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Setting the hook on bluegill and crappie

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  • Setting the hook on bluegill and crappie

    Good evening, first time poster here. Had a couple questions.

    When ice fishing for bluegill and crappie- if using live bait do you try to set the hook after a first bite? or wait until the second? I've been waiting for the 2nd and wonder if i'm missing fish. I figured if it was live bait, that jig/wax worm could be in it's mouth while i'm waiting on the 2nd bite? Idk..and do you just raise the pole to set the hook? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    This is a good question and one that I myself have not come up with a definet answer to yet. I have missed several ‘bites’ while ice fishing and am sure I will continue to do so in the future. Most times if the bobber is taken down with any depth, you can be pretty certain the bait is well in the mouth of the fish. But there are times when fish are not aggressive in their ‘strike’ and the bobber is only slightly moved, it is then difficult to know when to raise the pole to set the hook. With the fear of small fish just taking the bait and not pulling the bobber with any indication of a good strike and thus swallowing the bait and making it very hard to remove the hook without killing the fish, I usually will pull the bait up and away from the fish to prevent that from happening. I use a small tear drop and with these lures, there is very little to grasp in helping to remove the hook and if the bait is taken deep in the mouth and into the gill area, it is most difficult to remove. So I am afraid there is no sure answer to your question, and only experience will possibly give you your own way to decide, as this is a very common situation in ice fishing. I wish you luck in this matter !

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    • #3
      My question is what kind of hooks are you using. If your using circle hooks then a lite pull is what your supposed to do. It should hook them in the corner of the mouth. Most of the time they hook themselves. If your using a baitholder then as soon as you feel a good pull then I would set the hook with a decent pull, back. If the fish feels anything out of the ordinary like feeling the hook, then you can miss them waiting. I’ve missed them not waiting and I’ve missed them waiting so your going to miss a couple just a part of fishing. Also a smaller hook size may help.
      Last edited by Solitario Lupo; 02-12-2019, 04:39 PM.

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      • #4
        I set the hook as soon as they hit it when I can't see them. For several years now I've spent quite a bit of time ice fishing for panfish in water that is shallow enough I can watch them play with the jig. I haven't found the number of strikes or the amount of time after they hit to be a reliably indicator of whether they have the hook in their mouth. At least when you set the hook right away you don't hook as many in the gills and I don't think you're going to catch fewer fish.

        Missing a bunch of panfish seems to be unavoidable but on days when they're not grabbing the whole bait I switch to a smaller jig without a tail and that seems to help.

        And yes, quickly lifting the rod or snapping your wrist up sets the hook.

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