One of the most important assets in your fishing arsenal is hook-set knowledge because the type of lure you are using determines how you should set the hook when you get a bite.
There are three main hook-set techniques that I use.
Vertical: This technique is my favorite way to set the hook. With this technique, when you are ready to set the hook, you reel up your slack line and absolutely hammer the fish. The baits in which you will use this type of hook-set would be your flipping jigs, Texas-rigs, topwater frogs, and most things where you’re trying to drive one (or two with a frog) thick hook into the fish. You could technically also use this technique for lures like a chatterbait or swim jig, but the issue with these is you have your rod tip at 9:00 and you’re constantly moving the bait, so you need to set the hook quickly (see the sweeping hook-set). Going back to, let’s say a jig, when you feel the bite and think the fish has it, you reel down and set the hook hard vertically over your shoulder. This should drive the hook right into the top of the fish’s mouth. I suggest Trapper Tackle’s wide gap hook. With their innovative design, you will hook, and land, more fish than ever before.
Sweeping: The sweeping hook-set is one of those techniques that has its place, but it’s not something I use very often; however, I ALWAYS use a sweeping hook-set when fishing a Carolina-rig. Once you feel the bite, you want to reel up any slack line between the rod tip and the fish, and once you feel the fish on the other hand, you need to sweep the rod across your body horizontally rather than vertically because the weight is separate from the bait. A sweeping hook-set is also something I do when fishing a chatterbait, spinnerbait, or swim-jig because my rod is already at a lower angle and when you feel the bite you can just sweep into the fish.
“Leaning”: This one is more of a made-up term for me, but it describes the action so well that I thought I would just call it the “leaning” hook-set. This is the technique I use when fishing anything with treble hooks such as crankbaits, poppers, walking baits, etc. Instead of setting the hook hard vertically or setting it with some force while sweeping the rod, all you want to do when you feel a fish hit the crankbait is lean into the fish with the rod. To do this, you will want to sweep, kind of like the sweeping hook-set, but with less force, like a lean (ergo the ‘leaning” hook-set).
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