There are more than enough articles on techniques for luring big fish – where to find what species, what type of hooks you need for what type of fish, whether to use crankbaits or minnows and so forth. But there are far lesser articles on what to do once your fish has taken the bite, which is surprising because what happens from that time onward determines whether you will be going home empty-handed or with a cooler full of fish.
In that spirit, we have felt the need to create this simple guide on how to hook, battle, and reel in a fish. Whether you are in a catch and release mission or hoping to get something for dinner, this info will get you landing that monster fish like a pro!
Hooking The Fish
For you to succeed in hooking your desired species, you must know how to maintain the fishing rod in the right position. This simply means holding it with both hands and keeping it at the center of your body mass.
If your arms are off-center or extended outward and the fish takes a bite, you may not be able to control your hook set and get the fish. Your best bet is keeping your hands close to your chest so that when the fish bites the lure, you can easily drive the hook home.
Also, taking enough time to prepare for the trip will increase your chances of hooking. For instance, every time you go fishing for smaller fish in the nearby river, lake, or any other water body, practice holding your rod right, so you can hone your casting skills.
Additionally, think about where you are going to fish, as different angling techniques will require different hook sets. For underwater fishing where you will need a sweeping set, for example, ensure that there are no obstacles on the side that will interfere with the hooks. Going creek fishing? Check to see that there are no hanging or protruding tree limbs that will obstruct your hooking.
Taking a few days to prepare and think carefully about your trip can get you landing more fish than just sitting and watching YouTube videos and hoping for a miracle.
Fighting Your Catch
No big fish will end up in your hands without putting up a fight, and a good one. A huge mistake many first time anglers make is to freak out once they hook the fish. Never panic when your catch begins to battle for its life. You see, your fishing rod, line, and reel are all made to make this fight easier. They are good shock absorbers so just let them do what they do best.
Once you have hooked your fish, reel in steadily if possible, or just let it keep fighting until it tires. However, you will need to adjust your fight based on where you are angling.
If you are fishing in an area that has thick underwater vegetation, for instance, you may want to pull your fish away from the obstacles first so you can win the fight. If you are battling a giant fish like bass, apply heavy pressure immediately so you can get it into open water. From there, you can just let the fish do its thing until it is exhausted.
How To Reel In Your Catch Easily
The simplest and most effective way to reel in your catch is to let your rod do the job. Once you are sure you got your fish on the hook, let the rod guides, water-resistance, and elasticity of the line, and drag tire the fish. If you have set your drag correctly, then you will be able to battle and reel in your catch with smooth, continuous pressure. Here are pointers on how to reel in a fish to make the process even easier:
- With your fish hooked, begin to reel it in. You need to be careful while doing this especially if you are pulling a large fish, as it could burst your line. The safest fishing line to use on such a trip would be a thick braid because braided fishing lines are sturdy enough and not likely to snap.
- Pull the tip of the rod up and then reel faster as you drop it down to move the fish closer. Make sure not to pump your fishing rod too far back, as this can easily break it. Also, keep the line as tight as possible, as any looseness could enable the fish to break the line or spit the hook out.
- Take advantage of any space around you. Fishing from the shore will be more advantageous than fishing from a kayak, canoe, or any other watercraft because, in the latter, space may be a little bit of an issue. If you are angling from the shore and the ground behind you is flat, try walking backward and reeling in the loose part of the line when walking forward. This is the best way to reel in a fish if it is too big and you fear that the rod will break.
- Exhaust monster fish completely before putting them on your watercraft. Some fish can be dangerous and landing them on your boat before wearing them out can be quite risky. Moreover, trying to unhook a thrashing game fish can be menacing. Ever been poked by a fishing hook or saw it fly into someone’s eyeball? Trust us, you don’t want to find yourself in such a nightmare!
- Keep your watercraft moving forward to prevent your catch from heading down. You want it to remain as close to the surface as possible because some species like Marlin and tuna will not survive underwater and bringing them up again may not be an easy task. Sharks may also feast on your catch if the fight takes too long.
- Use your back muscles and body swing to pump your fishing rod backward. Never use the strength from your arms to haul the weighty trolling tackle. If your watercraft has a harness, put it on so you can use your back muscles to pull the rod back instead of the arms. This will make fighting and reeling in the fish much easier.
Landing Your Fish
Now that you have hooked, fought, and reeled in your fish, where are you going to land it? Landing simply means getting the fish out of the water. The best way to do this would be to use a net, and even then, there is the right and wrong way to do it.
To net your catch the right way, make sure it is completely exhausted and if it is still fighting, let it. Once it has calmed down, place the net in the water and pull your fish over it, head first. Quickly pull the net out of the water and you got your catch.
Do not chase your catch around with the net, as this could make it panic, which could cause an adrenaline rush and force it to make another run. This could over-exhaust the fish and decrease its chances of survival when released. Unless you are planning to take your fish home, don’t tire it more than necessary.
Removing The Hook
Unhooking a fish can be taxing especially if you are doing it for the first time, but there are easy ways to do it without causing harm to yourself and the fish. The most commonly used method by anglers is pushing the hook down and turning it slowly so it comes out the same way it went in. Easy peasy!
But if this method doesn’t work for you, you can try a pair of fishing pliers. These will flatten the spike on the hook so you can pull the hook from the fish mouth without harming it.
Catch And Release Vs Keeping Your Catch
Once you have your fish, it is up to you to decide what you want to do with it. Some fishing spots will limit the number of fish you can keep. Others will not allow you to take home fish of a certain weight, so it would be best to have a fish scale handy just in case you need to know the weight of your catch. To be on the safe side, always check with the authorities before you go.
Globo Surf Overview
Reeling in small fish is easy – just hook it and reel away. Even if it escapes, the chances of hooking another one are still high. Landing a whopper, however, requires a little more work. You need to know how to hook properly and fight the right battle.
The above guide has all the information you need to reel in a fish. Hopefully, it will give you a chance to enjoy a monster catch. Just make sure to carry the right gear, as this will also play a huge role in your reeling success.