Setting the hook is a critical process to catching fish. After you get a bite, you need to set the hook in the fish’s mouth with a swift tug before reeling in. If you just start reeling in, you will likely miss half of your bites. Most of the time, fish have the bait or lure in their mouth, but the hooks are free. In this article we discuss when to set the hook into the fish’s and how to set it for different styles of lures and bait.
When to Set the Hook
Set the hook after you have indicated a bite, then reel in. This can get tricky, however, depending on the type of bait, lure or bite indicator you are using. For basic live bait under a bobber, wait until the bobber is fully submerged to set the hook. This may take a few seconds, patience is key to setting the hook on live bait. Reel in any slack and then swiftly tug your line a few inches to set the hook. If you are using a lure, you are fishing for an aggressive bite which requires a more aggressive hook set. If you feel a bite on the lures retrieve, set the hook right away. If your lure was paused you may need to wait a few bites before setting the hook. Let’s dive into the nuances of hook setting on different lures and baits.
Setting with Lures
Setting the hook with lures is probably one of the easiest hook sets. As soon as a bite is detected, a hook set should occur. While dragging baits along the bottom, a bite will be felt sometime along the drag. Reel down slightly and set back to ensure a solid hook set. Set the hook hard when fishing soft lures on a single EWG hook. A lighter hook set is better with treble hook baits such as crank baits or jerk baits. These lures have 2 treble hooks a piece for a total of 6 points, so its easier to set the hook. Lure hook sets should be a steady sweep hook until good pressure has been applied. Pulling too hard upward can damage the fish and often result in missed bites.
Setting with Live Bait
With live bait, the setting typically depends on the style of hook and fish aggression. A fish can bite aggressively and hook themselves. Other times, the bite is subtle, and you have to feed them take the bait prior to setting the hook. If not hooked immediately, fish will swim after eating the bait. It will either swim at a faster rate of speed or come to a complete stop when it has the bait. This is a good indicator that it is time to set the hook. To ensure a good set, reel down any slack line and set the hook by pulling firmly upward. This is the best method for baitholder hooks. For circle type hooks, the wide gap shape does a lot of the work for you. Lightly lift and reel, the hook should set itself.
Notes for Setting on Bass
There are different methods when learning how to set a hook on bass. The type of hook set required is based on which of the many baits you are fishing. For artificial lures, the hook set should be as soon as a bite is detected. Treble hook baits require a sweeping hook set that drives home the hooks. Once hooked, play the fish and land it. The hook set for topwater lures is different. The bite is visual and can entice you to set too early. Wait until the fish has the bait and then drive home the hooks. The bigger hooks require a strong upward hook set. Use a bait cast combo for the baits around weeds and other structure. Use a spinning combo for lighter, finesse baits.