When/how do I set the hook?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by GoFish_Tony, May 22, 2006.

  1. GoFish_Tony

    GoFish_Tony New Member

    Messages:
    600
    State:
    Big Rock, IL
    Brothers, I am having a hard time actually getting Cats on shore. Seems like I can get them to take my bait but I am missing getting the hook set. I'm very new to fishing and would greatly appreciate your help.

    I'm fishing the Rock River in Illinois and the current is running pretty fast. I use a medium-heavy pole with a spinning reel. The rig I am using is a 1-1/2oz. bottom bouncer with a kayle hook on about 24" of leader. I mostly have been using night crawlers, dip baits or an occasional Berkely Powerbait.

    Like I said I get plenty of big bites but by the time I get my pole out of the rod holder and haul it back, it's gone. I have had everything from the "tap-tap-tap" bites as well as the big "take the bait and run" hits.

    On rare occasions it will appear as if I have a good hook set but then if I pause at all I lose the fish. This has happened a lot while using the powerbaits. Are my fish latching on to my bait and either they are letting go of my bait while reeling in or I am pulling it out of their mouths?

    I personally suspect I am doing a few things wrong all at once, but would love your input.

    (Here are a few of my thoughts.)
    *I am using rod holders (fishing from the bank) that hold the rod almost vertical. I think that I spook the fish while trying to sneak the rod out to get ready (which then pulls on the line.) Or if I just yank the rod up and out I am not fast enough to set the hook.

    *I am using a Bottom bouncer (lead weight mounted on a kind of T-shaped stiff wire that holds the bait off the bottom). It might hold my line tight, but I am not getting a solid set from the pole to the hook. There are times that I suspect that this whole rig is laying on the bottom of the river and not vertical as it is designed.

    * Like I said, the current is fast. Maybe my line isn't really tight and it's just the water bowing my line? Maybe I jerk back and am mostly only taking slack up and little hook movement?

    *Hook size. I have been told that there are plenty of 5 pound Channel Cats in here. As of yet I haven’t seen them. I have tried using larger hooks as well as smaller hooks. How do I gauge what size is the "right" size?



    For those that havn't met me yet, I am VERY new to fishing and very hungry to learn.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Tony
     
  2. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

    Messages:
    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    Well now, this is not an easy question to answer, is it?

    First things first. Are your hooks sharp? Does your line have a lot of "stretch"?
     

  3. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    So are you seeing that you have a bite, then taking the pole out of the holder..then trying to "feel" the bite, then setting the hook, or are you taking it out of the holder and setting the hook all in one motion?
     
  4. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

    Messages:
    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    Any of the things you have listed could be the problem. But it is kind of hard to tell from here. Since you are new to fishing, try this.... Instead of using the rod holder, try holding one of the poles in your hand for a few fish, maybe even with a finger on the line. It may help you to get a handle on what is happening on the other end.
     
  5. GoFish_Tony

    GoFish_Tony New Member

    Messages:
    600
    State:
    Big Rock, IL
    Hooks are sharp. Using new Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp hooks.
    Line is new but looks really cheep. (It came pre spooled) I believe it's 20# mono.
     
  6. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

    Messages:
    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    Hmmm... Dump the line... There are a couple of threads about line on here somewhere to help you pick a good brand. I am a Triliene fan myself. Change your line at least once a year. You cannot believe the difference this makes.
     
  7. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    I would hesitate at this point to blame the line. There are other issues that need to be addressed first. (1) The current can bow your line so there is a lot of slack in it. Lets say your fishing with a 10' pole, just for the sake of argument, and the current has bowed you line so there is an extra 12' of line hanging in the water. When you go to set the hook, your sweep has to account for the entire 12 feet of excess line. When you set the hook on a cat, you try to make them cross eyed for a few minutes. (2) Your pole could be real limber, not much of a backbone in it. When you try to set a hook, the pole bends but does not force the point of the hook into the cats jawbone. Not much you can do there, just use more force on the hookset...and then you'll probably break your pole. (3) Are you sure it is a catfish? Gar lives in the same water and they are hard as the devil to get a hookset on...catch more by accident than design (I know, you can use nylon to catch gar). One answer to your problem may be to (I dislike saying this) use a circle hook. My personal opinion is Khale's are better, but there are plenty of brothers who swear by circle hooks. You just need to use them and form your own opinion based upon you success at catching fish. The think about a circle hook, is you set there sort of like a bump on a log. Mr catfish comes along, takes your bait and swims off... while doing this he loads your pole with tension and at some point, the tension on the pole will set the hook in the corner of its mouth. You just pick up the pole and start reeling - DO NOT JERK ON THE POLE to do a hookset as you'll more than likely pull the hook right out of it's mouth. Another suggestion, is to watch this board and find a brother who lives near you...see if you can schedule a trip together so you can learn from his experience. It will make the learning process a whole lot easier. Keep your lines tight and bait in the water. LOL
     
  8. GoFish_Tony

    GoFish_Tony New Member

    Messages:
    600
    State:
    Big Rock, IL
    Thanks for all the advice. I will start trying to digest through it all. All of it sounds reasonable.

    Can somebody help me find these circle hooks? I've seen some strange hooks.... like octopus? But I havn't seen and called circle. Are these called anything else other then circle? I've tried 2 major sporting goods stores and a few retail chain stores. All with no luck. Are these circle hooks made by Eagle Claw?
     
  9. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

    Messages:
    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    "I would hesitate at this point to blame the line."

    I'm sorry, Did my reply come off like that?
    While the line could be a contributing factor, What I was speaking to was more like... The mystery line that came with the reel needs to go, if for no other reason than ..Who knows what it is or how old it is? How can you have confidence in that?
    Poor equipment frustrates many new fishermen to the point of giving up.
    Line is cheap insurance and even the best is inexpensive compared to the rest of your gear.
     
  10. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Circle hooks can be obtained through one of our sponsors, Catfish Connection, located at the top of the page. Just click on it and away you go. You can also get circle hooks at Bass Pro, Academy, and Walmart. Somewhere on the package it will say "circle". However, don't take it as the circle hook is a given to solve your problem. There can be other factors.
     
  11. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    As a post script, I believe you should get rid of (no, not get rid of - poor choice of words) the bottom bouncer and go to a slip rig. There are many rigs mentioned in the Library. If your in really swift current, either use a very short leader or no leader...it may help you get more fish. If your sinker goes downstream, you may need a claw sinker or the anchor from the battleship Oklahoma to hold your position. Gosh, I sure get ratchet mouthed lol. Any how, a different style sinker or a bigger sinker. Don't bury the point of the hook (circle or kahle) into the bait, leave it exposed.
     
  12. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    Tony, I fish current from the bank some and it can be hard to keep the bow out of your line. Two things that I have learned that will help are: 1. When you first cast out, go ahead and click the bell of your reel over when your rig hits the water. 2. As the rig is on it's way to the bottom or just as soon as it hits bottom, give the line a little tug and reel in a few feet of line. by doing one or both of these techniques you should be able to keep a fairly tight line in heavy current. If you are using Kahle, Circle or J hooks and leave the rod in the holder, a few fish will and actually should hook their selves especially in current. As long as the hooks are sharp and the point is not covered by your bait, you should be able to get a good hook set. I use J-style hooks myself and when the cats are tapping instead of doing hard runs, I will hold my rod and feel for him to make a good run before setting the hook. I hold my rod with one hand like a fulcrum at a 45 degree angle or so. Just kind of balance it and when the cat straightens it out where the tip is pointing the water, Nail him. I have done this for years and still dont hook them all. You have to be fast. As far as hooks go anything from a 1/0 to a 7/0 should hang a eating size cat fairly easy. Vern
     
  13. GoFish_Tony

    GoFish_Tony New Member

    Messages:
    600
    State:
    Big Rock, IL
    Thanks you guys, I truly appreciate all your help and input. In fact I was just bragging on all you guys to my wife tonight. What a great group! (and very quick to offer help to the new guy.)

    I don't ever expect fishing to become easy (god I hope it never dose). I love the challange and the learning. And I am not at all discouraged by my feebly attempts to out smart the cats. Heck the way I see it they have more brains and all the advantages over me. However, in time I hope to even the playing field some, and who knows, might even get to invite a few of these catfish to my other favorite activity....... DINNER! LOL

    Again, I appreciate all your help. I will try and let you all know how I am doing as my skills improve.

    Tony
     
  14. kittygitter

    kittygitter New Member

    Messages:
    8
    State:
    North Carolina
    well the line and the current and the hooks, yep got everything except the pull. So how are you pulling on the rod? Are you yanken it straight up like to the sky and behind you sort of? I mean there is no right or wrong way but from my experience even though i can't spell the word is if you get one of those take the money and run bites you want yank it to iether one of you sides you know left or your other left. Some times that helps well it halpe me anyways and i mean i m pretty sure your stronger than me i , only 17 but since i could hold a pole i been fishing. Now with the line thingy try your absolute best to get all that slack gone and this might help also if you use a wait tie it at the bottom of your line with a sperat line going off your main line about a foot to 6 inches above the wieght. This really is a hard question. The circle hooks are actually called "c" hooks or circle c hools but if you can find them some times the fish practically hook them selves. Okay and one more thing what kind of kitty are you fishing for? Because uhm flat heads some times since they like there food alive or fresh will give you one of those take the money and run bites and that bite will be a kill bite, just hold the rod in you hand get rid of the slack slowly and wait 10 to 15 minutes and they will come back for dinner.
    Okay speaking of holding your rod you don't do it in public just playing but if you get a good bite or multiple bites i like to slowly pick my rod up amd with my index finger hold the line like you where pullen on a trigger so you can be more sensitive to the stikes and the next time you feel a bite set that hook. O yeah have you ever been bass fishing if you have you have to some times set the hook with them boogers so mabey during the day or your spare time you can practice on those guys but don't give up hope old nessy might be the one that you finally hook.
    :amazed: good luck
     
  15. channelcat_tracker

    channelcat_tracker New Member

    Messages:
    582
    State:
    Iowa
    first i think i know your problems. your problem could be any of these

    1.) have you checked your hooks so they are too big for a bluegill to bite on.
    2.) are your hooks big enough so they dont bend or loose the fish
    3.) are you gerking too hard on your rod that the hook flies out of the fishes mouth
    4.) are your hooks sharp enough so you poke it barely and you bleed?
    5.) is your jerking/ hook setting to light or strong? are you lifting high enough? i figure if the higher you lift your rod to set a hook, the higher the chance of landing a fish.


    i think you should go to a clear lake and practice setting hooks on nothing and watch how your hook is trying to set. with this said i hope your problems are any of those 5. good luck with what i said
     
  16. cary

    cary New Member

    Messages:
    5
  17. dreamer34

    dreamer34 New Member

    Messages:
    849
    State:
    danville virginia
    i like the index finger on the line method myself...can feel the strike before the pole registers it
     
  18. Nobody Special

    Nobody Special New Member

    Messages:
    614
    State:
    TN
    Get you some good sharp (Gamakatsu) #4 or #6 treble hooks. If a catfish bites one, he is caught.