How To Set The Hook When Fishing With Big Paddletails


It’s fall and right now, one of the best baits to catch redfish, trout, flounder, and snook is a big paddletail.

Baitfish are biggest right now so these predators are honed in on big baits, and a large paddletail is the perfect lure to get them to strike.

However, when you’re using big paddletails, that means there’s a lot of plastic that could get in between your hook and the fish’s mouth, so you need to be careful that you set the hook properly if you want to land these fish.

In this video, you’ll learn:

  • How to set the hook so you can catch more fish (this does NOT mean a dramatic Bill Dance hook set)
  • What fish do after they hit lures — you’ll see some awesome underwater footage of this
  • The biggest mistakes people make when  trying to set the hook with big paddletails
  • And much more

Check out the video below!

3 Tips To Set The Hook With Big Paddletails [VIDEO]

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Tip #1: Keep the line tight the whole time

When there’s slack in the line, it’s easier for the fish to come unhooked, so keep the line tight the whole time.

You can do that by keeping the rod tip down close to the water, reeling in any slack after you twitch your lure, and using braided line that has no stretch.

Tip #2: Wait for the thump to set the hook

Taps from small trout, pinfish, and pufferfish will happen, but you need to wait for the big thump from bigger fish to set the hook.

Bigger fish will often see, hear, or feel the little fish picking at a lure and then they’ll come over and take it, thinking they’re stealing an easy meal from the smaller fish.

If you set the hook too early, you’ll either pull the lure out of the strike zone, or stop the little fish from attracting attention to it.

Tip #3: Set the hook by pulling back on the rod

To properly set the hook, you just need to pull back on the rod in the same direction you’re retrieving your lure.

That usually looks like just a turn of your body away from the fish.

Don’t lift the rod tip up because that could allow some extra slack in the line before you can get the rod tip up high enough to set the hook.

Also, as you saw in the video, fish usually turn away from you when they hit the lure, so you don’t need to pull your rod back that far to set the hook.

Get The Slam Shady BOMBER

I’ve been absolutely killing it with the Slam Shady BOMBER this fall and so have our other fishing coaches and our customers.

These lures are 5″ long, so they’re perfect at mimicking bigger fall baitfish, they skip well under docks and trees, and they cast a country mile.

Plus, when you order them, they come with a mini-course that teaches you:

  • How to retrieve them for more strikes
  • What equipment to use (rod, reel, line, and hooks)
  • How to make it weedless so you can use it around structure that fish like to hunt in
  • And much more

Get the Slam Shady BOMBER here.


slam shady bomber redfish

I love it when the fish cooperate during a tutorial video!

Big paddletails work great in the fall and if you want to maximize the amount of fish you catch with them, be sure to keep the line tight, wait for the thump to set the hook, and set the hook by pulling back on the rod (instead of lifting it up in the air).

You can get my favorite big paddletail, the Slam Shady BOMBER, from our shop here.

Have any questions about setting the hook with big paddletails?

Let me know down in the comments!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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alan dignan
3 years ago

I fish out of my yak around Tampa Bay. I tried the Bombers two weeks ago on a windy day, and when I reeled in the Bombers were bitten off just behind the hook. I was using a 3/0 hook with a 1/8 oz. weight. Being fairly new to this type of fishing and after watching I think I can see a few mistakes that I made. I used too light of weight for the wins conditions I was trying to cast too far. Sitting in my yak, I can only keep my rod so low. Also I noticed that I had little control over where my line was going as the wind took the lure and line where it wanted. By the time my lure hit the water, I still had line floating in the air which gave the fish plenty of time to hit the lure before I was able to start retrieving it. I only started fishing with artificial bait since joining the club last year. I have fished for years from a boat and shore with live bait but only artificial in fresh water. I feel like I am making a lot of rookie mistakes, even wit my rod and reel.

3 years ago

I agree with everything in the video. I’ve always been a live bait mostly fisherman, but 2 weeks ago, I went down to the Arroyo Colorado in south Texas, and my brother, cousin and myself decided we were gonna sink or swim so to speak with lures only. I caught all my fish on the Slam Shady bomber including a Texas slam. We had 8 keepers, and quite a few that were undersized.

You can usually feel the bump and when that happens I begin the shoulder turn, and within a half second you can feel the weight of the fish and you continue to rotate. If the fish missed, you’ve only moved the bait a few inches away from them and you can continue the retrieve, sometimes they’ll come back for it.

I also found out those paddle tails are tough, I fished the same bait all morning. It was banged up but still performed. Love me some Slam Shady Bombers!

I also like the fact that you don’t have to jig the baits when on the weighted owner twist locks, my older joints appreciate that. The one minor downside to lure only fishin, is the number of casts you make compared to bait fishing, my shoulders were sore, but had a blast.

James Thrasher
3 years ago

Luke thank you for the free gift of paddle tails. I look forward to trying them in fresh water and later when I can get down to the coast. I let y’all know how they do at Pickwick. Keep up the good work and informative clips. I’m learning a lot at 73 about fishing. Thanks, Take Care and God Bless.
Dennis Thrasher
Corinth, Mississippi


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