Black Bass Masterclass - Terminal Tackle
***Disclaimer: The use of the term “Masterclass” is loose, I do not profess to knowing all about targeting these fish, it is a simple term for users of the page to search for all gear/technique posts***
So you have bitten the bullet and booked the trip of a lifetime to PNG, first thought will generally be what rods and reels will I take? Do I have anything heavy enough…. I am starting this series of tackle info posts differently, from the bottom up!
Terminal tackle is often an afterthought when preparing for your trip but it plays such a crucial role in staying connected to the fish. Most people learn through trial and error the impact of different terminal tackle, the unfortunate part of this is that the error could be a 50lb fish of a lifetime!
Some important things to consider:
-Weight – How is this beefed up terminal tackle going to affect the action of my lure? How will the terminals affect the float rate/sink rate of my lure? -Size – Will the terminal tackle physically fit on your chosen lure? No point buying size 11 HyperWire split rings to go on your Poltergeist 80! -Relative strength – Has your choice of hook been proven on Black Bass? There are not many options in the size hooks you will need for your Bass trip, generally speaking you want as close to the strength of XOS GT hooks as you can get. -Drag & Line - the majority of outfits anglers use for chasing bass are capable of up to 12kg of drag and line varies from 50-120lb, add to this the power of a rod and use of your thumb this can exert a crazy amount of force on your terminal tackle! It is worth noting that in most scenarios your terminal tackle will be the weakest link. More to come on drag settings in future masterclasses
It may sound like a simple thing but you should be testing your terminals on your lures PRIOR to your trip, this will help to determine whether you need to rethink the hook setup, maybe run a single on the belly and treble on the tail or remove the middle hook altogether. I would also recommend testing in fresh as well as salt/brackish to see how the water density affects float rate (will depend on where you are travelling to!
My personal recommendations are as follows:
-Trebles – Owner ST66 in size 4-3/0 depending on lure size. A tip, do not skimp on hooks! I have seen VMC 6X trebles open like they were nothing, all hooks are not made equal! Owner seem to be stickier than others I have tried also. -Singles – Decoy Inline Jigging Single (JS-1), VMC Inline 7266, Owner Jobu (Home made assist setup, note the thick gauge will need a broomstick to set these well) -Split Rings – Ten Mouth Hyper GT (#5) these would be my first preference and I rate them higher than the Owners. Owner HyperWire (#5-8) -Split Ring Pliers – Halco Split Ring Pliers did the job for me (The owner ones are good also). On my first trip I bought a pair of Black Magic split ring pliers, the canvas holder disintegrated on the second day and the jaws literally fell apart on day 4, steer clear.
I haven’t covered jigheads for plastics as I simply have not had enough experience to offer opinion, I will say though that I have not yet found any that I would have a great deal of confidence in, the issue with most is that they are anodized with a thick coating which gives the semblance of strength but in reality they are not a 6X heavy hook.
The last point I will make is regarding hook inspection, after every fish, every snag or failing this every dozen casts, check your hooks. If they are blunt, bent or just looking funny, rip that bastard off and replace it. Never, ever, attempt to “fix” your hook or straighten it. I personally bought in bulk last time I went away, 100 packs of size 4-1, tackle shops can order this but most will not want to lose the value of individual packs so you may need to call around.
Well there you go, my take on terminal tackle! Bet you didn’t think there was that much to be considered choosing hooks and rings haha.
Feedback is welcome guys, I am happy to continue in this format if people see benefit!