How to set the hook – that is probably one of most important things a beginner angler could learn. After all, if you don’t learn this important step, that big fish will always be the one that got away.
To help you land more fish we have put together this post to talk about the proper way to set the hook when fishing with jigs, crankbaits as well as other lures. We are also going to highlight 3 important tips to keep in mind when hooking that fish.
How to set the hook
Before we talk about the how to set the hook, let’s talk about three things to consider that can have an impact on your hookset, these are: the lure you are going to be using, the fishing line, and the action of your fishing pole.
Your lure. Every lure is fished different and thus requires a different hookset. For example, fishing a topwater frog across the water is going to require a different hookset than say a crankbait. This is because of the types of hooks used and the location of the hooks. A mistake that many anglers make when fishing with topwater frogs is once they see the splash of the bass coming to the surface, they jerk their rod and actually pull it out of the fish’s mouth. A better approach would be to wait a second or two after you see the splash, then reel up on it and lastly drive the hook.
Another example of different hooksets would be between a jig with a single hook and a crankbait with exposed hooks. Most, if not all, crankbaits have treble hooks and thus require a hookset that won’t risk pulling the lure out of the fish’s mouth. On the other hand, a jig has a single hook and thus (depending on the situation) might require a little more force to drive the hook into its mouth.
So, that is the first step. Think about your lure and how the fish is going to react to your bait.
Fishing Line. Another thing to take into consideration is the fishing line. To begin with, let’s take a closer look at braided fishing line.
Braid has little to no stretch which makes hooksets relatively easy. On the downside, because it has no stretch, you literally could rip the hook right out of the fish’s mouth. Another thing that could happen if you aren’t careful is you could break your fishing rod. This can happen when you use braid on a fishing rod that is not rated for that type of fishing line. So when fishing with braid, I would recommend using a rod that has a softer action tip.
The opposite to braided fishing line is monofilament. If you are the type of fisherman who tends to set the hook too hard, then you might want to switch over to a softer rod with monofilament fishing line. I say that because while braid has no stretch, monofilament has stretch. So in order to get the proper hookset, you need to first, pull the stretch out of the line, and then drive the hook. We could thus say that when fishing with this type of line a harder hookset is generally needed.
Fishing Rod’s Action. A fishing rod can have a number of different action ratings such as: Extra Fast, Fast, Medium, and Slow. What this is describing is how fast the tip will load up or allow you to get to the backbone of the rod to drive the hook. For example, an extra fast or fast tip is going to load up very quickly and thus setting the hook with this rod would be much faster than others. This kind of tip is good when fishing with shaky heads, drop shots, flipping/pitching or other techniques that would require a quicker hookset.
The opposite of a fast action rod is a medium to slow action rod. This means that they take a little longer to load up. These types of rods work well when fishing with crankbaits or jerkbaits as they will give you control of the fish, but not risk pulling the lure out of the fish’s mouth.
Still not sure how to set the hook?
I know that is a lot of information to take in, so in order to make it simplier I have narrow it down to two different hook sets: An over the shoulder hookset and a sweeping hookset.
Over the shoulder hookset. An over the shoulder hookset is where you will reel up the slack line and then quickly bring the rod straight back to your shoulder. This is a more powerful hookset usually meant for fishing with single hook baits such as: jigs, drop shots, or texas rig.
Sweeping hookset. A sweeping hookset is where you reel up the slack line and then pull the rod to either the right side or left side of your body. This isn’t as powerful as the over shoulder hookset and thus it works best when fishing with exposed hooks such as: crankbaits or jerkbaits.
To learn more about how to set the hook, check out one of my favorite YouTubers in the following video:
3 Addition Tips For Setting The Hook.
Tight Lines. A proper hookset needs to be done on a tight line. If you try to do so on a slack line you risk losing the fish, breaking your rod or breaking your line. For that reason, before moving the rod, make sure to reel up any slack line.
Adjust the drag accordingly. Having a drag that is too loose won’t give you the power needed drive the hook into the fish’s mouth. So before you start fishing make sure the drag is appropriately set according to the lure you will be using. For a single hook lure you will want to tighten the drag to allow for a more powerful hookset. Fishing with exposed hooks such as with a crankbait would require a looser drag setting.
It is all about timing. You could apply the above steps perfectly, but if the lure isn’t in the fish’s mouth you are not going to catch the fish. For that reason, timing is crucial. However, the timing can vary depending the situation and the lure. Generally, when fishing with a slow-moving bait I like to wait a second or two to ensure the lure is in the fish’s mouth before driving the hook. When fishing with fast-moving baits, I tend to set the hook right away. That is what I do when fishing, but the best thing to do is get out there and practice.