It matters little if an angler discovers a plastic creature bait that fish will assault with vigor if he or she cannot set the hook successfully at a good rate. I have found that the Baby Brush Hog and similar plastics, Texas rigged so they will not snag when tossed into heavy cover, will get both smallmouth and largemouth bass to bite and bite frequently. I use these creature plastics in my local Quinebaug River in eastern Connecticut. Long ago I learned some of the keys for setting the hook when these baits get the attention of bass.
One of the most important things to do is to always keep the tip of your fishing rod up when using these plastics. This enables you to constantly watch your line. Keeping a close eye on your line will enable you to tell what is happening at the other end. If the line quickly becomes taut after the bait splashes down, you will know that a bass has picked it up. If your line, where it enters the water, starts to move upstream or downstream more quickly than the current could carry it, it means a bass has your plastic creature bait in its mouth. It is time to set the hook.
Patience is the ultimate virtue when fishing plastic creature baits. You have to have the discipline not to jump the gun and try to set the hook too quickly, which can result in yanking the bait out of a fish's mouth before it has had a chance to gulp it down. By waiting, you increase the chance that a bass will have taken the plastic lure well into its mouth, which translates into the hook point finding its mark when you set it.
Once you have decided to set the hook, do it with conviction. Lower the rod tip slightly and cock your wrists, pulling back hard on the line as you begin to crank the reel handle. You will know right off the bat if you have a fish at the other end. If it is a big fish, make a concerted effort to set the hook hard again. During the fight, give the rod another hard jolt to bury that point in the jaw.
When you think you have a bass taking your creature lure upstream, you have a set of circumstances that favor the fish. The current will always carry some of your slack line downstream, so when you go to set the hook, you will actually be pulling line up through the water, giving a wary bass enough time to spit the lure and escape. To get the odds tilted toward you a bit, reel slowly in to gain as much slack line as you can before attempting the hook set. As you set the hook, reel furiously to "catch up" to the fish swimming upstream. Experience helps you know if you have the hook set well, or if it is tenuous.
Big largemouth especially will hit a plastic creature bait right away if it falls in front of where they wait in ambush by a boulder, log or stump. You must quickly get over the shock of a big fish smashing your presentation and make certain you set the hook properly. Do not be content with the bass hooking itself; set that hook again and hang on for a great fight.