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Thread: Why do mooching rigs run the smaller hook up front and bigger in the back?

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    Default Why do mooching rigs run the smaller hook up front and bigger in the back?

    I noticed all the store shelf pre-made mooching rigs set the smaller hook up front. Why not the larger hook up front and smaller hook towards the tail of the bait?

    Personally, I tie my own rigs and just use the same sized hook for both. Was just curious why Gamakatsu, Danielson, Eagle Claw, etc all rig it the way they do.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaFishTerminator View Post
    Personally, I tie my own rigs and just use the same sized hook for both.
    Same here. Lots of commercial ones are tied that way too, though you're right about some with the small/big arrangement. It's a regional thing I'm sure, and somehow it spread. I sure gave it a rassle in making my own rigs, but never found a single incident where I proved it was an advantage. Left over from my commercial trolling days, I do tend to use larger hooks than most guys. My "standard" for blue tray herring, plug cut or whole, is a 5/0 Owner. I use 7/0 owners on purple tray, and 9/0 for baits larger than that. No proven sense in it really, but I feel better with a bigger hook to get under a little more bone for fish fighting.

    Heck, some guys even make their mooching rigs with trebles in back. Fine for them and I'm glad they're happy, but they better not try and tie one on my rod! And if they tell me I'm wrong, I get rude. I don't try to make them dump their trebles, so they can leave me and my singles alone.

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    I have a box of 5/0 Mustad. I use em because I got em. Don't feel like buying a bunch of different sized hooks. I've never had a fish throw the hook once the 5/0 has hold. The only downside is that the 5/0's are fish eye socket poppers. I've had to release numerous legally undersized fish where I know they're chance of survival is minimal because of the destruction these hooks caused.

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    When I used to buy my own mooching rigs I often wondered the same thing. The only reason I could think of is that I found that a lot of the time a fish would be hooked by just the trailing hook so consequently the manufacturers think of the lead hook as being there just to retain the bait and that a smaller hook will hold better in an appropriately sized herring, and that the larger trailing hook is there to actually catch the fish so using a bigger hook allows for the point of the hook to actually stick out of the herring. When I started tying my own mooching rigs I just used the same size hook front and back and sure didn't notice and difference in catch rate that way.
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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Front hook is just there to tow the bait.... rear hook catches the fish.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Front hook is just there to tow the bait.... rear hook catches the fish.
    Nice theory, but I get 90% of my hookups on the front hook. Same for herring and for hoochies. Could be the smaller hook is just missing the strike and it's getting the rear one instead.

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    I always tie the same sized hooks on "mooching" leaders, in most cases a Gami 5/0 on the front (slider) and a 5/0 Matzuo sickle hook on the rear. If I am expecting larger fish and using larger (purple label) herring - I switch up to 7/0 Gamis (probably a hold-over idea from commercial trolling - like BrownBear). In my experience towing herring (plugs or strips), my hook-ups are split about 50/50 between front hook and back hook.

  8. #8

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    The reason for a larger hook in rear of a tandem mooching rig is to act as a keel. The larger hook you put in the back the faster you can drag a bait without it getting too wild and crazy on ya. Mostly it's for people running cut plugs who want to achieve that tight roll/spin at faster troll speeds, using whole herring doesn't have as big of an effect. Also, as previously stated the rear hook catches the fish 80% of the time so it makes sense to use a larger hook with better holding capabilities.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by LGraham View Post
    The reason for a larger hook in rear of a tandem mooching rig is to act as a keel. The larger hook you put in the back the faster you can drag a bait without it getting too wild and crazy on ya. Mostly it's for people running cut plugs who want to achieve that tight roll/spin at faster troll speeds, using whole herring doesn't have as big of an effect. Also, as previously stated the rear hook catches the fish 80% of the time so it makes sense to use a larger hook with better holding capabilities.
    I think I'm getting the same effect using larger hooks in general, but I can certainly see the effect of changing hook size on spin. As for the 80% claim, different boats and experiences for different folks. I haven't hooked a single fish on the rear hook this year unless the front hook was also buried. If it's just one hook in the mouth almost all of mine (as I said, about 90%) are taken on the front hook.

    That makes me wonder about something.... I prefer bigger herring than most folks and bigger hoochies too, and I troll lots slower than most folks (1.6-1.8mph). Watching fish of many species hit many bait fish, when it's a large bait they usually hit from a little to the side and take the head first. That's the whole point behind butterfly jigs and such. Heck. I know guys that have done away with rear hooks on ALL their long jigs, saying they're now hooking more fish than ever using front hook only.

    It's all interesting, and I don't think there's any one answer except the one that's right for you. Us talking like this and reporting different experiences doesn't mean we disagree, but that we've seen different things and had different experiences. Reading and experimenting with new stuff is good. I know it's led me to fish I might not have caught using a "standard" method.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Watching fish of many species hit many bait fish, when it's a large bait they usually hit from a little to the side and take the head first.
    I'd have to beg to differ on that one. I've got hundreds of hours of underwater video I've shot over the years and in watching all those videos have found that salmon almost invariably hit a herring from either the back or slightly to the side and more often than not grab the middle to back part of the herring. Here's a number of shots of kings hitting a green label: http://muttleycrewfishing.com/web_me...rustration.wmv
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  11. #11
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Nice video Mutt, what depth is the picture taken at ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Nice video Mutt, what depth is the picture taken at ?
    Thanks. I've probably got about 200 hours or more of various fish chasing my bait, but those king shots were particularly interesting to me since I pretty much live to troll for kings and they exemplify how kings typically hit a bait fish. And the last shot in that video is of a king hitting a Tee-Spoon. I'm amazed by it because it has a big ol' treble hook on it and that king somehow is able to grab it and then spit it out a second or two later.

    I'd love to know where BrownBear has seen fish taking a herring by its head, because I've never seen it happen in any of my videos. I'm going to resurrect my camera system pretty soon and will be adding more videos when I can get around to it. I'd love to do some comparison fishing using something like a J-Plug, or Brad's Cut Plug on one camera and a threaded herring on the other. That would really be interesting.

    But those particular shots were probably shot somewhere between 25 to 40 ft. down. That's usually "the zone" where I'll set my gear for kings unless I get some sort of indication the fish are hanging out at a drastically different depth.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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  13. #13

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    I was running my bait at 20 feet on the downriggers last week and had three strikes that did not hook up. All three strikes mangled the bait from above and mid back. I shortened up to fifteen feet and managed to pick up a couple. Thanks for the video, I always wondered about that.

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