While it’s almost guaranteed you’ll get bit when punching grass beds, sinking the hook into fish using a heavy punching rig is less certain.
However, New Iberia’s Caleb Sumrall has found a way to increase his hookup ratio.
The basis for his punching rig is a pegged, heavy weight (no surprise) topping a straight-shanked VMC flipping hook.
The hook has a great lure keeper that prevents his favored Missile D Bombs from getting pulled down the shank, and the heavy wire holds tight once the hook point sinks in.
But the key to the entire outfit is the knot.
“I snell the hook,” Sumrall said.
Snelling a hook is more time-consuming than tying a uni or palomar knot, but Sumrall said it’s worth the investment in time.
“It kicks the point out when you set the hook,” he explained.
When he finished snelling a hook for me, he held the weight and pulled the line taut — and, sure enough — the hook darted to a sharp angle, point out, to the weight.
“That makes it easier to get a hook in the fish,” Sumrall explained.
Click here to learn how to snell a hook.
Be sure you run the line through the eye from the front side of the hook when tying the knot, though. If you mistakenly pass the line through the back side of the eye, the hook’s bend will flip out, pulling the tip of the hook away from contact.
Sumrall said snelling flipping hooks is one of the secrets for many successful punching anglers, resulting in solid hook sets in the tough part of fish’s mouths — where they are less likely to tear it out.
“Ninety percent of the time, the hook will be right in the top of their mouths,” he said.