Setting the hook

When fishing live bait for flounder, anglers need to wait a few seconds before setting the hook to make sure the fish has had time to swallow the bait, guaranteeing a good hookset.

There have been volumes written about how long to wait before setting the hook after a flounder’s initial bite, which typically engulf’s the tail of a baitfish. Some fishermen will wait more than a minute, allowing the flounder to turn the bait around in its mouth so it can swallow it headfirst and catch the hook point, normally threaded through the bait’s nose.

“I like to fish 4- to 5-inch long baits,” said guide Mark Dickson. “I fish spinning gear, so when I felt the initial ‘thump’ I’ll make sure the bail is flipped closed. I’ll pick up the rod tip and wait five or 10 seconds. Then, real easy, I’ll make sure there’s still some pressure. You just want to pick up the rod tip a little.

“If you don’t feel him pull back, then let him have it a little longer. If you pick it up and you feel him pull back, then set the hook.

“I don’t believe in a hard hookset for flounder. I just pick the rod tip up and start reeling. It’s sort of like a little ‘pancake flip’.”

About Dan Kibler 887 Articles
Dan Kibler is the former managing editor of Carolina Sportsman Magazine. If every fish were a redfish and every big-game animal a wild turkey, he wouldn’t ever complain. His writing and photography skills have earned him numerous awards throughout his career.

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