by Mike Gerry
One would think that getting someone to develop a good solid hook set is easy and somewhat natural to the aggressive nature of most fishermen; unfortunately this may or may not be the case. Every day I see customers set the hook and miss fish because they just don’t understand the importance of getting the hook in the fish’s mouth past the barb of the hook.
I believe it’s just not as natural as one might imagine so a little training and understanding is probably in order. There is no time of the year where the bass mouth appears to be harder and tougher than the summertime. The area of hard bony grizzle around their mouth is really tough and getting a good hook-set is simply imperative. It’s also a time of year that worm fishing is generally at its best, furthering the need for deep setting hook-sets.
I personally fish a soft worm look with a slack line. This allows me to feel the bite better and get my pole in better position for the hook-set when I feel a bite. The key is feeling the bite then dropping the tip of the rod enough to get a good ripping hook-set. A slack line allows you to feel the bite better and see the line when it moves in opposite directions than you’re intending. It also gives you time to drop the rod tip. I tell customers to point the rod tip at the bite; this allows you to be in good position. The thing is when you are fishing a slack line the bass generally hold the worm longer because they don’t feel your presence. Tighten the slack out of the line and sweep the line upward and forcefully to an overhead position during the hook-set. Keeping the rod tip high after your hook-set is very important as many times dropping it back down to the fish allows the fish to throw the hook. It’s also important to remember this is not deep-sea fishing so don’t pump the rod tip as you retrieve the fish.
Many pros will tell you not to let the fish jump so they drop the rod tip to keep it down. I am not an advocate of trying to keep it down by dropping your pole tip. The reason is simple; an inexperienced fisherman loses contact with the fish when they drop the rod tip. Good hook-sets are the key to catching fish!