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Old 04-17-2007, 12:05 AM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Jero's recommendations are excellent.

Couple more things:

As Jero points out, you always want to play a large fish off the reel. This avoids having loose line lying around on the ground to tangle or to step on. It's a good habit to get into to put fish on the reel as soon as you can; when you start going after larger and more violent quarry, this habit comes in handy.

Sometimes you'll have to pinch the line between your fingers while you reel in slack in order to keep tension on the line between you and the fish. This is awkward, even for anglers with lots of big fish experience, but you're faced with this situation more often than not when trying to get the fish on the reel. Keep the rod tip up, and let the line slip out of your fingers under light tension if the fish begins to run.

When casting or prospecting for trout, try to spot those places along the bank most suitable for landing a good fish. Look for back eddies, beaches, clear areas without overhanding brush. When you hook said good fish, head for one of these landing places you've pre-marked.

Palm your reel, if your reel has a palm-able rim, or else press your reeling-hand fingers against the side plate of your reel as the fish is running. This will impart enough drag to prevent backlash on reels without a drag system, Watch out that the spinning handle doesn't bash into your fingers.

So much of playing a fish depends on the weight of your tackle, tippet breaking strength, the size of the stream and velocity of the current, the presence or absence of snags and obtructions, your mental state (Oh My Gawd I've Hooked The Fish of a Lifetime), your experiece in similar circumstances, etc. Strategies for landing fish in a current are really no different for the fly angler than for the spin caster, it's just that you've got to use more finesse and dexterity in maintaining tension on the fish (i.e., taking the slack out of the line, working a non-geared reel).

A good trout will often make two strong runs. He'll take a lot of line initially, and then take off again after you've brought him mostly in. Be prepared for this second run; a lot of good fish are lost at this point.

When the fish jumps, don't hold him too tight. With Steelhead, salmon, tarpon and others of that ilk, the word is to "bow to the fish" in order to release tension on the line.

When the fish starts to "show color", that is, when he starts flashing his sides, he's more than ready to land. Be firm and bring him in as quickly as your takcle will allow. If he sticks a pectoral fin ridgidly above the surface, he's really corked.

Especially, if you're planning on releasing the fish, try to get the fish in as quickly as your tackle will permit. As Jero pointed out, playing the fish over long often results in a dead fish. At any rate, make sure you revive the fish completely before releasing it. The fish should bolt strongly out of your hands if it has really recovered.

As you gain control over the fish, try to work it into the calmest water you can, preferrable near one of your preselected landing spots. Be patient, but be firm; and don't make any sudden, jerking movements.

Again, if planning to release the fish, do NOT remove it from the water. Gently work the hook out subsurface and move the fish back and forth head-on into the current until it bolts from your hand.

There are a lot of other more subtle techniques in playing fish, but these are the 101 basics. See Lee Wulff's _The Atlantic Salmon_ for more advanced advice.

Hope this helps and welcome to the Forum,


Last edited by Eric; 04-17-2007 at 12:23 AM.
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