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Hook Set Technique. #13965071 04/18/21 06:48 PM
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David Newton Offline OP
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Hey all. I'm having a tough time with my hookup ratio. I'm hooking into about 1 out of 10 strikes. Seems abysmal to me. I need some tips from you gurus. We're talking float fishing here.

1. I rarely see that ideal bloop and float disappears and stays down. It's usually a bloop...bloop bloop. Rarely enough time to actually reel down and set the hook. Is there some reason these fish aren't taking the bait and running? Is there a specific scenario that tells me when it's time to set the hook?

2. The winds causes havoc with trying to keep a tight line to my float. Sometimes I have to continually reel slowly to keep tension. Any strategy here?

3. Is there some proper way to set the hook once the float goes down? I prefer to keep my rod tip down and perpendicular to the line. Keeps it out of the wind that way. And I use a sweep set to hook them. But again, my hookup ratio is trash. Is there a better way?

Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965140 04/18/21 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by David Newton
Hey all. I'm having a tough time with my hookup ratio. I'm hooking into about 1 out of 10 strikes. Seems abysmal to me. I need some tips from you gurus. We're talking float fishing here.

1. I rarely see that ideal bloop and float disappears and stays down. It's usually a bloop...bloop bloop. Rarely enough time to actually reel down and set the hook. Is there some reason these fish aren't taking the bait and running? Is there a specific scenario that tells me when it's time to set the hook?

When that happens to me it is usually little gills about 2 inches long. They peck at the bait pulling off small pieces but often can't take the hook in their little bitty mouths.

2. The winds causes havoc with trying to keep a tight line to my float. Sometimes I have to continually reel slowly to keep tension. Any strategy here?

Cast with the wind if possible and keep the wind to your back. This isn't an issue with me in the float tube because the tube drifts with the wind at the same rate as the float. But from shore it can be difficult. Of course you can always take the float off and use a few split shot to keep the bait on the bottom.

3. Is there some proper way to set the hook once the float goes down? I prefer to keep my rod tip down and perpendicular to the line. Keeps it out of the wind that way. And I use a sweep set to hook them. But again, my hookup ratio is trash. Is there a better way?

I simply reel in slack and lift the rod tip until I feel slight tension and just flick my wrist. I normally use thin wire hooks or little jig heads and make sure they are needle sharp so it doesn't take much to set it.


I tend to fish really light tackle so I take more of a finesse approach. Often I fish completely weightless in the float tube and just let the bait (worms or pieces of crawler) just slowly sink. For me this is a very effective method.


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Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965259 04/18/21 10:27 PM
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I agree with Flags that it is probably small fish that can't get the hook in their mouth. Sweeping hook set motion IS the way to go with bluegill. I do not use a float & would suggest trying drop shot technique fishing just off the bottom. Try to keep as much slack out of the line as possible, like reeling slack out as the bait falls to the bottom so you are ready to set when the bait actually hits bottom. One problem with the float technique is that it inherently has a "slack line" factor built in. Good luck...

Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965261 04/18/21 10:31 PM
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I like to float fish for perch. I use a quill type slip float I make myself but others work well as long as they are small. Just big enough to cast and use a small split shot 4-6 inches above the hook. Use 6 lb clear mono or fluorocarbon line.
Set the float up where the bait is close to the bottom.

A couple of things come to mind. Don’t need to wait for the float to go under. As long as it’s moving laterally any at all when you lift your rod you should get them. I think the best hook for bluegill is an Owner Mosquito hook size 6. Use a small piece of worm. 1/3 to 1/2 of a red worm. You should be good.

But sometimes a float doesn’t work as well as other presentations. Sometimes a free fall like Flags mentioned is good. For me, he most consistent presentation is the drop shot rig crawled across the bottom. Don’t get locked into one presentation.

Last edited by doctorxring; 04/18/21 10:41 PM.
Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965530 04/19/21 02:19 AM
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If you are missing that many keep dropping your hook size till you start catching them. I carry small #12 salmon egg hooks just for that purpose. The fish playing with your float are probably only a few inches long.

Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965542 04/19/21 02:35 AM
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I love the size eight hooks. I prefer fishing off of the bottom and love feeling the thump. As already been mentioned, try to keep as little slack on your line as possible while making your retrieve. The tighter the line the better. I simply flip my wrist in a upward motion when setting the hook. The more you fish the better you will master your hook sets. You will also learn that a lot of the soft pecks could actually be a big trophy fish. The more you fish, your catch ratio will go up. You will also experience a slow bite, light bite, fast bite, and a aggressive bite. I have found in my experiences that a nice slow type of bite is usually a nice big fish. Fishing is a lifelong learning experience. You learn something new each time out as well as improving your skills. thumb


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Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13965557 04/19/21 02:50 AM
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Thanks for the tips everyone. I kinda got the hang of it towards the end of the day. I'm at around 50% now.

I think you are right about the small fish being the culprits. That thought occurred to me at lunch. I decided to double up my bait. I was using 1/80th jig head with a single Gulp wax worm threaded on. Getting pecked all morning. Went to one threaded and one nose hooked. The change was immediate. I think this weeded out those 2 inches. Now I was getting bigger strikes. I think this was the first correction.

Then I decided to just let the fish take it. Clearly setting the hook as soon as the float moved wasn't working. This is what proved to be effective. I started hooking up much more by waiting to see if the float stayed under. One second or maybe two, then set. Between bobber down and set I figured out I had to give it a bit of slack. As soon as they feel me on the other end they spit the bait. Then it was a quick reel down and sweep.

I need to work on my hook set still. I'm swinging for the fences which is real unnecessary. Probably some lipless fish in this pond.

Last edited by David Newton; 04/25/21 03:01 AM.
Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13969707 04/22/21 01:03 PM
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I use lures while I fish for sunfish. You cannot set the hook on them like a bass. I simply jerk my wrist when I feel a bite. While fishing soft plastics using a single hook I basically do the same. I use the rod more while using a single hook. When I started fishing for the sunfish I was missing a lot of hook sets. But as time went on I have a pretty good hook up record. Hook setting is learned by doing. The more you catch fish the better you will get. woot

Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13971633 04/23/21 10:35 PM
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This is a subject near and dear to my heart. When I came back into freshwater fishing I eventually got into float fishing and fishing the float and fly techniques and they are like chess. An hour to learn; a lifetime to master. Here’s a few things I learned over the years:

Invest in a hook file. This is one of the more simple things that you can do that will improve your hook up ratio. It also helps in fishing in general so definitely a handy tool to have. I have Gerber multi tools that have these on the models specially for fishermen and anglers. A file on one side of a “blade” and a hook hone on the other side of the “blade”.

Use the smallest float you can get away with and balance your float and weights/jigs as closely as you can. Your float should be just hanging on to the surface if possible when you’re looking for a definite sinking of the float. A large, bulbous cork or bobber is hard for even medium sized fish to take down. Not because they can’t take it down, but because they feel the tension of the float and line above and it feels unnatural to them so they switch tactics to bumping and tearing instead of bite and take!

Next piece of advice I can give you is that longer rods tend to get better results. Longer rods help to put leverage where it belongs. Pulling the line and hook up into the fish and not pulling the line (and hook) away from the fish.

Vertical hook sets are best when ever possible. Side sweeping hook sets leave you and the same plane that the fish is already working with so they negate any advantage you may have.

The last bit that I can think of right now is to learn your tackle and learn the bite you’re on right then. Some floats are not designed to be sunk but actually to just dance on the surface or to tip up vertically from a horizontal position or some other indications. Likewise sometimes the fish are just not in the mood to submarine a float. Like was said earlier, sometimes they will just have it gradually moving to one side or just dimpling the surface in place. The better you learn the mood, the faster you can match your tackle and technique to what will succeed.

Last last thing is typically a reeling hook set with the tip going in a vertical 12:00 position is better than a snap set. Just reel into the fish as you bring your hands up.


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Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: Laker One] #13971795 04/24/21 01:21 AM
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David Newton Offline OP
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Quote
I use lures while I fish for sunfish. You cannot set the hook on them like a bass. I simply jerk my wrist when I feel a bite. While fishing soft plastics using a single hook I basically do the same. I use the rod more while using a single hook. When I started fishing for the sunfish I was missing a lot of hook sets. But as time went on I have a pretty good hook up record. Hook setting is learned by doing. The more you catch fish the better you will get.


Thanks. I'm working on it. I'm gonna start using more lures eventually. I tried a Beetle Spin the other day but no luck. I think I'll try some 1/64 jig heads with some Bobby Garland stuff this weekend.

Vogey, I have used dropshot quite a bit but I'm addicted to float fishing these days.

jagg, thanks for the detailed answer. I hear you on the long rod but I enjoy these 5'6" ultralight rods so much... I'll try a longer one. As for the float I usually use a Thill Pro Series weighted float. I have all the sizes but mostly use the smallest one. I usually use a 1/64th or even a 1/80th jighead. I use either a splitshot or a sliding weight above a swivel and my floats are balanced precisely as you say.

Looking forward to more practice this weekend. Thanks for the tips.

Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13971914 04/24/21 03:44 AM
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Have fun David while you practice and learn. Chasing the Bluegill/Sunfish is a BLAST! Love that simple style of fishing. thumb


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Re: Hook Set Technique. [Re: David Newton] #13973044 04/25/21 02:43 PM
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The little ones take it down real fast and it pops back up, the big ones take it down a little slower and it stays down.

Last edited by Techno2000; 04/25/21 02:43 PM.
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