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Thread: Tail Biters

  1. #1

    Default Tail Biters

    Ran into something today worth passing along.

    Had trouble the last three days with "tail biters" while trolling for kings with herring. Lots of hits on whole herring, but just nipping the tails off behind the trailing hook. Managed to hook a few, but always just by a flap of skin at the edge of the mouth. Most of those either popped free in the net or alongside the boat before you could get the net to them.

    The ultimate reason to learn how to cut and fish cutplugs is something to try when you're overrun with tail biters. I finally smarted up after a full day of the tail biting nonsense on whole herring (no matter what size herring- we tried purple, blue and green tray). I went to cutplugs with the point of the trailing hook back just past the end of the tail on the herring. Bam! We quit missing fish, and not only that, we quit losing fish. Yet all the fish were hooked way forward in the mouth saying they were still tail biting, but making it easy to release them unharmed as we wanted.

    Yesterday was great with cutplug, but this morning was EPIC. On two lines we hooked and landed seven kings in two hours, while missing only one strike and not losing any. We released three smaller ones, but tapped out with two nice limits. My wife's reputation continues to grow. I got my two fish right away and quit, and she got her first one quickly too. But her next three were "too small" and released before she finished the day with our biggest. Clearly it pays to be patient and release smaller fish while waiting for the bigger ones when the bite is on!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Lewisville, TX


    Hm. Was in KTN for a week ending 6/27, and caught lots of kings (all short ...). Was using cut-plug herring with the trailing hook set through the skin of the tail, so the hook stayed inline with the bait. Every hookup was on the rear hook, with a solid hookset. Guess I was doing something right after all.

    Will be back in late July for another go - maybe I can get one of those big 'uns then.

  3. #3


    Good stuff. Thx for sharing.

    After watching a few underwater strikes on video, I've gone to having the trailer hook 6 to 12" behind the bait. I use fluro leaders and whole herring. I'd say 50% of my hook ups are on the back hook. Oddly, most of the hook ups aren't "lined" fish on the back hook. I swear it looks like they are striking it. I run mainly 4/0 to 7/0 red gamakatsu.

    A huge favor I'd ask is for others with more rods per boat try this set up for a a little bit. Just one rod. I know it works. What I don't know is "is it better?" because 95% of the time I'm fishing in proximity to a single line.

    I have some concern the trailing hook could "put off" a fish. Enough of them don't seem to care. It'd be interesting to run a comparison.
    My personal pages...I'm not a guide.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    I run mainly 4/0 to 7/0 red gamakatsu.
    Dunno about trailing a hooks so far back, cuzz I've never tried it. My concern is still having the bait up ahead on the lead hook after you've hooked up. We get so many of our fish up to the surface with one or more other fish running right with it, I worry quite about about the next fish grabbing the bait. Watched it happen right next to the boat twice this year- once with cutplug and once with whole rigged. Had some herring still there right in front of Fish #1's nose, and watched Fish #2 dive right in and grab it. Tore off Fish #1 (naturally, the bigger of the two) the first time, and broke the leader between the hooks, losing both fish the second time.

    One thing I've tried with the red hooks (actually Owner in my case) is to put the red hook up forward to try to pull the short strikers up to the front of the bait. Seems to work some of the time, but that's impression rather than science.

  5. #5
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Eagle River


    Geez I want the problem of having two kings on at once!

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    Geez I want the problem of having two kings on at once!
    Until it happens!

    Not a battle I expect to win any time soon, and usually costing me both fish.

  7. #7
    Member JR2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Eagle River


    I have seen some methods of threading a herring where they actually cut the tail off the herring and use a trebble hook as a tail, that might work good if your into threading.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson


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