Bass anglers use different techniques to set the hook once a fish bites. Those that employ lures with treble hooks typically take no chances on the bass hooking itself. When fishing crankbaits with this type of hook the best trick is to pull back quickly on the tip of the rod and begin reeling until all the slack is out of the line. The jaws of a bass are very tough and by keeping constant pressure on the line, the angler has the ability to push the hook in deeper. Topwater lures such as buzzbaits and plastic frogs and mice present a different problem. Pulling too hard and too rapidly can yank the hook right out of the mouth of a bass. Bass experts will wait a split second after seeing or feeling a strike on these lures before setting the hook hard. The lures that possess one lone hook need a very calculated hookset to penetrate the jaw. The trick to such a hookset is to face the direction of the fish as it strikes, drop the rod tip rapidly and then snap it back to take any hint of slack from the line, hooking the bass solidly in the jaw or lip.
The Lip-Landing Trick
The use of a net to land big bass is not always necessary. By avoiding the use of a net the angler can spare the bass from possible damaged fins, loss of scales, and stripping away some of the slime layer that protects the fish from disease. Once the fighting fish has tired sufficiently an angler will reel it in close to the shore or boat. However, she will make certain not to get it too close. There will be enough line so that if the fish should possess enough energy for one last burst the line will not be so tight that it will snap. The rod itself will afford the spring action that keeps the line from breaking. The angler should bring the rod back well over the shoulder with the arm extended, keeping constant tautness on the line and pulling the bass toward her. When the bass comes close enough the fisherman can then reach with her thumb and forefinger to grasp it by the lower jaw. If the mouth is closed, she uses the trick of pushing down on the bottom jaw with her thumb until the mouth opens wide enough to grab the jaw.
The topwater lures usually work best in cool to warm water. When the light is not at its brightest, such as early morning and late afternoon and early evening, is when topwaters excel in fooling bass. Poppers need to come in with a succession of quick starts and stops. Buzzbaits lose their magic once they sink below the surface so the angler must keep them moving, reeling in even before the bait goes into the lake or pond. Despite their exposed hook, these lures can negotiate through weeds and grass without snagging if fished correctly. The best color for topwater bait fished at night is black. It will show up better than any other color will to any bass below it gazing upward. Anglers need to realize that the bass has just one view of a topwater bait-from the bottom, rendering the top colors moot.