So you have done all the hard work; you have found the fish, got one to eat, now you’re hooked up and hoping to reel the fish in and land it. There is a lot that can go wrong in these moments and there is nothing worse than the feeling of having lost a fish, no matter the size.
Here I hope to give you a guide as to how to make sure you get any hooked fish to the boat and play it correctly. Here is how to reel in a fish.
One of the main culprits of losing fishing is poorly maintained tackle. Make sure that your line isn’t rotten, that it is packed tightly on your spool, and that all the knots you have tied are strong and tested. Then when you do hook a fish you know it’s not your setup that’s failed you.
Keep Your Rod Up
Once you have hooked a fish, always keep your rod at a 45-degree angle and make sure there is a bend due to the pressure. This will keep pressure on the fish to come to the surface and ensure your hook stays in.
Keep Your Line Tight
The first mistake that can happen is having any slack line during the fight. You need to make sure there is always pressure between you and the fish, this is what makes sure the hook stays in its mouth and doesn’t fall out. Some fish will swim towards you in a fight and this is a classic time when slack is created. If a fish does start coming towards you, you need to wind as fast as you can to pick up the slackline and stay tight.
Quite often a fish may break your line and this can be due to setting the drag too high. Make sure the drag on your reel is set to the breaking strain of your line. You can test this by pulling the line off your reel quickly once you have set the drag.
Once you have hooked a fish and are playing it nicely, do not adjust the drag unless you have to. The only times you may need to increase your drag during a fight is if the fish is going to spool you and you need to stop it or if the fish is running for the bottom and may get wrapped up in a snag.
Play Your Angles
When you’re fighting a fish it’s important to try and guide it away from anything that might cause it to break the line; like a coral head or a snag. While fighting it, use your rod and the pressure to pull from side to side to change the direction the fish swims in.
If you pull your rod to the right, the fish will usually run in the opposite direction, to the left and vice versa. If you see a fish swimming to a snag on the right of you, then change your angel and pull it from the right to make it change direction.
Landing A Fish
It is quite often in the final moments of a fight when all the hard work is done that a fish can come off. To start with, you need to make sure you have added strong enough leader material between your mainline and the hook. This is so that when you grab it with your hand, it won’t snap against the pull of the fish.
Once you think a fish is ready to be landed, slowly take the line in your hands and try to pull the fish’s head up. If you feel like the fish is still strong, then let go and continue fighting it with the rod and reel. If it’s definitely ready, pull it slowly towards you and either net it or hold it gently by the tail with the leader still in your other hand. Be careful while you do this as fish will make their last run or dash for cover at this moment.
Also, be careful not to hurt the fish; hold it gently and keep it in the water while you remove the hook, take a picture and release it. If you are fishing for food, then pull it out and kill it quickly to ensure there is no suffering.
That’s everything you need to know about how to reel in a fish on a spinning rod. It’s quite simple and the more you do it the better you’ll be. We have all lost fish for some reason or another, don’t get down, be happy about the experience and learn from it so you get him next time.