Set the Hook like you mean it! So, what does that mean? To some, that means rip their lips, cross their eyes, or “Whackem and Stackem!” To others it means be gentle, “I don’t want to hurt the fish!”
The truth is simple. If the hook does not penetrate the hard cuticle like mouth parts of a fish, the hook will not set! No set, no fish!
Sharpen the hook! If you use a sharp hook, you will hook 3 times more fish than you currently are catching. That’s HUGE! A simple file or commercial diamond coated grooved tool will do the trick. You make sure that you are wearing the proper hat, rod, reel, and line. Why wouldn’t you make sure that your hook is a s sharp as it could be? A barbed hook makes a bigger hole going in and allows the hook to ease out easily when angled. Barbless hooks make a small hole and will not hold the fish as firmly.
Mortality from barbed and barbless hooks is the same. What kills the fish is excessive fighting, squeezing, ripping the hook and causing bleeding, not using forceps, improper net, too many selfies, not cutting the line on deep hook sets, and dragging the fish onto the dirt and gravel. A hook is an essential part of catching a fish. Understand it and know how to deal with it.
Superman Hook Sets will have 3 possible outcomes. The fish will get hooked and sent into the next county, will break the rod or line, or will literally Rip off the lips of a fish.
A wussy hook set will have 3 outcomes. You will miss the strike, end up with a tangled mess, and you will not catch a fish.
Find the middle ground. Assertively set the hook and expect to fight a fish. Set the hook firmly, crisply, and efficiently. Once the fish is on, play it and enjoy the moment. If you miss the strike, the line will have enough energy to flow fully behind you and return smoothly in front. No tangles and you are ready for the next cast.
The rod is a lever. That means that it is a simple tool. Your hand is the fulcrum. Let the tool do the work. Snap the hook set effectively. The only way to do this is to get a lot of strikes and learn how to set the hook. After many repetitions and bent rods, you will figure it out.
You may send a few fish to the moon, break off some great flies, hook your buddies hat a few times, but your hook set will improve, fish will keep their lips, fish will not go cross eyed, and fishing will become catching!
For more Montana Grant, find him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.