Setting hooks is rather simple—right? Get a bite, rare back and waylay 'em. Setting the hook correctly can mean the difference between a fish surviving and not. For those interested in catch-and-release, a proper hookset is of paramount importance.
In most cases, a strike, followed quickly by the hookset, is the best scenario for the fish. The longer the time the fish is allowed to have the bait following the strike, the more likely the chances they will swallow the bait. Once swallowed, the higher the likelihood becomes of mortally wounding the fish.
Contrary to popular belief, modern hooks do not readily dissolve in a fish's gullet or stomach.
Today's hooks are made of materials that are slow to rust, if at all. Many are coated with nickel making them stronger with smaller diameter wire. Other coatings, make the hook slide easier when the hook is set, however, they preclude corrosion. As such, these hooks eventually kill the fish after much suffering.