By Gary Hendry

Knowing how to set a hook when you get a bite is the most crucial part of fishing. If you do not know the correct way to hook a fish when it bites, your chances of making a good catch will always be meager.  How to hook a fish when it bites largely depends on the fishing method you’re using and the type of fish you’re angling. So if you’re getting many bites but zero hooks, this article is for you. 

Take a proper stance

When hooking fish, you must take a stable position with your legs slightly wide apart to give your upper body the torque it requires to firmly snap the rod. If you do not have balance and stability, you may not be able to exert enough force or may knock yourself off-balance, especially if you are hooking a bigger fish. It’s important that you stay relaxed but ready to snap the rod at any moment. A common mistake most anglers make is keeping their elbows out when waiting for fish to take a bite. Although this may sound inconsequential, keeping your elbows out makes you lose power and leverage when exerting force. Be sure to keep your elbows tight to the body for a more powerful hookset.   

Setting the hook

Setting the hook is pretty simple, though factors like bait presentation, timing and fish species may require you to adopt different approaches.  

Basic rules for hooking fish when it bites

Wait for pressure changes on the line

As a beginner, you may also find it difficult to differentiate between a bite and underwater objects playing on your line or bottom contact.  Typically, most fish species do not exert even force on the fishing line. You’ll know fish has taken a bite when you detect pressure changes and tug-like movement of your line emanating from the weight of the fish. However, this commonly applies to top water fishing. You’ll also know fish is biting when your bobber is pulled completely under water.  

Timing is important

If you do not get the timing right, you’ll have a hard time catching elusive fish species. When angling for aggressive fish, you’ll need to set the hook fast to increase your chances of making a catch. On the other hand, when angling for neutral fish, wait to feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. But if you’re using livebait, you’ll have to set the hook faster because fish tend to take livebait more aggressively compared to artificial lures.     

Ensure the line is tight

It’s important to keep the line tight to increase sensitivity and be able to feel strikes. A taut line ensures the hook moves as you move the rod. So you’ll need to reel in slack line and then set the hook.  

Carp, Fish, Nature, South Bohemia, Ledenice

To be good at setting the hook when fish bites, you may have to practice consistently, exercise patience, and you’ll become a professional angler in no time.