For some years I´ve been experimenting with hook setups to increase my landing rate when fishing for seatrout on the coast. So when Jens Bursell released his release connector last year, I was obviously curious. Here is what I learned from my three first trips.
I´ve been following Jens Bursells hook systems with great enthusiasm the last years. Having fished for coastal seatrout for 20 years no, I have had lots of days where the trouts have tasted my lure without getting hooked well enough, so that I could actually land them.
When Jens Bursell invented his release tackle some years ago, I was thrilled to read about it. But when I bought the materials needed and started tying my own, then my anticipation cooled down a bit.
To me it was both difficult and time demanding to make these rigs, and the ones I made didn´t look as nice as the ones I saw Jens Bursell make. Also, I like to fish in very windy conditions when I fish on the coast, and using two small treble hooks increased the risk of getting snag on the setup.
But it was not all failure. My first seatrout caught on a release tackle sure was one to remember. 7 pound pure silver that was hooked perfectly. It showed me the potential with these hooks.
The release connector makes it easier to increase landing rates
But not only was it the first fish I caught using the release tackle. It was also the last. The difficulty and the increase of eelgrass on the hooks meant that I stopped fishing with it and went back to my old 1/0 single hook from Owner.
But then last year I read about the release connector – a new invention from Jens Bursell that should be able to increase my landing rates with apx. 50 %.
It was very easy to mount, and with only one treble hook, so I decided to give it a go.
How it works
Basically it is just a small piece of plastic that you use with inline lures and put on your main line. You then attach a small treble hook to the piece. When the fish bites then the small hook is released from the plastic piece and it is hanging loose on the line.
The small treble hook has an excellent penetration, and it can even penetrate the harder parts of the seatrouts mouth which my old 1/0 single hooks would never do.
It didn´t start of well. In November I fished with the connector on a spot where shoals of smaller fish was passing by. I think I lost 6 or 7 fish in a row, before I changed to the old 1/0 hookup and caught two.
I was kinda frustrated. What was I doing wrong?
I went home and watched Jens Bursell´s instruction video again. Maybe I had mounted the hook the wrong way, or made some other mistake. “Unfortunately” it looked like I was doing everything right, so I had no idea what the issue was.
But help was about to come. After making a comment on Jens Bursell´s Facebook asking for instructions, Jens was kind enought to call me and share some advice. After some talking he found out what I had been doing wrong.
The main problem was that I had been fishing with my old beloved 10 ft. Fenwick Ironfeather. This rod casts like a dream, but it has a very heavy finish which doesn´t work well with smaller hooks. Often it will simply pull the small hooks out of the mouth.
So a lighter rod was needed. Also, I needed to work with the old whiplash movement when I hook em´. When I felt the take, then I only needed to lift up the rod and fight it as normal. If I made a strong whiplash, then I would probably also pull out the hook.
The first fish
With these things in mind I gave it another go. This time using a Shimano Beastmaster 8 ft. rod.
After some hours of fishing the first seatrout went for it. It was a 55´ish cm fish that made two jumps before it got of. I did everything correct until the fish made the second jump. When it landed, I did not put pressure on it for a second, and that was enought for it, to get of.
I did better the second time. A 51 cm seatrout grabbed it, and this time I did everything right. No whiplash. I loosened my brake correctly. I put full pressure all the way. And finally I could land it. The small treble hook was sitting firmly in the lip and I was pretty f..kin happy.
My third trip with the release connector was on a gray, rainy Saturday. I did some old school seatrout grinding where I fished my way down the coastline making a cast for each 8 meters. After two hours of fishing I got a good bite, and a silver seatrout jumped out of the water 40 meters from me. I lifted the rod and loosened the brake a little, and the fight could start.
When it got closer to me, I could sea that it wasn´t hooked deep, so I was nervous of loosing it. But eventually it got closer to me, and I could land a beautiful 57 cm seatrout. I was soaking wet and pretty cold, but very happy with the outcome.
Practice makes perfect
Having landed only one fish on a release tackle, and two fish on release connector, I can hardly call myself an expert in this. But I am really optimistic about the release connector. Both the fish I´ve landed have been hooked in the harder parts of the mouth, and to me it is an indication that these smaller hooks can penetrate parts that the old 1/0 single hooks could not.
This spring I will get the chance to go seatrout fishing 5-8 days, and I plan to use the release connector on all these trips. I´ll give you an update on how it goes in the summer.
Do you have any thoughts or questions, or experience with using these tackles? Please let me know in the comments below.