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Opinions on sinker placement please


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Hi all. Just after a few opinions here.
When I fish land-based, for wary fish, I traditionally use a fishfinder rig. Small running sinker on mainline, swivel, meter long trace, and a hook on the end.
My thinking has always been that the further I can get the sinker away from the bait (and still be able to cast) the less its likely to bother the fish.
This assumes in practice the sinker really does run freely, which is something I've always had nagging doubts about.
Anyway, I've been reading a bit which suggests that the best placement for the sinker is right up against the hook.
I presume the thinking is that instead of having the fish pick up the bait up and feel a sinker flapping and dragging against the line, with no sinker on the line then the fish feels no line.
The obvious downside is that the bait is heavier then normal, but presumably the fish isn't greatly worried about this.
I've also heard of people using jig heads for bait fishing, presumably to give you both sinker and hook in one.
I've also seen people rig up with the sinker running free but able to run right up to the hook. I don't get that. Seems to incorporate both disadvantages - a heavy bait plus a flapping sinker.
What is the current thinking on this ?
Anyone rig up like this and what are your experiences ?
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More on this.

I'm wondering about this because where I fish what often happens is after long periods of inactivity I will get a short burst of activity, the pattern of which is always the same. The rod tip starts to move around, maybe five or six little tugs - more just waving then pulling. Then there is a short sharp run - more just a single pull then a run.
The fish must be quite a decent size because of the way it briefly bends the stiff rod.
Regardless of whether I strike immediately or time my response the result is always the same. I can never hookup.
I'm thinking maybe the rod tip waving like that is the fish swimming around the bait. Then it takes the bait but always spits out immediately, before I can react.
So I'm thinking maybe the fish is feeling the sinker - and its unnatural.
I cant help thinking jewfish, though maybe that's just wishful thinking. A very cautious animal either way.
Naturally I"m trying to convert those brief interactions into hookups, so I'm trying to think of ways by which the fish might keep the bait in its mouth a bit longer.
A bit of context. I'm typically fishing from shore in Brisbane Water with large chunks of tailor for bait.
Edited by Volitan
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All that was a mouthful to digest.The fishfinder rig your refering to is known as a running rig.Im no expert fisherman by any means and will suggest things based  on what I find works for me when the fish are on.

  With the running sinker rig I use a trace of 1.5-2 meters(rod length) as I want to be able to cast out if needed with the sinker resting on the bottom and that trace wafting around in the current.(That's the purpose of a running sinker rig).Your sinker directly sitting on top of your hook is usually good for snaggy bottom fishing as when you wind up there is less chance of fouling tackle and busting off.

  With both rigs I like to leave a bit of slack line by dropping my rod tip down and waiting for the rod to load up before striking.Sometimes I leave the bail open a bit watching the line too and when it goes taught I flip the bail shut and strike.

You mention you get a few raps and runs but come up empty handed when you strike?You also mention your fishing with big chunks of tailor and presumably largish hooks?The first thing I would do is down scale everything......Hook,bait.It sounds like you are fishing with too large of a hook and bait for the fish that are there more than the sinker.

I don't know what you are targeting but I fish for bream and flathead for example with a 1-1/0 hook and a ball sinker up to the size of a pea usually.For smaller mouthed fish like whiting I use a size 6 hook with the same ball sinker configuration and 99% of the time I fish the running rig as mentioned without any dramas if the fish are there.

What fish are you targetting? So someone more knowledgeable than me may add to what i've said.

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if your fishing the bottom targeting jew..you have two choices..use large sinker on short piece of line attached to a brass ring or small swivel sliding on line to a swivel and trace  fish with light drag so they can pik it up and run with it..don't let them run too long before striking as they don't have hands and there is only one place the bait can be...in their mouth...or..use the lightest possible sinker so as they cant feel it when they pik up the bait..good luck..rick

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I fish landbased in Brisbane waters or off my kayak. With bait fishing I always use a running sinker straight to the hook. At the moment I have been fishing around Ettalong/Umina beach area using a bean sinker (size varies on current flow) and a 3/0 circle hook with half a Pilchard as bait and getting some nice flathead. Usually I can feel a tap,tap then some weight starts to load up on the rod and I strike.


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Thanks for the replies guys.


fab1 your comment about the main reason for the poor hookup rate being too large bait/hook is right on the money. I should have realised that.

i fish mainly for flathead and (more hope then reality) jewfish. 

My problem is there are heaps of small bream and snapper where I fish, but I would rather fish all night for one XL flathead then spend my time endlessly turning over undersize bream or barely legal flatties, so I use oversized baits and cast away from the areas I know the little pickers predominate. And I try to use baits that are less appealing to little bream, like tailor chunks or mullet strips. Whole dead fish are best when I can get them. 

Some nights it seems to work, others I just get hammered.


thanks for the replies.



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