Proper hook setting is not a mindless action but a skill if you intend on bringing in that big catch. Three skilled bass anglers that have spent years perfecting their hook setting techniques share their techniques and advice with EZ Angler.
Kris Johnson – Tournament Angler
It’s dependent upon the lure being used.
When I use a Senko I look for the line to twitch then feel for the fish, and then set the hook.
When using a frog I usually give that the longest time because I realize the fish has to blast thru a mat or grass and swallow grass and water through the gills to fully take the bait into the mouth. Once the first signs of a strike begin I usually give myself a three count to begin setting the hook.
The use of crankbaits also calls for a different approach. When using crankbaits I set the hook as soon as I feel the weight of the fish on the hook. This approach goes the same with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and twitchbaits. The only reaction baits I do not follow this process with are hollow belly swimbaits.
With a hollow belly swimbait, I know most of the time the fish attacks with its head first. Once I feel a bite I drop the rod, (after retrieving it at about a 1 o’clock position to about a 3 o’clock position. I’m still reeling while doing this but at a slower pace. (this gives the fish time to “kill” the bait and catch up to the bait.) I then set the hook once I feel the extra weight. It’s a long process but if done quickly and efficiently it’s lethal.
It’s about timing. Bottom line here is that it takes practice and without practicing the technique and thinking it through based on the type of lure being thrown you will miss fish.
Jay Wallace – Owner of Boag Hog Baits
I’m big on jigs. When slinging a jig it helps to learn to feel the weight of the jig you are throwing and watch the line.
Lift the lure slightly. If it feels any different set hook!
Lifting and trying to decipher the weight or if a fish is on is most likely to much time. The fish can detect this and spit the lure. While you may set the hook on weeds or a stump every once in a while you will also be rewarded by a big fish on the other end more and more often. This process will make you become a better jig fisherman.
Try and always maintain a controlled amount of slack (bow) in the line. As an angler you need to be able to detect the bite by visual cues or feeling. When a bite occurs, reel in the slack if any and sharply pull back on the rod. A sweeping side hook set
can be beneficial on longer cast at times. But this is based on the action occurring. Time on the water will tell you more and more. Try and learn from trial and error. Pay attention and mentally replay what occurred to learn on how to improve your technique.
David Kennedy – Tournament Angler
Hook setting techniques depend upon the situation. If you’re using a topwater lure such as a frog you will want to wait at least 2 or 3 seconds in order to set the hook due to the fact that your catch has to take in air, water, the lure and possible grass.
If you are using a crankbait, the rod will just load up and the treble hooks will catch the fish itself. If you are fishing the bottom any little tick or tug indicates it’s time to set the hook immediately!
The actual action of setting the hook depends on the situation. It could be a solid lift or a quick jerk. This is determined by how you are fishing. If you’re cranking, use a solid lift. If you’re jigging then it’s a quick hook set.
The reasoning is that a bass, when it inhales a crank, is already caught with the treble hooks whereas when the bass takes a jig there has to be a particular amount of force to set so the hook and penetrate the mouth.
And upon the retrieve, keeping tension on the line and keeping them tired will bring them in.
Other Helpful Tips:
Keep a firm stance if fishing from shore or on deck. Keep your legs about shoulder length apart, feet planted firm and bend your knees slightly to prevent loss of stability.
Keep elbows in to sustain concentrate power when setting the hook.
Tight Lines – It’s more than just a saying. Rid the slack in the line to make proper hooks sets. By relieving any slack you ensure greater sensitivity and improve upon the power of your hookset.