Being able to drop-back to a fish (thumbing of the spool) properly during the bite is a key factor in having a good hookup ratio. Once the fish grabs the bait, whether out of a rigger clip or pitch bait, the fish must not feel any resistance from the angler or the line during the drop-back period. When the fish bites, the angler should drop and point the rod straight at the fish while free spooling, allowing the line to go out with the least amount of thumb pressure as possible without getting a backlash.
The best way to see if the line is flowing out freely enough during the drop-back is to watch the line as it leaves the rod tip. The line should fall from the rod tip and have a good belly in it before it enters the water. If the line is tight from the rod tip to the water, then too much thumb pressure is being used, or if the line is slack and jerking tight now and then, thumb pressure is being applied unevenly. Ideally, you want the line to flow out as fast and freely as possible without getting a backlash. Once you have made the drop-back, push the drag up to strike and slowly start to reel until you come tight on the fish. If the fish dropped or missed the bait, keep reeling the bait in until you can see it, put the rod tip up and the reel back in free-spool, and get ready for another bite.
Capt. Randy Baker