Some great insight from Harry Watson
Here’s a few tips!!
1- Rods- Look for a rod with a casting weight in mind. Forget about line breaking strain rod rating. So if you’re fishing lures up to say 5oz, look at a rod of say 2 to 6oz, 1 to 5oz etc. Most rods seem to cast best with the mid to upper end of their limits. Millers, Loomis, Dobyns and Wilsons all have nice rods in most swimbait weight ranges.
Reels- You can get away with lots of reels but the better ones for casting big baits seem to be the 300 and 400 sizes. I’m using a new Shimano Tranx 300 and a 400 Calcutta Conquest at the moment and can’t fault them. I’m sure there’s other brands that are good also in the right sizes.
Line- This is no place for light line! Look for a braid that’s tough and maybe even a little stiff for want of a better word. Trees and rocks are always present and your line and leader are always in contact with them. Most swimbaits/surface lures are not very aerodynamic so you want a line that doesn’t dig into itself because birdsnests mean big $$$ sailing away. I use 50lb Platypus Super braid on my Baitcasters and 50 P8 on a spin rod with lighter swimbaits. There’s lots of good line out there though. I use 40 to 60lb fluro leader, usually 60.. Sunline FC100 is the best IMO.
Lures- Mmmm well I’m probably a bit biased 😉 But I don’t think you can argue with the ammount of pics going round with Jackall swimbaits and Pompadours in cods mouths. I don’t often fish topwaters in dams because of the low percentage hookup rate coupled with the fact that most short sessions you’re looking for one big bite and it’s a killer if you miss him. But if you’re there for the explosion they certainly do that 🙂
Try to swim your lures in a pool or clear water before you go fishing so you know the action/depth etc. It’s nice to know what your lure is doing when you are twitching/stroking or swimming it. My confidence lure is a chin weighted Gantia followed by the Gantarel. They just catch way bigger fish than they should.
The BITE- Talk to 50 fisherman about whether to strike on the bite or not and you’ll get 25 different answers. I believe if it’s in there set the hook. The clunk u feel is the fish inhaling your lure and trying to stun it. If you strike and make the lure slip in his mouth the hooks go in. If you wait he might spit it out. Just my opinion.
Try to have your trebles wider than the body of your lure and you’ll get better hookups. To a point of course.
Couple of pics included of hook/split ring setup on my favourites. Also the chin weight on the Gantia and the heavy braid on the tranx.
Hope this helps you hook and land a Monster!!