THE BASICS OF HOOK SETTING
Hook setting is a skill that every angler must learn, no questions asked. Sure, learning how to twitch or jig is crucial when catching a fish, but mastering how to set hooks correctly is a must to make sure you won’t lose your catch. It takes practice and a lot of time on the water to master the art of hook setting, but learning the basics may help speed up the process. So, here’s a guide on how to be successfully set hooks.
The best way to ensure that you set the hook properly is to make sure you have a stable stance. Bend your knees slightly and make sure your legs are a shoulder-width apart. You need to have the right balance and stability to torque your body, so you can aggressively snap your fishing rod. Relax your body and keep your elbows tight to your sides. This will allow you go to give enough power and leverage when setting.
HOOK SETTING MOTION
The basic motion of hook setting is pretty straightforward and universal. No matter what type of fish you’re chasing, the basic motion remains the same. You can adjust the intensity and action according to your bait presentation and timing.
The first thing you need to do when a fish strikes is to do a side set. To do a side set, snap your rod above your shoulder or to one side. Next, reel in a slack line and point the rod towards the fish before snapping it back. This is a critical motion before you set the hook. When you reel the line, move the rod towards the direction of the fish. When the slack is gone, you’ll start to feel the weight of the fish, so keep your elbow tight. Then, snap the rod over your shoulders quickly with your forearms.
To keep the pressure, crank the reel a handful of times to drive the hooks home. Do this when you’re chasing toothy fish or those in heavy vegetation. The general rule for how hard and how fast you set the hook will depend on the fish you’re chasing.
If you’re chasing a soft-mouthed fish, you need to do a sweeping and steady hook set so that you won’t pull the hook away from the mouth of the fish. For a hard-mouthed fish, you need to do a hard hook set to ensure that the hook is buried in the mouth of the fish.
A good technique to use when you need the extra punch when setting is to take a step back or even just a half-step back. This will allow you to retrieve the slack line quickly to get more power.
Wait until you feel the weight of the fish when you’re setting the hook. There’s an exception, though. When you’re jigging, you have to watch the line of the surface and look out for a tick or an early stop. When that happens, you have to reel in the line and set the hook quickly.
Setting hooks involve proper timing. If you’re chasing aggressive fish using baits, set the hook fast if they’re biting hard. If they aren’t, feel the weight first before setting.
Keep the line tight. A tight line allows you to move the hook so that you can bury it home properly.
Don’t wait too long to set the hook if you’re using live baits. Hook the fish sooner rather than later, even if you lose the bait. Waiting too long will result in a gut-hook and will limit the chance of the fish surviving after you release it.
It may feel like overwhelming information as you go through the tips above, but the moment you put them into practice, you’ll immediately understand how to set the hook. In hook setting, training is necessary. But of course, you always have to start with the fundamentals first. The more you get used to setting the hooks, the easier it will be over time. So just keep at it and don’t give up as this is a crucial part of your fishing success.
Do you have anything you would like to add? Share your thoughts below.