King Salmon fishing Alaska

Setting The Hook

It is just about Spring in Alaska, this is the time many of us start to think about swinging flies for the wild king salmon of the Alaska Peninsula. The Alaska Peninsula is host to arguably the best king salmon runs in the world.

It goes without saying it can be difficult at times to hook and land these large sea run salmon. That is way it is very important to be alert and very much aware of where you are fishing and where your fly is in relation to you. Below are a few simple things to think about that may help you land a few more fish this season.

When swinging flies for salmon, in many cases it is more effective to successfully hook the fish while setting your rod tip to the side in the direction of the swing (as opposed to straight up). Some people say set toward the bank, which in most cases can be true, however in some cases you may be fishing mid river…. so simply set in the direction of your flies swing.’

The primary reasons for setting the hook with a low motion in the direction of the swing are:

  • There is minimal slack in your line when setting the hook
  • By setting the hook with an upward direction there tends to be a pause in the flys swing which can result in a missed or weak hook sets or or scaring the fish away.
  • Yes, fish can be scared away… if the hook set just simply doesn’t happen, it is not uncommon for the fish to return to the fly on a following drift giving you another chance.

By patiently letting the fish take the fly and setting with a low rod tip in the direction of the swing you are likely to both play and land more fish.

Below is a video which shows some nice hook sets along with a few of the ones that got away!


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