Wait for the Weight

Posted by MNAngler On June - 9 - 2010

As kids, all of us are taught that we need to set the hook as soon as you feel a fish bite (or see the bobber go under). This mainly comes from fishing for pan fish because they are able to grab a worm or piece of corn off the hook in a split second.

For years now, I’ve been fishing with texas rigged plastics. With this type of rigging, if you set the hook as soon as you feel a bite, all you’ll catch is disappointment. Some people will tell you to wait 2 seconds after you feel a hit. But I prefer a different method.

Wait until you feel the weight of the fish.

This could be a half a second, or it could be up to 3 seconds, even more. What happens is that when you feel a fish strike, all it’s doing is sucking the lure into its mouth. But until it closes its mouth, trying to set the hook will just yank the lure back out. Waiting until you feel the weight of the fish on your line will guarantee that the fish has taken hold and you can get a good hook set.

Waiting these extra few seconds will also give you a chance to make sure your line is taut for a better hook set. You can point your rod tip toward the fish, reel up, and then sweep your rod to set the hook. Sometimes the line goes a little slack if you lure is falling, or the fish hit your lure coming toward you. The extra time you take to reel the line taut will improve your hook set.

Anglerwise posted a good video about hook sets a few weeks ago. It underscores the wait-for-the-weight philosophy and how using a sweeping motion rather than a power jerk will help you increase your chances of landing your lunker.

While I learned this method for texas rigged baits, I now use it for most every lure I cast. It has taught me to be more patient and to make sure I get a high percentage hook set. In fact, on my last outing, I would have missed two Northern Pike had I not waited to feel the fish on the line.

I tend to fish for more aggressive fish, so this method works well. It might not be appropriate for panfish or walleye where the bite is lighter. Walleye, especially, can be harder to catch with this method because they tend to drop bait as soon as they feel something wrong. Panfish are just too lightning quick.

So next time you’re fishing and feel a bite. Take a breath, wait for the weight, then sweep your rod. You won’t regret it.

8 Responses to “Wait for the Weight”

  1. Great Article! I agree, waiting for the weight of the fish is a good idea if you want to hook more fish. I used to set the hook as soon as I felt the slightest tap. That resulted in many missed fish. BTW, Thanks for the mention.

    • MNAngler says:

      My pleasure, William. It’s a great video. I always like to point out good posts on other blogs when I see them.

  2. Mel says:

    I agree, interesting information for us all to consider. I will try and apply this technique next time out.

    • MNAngler says:

      Mel, I’m surprised such a seasoned angler such as yourself isn’t already using a technique like this. Let me know if your hook up percentage improves.

  3. I agree with you that it is important to have patience while fishing and wait for the weight of the reel

  4. Wolfy says:

    I’m going to play “Devil’s Advocate” and respectfully disagree. I do a lot of largemouth fishing with 7-1/2″ and 10″ worms. Even a 14″ bas can suck in an entire 10″ worm in an instant. I agree that there is a possibility of a “too-soon” hookset if you react on the first millisecond of a strike, but most people aren’t that fast. I find that if I wait until the fish has closed it’s mouth and is leaving the scene, therefore putting resistance and weight on my line, I get the fish deep-hooked too often for my liking. I may wait a second, but I don’t normally wait until I feel the weight of the fish. Unless, of course, I’m not paying attention!

    Just wanted to throw in a different way to look at things. Keep up the good posts


    • MNAngler says:

      That’s interesting. I wonder if the effort to suck in such large worms result in different hook ups. My worms and lures tend to only be around 6″. I’ve rarely had a problem with the hook going too deep. The important thing, though, is that we’re both catching fish!

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