How To Set The Hook For Bass

Setting the hook is one of the most important aspects of fishing, yet it is often overlooked by beginners. A proper hook set is the difference between landing a fish and losing it. In this article we'll go over how to set the hook with different lures and some of the common mistakes new anglers make result in lost fish.

What Does It Mean To Set The Hook On A Fish

When you set the hook, you are essentially driving the hook into the skin of a fish's mouth. This is typically done by sharply jerking the rod so that the point of the hook penetrates the fish.

Do You Have To Set The Hook For Bass? When Shouldn't You Set The Hook For Bass?

It depends on the type of lure you're using. Circle hooks, for example, are designed so that fish sets the hook themselves.

For most other lures though, if you wait too long the fish may consume the bait entirely, and you will end up gut hooking them.

If you're practicing catch and release, gut hooks can be very hard on the fish and sometimes fatal. If you can't easily get a hook out of a fish, you'll have to cut the hook off and let the fish digest it. When you do this, try to remove any bait without disturbing the hook too much, so the hook is bare.

If you're intending to catch and release, practice setting the hook in the corner of a fish's mouth to give them the best chance of surviving. Plus, by hooking them in the tough corner skin of the mouth, you also reduce the chance of losing the fish.

Detecting When A Fish Bites: Knowing When To Set The Hook

The most obvious clue a fish has bit your lure, is when there is a sudden tug on the end of your line. You'll often feel multiple tugs in quick succession when a bass has decided to take your bait. These tugs are the fish sucking the bait into its mouth.

However, it's not always that obvious. Occasionally, you'll barely feel a tugging or tapping sensation in your rod's blank. When fish are lethargic, you'll often feel a very subtle pulling sensation and your fishing line will tighten up.

Sometimes, you'll make a cast and a fish will take your lure as it's falling. You may not feel anything, and you'll have to rely visually on the movement of your line as they may be swimming towards you.

When you notice any of the above 3 things, it's time to set the hook!

5 Steps To A Proper Hook Set

  1. Start by reeling in any slack line. This will help ensure a solid connection between you and the fish.
  2. Lower your rod tip towards the fish and wait for a strike.
  3. As soon as you feel a strike, set the hook by swiftly jerking the rod tip up and to the side. The goal is to get that bass's head to turn.
  4. Keep the rod tip up and tension in the fishing line as you're fighting to reel in the fish. This will help keep the hookin place and prevent the fish from spitting it or rolling off.
  5. Once the fish is landed, remove the hook and release the fish back into the water.

How To Set The Hook With Treble Hooks

Treble hooks are hooks that have three points. You'll typically find these on lures like crankbaits and most topwater lures like spooks, whopper ploppers, and walking baits. To set the hook with a treble hook, simply jerk the rod in the direction of the fish.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make When Setting the Hook

  • Not paying attention to their line.
  • Not setting the hook hard enough.
  • Setting the hook too hard!
  • Setting the hook too early.
  • Not using the proper technique.

What The Hook Location Can Tell You About Your Hookset

The hook location can tell you a lot about your hookset. If the hook is located in the top center or corner of the fish's mouth, it is likely that you have set the hook correctly. However, if the hook is located deep in the fish's throat, then you likely waited too long to set it.

How Should You Hold The Rod After You Set The Hook?

After you set the hook, you should hold the tip of the rod up to battle the fish. As you're fighting the fish, it will likely try to swim down and around cover to get away. Sometimes, with largemouth bass especially, they will jump out of the water, trying to roll and unhook themselves on the surface. Make sure to keep your fishing line taught and the rod tip up and pointed in the direction you want the fish to swim!