doesn't look like there will be much ice near shore for the next couple of weeks at least.
    As long as the shoreline is open and not overly icy so you don't kill yourself, go for it. Now with the lock down, I don't know if some access points will be closed off. I know last time, even with lots of open room, a couple of my favourite spots were closed.
    And what Mosquito said, hide the hook as best as you can.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG1 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I hope you all had a good Christmas.

    I went surf fishing for steelhead for the first time today at my local tributary mouth on Georgian Bay. I was fishing the lake for steelhead, since it's open all year, with floating spawn bags on the typical Georgian Bay sliding egg sinker rig. There were major waves coming towards the shore, causing my rod tip to be constantly moving. This made it very difficult to detect bites. I could not tell if I was getting bit or if it was the waves. I swore it had to be a fish a few times but I reeled, set the hook, and had nothing, and the spawn bag had no signs of being disturbed. Does anyone have any tips on detecting bites from waves? And how long do steelhead hold onto a roe bag? It seems like they would spit it out quickly, which means you have to be fast setting the hook.

    Also, if anyone knows how long into winter it's worth sitting at the river mouth for, that would be good to know.

    Thanks and I hope everyone has a good end to 2020 and a good new year.
    You can take a egg sinker put a thin rod through it, put it a vise and flattened it. Pull the rod back out for a nice clean hole and that'll help the keep the sinker more stationary in higher waves. It'll help prevent slack from the sinker rolling around out there.
    You're only as good as your first shot of the day. Know your limitations and make it count.
    ...FC 2012

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