Hookset Strategies

News & Tips: Hookset Strategies
HooksetStrategies blog
Doug Cummings with a bass.

As a guide who works a shallow, free-flowing river, I find myself using my peripheral vision almost constantly — watching the boat's downstream progress as it drifts along, while still keeping in touch with my clients' actions.

In regard to the latter, one thing I see a lot, particularly when fishing a jig-style bait, is getting a hit with the rod in an awkward position. It's not something limited to novice anglers. We've all been there. Just about the time you raise your rod tip to 10 o'clock, a bass picks up, leaving little room to set the hook. Now what?

According to Lake St. Clair bass guide Doug Cummings — with whom I've shared a boat on several occasions — a lot depends on the style of bait you are fishing and whether or not it is moving.

Cummings says that if he's pulling an offering like a tube jig — with a thin wire, exposed hook — he continues the sweep of the rod, doing whatever he can to keep the bait moving. He'll even take a couple backward steps.

"If I fail to hook up, I drop the bait right back down to the bottom to give the fish another chance to eat it," he added.

However, if the tube is sitting still, or he's fishing a thick-hooked Texas-rigged worm or skirted jig — which require more power to penetrate bass lips — he'll drop the tip and crank down, so he can employ a sharp, snapping hookset.

Keep this in mind the next time a bass catches you out of position.