When to set the hook??

Setting the hook> I get into these debates all the time and IMO i hate waiting for the fish to swim off with the
lure...(Unless its a HUGE plastic worm or large live bait)

When i feel that first tap.. Its game on for me.. I set it in a sweeping motion.. i don't do that crossing the eyes
hookset :grin:grin

I find that when people wait too long> the fish will end up gut hook :banghead ...i guess i have this mindset
from fishing at nite for smallmouth bass up in Tenn.. back then we had a blacklight shining in the water and
were able to see the line... and once that line move/twitch.. i was setting the hook...we didn't wait for the bass
to take off with it...

Down here i had to learn about the taps.. both in saltwater and freshwater... but i actually believe freshwater
fish tend to hold on to the lure a lot longer then saltwater gamefish.....But saltwater gamefish tend to let you
know right away when they hit... LOl...

anyway i always tell everybody> a hookset is free... So why wait so long... i have just gotten back into freshwater
fishing, but it's like riding a bike...

So when do YOU set the hook??? on the first tap or when you feel pressure on your line??

remember what they say about "Taps"> the first one is the Gamefish taking it.... the second one is when the
gamefish realize there is something wrong and spits it out.... and the third tap... Is your buddy tapping you on
the shoulder and asking you... Why you didn't set the hook...:rotflmao
aa13.gif"A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"


  • RollinRollin Posts: 1,546 Captain
    I set as soon as I feel or see anything. However...............since I'm pushing 70, I have to admit my reflexes have slowed and there's now a built in delay.
  • StratosStratos Posts: 149 Officer
    After I feel the first tap, I check to feel the weight of the fish. Then it's on. Rarely do I wait for them to swim away with the bait.
  • a little knotsa little knots Posts: 1,222 Officer
    I set the hook according to the fish !!
    By this I mean if a strong hit then a strong hook set !!
    If a slight hit i will wait an give him time .
    Sometime if you lift the bait after slight hit
    it will trigger a (reaction hit )!! But thats my rule of thumb.
    unless your sheep head fishin then set the hook on any bump
    you can (bait stealing little bastards ) lol ....:grin
  • David C.David C. Posts: 102 Deckhand
    I set the hook according to the fish !!

    For me, it varies depending on species. For freshwater trout, as fast as I possibly can because if not, its gone.
    For spotted and largemouth bass, a bit of patience goes a long way. I usually wait a moment until I believe that they have the hook. Too early, and no soup. For freshwater catfish a little bit longer, especially when the weather is hot.
  • mccrackermccracker Posts: 354 Deckhand
    I'm with a little knots. Also I do a lot of sight fishing or fish where I can see my lure pretty good so I set the hook when I see it disappear or will wait just a split second to make sure the fish has the hook in it's mouth. A hookset might be free but the trophy that gets away because you couldn't wait an extra second will cost ya in frustration...
  • JettyparkJettypark Posts: 1,969 Captain
    I been lucky to watch bass feed and IMO it boils down to the bait/lure you are using... I have seen them
    destroy a live shiner (if they have to give chase)

    I have also watch some "Monster Bass" inhale a worm (slight tap and that it) then spit it our in a nano second
    that's the second tap most people feel..

    again it all depends on the lure most of the time> and don't believe for a second a bass can't eat a 12inch worm..
    even small ones will get a big old worm in his mouth...

    I use to fish with some tourney friends (up north and down here) and if I had to take a poll among them... they
    all said if the other person wait to feel the bass after the tap (worm/plastic lures)

    then they were sure they were going to win that tourney .. :grin
    I believe I said it already but why not set the hook ?? hook set are free... and if they were to charge for them...
    I would've gone broke a long time ago.. LOL... I'm also the same way when it goes to saltwater...
    aa13.gif"A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    I just reel... I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to 'set' (or jerk) circle hooks...
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • a little knotsa little knots Posts: 1,222 Officer
    :rotflmaoWhen to set hook ??? Lets keep in mind that alot of
    that depends on gear !! circle hooks compared to J hooks.
    Mono compared to braid.this all makes differences!! ever
    Throw a lizard on the bed of a 10 lb. An miss ??? hook sets are
    Free ....but my therapist isn't !!! Lol...you have to figure what works
    best for you an the gear you like to use ..my post earlier is a rule of thumb.
    Not for everyone ..but works for me ..hope this helps ...:fishing

    Btw ... jetty where's up north ?
  • JettyparkJettypark Posts: 1,969 Captain
    Tenn/VA...Fish with a Spider jig.. it was a killer for smallmouths... and I believe it was still new back then.. now they
    go by many different names.. but everybody call it a Spider jig back then... and it was a killer Once you learn
    how to use it... and if you waited to feel the fish... Forget it> because it was gone...

    Okay where did "Circle hooks" come into this thread???... I fish with circles all the time.. but not on plastic worms
    but I will say this... I have seen guys use circle hooks with shiners and still get a hook gut bass :huh

    Little knot> I don't need no freaking therapist .... because as long as I am on the water.... I'm good to go

    the only time I felt like seeing a therapist is right after I go
    snook fishing LOL...
    aa13.gif"A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"
  • a little knotsa little knots Posts: 1,222 Officer
    Last spring I was doin some sight fishing on the beds
    an there was a stud on one . I tryed to get him to
    hit but had lock jaw . Finally after a about a hour of
    Messing with him he hit a lizard. And I missed him!!
    That therapist crack was at me not you . Because
    I was so pissed I worked on that fish so long an messed
    up the hook set !! Just joking around man .:grin dont mean
    anything by it !btw... snook fishing does it to me too !!!:rotflmao
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,160 Moderator
    Stratos wrote: »
    After I feel the first tap, I check to feel the weight of the fish. Then it's on. Rarely do I wait for them to swim away with the bait.

    "You'll get your weather"
  • JettyparkJettypark Posts: 1,969 Captain
    LOL... a little Knots> fishing is our way to let go and not see a therapist... also drinking helps a lot :grin
    I never take anything too seriously on forum, because if I did... oh lord help us> ban camp in a heartbeat.
    LOL... no harm

    Back to topic>

    really it all depends on what you want to do> I had a friend who would wait and wait and bass would
    end up getting deep hook... he started doing the quick set as soon as he felt a tap and ended up catching
    bass like crazy with nice hook placement....

    The problem with quick hookset... is you might end up looking like a crazy person if the worm comes flying
    back at you and wraps line all over the place.... and YES I been there... :dance
    aa13.gif"A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"
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