Speaking about setting the hook, I’m convinced that doing it improperly is the single biggest mistake many anglers make—but the easiest to fix. I have a buddy, for example, who goes on point like a Labrador retriever whenever he feels a walleye. “There it is,” he’ll say, then try to set the hook so hard he sometimes stumbles. He misses almost every fish.
How you set the hook depends on the size, diameter and thickness of the hook. Powerful hooksets are fine when you’re fishing with large, thick-wire hooks for big toothy critters, giant lake trout and largemouth bass buried deep in the weeds. But if you’re fishing with a small, razor-sharp, fine-wire hook, particularly for walleye and bass, you’ll lose at least 80 per cent of the fish if you set the hook too aggressively. Instead, a smart sweep of the rod tip is all that’s required to nab every fish.