Hot Hook Phenomenon?

Is the Hot Hook Phenomenon real?

  • It's real, and it's spectacular

    Votes: 4 36.4%
  • It's just random chance

    Votes: 3 27.3%
  • My mad skills make me the Hot Hook.

    Votes: 3 27.3%
  • It's only an excuse for poor fishing skills

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I like pie

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters
    11

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
We've all seen it. The person on the boat that gets all the bites. Sometimes it's been us, sometimes the other guy. But there's no apparent reason for it, and I want to know what's up with that.

Last weekend I was out with a friend, and he kept getting all the stripers. I only had a couple of runoffs and couldn't keep anything on the hook or bring it to the boat. Now this time I could write it off to different gear. I was using different hooks than him. But other times it's identical gear, identical bait and identical technique. I'm sure we've also seen things like the "Well, the chum pot is on your side of the boat." rationale. So, we switch sides, but the fish switch sides too! :mad:

Let's hear your thoughts, experiences or excuses for the Hot Hook phenomenon.
 
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Roccus7

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2018
10,236
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Midcoast Maine
With tog it's pretty random. Was out with multiple boats off of Wading River years ago, before the advent of GPS AND LORAN. We were anchoring on the Nuke Pipeline and I just tossed an anchor over the side saying, "Looks as good as any other spot" when suddenly my buddy says, "Get the net, I got one!!" I netted a nice blackfish for him and went to bait my road when, "Hey got another!!" It took me 5 nettings for him for me to get my rod over which immediately bent over with a nice tog on. This lock and load fishing took place for 15 minutes while every other boat in our group, some as close as 20 ft, sat there with no bites.

It was just one of those LUCKY being in the right place at the right time events...
 
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Your fishing skills can only do so much, luck plays a big part especially with me, I could give plenty of instances where luck prevailed over skill, but the luckiest fish I ever caught was on a tuna trip back in the 90's, I was a regular on the Sunbeam Express out of Niantic, I practically lived on that boat, tuna fishing was great and I got my fare share of tuna and pool winnings.
This one trip I was on was the late 90's, YFT were getting harder to find and a lot of trips turned into 1 or 2 fish caught out of 28 guys.
As the Sunbeam was a slow crew boat it averaged 12 to15 knots to the tuna grounds, I read about these new door knob tuna lures that could be trolled up to 22 kts, crazy right? so I bought a couple, We left Niantic at 4.30 am headed to Hudson canyon, it was going to be a long ride so went down and sacked out for awhile, when I woke up about 3 hrs later I rigged up a trolling outfit with a green and yellow door knob, dropped it behind the boat and let out about 300 feet of line.
Other anglers were starting to get up and saw what i was doing, they all had a good laugh until I hooked up and had to run up to the bridge and tell Capt Bob I was on a fish, well to make a long story short, I got the fish in about a 40lb YFT.
No fish were caught on that trip except mine and I won the pool by default, if I hadn't put that door knob out none of us would have come home with a tuna.
I rather be lucky than good, but I'm both lol
Jay
All stay safe and Healthy
 

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
With tog it's pretty random. Was out with multiple boats off of Wading River years ago, before the advent of GPS AND LORAN. We were anchoring on the Nuke Pipeline and I just tossed an anchor over the side saying, "Looks as good as any other spot" when suddenly my buddy says, "Get the net, I got one!!" I netted a nice blackfish for him and went to bait my road when, "Hey got another!!" It took me 5 nettings for him for me to get my rod over which immediately bent over with a nice tog on. This lock and load fishing took place for 15 minutes while every other boat in our group, some as close as 20 ft, sat there with no bites.

It was just one of those LUCKY being in the right place at the right time events...

It can certainly apply to boats as well. We've all seen a bunch of boats on a bite and one just seems to be charmed and keeps hooking up when the others just aren't seeing it.

In a case like yours I'd @$$ume it's structure and being in the particular spot where the fish are hanging out. But what if only one of you was catching?
 

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
Your fishing skills can only do so much, luck plays a big part especially with me, I could give plenty of instances where luck prevailed over skill, but the luckiest fish I ever caught was on a tuna trip back in the 90's, I was a regular on the Sunbeam Express out of Niantic, I practically lived on that boat, tuna fishing was great and I got my fare share of tuna and pool winnings.
This one trip I was on was the late 90's, YFT were getting harder to find and a lot of trips turned into 1 or 2 fish caught out of 28 guys.
As the Sunbeam was a slow crew boat it averaged 12 to15 knots to the tuna grounds, I read about these new door knob tuna lures that could be trolled up to 22 kts, crazy right? so I bought a couple, We left Niantic at 4.30 am headed to Hudson canyon, it was going to be a long ride so went down and sacked out for awhile, when I woke up about 3 hrs later I rigged up a trolling outfit with a green and yellow door knob, dropped it behind the boat and let out about 300 feet of line.
Other anglers were starting to get up and saw what i was doing, they all had a good laugh until I hooked up and had to run up to the bridge and tell Capt Bob I was on a fish, well to make a long story short, I got the fish in about a 40lb YFT.
No fish were caught on that trip except mine and I won the pool by default, if I hadn't put that door knob out none of us would have come home with a tuna.
I rather be lucky than good, but I'm both lol
Jay
All stay safe and Healthy

Great story, and an excellent reminder that luck is augmented by effort.

Yes, they call it fishing and not catching, but you have to be fishing to have a shot at catching. There's no hot hooks inside the boat. But being the only one fishing does not make being the only one catching a phenomenon.
 

captmike28

Angler
Dec 21, 2018
730
1,658
93
Southold, NY
www.captainstablecharters.com
IMHO the observation of a "Hot Hook" individual is very real but almost always due to those anglers outstanding skills. Sure, luck plays a part in almost all fishing trips, but the really skilled angler tips the odds in their favor in many ways. Better bait or lure presentation, a more highly refined sense of where their rig is in relationship to where the fish are feeding, the ability to detect even the lightest bites when the fish are still deciding whether or not to commit and how the angler handles that opportunity all play a part in the process.

To be sure if you are fishing on a large boat for a species that is holding very tight to a specific piece of structure that could be part of the answer. But I still firmly believe the most experienced anglers always have a huge advantage. Here is a quick story to illustrate my point.

Many years ago, I was on a winter Cod trip on the Viking out of Montauk. Fishing was generally pretty good for most anglers with many having 4-6 Cod in their sack by around lunchtime. Personally, I had 11 or 12 and thought I was pretty hot. But there was a guy near me, casting off the bow all day and he had completely filled one bushel basket with Cod while starting to work on the second one by lunchtime. So, I asked the mate aboard who is this hotshot that seems to be getting all the bites. He replied it was Johnny Rade, brother of Richie Rade, the owner of the Ebb Tide at the time. Johhny was a pinhooker and it was easy to see his skills with the rod and reel were far more highly developed than anyone else aboard that day. Was he really getting more bites than the other passengers or making the most out of every opportunity through his baiting and casting techniques as well as his ability to literally feel the fish "sniffing" at his bait? When you fish for a living every day the weather allows you can raise your game to the point where others think you are just the lucky guy with the "Hot Hook".

I know guys on this board who are not full-time commercial fisherman but approach that level of skill with Fluke and Tog. Personally, I always try to be as humble as possible about my own ability as a fisherman. But when it comes to 3-way bucktailing for Striped Bass in the Gut or the Race I normally put most other anglers to shame when it comes to consistency on hooking up with Bass. There is most definitely a "feel" you develop and an ability to detect bites many other less skilled fishermen do not even notice. Heck, I have been fishing that method and area for well over 50 years so hopefully I have learned something! And to be totally honest, I just learned a couple of new tricks this season by being really observant of the conditions and modifying my technique slightly to suit the more challenging than normal conditions.
 

captmike28

Angler
Dec 21, 2018
730
1,658
93
Southold, NY
www.captainstablecharters.com
On a related sad note, I just learned that John Rade passed away only 2 weeks ago age 79. Although I only knew him by reputation and having observed his incredible skills in person a few times it is always sad when we lose a fisherman of his caliber.
Also, my memory got the better of me in the last post. The Rade brothers ran the Marlin out of Montau for many years in addition to their commercial operations, not the Ebb Tide.
 
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movetheboat

Well-Known Angler
Dec 29, 2018
9,841
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wow!! I often think about the knowledge that goes with some people when they leave this planet. John Rade was one of those people. He docked at inlet seafood where I used to "hook" for another boat that was friendly with him and I saw him often. He usually fished alone on his boat "STARFISH" but will still come in with as much as boats with two or 3 people. He prepared (cut bait) etc as much as possible before he left the marina and knew where to be exactly under all conditions of tide, wind, temp etc. He fluked with a bucktail and squid only. Everyone was pretty secretive in that marina so all that knowledge probably went with him. RIP John

His brother Richie passed years ago and was a different type. I fished for him when he was running the Viking. I'd pull Porgys all day and he would sell em...both happy.

here is a picture of John from a year? ago...probably preparing squid strips

jr.jpg
 

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
Sorry to hear about Mr. Rade. Although I never met him, he sounds like an interesting guy to know.

As far as lost knowledge, I agree that a lot of guys won't give up the secret, which is kind of a natural thing amongst fishermen because we can all be quite competitive sometimes. It would be nice if some of that wisdom gets passed on to the next generation.

However, I also think there's only just so much that can be taught. Guys that are out there all the time as @captmike28 said, honing their craft, probably A: are passionate about it, which means they're just plain working harder at it, and B: have more rod time. In racing we used to call it "seat time." Just a factor of more time spent going through the motions, developing and honing proficiency and the tactile skills that let you capitalize on every opportunity.
 

AllyKat

Angler
Dec 25, 2018
220
406
63
I I I I
I've been on both sides of this story. Out on my cousins ride in the GSB going for fluke. I brought everything I had and tried it all for the occasional short. Meanwhile, his FIL big Jim who has spent plenty of time on party boats is out with us, and has his single hook squid and spearing combo and he put on a clinic catching 4 keepers, vs zero for the rest of us. We got back to the dock, and with all the ribbing we took from the rest of the family members, Big Jim said something that stuck with me to this day....some guys smell like bait, and some guys smell like fish!
It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, I get lucky and the fish just like the way I present the bait I guess. It has happened more often than not with Tog recently....those become memorable trips.
 

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
I can see a situation on a party boat where you have a bunch of strangers and varying skill levels. i.e. on a couple of the Cub Scout fishing trips there were only two parents that were experienced fishermen. The rest all had varying levels of skill or lack of. Naturally, the other fisherman and I caught most of the fish on the boat. He outfished me, but he was also an experienced party-boat fisherman who brought his own gear and had his favorite spot on the boat etc.

That all makes clear sense. Simply being better at what you do is akin to Mr. Rade's comparative skill.

Here's another anecdote to illustrate what I'm talking about. A Fluke fishing trip with my family. I was maybe around 8 or 10 years old, so I really didn't have any mad fishing skills. However, I was the one catching all the fish. We tried different positions on the boat etc. and it didn't seem to matter. On one of the bites, I had felt something but seemed to have lost it. A few minutes later, dad finally has a bite. Turns out it was my fish had gotten tangled up in his line. I can't imagine what I could have been doing differently than anyone else, and the old man certainly had more fishing skills than I would have. Same bait, same rigs, same everything.... Maybe the fish felt sorry for the little kid. Who knows?
 

movetheboat

Well-Known Angler
Dec 29, 2018
9,841
9,794
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I have seen a few people that even if there were a boatload of leprechauns on board, they would not be out fished. May not get the biggest fish everytime but in general outfish the boat.
 
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dsedy

Well-Known Angler
Jan 31, 2019
1,622
2,192
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I wrote this in 2010...I used a fishing related situation analogous to business decisions.

The Art of Presentation: how presentation influences customers

I recently went fishing with a top rated captain in Montauk, NY. We set off at 7 AM on a brisk November morning heading towards Block Island, RI in search of the elusive Tautog otherwise known as Blackfish. They make their home in rock piles and wrecks. They also put up a heck of fight.

Captain Steve anchored the boat over the wreck by 9 AM that morning. With a crew of me, Mike and the Captain, we lowered our baits down into the water, about 70 feet deep and looked forward to a great day on the water catching some fish.

After three hours of fishing Captain Steve and Mike were catching the blackfish left and right. Nearly, every drop to the bottom of the live crab baits resulted in a hook-up with a blackfish on the end of the line.

I was getting frustrated; I wasn’t doing as well! What gives? Why am I not as effective?

Asking the Right Questions:

The baits we were all using were the same; both sides of the boat were producing too. The only difference between the three of us was in the kind of rigs we were each using. Steve and Mike were using a double rig that kept the baits suspended slightly above the wreck; I was using a double rig too, however it was the type that laid the baits flat on the bottom (which usually works fine) just out of the zone. And that was the difference on this day; it was all in the presentation and placement of the bait.

When I put my ego aside (three hours later); when I asked the right questions and observed the subtle differences between how the three of us were fishing, I was able to get to the root cause of not catching. Once I switched rigs to what was working, I started catching. It was really that simple.

The right mix:

Later that evening, I was thinking how the days experience relates to business. How and where a company’s products and services are offered to customers; across multiple touch points, the channels and ever changing consumer behavior.

Getting that mix right should be an ongoing process.

In this case study, the target species blackfish are your potential customers. Steve and Mike are your competitors. The bait is your product or service. The rigs and hooks are your marketing. Everything together should be looked at holistically.

Some Key take-a-ways:

  • Competitive Intelligence: Keep an eye on the competition. Make it an active part of your overall strategy.
  • Customer Behavior: What works on one particular day, in one particular way, may not work tomorrow. Make sure you have the right customer feedback mechanisms in place.
  • Product Placement: The marketing was near the zone, but not in the right zone. If I had customer feedback management, if I measured results, I would have been able to act sooner, tweak the process and make the necessary changes for success.
Having the right analytics, decision support tools and an embedded process that is aligned with organizational goals is fundamental to marketing success. Staying ahead of the curve; always learning and consistently questioning; being flexible, agile and pro-active.

It is often the little things that make the biggest difference. The message that ultimately comes across, the manner in which you present and place your product or service, is a key ingredient to a successful customer engagement.

So, how does presentation influence customers?

Don Sedy 2010
 

Matts

Angler
Feb 11, 2019
277
302
63
Port Washington
"Sometimes it's been us, sometimes the other guy. "

I feel like subtle differences in presentation and hook set can be critical. A good angler knows some techniques that often work and under most conditions, you are or are near hi-hook, but not always.

A great angler can impart subtle variations, based on conditions, even daily changes, to always be near the top.

I'm pretty good catching tog with green crabs, a 1/2 oz or less jig, or a short leader rigged very close to the sinker, which I've gotten used to fishing from my boat in the Western Sound.
If I'm elsewhere and need to use a heavier jig or I'm fishing with a leader higher above the sinker or we have white crabs, my normal presentation is not as effective and my production falls in comparison the those around me.

Yes, sometimes, but not often, the cub scout troop presentation is perfect for the specific situation, and novices outfish the more experienced. But if you always want to come out near the top, I feel like it's those subtle changes in presentation, based on the tide changing, competition variations from little fish, differences in structure type, differences in bait, that some guys will always be near the top and for most of us: "Sometimes it's been us, sometimes the other guy. "
 

Jaws1948

Angler
Feb 13, 2019
121
170
43
When fishing on a party boat for tog or seabass, I've noticed that your position on the boat is all important. I've figured out where the transducer is and when fishing right on top of it, I can outfish anyone, while if I'm 10 feet off the transducer, I might get nothing. From observation, I've seen this same thing happen to many other anglers. Being right on top of the structure is all important. Of course, this doesn't work when drifting or when fishing for scup which seem to move around more than tog or seabass.
 
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