The Art Of The Perfect Inshore “Hook-Up”
Do fishing tactics change between inshore and offshore fishing? Not so much when it comes to the hook-up.
So, here’s where you start. Once you get a bite, it’s sometimes hard to remember to focus on reeling the line tight and pulling the rod back slow and steady. A quick jerk of the line can cause a break while a loose line can cause the fish to spit the hook. Set up your rod and line to best work for the species you want to catch, and conditions you’re fishing in. If you like to set the hook hard, use monofilament on a softer rod. If you’re more experienced, go with a stiffer rod and use the tougher braided line. The results will be far better and your lost fish will decrease. It’s important to remember that braid has less flex than mono so you can easily break your line by jerking the hook and have the drag set too tight.
To feel the bite, keep the rod tip straight up and line tight. When a fish hits, lower the tip to the water and reel. Slack is the enemy of any fisherman. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you finally learn to have the discipline to neither horse the fish or allow the line to go slack.
When I feel like the fish has committed to the hook, I try to turn the rod and my body hard to the side to make sure the line is tight and the fish won’t spit the hook. I do give the fish a simple hook set, but at the same time, I’m constantly reeling.
So, when it’s time to set the hook, the stretch of monofilament requires a more aggressive hook-set than braided line, in particular when casting lures. Also, make sure to consider what speed the lure presentation requires. The faster the retrieval rate of a lure, typically the less hook-set is needed since the lure is already moving a pretty fast speed. When you’re using a slow retrieval, you need more time and strength to get the hook-set quickly with slow moving baits.
When you’re bottom-bouncing lures for species like Flounder and using bucktails or working a jig, the fish are likely to hit on the drop. This is one of those times when you have to speed up your reeling and set the hook hard enough to hold the fish and be ready to do that when you see the cork go under. The fish has already committed and it’s time to get him to the boat.
These are tactics that sometimes take practice to get it right. Be award of your moves and recognize your mistakes and do it better the next time. Soon you’ll see your number of successful hook-ups increase significantly.