That depends. It always changes because of where we fish and also because the bite changes at times. It is always different. Sometimes the fish bite is so fast and hard your hook gets set immediately in a split second. Sometimes the fish take is subtle so you have to feed them some line. What I like to do is keep my bail open and feed the line and bait to the fish until I know he has it before setting the hook. With the baits you mentioned and targeting snook/tarpon, the open bail and feed them some line works very well. I usually feed them the line until I see the line move at a higher rate of speed. Then I close the bail and wind down to pick up any slack then set the hook; that's if I am using a J-Hook. If I am using a circle hook I just reel down until the rod bends. Do not set the hook with a circle; it sets itself.
Here are a few other hooking fish tips:
- When fishing structure like docks and bridges, I recommend a J-Hook. The reason you get to set the hook which helps pull the fishes head and momentum away from the structure he is trying to get into. With the circle hook the fish actually has to grab the bait turn his head and get his momentum going towards the structure before the circle hook rolls into the corner of his mouth.
- When using a J hook for tarpon, once you reel down tight to the fish set the hook hard about 4 to 6 times.
- When fishing for tarpon and snook, I like to use cutting edge hooks. They penetrate faster through the fishes mouth easier.
Make sure you keep hooks sharp and use the right hook for the right situation.
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