Get ‘Em on the Reel
Raise you hand if you’re guilty of having too much line out, hook what you think is a big fish, reel like hell to play the fish on the reel, only to screw around too much, not pay attention to what you’re doing, and lose a nice fish? I know my hand is up!
I care not to admit how many times I’ve done this. It all happens so fast. The adrenaline starts to flow, your eyes bug out of your head, your heart begins to pound….and you lose discipline.
I’ve fished most methods there are out there I think, noodling being an exception I don’t even want to try! In my opinion, fly fishing is one of the most challenging methods of fishing. It requires, skill, technique, education and discipline. All of which are lost in the above scenario.
Make The Call:
The first thing you are going to have to figure out is if the fish is reel worthy. Not whether or not you want to play the fish on the reel, whether or not you should play the fish on the reel.
How do you do that? Slow down there cowboy, fish the fish for a few seconds. The fish will tell you. If that fish is pulling line from your hand, chances are you should get ‘em on the reel. If not, you and the fish are probably better off doing it by hand, stripping him in. Generally, it takes longer to land a fish on the reel. So, if it’s a small fish, you’re probably going to fit it longer than you should, thus decreasing its chances of survival after the release, especially if the water is on the warm side.
You Make the SECOND move:
Fish generally react to being hooked in three ways. They make a run for it away from you, they sit and go deep, and they can make a run at you. What you do depends on what they do.
If the fish is making a run for it away from you, getting the fish on the reel is far easier in this scenario. You need to keep pressure on the fish, while letting him take like while you reel in your slack. Just make sure your drag isn’t to tight. If it is, you can snap the fish off. It’s far easier to tighten you drag while fighting the fish, than trying to loosen it while you’re trying to get the fish on the reel. If the fish turns and runs towards you, quickly abandon the reel.
If they sit and or go deep, catfish are famous for this, you need to use a bit of finesse. You want to take up your slack, while keeping pressure on the fish. It can be readily done, you just need to make sure that with any movement towards you, you abandon the reel and go back to manually taking him in.
If Mr. Fish makes a run towards you, forget the reel. Fly reels as a rule of thumb don’t have the gear ratios of conventional gear. You are very unlikely to catch up to the fish and keep the desired pressure on him to prevent the hook from being spit out. If he turns, that’s a different story, but unless he does, abandon the reel and strip him in.
Please remember, we only have this one mother earth. Take care of her. Pack it in, Pack it out. Until next time my fishy friends......
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags