The term "bumping fish"

tigger

Well-known member
I know this term is very often used when someone strikes and feels a bump or bump and wriggle and the fish is lost. The anglers usually conclude that the rod is to stiff/powerful and has simply pulled the hook out of the fish's mouth on the strike.
I may well be on my own here but for the biggest part I don't believe that's the case.
The reason I say that is because I have used all manner of rods for trotting and still water float fishing (even legering) and no matter how powerful a rod i've used I don't bump fish because of it's power or stiffness. If using a powerful rod and fish are hooked properly on the strike they are more likely to be pulled through the water rather than the hook be pulled free. Manys the time i've struck and had smaller fish literally pulled clear out of the water but the hook has held fast!
Obviously the fish were hooked properly and not just nicked under the skin. If a fish is just nicked very lightly, no matter how soft or light actioned the rod being used then the chances are the hook will simply pull out on the strike, or seconds after striking which gives the bump effect or the bump wriggle effect. Sometimes lightly hooked fish can be played back and landed but more often than not the hook comes free at some point as the fish is being retrieved.
What i'm trying to say is, I think most of the fish that are "bumped off" have been "bumped off" because they just weren't hooked properly and it has next to nothing to do with the power of the rod being used.
In my experience the majority of fish that I have lost to hook pulls or "bumping off" have been grayling and whilst i've been using a lighter actioned or soft actioned rod. In order to stop loosing the fish with the soft rod I struck harder and played the fish harder. Striking harder drove the hook home and by playing them harder I stopped them having any loose line which was allowing them to throw the hook.
The above is my own opinions on bumping fish....
 
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nottskev

Well-known member
I can't say I've found it a problem. And if it does happen, I'm not inclined to blame the rod. It seems more likely that gear is not set up to register a bite properly, or the strike is timed wrong or somehow badly executed.

I can remember that when I fished local canals mainly, in my first 10 years of fishing, skimmers and bream could be tricky fish to catch as they seemed more prone to come off the hook, one way or another, than other species.

I think one reason bigger fish can come off when set up with a light hook for smaller fish is that a light hook can open up, or "spring" as they say, and let a fish off. Because the hook looks ok on inspection, this can leave an angler puzzled.
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
We've had the discussion before and, as you know, to a significant extent, I disagree. I've no doubt some fish are bumped due to a poor hookhold. Even a switch from barbed to barbless is likely result in more bumped fish. However, if you really wish to see an increase in bumped fish, use a rod with an inappropriate action or power. Some fish would be bumped regardless, but an appropriate rod and hook choice will minimize any bumping that might occur.
 

Richox12

Well-known member
I agree in part. Sometimes no matter what you do or what you use results in too many 'bumped' fish Especially roach & dace (for me). For whatever reason the fish just aren't 'having it'.

But I suspect using a rod which is too soft/slow, and so not actually setting the hook, is worse than a rod which is stiffer/quicker.
 

john step

Well-known member
I regard bumping off as something that happens in the first part of a second on the strike when you feel the fish and its gone just as quick.

As others have said it happens frequently with roach and dace.

Roach in particular seem to have the ability to turn a maggot over on the hook and mask the point. I think this causes the most bumping as the hook point is covered.
 

tigger

Well-known member
We've had the discussion before and, as you know, to a significant extent, I disagree. I've no doubt some fish are bumped due to a poor hookhold. Even a switch from barbed to barbless is likely result in more bumped fish. However, if you really wish to see an increase in bumped fish, use a rod with an inappropriate action or power. Some fish would be bumped regardless, but an appropriate rod and hook choice will minimize any bumping that might occur.

Yup, you and me have talked about it several times but I posted the topic as it's pouring down with rain, blowing a gale and people might be interested in it.
I don't think you and me will ever have the same conclusion, no doubt plenty people won't agree with my opinion, as I said, it's jmo on bumping fish.

Chris, I have used inapropriate rods and never had any problem bumping fish off at all.
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
Chris, I have used inapropriate rods and never had any problem bumping fish off at all.
Yep, you've said before. However, I suspect that your penchant for large hooks with multiple maggots means that you barely hook the stamp of fish that are most prone to being bumped. Absolutely impossible to prove, but my suspicion is that fish most likely to be bumped are on the smaller side. I would also suspect that your liking for more through actioned rods when fishing rivers may be playing some part. Even the differences in the way you strike will alter your perception. I'll happily accept that you don't bump many fish. However, that's a million miles away from proof that inappropriate rods can't be the cause of bumped fish.

On the roach water I fish through winter, I've occasionally had issues with bumping. I've no doubt that sometimes it's because they are being stupidly finicky and hook holds are poor. Barbless hooks and hooks of an inappropriate size may also be a factor at times. However, I can reduce bumping to an absolute minimum by using the right rod. I've not changed my terminal tackle n many years on this water. I have changed my rod of choice a few times in an attempt to minimize losses. I've gone from fairly standard 13' waggler and got steadily lighter and shorter. The choices in this direction aren't huge, nor are they particularly easy to find. Until the Browning Sphere Hotrods usurped it, the Drennan Super Crystalight was my weapon of choice. There's no doubt in my mind that both resulted in less bumps and more fish on the bank.
 

tigger

Well-known member
Yep, you've said before. However, I suspect that your penchant for large hooks with multiple maggots means that you barely hook the stamp of fish that are most prone to being bumped. Absolutely impossible to prove, but my suspicion is that fish most likely to be bumped are on the smaller side. I would also suspect that your liking for more through actioned rods when fishing rivers may be playing some part. Even the differences in the way you strike will alter your perception. I'll happily accept that you don't bump many fish. However, that's a million miles away from proof that inappropriate rods can't be the cause of bumped fish.

On the roach water I fish through winter, I've occasionally had issues with bumping. I've no doubt that sometimes it's because they are being stupidly finicky and hook holds are poor. Barbless hooks and hooks of an inappropriate size may also be a factor at times. However, I can reduce bumping to an absolute minimum by using the right rod. I've not changed my terminal tackle n many years on this water. I have changed my rod of choice a few times in an attempt to minimize losses. I've gone from fairly standard 13' waggler and got steadily lighter and shorter. The choices in this direction aren't huge, nor are they particularly easy to find. Until the Browning Sphere Hotrods usurped it, the Drennan Super Crystalight was my weapon of choice. There's no doubt in my mind that both resulted in less bumps and more fish on the bank.
During the summer months I catch hundreds of dace, many being proper tiddlers. I’ve found however many maggots on the hook the tiddlers have no problem squashing them into their mouths. What does stop the tiddlers engulfing the maggots is the size and gape of the hook. They can squash maggots but can’t squash the gape of the hook. I’ve found most tiddly fish I catch, including minnows can get a 14s superspade in their mouths but a size 12’s is too wide for many of them.
 

markcw

Well-known member
I would also say sharpness of hook can play a part in it, I fished a match once, bumped a few off one after the other ,put a new hooklength on, same dia line and same length hooklength and same sized hook. Problem solved, didnt bump anymore off By the way I was fishing a pole, and kept with same topkit as well
 

Richox12

Well-known member
i'm surprised that the Super Spades don't create any issue as they have a slightly inturned 'beak' point. I'd have thought a straight point would bump less.
 

rayner

Well-known member
With all the different opinions it's obvious, there are several things that could cause bumping.
From, too strong a rod, too soft a rod, poor hook hold, bad timing of a strike, hook spring and aggressively playing. All have been blamed at some time.
One idea that I thought was hook spring. 911 16s were notorious for springing, they were my favoured pattern for both method and bomb. Now I refuse to use them, I even steer away from even 911 extra strong now., preferring a stronger hook.
It's just something that we come across, I doubt there's any definitive reason
 

tigger

Well-known member
i'm surprised that the Super Spades don't create any issue as they have a slightly inturned 'beak' point. I'd have thought a straight point would bump less.

I use animals also and they have a slightly inturned point and same as the super spades they give great hook ups and hook holds.
All the hooks I use are micro barbed, I don't get on with barbless for several reasons.
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
During the summer months I catch hundreds of dace, many being proper tiddlers. I’ve found however many maggots on the hook the tiddlers have no problem squashing them into their mouths. What does stop the tiddlers engulfing the maggots is the size and gape of the hook. They can squash maggots but can’t squash the gape of the hook. I’ve found most tiddly fish I catch, including minnows can get a 14s superspade in their mouths but a size 12’s is too wide for many of them.
Absolutely, in the summer months you'll still get pestered when they are really going for it. I've somehow managed to catch minnows on hooks that definitely can not fit in their mouths. However, I rarely fish a hook bigger than a 16 on my local river, because I'm simply not going for the same stamp of fish you are, they aren't there in any numbers to go at so it's pointless me pretending. You are actively trying to dissuade the tiddlers. For this precise reason, we have different approaches and experiences. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, even if the cats aren't quite the same. However, fishing the way you do is less likely to show up a rod for being in any way culpable when bumping fish. I'd go as far as suggesting that you'd probably have no issues with rods that I will no longer use. We aren't fishing the same waters in the same way for similarly sized fish. Even beyond the normal differences between individual anglers, we are bound to have different experiences.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
Bumping fish is always going to happen from time to time. It seems to occur more in the colder months when fish are not feeding so agressively. Usual reasons for me are big bait/small fish or striking a bit too early.
 

mikench

Well-known member
Interesting thread. I lose/ bump off fish all the time and put that down to general incompetence particularly when on the float. I have been guilty of using a hook too many times and this I no longer do. I often strike too gently and with a slack line so miss the fish. I seek improvement and adopt stronger hooks. I have had 911 and Drennan red maggot hooks in sizes 16 to 20 open up causing the loss of a fish which I was convinced was properly hooked. I lose far fewer on the feeder and I suspect the reasons are obvious. I have had a hook gape open with a bream which defies belief. If it was easy we would get bored.:)
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
There are so many things that can contribute to bumped fish. However, some days will be worse than others regardless of the gear being used.

As far as I'm concerned, contributing equipment factors are going to include -

1) Hooks, size, pattern and sharpness can all have an influence. I tend to use single maggots a lot. Simply varying the hook size can alter hooking efficiency. I tend to bury a hook in a single maggot as many would with a caster. When doing so, a wider gape hook helps a lot. However, sometimes going up a size or two can help, even if it does seem counter-intuitive. Blunted or turned over hook points don't penetrate properly.

2) Bait type and the way it's hooked. Similar to point 2, just hooking a maggot differently can change results. The same applies to other baits, without even needing to go as far as introducing hair rigs into the equation.

3) Rod choice. Some obviously disagree, but I've no doubt at all that a rod will make a difference. There's a reason why float rods have a certain action and power. There's a reason why people don't use powerful rods for everything.

4) Line choice. This one will really make some think I'm doolally. Use a very low stretch line, especially braid, and the amount of fish you bump will increase. To lessen the effect, you can use a lighter actioned, less powerful, rod. That was a significant factor in me going away from the use of braid for trotting. It was impacting on my rod choice too much.
 

Aknib

Well-known member
As we're onto hooks now and I know I've said it before but I bump and lose far fewer fish when using heavier wire 'X' gauge patterns, which in turn have become the norm for me.

I'm convinced that finer wire hooks 'bounce' their gape open and closed during rapid head shaking of even quite small fish, especially when first hooked.

I'm struggling to find any other explanation for it and my own observations, which will go against the grain of many, are that a heavier gauge hook will allow a bait to fall more naturally amongst loose feed as the line acts as a brake as it cuts through the water, hence the heavier weight speeding up the hookbait to the speed of the loose feed.

Try it next time you're out, you might be surprised.
 

nottskev

Well-known member
I forgot to mention, but others have said it, that checking your hooks and changing them if in any doubt is vital. A couple of bumped fish after hooking plenty of others points to a hook blunting. Another clue: when you can feel that your hook is not going into a maggot or caster as effortlessly as a really sharp hook, it's time to change it.
 

barbelboi

Well-known member
The main problem with bumping, however you wish to define it, is that the 'bumped' fish tends to spook the shoal far more than hooking a fish and landing it...............
 

S-Kippy

Well-known member
Bumping the odd fish is imo just one of those things. That said I “bump” more grayling than any other fish...or did until I started using a slightly softer rod and incorporating a microswivel in my rig....sometimes with a bit of pole elastic. Looks odd but the difference was amazing in terms of fish “ bumped” and lost.

Dace can be a pain too but I put that down to lightning quick bites and my slowing reflexes. I do think rod action is an issue...or can be. I don’t seem to bump any other species, not enough to make me think I’m doing something wrong or using too fierce a rod.
 
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