Slack or Tight Line Hook Sets? Tharp Vs. Swindle

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Do you set the hook with slack in your line or reel it out, feel the bass, then set the hook? Professional bass anglers Randall Tharp and Gerald Swindle debate why they prefer one method over the other when fishing jigs and other singe hook, bottom contact presentations.


Tharp is adamant that reeling the slack out first, feeling the fish, then setting the hook results in a higher hookup ratio. In contrast, Swindle argues that immediate hook driving is more effective than continuous pressure. Each makes good points, but perhaps the question is best suited for a physicist. We’d like to hear your opinion on why one method is better than the other.