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Length of hooklinks ?

Gary Manders

Senior Member
Over the summer months i have been experimenting with the length of my hoolinks having been using mainly a coated braid. I started with lengths over 3ft and was getting a few barbel. Then i met Trefor West on the W.Avon and he asked me why i was using such long hooklinks as the swim i was fishing was close to a weed bed it made sense to reduce the length i mainly fish no longer than 2ft lentghs and have had plenty of good fish . Has anyone got there prefered length of hooklink ?
 

Chris Jones

Senior Member
About eighteen inches for me. For little reason other than it's about as long as I can get without starting to see an increase in tangles, particularly with braid. Using Fluorocarbon I'll perhaps risk squeaking it out to two foot. Rarely do I use longer.
 

Gavin Hoe-Richardson

Senior Member
Three feet for me in clear water, reducing accordingly as the water clarity reduces, minimum 12 inches. I use braids for mainline and hooklength.
 

Darren George

Senior Member
Have messed about with h/l length in the past. There are times when it can pick up extra fish, but IMO many more times when it doesn't make a great deal of difference.

Things to consider: mainline visibilty / unsuitability of backlead, behaviour / consistency of hookbait, 'nuisance' species and temperature
 

Paul Thomas

Senior Member
For me it's usually the opposite to what others are doing....I've had Barbel this Summer in gin clear Teme water on 3" nylon hooklengths and also on the Lower Severn on 3ft pop-ups in high pressure weather systems when there were fish splashing all over the surface.

My usual starting point is 12", increasing in length by a few inches every hour or so up to 36" until I start getting some indications....I'm convinced that the fish are on my baits almost constantly and I adjust until I start to get hittable chances.

Paul
 

Darren George

Senior Member
3ft pop-ups? Like a zig rig or a 3ft h/l with a popup in the conventional manner?

It's interesting as I have been considering vision aspect of barbel feeding and the first thing that came to mind was popups, but not zig rig style..
 

Paul Matthews

Super Moderator
Staff member
Anything from 3-6 feet for me ! I've found longer hooklinks to bring me a lot of success. With a 6 foot hooklength, there is no need to faff around with backleads etc.
The only time I tend to go shorter is in flood conditions, where I will used 18" or so.
 

Paul Thomas

Senior Member
Darren,

Traditional pop-up 3' off bottom....caught initially by accident when the counter balance shot was missing after netting. Thought it might be something useful so cast it back out and caught another a few hours later :)

I've only used it so far in high pressure systems when the fish seem to be showing a lot more on the surface...and these 2 Barbel + 1 Chub represent the only successes on it!! Not enough action on the Lower Severn to really "prove" anything but it is food for thought?

Paul
 

Gary Manders

Senior Member
interesting Paul on the pop ups never tried it with the barbel but will give it a go next summer. Think in low clear cons the longer hooklink works well, but think also what type of bottom you are fishing on as the peg i was fishing had a gravel bar of 3ft down the middle with weed beds either side so casting to this area was useless with a long hooklink .Shortend the link to just over a foot resulted to 8 barbel including 2 doubles ,cons were low and clear but the weather was very overcast with a strong south westerly the barbel were feeding hard in one area so think that helped.
 

Paul Thomas

Senior Member
Gary,

The Teme fish had been really well fed on freebies and literally ripping the bottom up at my feet less than a foot from the bank on several occasions this season. I caught a few on 10-12" links with the lead actually on the bank they were that close in until I decided to shorten the hooklength right down....as for the swim make up - it was between swims in an area of slack water and silt and is my kind of spot simply because it doesn't appeal to most others or conform to the recognised norm ;)

Paul
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
Always seem to use about 12'' or so, never really considered it made a lot of difference about the length, other than it would be better using a shorter length as possible. I remember Gary commenting to me that Westie advised him to shorten up, and that pretty much concurred with what I thought, but some of you have put that theory in doubt.
So, by having a longer length does that really evoke a 'shy' fish to take, and if so why I wonder.(Apart from the lead/ feeder being less visual) I would imagine the bite register would not be as positive, as a short link, and the hook up less likely.
 

Paul Matthews

Super Moderator
Staff member
Neil,
For me it's a confidence thing, the most visual thing to any fish is the mainline entering the water, to save messing around with backleads etc. I use a long hooklink. If you are lucky enough to be able to watch the reaction of fish to rigs etc. It becomes apparent that they are very wary of the line.
The bite are no less positive in my experience, the hooklength will soon be more or less straight. Another advantage of fishing a small clear river is seeing how far a boilie, lump of meat or any other freebie will travel in even moderate flows. I don't think hook-up are less likely either.
All the above said, if what you do works for you, then why change it !?
On the flip side to this, I hav caught quite a few cagey Barbel on a method feeder bombed through the weed with a 3" hooklink !

Regards Paul M.
 

Darren George

Senior Member
Numerous reasons, neil. Some reasons I adopted long h/ls were hinted at earlier by myself and others.

Think about the way fish feed and the way fish interact with each other when feeding, or even not feeding. Also consider it from the fish point of view... Even the size and consistency of the hookbait.

That said long hooklengths aren't for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all..
 

Andrew Boyne

Senior Member
Like Paul M i was a big fan of long hooklinks 3-6' for exactly the same reasons - no need for backleads etc. Having only fished larger rivers ( Trent, Ribble, Yorkshire Ouse ) i hadn't been able to observe barbel feeding over my rig until this season. A good friend gave me a tip off on a swim where the barbel live tight to the near bank - and so they did! I watched them for a good few hours before putting a hookbait in the swim, std approach for me at the time - 3' mono hooklink, small bomb on a running rig. I lowered it in gently and within seconds - a 6lb'er! That fish released, another handfull of hemp went in and the barbel were back - seemingly unconcerned at thier friends miss fortune. However, on lowering in the rig for the second time, the fish were noticably on edge. They spooked when they came within 2' of the mainline, but worse still i watched several good fish pick up and spit out my hookbait!

How many times do you hear of anglers getting one or two, then the swim goes dead - just the odd tap. Those taps were barbel, and the long hooklinks allow the barbel to get away with it time and time again. I know this has been written about many times before, but what is the solution? The dilema is, if using a short hooklink you must pin at least 3' of line down and on a lot of barbel rivers that is inviting snags. I'd wager those who use short hooklinks without backleads etc catch most of their fish at night, or in heavily coloured water. Long hooklinks will catch fish, but for every 1 caught i reckon 10 will have picked up the bait and spat it out. :confused:
 

Darren George

Senior Member
Did you continue to get done when you shortened your link?

There is no one-size-fits-all rig, sometimes you have to compromise..

Some rivers a backlead won't be a problem with snags, In some swims the fish aren't so finicky, and on some rivers, 1 in 10 is a double;)
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
Like Paul M i was a big fan of long hooklinks 3-6' for exactly the same reasons - no need for backleads etc. Having only fished larger rivers ( Trent, Ribble, Yorkshire Ouse ) i hadn't been able to observe barbel feeding over my rig until this season. A good friend gave me a tip off on a swim where the barbel live tight to the near bank - and so they did! I watched them for a good few hours before putting a hookbait in the swim, std approach for me at the time - 3' mono hooklink, small bomb on a running rig. I lowered it in gently and within seconds - a 6lb'er! That fish released, another handfull of hemp went in and the barbel were back - seemingly unconcerned at thier friends miss fortune. However, on lowering in the rig for the second time, the fish were noticably on edge. They spooked when they came within 2' of the mainline, but worse still i watched several good fish pick up and spit out my hookbait!

How many times do you hear of anglers getting one or two, then the swim goes dead - just the odd tap. Those taps were barbel, and the long hooklinks allow the barbel to get away with it time and time again. I know this has been written about many times before, but what is the solution? The dilema is, if using a short hooklink you must pin at least 3' of line down and on a lot of barbel rivers that is inviting snags. I'd wager those who use short hooklinks without backleads etc catch most of their fish at night, or in heavily coloured water. Long hooklinks will catch fish, but for every 1 caught i reckon 10 will have picked up the bait and spat it out. :confused:

Interesting and some good thought provoking comments, I really need to think more about this, I don't use back leads but I will now, if only to mix it up a bit, I switch baits to try and induce bites, but rarely think about hook links lengths as being a factor.
Your point about longer hooklengths = missed bites is a real problem to overcome, and one even I recognised. However perhaps rather than having such a steep angle on the rod in the rest, perhaps when the situation allows would the tip lowered help?
 

Darren George

Senior Member
Different line angle helps. As does allowing some slack to form a bow.

Where the swim allows (shallowish or a steady marginal slope) jabbing the rod tip into the river bed has caught me extra fish.

You could go the other way and instead of hiding the line, make it obvious or look like something else. Using tubing for instance. Never had the balls myself but know others who have...
 

Gary Manders

Senior Member
interesting replies guys, just like too say that westy showed me a rig wallet of his which mainly consisted of 6" lentghs of braided h/links 0n size 6 and 4 hooks, and when the fishing was hard going a piece of brown parcel tape accross the braid as he threw on the floor" it looks like a twig " !!;)
 

Andrew Boyne

Senior Member
Ps missed bites on long hooklength depends entirely on the feeding situation the angler has encouraged, IMO

I agree. In the situation i described i'd fed a large quantity of hemp, the swim was directly behind a small overhanging willow. The barbel swam out from under the tree into mid river, then swung back in to the near bank and approached the baited patch from downstream, hoovering up as much as they could then going back under the tree upstream. In this situation, a long hooklink is going to get dropped simply because the barbel were (a) feeding confidently on the spot and (b) moving upstream with their mouthfull. If their holding area was downstream of the baited patch, they would be more likely to fall foul of a long hooklink as they turn downstream.

In answer to your other question Darren, Did i continue to get done having shortened the link? No! I changed to a 9" hooklink, small in line bomb with 2' of sinking rig tube behind it and a backlead. 10 barbel in a few hours was the result. Interestingly the barbel were quite happy to feed over the tubing without spooking. I also agree that a slack line is much less likely to spook the fish than a tight one, and i'm another who likes to keep my rod tip as low as possible.
 
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