adams54

Setting the hook or not?

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6 hours ago, adams54 said:

Ive been losing a lot of fish lately. I'll be fishing with hard plastic swimmers..it will be "fish on" for about 15 seconds and then it gets dropped. Hooks reasonably sharp. My method upon initial hook up has always been to continue the retrieve and keep rod tip high. Always making sure I keep slack out of the line. Drag is set not too tight but not too loose either.  I always thought that by pumping the rod to set the hook that could introduce some slack into the line which might cost me the fish. Ive been dropping so many quality fish lately that Im starting to question my methods. Am I doing something wrong or am I just having a run of bad luck?

I lost a solid fish on a hydro with stock terminal tackle. I know I didn't have any slack in my line, the fish was a little ways out, once i got it in close, it came unbuttoned and I took a hydro to the nose at top speed. Missed my eye, and somehow by the grace of god I didn't get hooked. Dropped a few other fish as well.

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Check your hooks first-they should be sticky sharp.  If they’re not, touch em up till the readily dig into a fingernail-then you have taken that issue out of the equation.  Next as mentioned earlier, don’t hold your rod tip high.  Think about how much of a hookset you can get when you start with your rod tip high already-very little swing of the rod from this starting position.  With your rod tip low, you have a much larger arc to sweep your rod through to effect a legit hookset.  A couple little tweaks and I think you’ll see a big increase in your hookup ratio.  

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4 hours ago, adams54 said:

Level of sharpness you get out of the box seems reasonable to me. I know some people take it a step further them that though. My thinking is it either has more to do with my technique or bad luck. 

Maybe, maybe not, but it cost nothing but a minute of your time to eliminate the possibility. Any hook that's not as sharp as it can be is not sharp enough in my opinion.

Edited by SC

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I set the hook so hard it looks like I'm trying to knock myself out with the rod blank. Get that hook in there.

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8 hours ago, adams54 said:

Ive heard this before. Also might be whats happening here because I am using smaller stock trebles. What exactly does it mean though? If a nice fish is hooked with a smaller treble on a hard plastic plug it can gain leverage and throw the hook?

A fish gaining leverage.... think about the plug itself is a crowbar. The treble hook is a nail in wood.

 

Its easer to pry out a shorter & softer nail. (Stock hooks.) It is harder to pry out a longer nail made of hard steel, especially as you get the nail 3” out of the wood and the hammer is no longer gaining leverage against the side of the board. No more prying, just pulling. 

 

This is the reason why better split rings & beefier treble hooks are needed on keeper sized fish. This is also why many guys “canal rig” the belly hook of plastic plugs with a swivel - to lessen the leverage a fish can get on the hook. 

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Out of the box sharp on better hooks is good enough for the most part. You can do better by sharpening but most won't bother. Sharpening will also cause hooks to rust faster, that may or may not be a concern to someone.

 

You need to set the hook on everything. One sharp set is the minimum and 2-3 is better, a few more than that better still. The bigger the fish, the more effort you should put into it. For instance, spring dinks - I won't even try to cross their eyes. One quick set and that's it. You can always do more. But bigger fish (when I'm throwing rigged eels, big plugs, etc) -  I'm hitting that fish 4-5 times. I might also cup the spool as well, depending on my drag. For smaller fish, the drag might let out a little on a set. On bigger fish, my drag is usually set tighter for the hookset and I might lower it a slight bit for the fight. Basically, I think if drag slips on the set you left something on the table. I don't mind that on little fish but it's not good enough for bigger ones.

 

A friend used to do a test - he'd get a person to go ~100' away and wrap the line around their hand. He would then 'set the hook'. The amount of pressure felt on the hand isn't all that much and that was at only 100'. The first times he did this was in the days before braid. The stretch of mono really diminished the force applied. We tried it again with braid, it was better but still not ass much as you think. 

Edited by Drew C.

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Step one - replace stock hooks with VMC trebles and better split rings.  Step two - retrieve lures with rod tip at about 9 - 10 o'clock position.  When fish hits, hit it by raising rod sharply.  This is basic "fishing technique".  Step 3 - reel fish in occasionally allowing it to take drag as required.  Now move on.  It doesn't get any simpler.

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Do you think they could be getting foul hooked? Fish might be taking a swipe at the swimmer, and not really "biting". I fish Bombers exclusively at night, very slow and get more interest and swipes than hits at this time of year. I don't think you forgot how to set a hook, so look into it a little deeper. 

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I wanted to say that plastic swimmers are the reason

and than 3dogs profile explained it further

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A proper hook-set will not cause slack in the line. When a fish takes your plug, let the rod tip follow the fish for a split second, then drive the hooks home.  Carry a small sharpening stone in an easily accessible pocket and check your hooks often. Also, if you're fishing in a back bay, and you're not fishing a moderate action rod already, then consider one.  It may help you keep fish buttoned.  

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Most of the time I don't set the hook, which is where my problem lies most of the time.

After a fish is on for a few seconds is it still ok to try to set the hook?

 

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2 mins ago, Sheisty said:

Most of the time I don't set the hook, which is where my problem lies most of the time.

After a fish is on for a few seconds is it still ok to try to set the hook?

 

Yes, I do that all the time, but usually when I wasn’t happy with the initial hookset. What’s the worst that happens? If you drop the fish with an additional late hookset it was probably coming off anyways. 

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Yes it's ok.  However I'd do it sooner than a few seconds though.  The fish will typically begin to shake its head attempting to throw the hook after about a second.  Let it grab on, come tight, then set.  Should take about a half second for all that to take place.

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3 hours ago, Kima said:

I set the hook so hard it looks like I'm trying to knock myself out with the rod blank. Get that hook in there.

I can't help it it's in my nature. If I was more of a bait fishermen I could never use circle hooks lol.

 

My guess is small fish.

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