How to Hook a Fish When It Bites

How to Hook a Fish When It Bites
How to Hook a Fish

There are two types of people when it comes to fishing.

On one side of the spectrum, you have people who are really engaged and do it professionally. On the other, there are people who just see it as a potential time to unwind and relax.

Whichever of the two you might be, one thing is certain. You need to make sure that you know how to detect when a fish bites the lure and successfully reel it in.

This article might be of some use to you, especially if you lack the knowledge about fish bites. Moreover, it will help you determine which lure is the best to use in certain conditions. That being said, let’s get into it.

How to Detect When a Fish Bites

Detecting a fish bite and developing a sense for its movement is what defines every experienced fisherman. In order to perfect the process, you’ll need to pay equal attention to all factors from the following list. We’ve taken into consideration the attributes of all factors and grouped them into their appropriate categories. Knowing what’s preventing you from detecting a bite can only be beneficial and prepare you in advance.

A more advanced technique is setting your drag. With the proper drag setting, you will be able to detect fish bites much easier.

Elemental Factors

First of all, we have elemental factors. They refer to specific weather conditions that can have a tremendous impact on your fishing experience.

Fishing Elemental Factors

For example, the wind condition can create large amounts of slack on your line. To put it another way, it reduces the possibility that the fish will take the rod tip.

The state of the water can also cause problems due to the presence of swells and surges. If you wish to increase your chances of actually detecting a fish bite, it’s better to fish when the water is calm. Otherwise, your tackle might get pushed far away, which is not what you want.

Another elemental factor is the tide. You need to pay constant attention to the flood. If it starts speeding up, it can affect the resistance of the line to the current. Once the current picks up the line, noticing the jerking motion of the rod when the fish bites can be tricky.

Environmental Factors

Second of all, the targeted type of fish and the place where you intend to go fishing are as equally important. Keep in mind that different fish often have different behavior. Moreover, each different environment requires certain fishing conditions to be met. With this in mind, you’ll have to adjust your bite-detecting techniques accordingly.

Types of fish can vary in size, shape, and even how aggressively they bite. For instance, larger fish such as carp and eel stir up the surface of the water when they bite. They basically do the work for you making it easier to notice the bite. Meanwhile, smaller fish like bass, mullet, and sole are a bit more problematic. Their bites are almost undetectable in certain conditions. Therefore, you’ll have to be attentive and react even to the smallest noticeable movement of the line.

The light condition is undoubtedly one of the key factors when it comes to bite detection. It goes without saying that the less light you have, the harder it gets to track the movement of your rod. If you’re having problems detecting a fish bite, avoid fishing at night. Even with the necessary equipment, it can be a dreadful experience for beginners. A strong light source can also make the water seem more clear, which is highly beneficial.

Factors Relating to Skill and Equipment

Understanding the fishing conditions is only one half of a successful catch. It’s imperative to have the appropriate equipment and to know what to do with it. If you have everything that you need, you have to focus on improving and perfecting your timing. Reaction time is basically the most important thing in fishing. In fact, that’s what’s going to put the fish at the end of your line.

Let’s say that you’ve successfully confirmed a fish bite — how do you proceed? In the following sections, we’ll talk about the right equipment to use (lures specifically) and how to set it up. Moreover, we’ll shed some light on how to reel in the fish correctly.

What to Do When the Fish Bites the Bait

Set the Hook Properly

You need to reel in the slack and set the hook as soon as you feel that the fish is on the line. However, setting the hook too late, early, hard, or light can have some consequences.

For example, setting the hook too early might yank the bait out of fish’s mouth. Setting it too late might cause the fish to swallow the hook. If your hook is set too lightly, it won’t even penetrate the mouth of the fish. On the other hand, if it’s set too hard, it might tear the fish’s mouth.

You need to control and balance out the movement of your elbow and wrist. Try not to bring the rod arm high above your head. You should raise the rod to about 90 degrees. Don’t pull too hard; instead, start by applying even pressure. Once you do that, you can slowly start to reel in the fish.

Reel in the Fish

If you’re new to fishing, once you notice a bite, you might be tempted to crank on the reel in order to haul the fish. If you want to tire out the fish, you need to avoid doing that. The bigger the fish, the more power and time it’s going to take to land it. This is called ‘‘playing’’ the fish. You just need to make sure that the line is always tight and that your rod tip stays up.

After you set the hook properly, your rod should be at 90 degrees. Lower it down to about 45 degrees and start reeling in as you lower it. Do this until the fish is close enough for you to reach it and pull it out of the water.

Using the Right Lure for the Right Fish

What most amateur fishermen don’t realize in the beginning is that certain types of fish respond differently to certain types of lures. A good start would be to focus on a specific kind and determine how deep it swims. There are several categories of lures for that, and we’ll go through some of the most basic ones.

  • Sinking Lures are often the heaviest. The deeper the dive, the faster you’ll be able to retrieve and reel them. They are otherwise known as ‘‘jigs’’. You can use them for larger freshwater fish such as bass during certain months.
  • Suspending Lures mimic baitfish and often hover between the surface of the water and the bottom. People who fish for sea bass and pike often use them. You can find a suspending lure in the form of a crankbait, slashbait, jerkbait, and soft plastic.
  • Subsurface Lures, as their name suggests, float just below the water surface. They can look like an injured fish and often skim the surface of the water when reeled.
  • Top Water (Floating) Lures are probably the most used ones. Due to their striking colors, you can easily see when something hits the bait since they float.

Here is a complete guide a selecting the right bait for the right fish.

How to Set Up the Lure Properly

There are so many options when it comes to lures. We’ve only scraped the surface by mentioning the general categories in the previous section. What all of these lures have in common though is the way you set them up. You can either choose to use a clip or tie them directly. There’s also a possibility to combine the two methods.

Note: Make sure your fishing line is suitable for use!

Tying the Lure

The first step is to thread the line through the lure. You should leave about 20 cm of line on the other side of the lure. Secondly, wind the line back around itself (by pulling the free end towards the rest of the line) five to six times. After you do that, you can put the free end of the line back towards the lure. The only thing left to do is fasten the knot, and you’re good to go.

Using a Clip

Fishermen who like to change their lures constantly keep on using clips and swivels. You’ll still need to tie the line through the clip as you would normally do by tying the lure directly. Once you tie the clip, the only thing left to do is to attach it. There’s a small open curved spot on the clip where you attach your lure. The process really couldn’t be any simpler.

A few Last Words

To conclude, even though we covered only the basics, we hope that this article was helpful, at least to some extent. Just remember, you need to understand your fish and take into account the factors that we mentioned. When you know what and where you want to fish, you need to complement that with the right equipment.

The key to every successful catch is knowing what to do and being patient! Keep on improving those two, and you’ll become a professional fisherman in no time!


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