There is nothing quite like seeing a fish, making the cast to it and presenting the lure in such a way as to get a reaction out of it. It's part hunting and part fishing. Watching with expectation as the fish inhales the bait is simply exhilarating. Making as many as 20-30 casts to the same fish and staying focused is tedious. Being ready when the fish hits is paramount.
|Courtesy of North Shore Fishing Report|
First off, using the correct type of rod is key. Please refer back to this article for selecting the best rod for yourself. With a medium flex rod, many times the fish sets the hook on themselves, which is nice. Once you have a rod that will allow you to load up on the fish, it really comes down to technique and speed.
|Courtesy of Neil Mcnicoll Photagraphy|
Mistake #1 - Most people who routinely miss fish on the hook set are usually guilty of reeling up too much slack. "Hey wait, I thought you weren't supposed to have any slack?" If you have no slack at all, you will pull the bait out of the fish's mouth. In order to create the speed necessary to drive the hook and barb into the fish's pallet, there needs to be about 4-6 inches of slack. If you are in proper contact with the bait during the retrieve, simply dipping the rod (no reel up) to give the necessary slack and then loading up on the fish will plant the hook deep enough for a good hook set. This is critical when sight fishing for spawning bass.
Mistake #2 - I have never understood why people do this but when they set the hook, they put their arms above their heads. Whuuut? By doing this they have just eliminated all the leverage the rod is designed to give them. In the same TV episode, Houston asked this great question, "When you open a jar of pickles and the cap is on super tight, where do you put it, in your gut or above your head?" By sticking the butt of the rod anywhere in your mid-section from chest to lower stomach and using your body weight to set the hook, you are able to release all of the potential energy that is stored in the rod directly into the hook. You are also in a much better position to fight a fish.
Mistake #3 - People who miss fish also have a bad habit of having their rod tip out of position. The tip will be pointing away from the bait...bad form. This position gives you very limited range of motion to set the hook. It's a killer for a disabled fisherman. If the rod tip is pointed towards the bait as it is being retrieved, then you will have all of the range of motion you need to drive the hook into the fish. Also, remember to sweep the rod opposite of the direction the fish decides to run. Again, this is crucial to your success when going after spawning bass.
Hope it helps. Tight lines!