How to Reel in & Catch Fish
Tips for Fighting a Fish
Remain as calm and relaxed as possible when it's time to reel in and catch your fish. Be ready to adjust your drag system accordingly, especially for bigger fish. While fighting the fish, remember to keep your rod tip pointed towards the water. Allow your fish to run if it wants to, but make sure your drag is loose enough so it can pull line without snapping it. If it runs for more than a few seconds, you can slowly tighten your drag to slow and tire it out.
When you notice the fish slowing down, pull it towards you by lifting your rod tip up towards the twelve o’clock position. When you reach this height, start reeling in line while dropping your rod tip back towards the water. It is extremely important to keep pressure on that fish. Continue doing this until the fish is close enough for you to either pick up or net.
Note: Be ready to loosen and adjust your drag if you feel the fish starting to pull again. Be mindful of the weight restrictions your line has and how big or small the fish feels. Don’t rush the fight or force the fish to come in; that’s a sure way to snap your line and lose it.
Capturing Fish with Your Bare Hands
Before you do anything, you want to familiarize yourself with the different types and species of fish in the area you are fishing. Make sure you can identify which ones have teeth and which do not. You do not wanna find this out the hard way.
There are three main ways you can pick up and hold fish:
1. You can slide your hand up through the gills of the fish. Note: If the fish has teeth, just be mindful of how far up through the gills you’re placing your hand.
2. You can grab the fish by the tail and put your other hand under its chest to support its weight.
3. If the fish does not have teeth, you can place your thumb in the fish's mouth, press down against your index finger, hold tight, and lift up.
Capturing Fish with a Net
Always make sure your net is all set up, free of tangles, and ready for action. There’s nothing more anxiety inducing than trying to get your net set up when you have the biggest fish of your life on the other end of your line. With that said, remain calm. When the fish sees the net for the first time, there’s a good chance it’s going to get anxious and try to take off again - so be ready.
Keep your eye on the fish as you prepare to net it. If you’re by yourself, try to reel the fish in as close to the tip of your rod as you can before grabbing the net with the other hand. Make sure the net isn’t caught on anything when you go in for the scoop. If you’re netting the fish for someone else, hold the mesh in one hand and the handle of the net in the other. This will ensure your net stays untangled and avoids getting hooked on any foreign objects. Depending on the position of the fish, you can go tail first, head first, or scoop it right up from underneath. The most important thing to remember throughout is to stay calm and keep your line tight.
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