One of the most exciting things about fishing is landing a really big one!
Landing a big catch is what lots of anglers dream about, but there’s not a whole lot of specific information about the details of landing one.
This leaves lots of inexperienced anglers out in the cold when it comes to the basics of landing a big catch. The last thing you want after getting a bite on the hook is to see it swim off because you don’t know what to do.
How to Reel in a Big Fish
How Can You Land a Big Fish?
The thought of landing a big one really keeps many inexperienced anglers going out on cold mornings, but actually landing one is about more than just pure luck.
It takes skill and experience to fight the fish successfully and land it properly. Here are some things that you definitely need to know to land your huge catch:
1. Keep Your Rod Held Properly
One thing that many inexperienced anglers forget to do is keep their rod in a good position. When this isn’t done, the fish is more likely to get away and you’re not going to be ready when a fish does eventually bite the hook.
Landing a fish is all about leverage and maximizing your position against the strength of the fish. Ideally, you should be holding the rod with both hands and keep it in the center of your body mass.
Lots of inexperienced anglers extend their arms or hold the rod off to the side.
As comfortable as this might be sometimes, it’s not a good position when a fish strikes. You’ll lack good leverage in this position and the fish is more likely to get away.
You may even snap the line or lose your rod altogether if the fish strikes hard enough and you’re not positioned well.
2. Be Thoughtful
One thing that many anglers miss is to check their surroundings. If, for example, you’re fishing in a river you should check for any overhanging branches that might impede your movement. You definitely won’t have time to do this when you’re in the middle of fighting the fish and trying to land it!
The other thing you need to think about, even before you cast out your line, is your hook set and your technique. Are you trying to catch bottom feeders? If so, you’ll likely need a sweep set.
3. Remain Calm
There’s a huge thrill when a fish has bitten the line and you find yourself in the middle of a fight. Despite the excitement, the rule of thumb is to remain as calm as possible. Yes, there’s going to be a pull on the line. Yes, there’s going to be some struggle as you try and work with your reel and rod to tire out the fish and land it.
The thing you really need to remember is that the drag you’ve set on the line is intended to do a big part of the work when exhausting the fish. You need to be calm so that you can work with the equipment and maintain a proper position.
If you keep calm and let the line and the drag setting do what it’s supposed to do, you’re more likely to tire out the fish and land it successfully.
It’s definitely one area where inexperienced anglers have a disadvantage, but the only way to get to the level of calm that you need is through experience.
4. You Should Always Adjust
If there’s one thing you really need to learn in fishing, it’s that you must always be willing to adjust to the fish during the fight. Depending on where you are, the fish itself, and your level of experience, you’ll have to make small adjustments to how you tire out the fish.
5. Use a Landing Net If You Have to
Some anglers think that it’s uncool to use a landing net when out on the boat. Sure, there’s definitely a level of excitement to watch an experience angler flip out a massive Bass and into the bottom of the boat, but it’s also not an easy thing to do.
If you use a landing net, you’re actually more likely to catch more fish. Landing those big fish such as the competitive anglers do, might look cool, but unless you have a lot of experience it can actually damage your fishing gear, your boat, and your hands. A big fish that’s moving around wildly in the boat on the line can even cause hooks to go flying and cause injury.
Don’t Do These Things If You Want to Reel in a Big Fish
There are plenty of things that help you to land a big fish, but what about things that you shouldn’t do? Consider the following:
1. Don’t Overreact When You Get a Bite
Inevitably, if you fish for long enough, you'll get a bite. This can be a bit strange at first when you feel tugs on your line, but the thing not to do is to jerk at it. If you feel a fish on the end of the line, don’t simply jerk it up and try and land it all in one movement. Fishing is about patience as much as it is about skill and experience.
One thing that you’ll quickly learn is to develop a feel for the tip of the rod. You'll soon learn when a fish is having a bite at the bait and you’ll be able to remain calm.
2. Apply Steady Pressure
One thing that many inexperienced anglers do is tug too hard on the line when they feel a bite on the hook. The problem is that a sudden jerk of the line will set up a loose line after the initial jerk. This is not what you want when you’re fighting a fish, as it’s more likely to get free and swim away.
The answer is to maintain a steady pressure when you’re fighting the fish. This applies maximum drag through the line and makes the fish tire out more easily.
Make Your Fishing Trips a Great Success
Fishing can be both relaxing and exciting. As you develop more skills and have more experience, you’ll learn the intricacies of fighting the fish and landing a big one.