There’s nothing more depressing than losing a fish! You spent hours on the bank waiting for a bite and then your prize catch quickly turns into the one that got away! You have lost your golden moment and a great photographic opportunity! Here’s our top tips for playing your fish well and landing your catch.
The rule of opposites
Most species know their underwater environment in detail and so are ready to make a run for any snags and other underwater obstacles at the first sign of trouble. They will head straight towards them and will tend to move in the opposite direction to where you are trying to pull them. If the tip of your rod is to the right, the fish will move to the left. You can use this knowledge to your advantage to lead the fish away from the snags and into your waiting net.
Give the fish line
You must be ready to give your fish line otherwise you risk the hook ripping out or your line snapping when under too much pressure from a fish on the run. The closer you are to the fish, the more important this can be as proximity magnifies the pressure on your tackle. Ensure that your clutch is properly adjusted and be ready to backwind at the right moment to maintain the correct tension.
Keep your rod low
If you have seen other anglers playing fish with their rods low to the water, they know what they are doing! Keeping your rod low brings the fish to the surface of the water and enables you to lead them to your net, travelling head first. This will reduce water resistance and so minimises the stress on your tackle. Keep your rod low and to the side when you are leading your fish in for greater success.
You must ensure that your set-up is balanced. A powerful rod and a light line is a bad combination which will lead to breaks under stress. Huge differences between the strength of your rod and line will lead you into trouble, so keep things balanced if you want to land more fish.
Practice makes perfect
Ultimately, it takes practice to play fish effectively. There’s no substitute for time by the water and it is best to start learning at waters where you enjoy consistent action. The more action you get, the quicker you will develop improved feel and you can evolve your own style too. Sometimes you have to make a few mistakes to discover what really works for you!
With balanced tackle and the benefit of practice, you will become significantly more successful at landing your catches. Instead of talking about the ones that got away, you will be showing off your snaps of impressive specimens. Give our tips a try to see what you can achieve! You might make dramatic improvements in a short space of time!