Crappie - setting the hook

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Posted by Kerry Grissett on February 10, 2004 at 23:10:25:

In Reply to: Re: Bass Assassins posted by baddog on February 10, 2004 at 21:24:14:

Oops, I missed that part. I had a friend, who loved to catfish, that I took crappie fishing years ago. I got us on the crappie and they were thick. I was loading the boat and he was missing nearly every hit he got. Why? He was rearing back with his rod trying to set the hook like it was a catfish that had swallowed the bait!

Of course, whatever works for you, but a simple flick of the wrist is usually enough to set the hook on a crappie, if your hook is sharp. Although a hard set will most likely catch many, you will lose more because not all of them will be hooked in the roof of the mouth or some other area that will hold the hook no matter what. The term "paper mouth" is correct for the area most often hooked. This is the area just behind the lips on the upper and lower jaw. If you set the hook VERY hard, you WILL rip a hole in this "paper" layer. Although the hole most likely won't make you lose the crappie immediately, all it takes is a little slack for the hook to literally fall out of that hole. I've seen too many good crappie lost that way when they were nearly in the boat!

A couple of tips to keep from having the hook slide under a thin layer of skin in the crappie's mouth. Especially if you are not fishing tight structure, bend the hook out just a little and just a hair to one side. I have noticed that many hooks come from the factory with a sort of "hawk-billed" look. That is, the sharp tip is actually curved toward the hook shank. Many times I have found myself missing good fish because of this and bending the hook slightly away from the hook shank made the hook dig in and I quit losing fish. Bending the hook slightly to one side is a matter of choice. There is a brand of hooks, I think they are called "TrueTurn" or something like that. Anyway, the theory is that a hook point that is twisted off center will always make good contact inside the fishes mouth. Here again, whatever works for you. In any case, setting the hook VERY HARD on crappie will result in more lost fish. It is definitely a finesse thing. Most folks get better with experience.

Baddog, this is not to say that your method doesn't work, just that it may mislead some folks like my catfishing friend into believing that setting the hook hard as you would with a catfish or bass is the best way all the time. Nobody hooks them in the roof of the mouth every time! (grin)

Good luck and good fishin'


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