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Weedless

When to set the hook?

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I know this may seem like the most basic question, but how long do you wait before you set the hook? Obviously if they are pulling your line you set it right away. However when I texas rig and jig fish, I first feel the bump,  I then tighten any slack and see if its taunt or extremely limp or another bump before I set it...Since hook sets are free, does anyone just yank as soon as they feel the first bump? My way is extremely successful, but I am just wondering if I am missing out on those fish that only bump it one time. I also just told my self (to make me feel better about it) that if it was only bumped once, it was just a perch since the lake I fish is loaded with perch and do follow and bite everything I throw out there. 

 

 

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Wait?  Set the hook when you think you feel a fish.  Waiting just gives them time to reject the bait.

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Dont play tug of war . Reel down the slack and sock it to em .

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Hooksets are free, missed fish are heart breaking. Often, and carelessly.

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With jigs and other bottom baits I set as soon as I feel them bite, I connect most of the time, and occasionally my jig comes flying back at my face. 

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Mike Gardner. a well known west coast pro angler who help to organize the US Open in '81, wrote a fishing book called "Fish have no hands". Tom Mann pro bass angler and lure maker who invented the Hummingbird wrote a book "Think like a Fish" and in this book he states "Fish don't have hands". The theme is set the hook when it's in their mouth! 

Top water lure we can see the fish strike and sometimes they miss, the lure isn't in their mouth. Underwater lures we usually don't see the bass strike so we go with feeling or seeing the line and we know the lure is in their mouth. The only question sense fish don't have hands is when to set the hook because we want the hook in their mouth.

Hook set timing isn't an exact art, it changes on how aggressive the bass is, the size of the lure and bass and our ability to detect strikes. I don't recall who first said "swings are free" regarding hook sets but it's better to be fast then slow at setting hooks.

Tom

 

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Don't let @Cattsee your post, he will come with those three taps rule again lol.

first tap, fish bite your lure

second tap, fish rejected your lure

and third, a tap from him "why don't you set the hook"

 

Seriously last time when I fish with huddles ton, I felt the tap but not strong tap I kept reeling in without setting hook. I felt second tap a few second later. I immediately looked behind me if @Cattaround to give a third tap.

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I've had bass hit a jig hard and immediately drop the bait.  When the bass are biting like this I just deadstick the jig after the first bite and wait for the second bite.  Usually on the second bite the bass takes it all the way and starts swimming off with it.  It's like they want to try and kill it before they eat it.

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Part of the challenge of setting the hook, is detecting the bite.  Is that a weed, rock, bluegill, log, or fish? 

 

Here's how to solve that problem:

 

 

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It becomes instinctual with practice.  Bass can pick up a bait so subtly that it's practically imperceptible.  Sometimes the "thump" is actually the fish spitting the bait and that's why there's nothing there when you set.

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I don't wait on nothing 😉

 

Drop the rod...reel the slack...set the hook!

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Only time I wait is if I'm not positive it was a bite or not, and that's only with soft plastics that they tend to hold onto longer. With a jig, I'm swinging at anything I think might be a bite. 

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I am starting to rethink life at this point......

 

The entire 19 years I have been fishing, I am starting to realize how many fish I could have caught if I set the hook on the first bite.........:unsure:

 

I guess I always thought and visualized it like pan fishing with a bobber and a worm, they toy with it before they actually take it.....and now all of my fishing family is telling me I have been doing wrong all these years.....

 

I do feel very comfortable determining what is a bite and what is rocks/stumps/weeds etc..........

 

....boy, I thought I caught a lot of bass before, this year is going to be insane!!!!!!!!!:D

 

 

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Why is there never a right answer?  :lol:  It depends on the conditions. the bait, the line and the species.  I set the hook totally different on a senko, than a swimbait, than a topwater bait, than a dropshot.  Some baits, you have to let them run with it or re-position it but if you do that with a senko for example, you will gut hook them.  Sometimes, it's one and done and others it takes multiple hits.  

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These stories take me back to fishing Lake Powell many years ago.  Myself and a friend were pre-fishing for a State Team tourney and didn't want to sore lip the fish for the tourney so we just covered our tubes with smelly jelly and tried to see how close we could bring the fish to the boat with no hook in their mouth.  We used a very small hook buried in the tube.  It was crazy fun....the water was clear and we would feel the bite and reel really slow while the fish was tugging away....remember having several fish come almost to net range.  Do I do this now....NO.

 

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I am convinced that there is such a thing as setting the hook too soon. When I started jig fishing a couple of years ago I missed so many fish by jerking a hookset as soon as I felt something, which is what I had read I was supposed to do. I later learned to reel the slack first and set only after I begin to feel the weight of the fish. Then I started catching. Surely I still miss a few but at least I'm not jerking the bait out of their mouth every time. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, hawgenvy said:

I am convinced that there is such a thing as setting the hook too soon. When I started jig fishing a couple of years ago I missed so many fish by jerking a hookset as soon as I felt something, which is what I had read I was supposed to do. I later learned to reel the slack first and set only after I begin to feel the weight of the fish. Then I started catching. Surely I still miss a few but at least I'm not jerking the bait out of their mouth every time. 

 

 

Sooooo, apparently Greg Hackney and I have the same daddy, because he described how I fish to the "T". But most of the other replys on here differ from him.....I understand there are different circumstances and different situations that require super quick hook sets or wait a while before a hook set, but this is interesting....I feel like there is two major different mentality's on a super basic principle of fishing, when to set the hook. 

 

Right now its pretty much my Pro brother Greg Hackney, hawgenvy, and me with make sure you feel the weight before you set the hook and all others  say reel the slack and set....

 

Score:

Team "weight" - 3 (I have a Pro on my team)

Team "Life is too short, just rip" - 14

 

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I know what a tap feels like and that calls for a swift hookset . Sometimes the fish is just on there and that takes experience on when to set the hook. .

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I starting reeling and drop the rod immediately and set when the slack is out. If the bite is at the end of a long cast, I reel into the fish a little and then set.

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3 minutes ago, scaleface said:

I know what a tap feels like and that calls for a swift hookset . Sometimes the fish is just on there and that takes experience on when to set the hook. .

So you are saying you can tell the difference between types of taps/bites??  That is impressive.

 

I am 95% with difference between fish bites and bumping structure....but WOW. There are hard bites that feel like they will rip the rod out of your hand and then there are super soft bites that make you question if that was just the caffeine making your heart flutter or that was a fish....I am not sure how you know how that translates into how much of the bait is in their mouth and how long they are going to like the bait it in their mouth??

 

I guess I just need to tell my wife I need to fish more to learn this!!! 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Weedless said:

So you are saying you can tell the difference between types of taps/bites??

A tap as the lure is "dropping" is most likely a bite .  A lot of bites are never felt .

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It is VERY rare that a largemouth bass nibbles at a bait.  It happens, but usually they gulp it.  There are a ton of videos out there that show this.  The problem is when they gulp the bait, and do not pull on the string.  I've seen this first hand, flipping a jig.  If I hadn't seen the violent strike, I would not have known there was a fish on.  The only other perceptible evidence of a bite was a tiny bit of line movement.  I was using braid.  Nothing was transmitted back through the blank or into my hands.

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Does anyone double set a hook on a thick wire hook?

 

Sometimes when I'm frogging and I don't think I have a good hookset, I'll reel down quickly and set it again.

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I still haven't figured out when to set the hook with my hollow body frog.

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