Playing and Landing Fish

Once the hook is set, get the rod to as near the vertical as possible. This will cushion against the fish bolting and causing either the hook hold to free, or worse, the leader to snap.

Side-strain is laying the rod over to the side so it is horizontal. If a fish leaps, use side-strain, if a fish runs somewhere against yours wishes, use side-strain, if he goes deep, use side-strain and if he thrashes the surface, side-strain. As you can imagine I use this little manoeuvre rather frequently.

If a fish wants line, and you have plenty of free space, then let him have it.

At the end of the fight, when he is getting tired, take some of the pressure off. More fish are lost at the end of a fight than at any other stage. Keep low, make no sudden movements, put the net in the water, and once the fish is ready he will lay on his side. Now is the time to slide him over the net and lift him clear. If you have a long handled landing net and a big fish, help the net some by holding it with a second hand somewhere way down that handle, otherwise you could end up with some trouble and a broken handle.

I guess I may as well tell you how to land two (or even three) fish all at once. Sometimes it happens. There are a few ways to go about this, the way most people tell is to wait until the fish on the point fly is really tired and to net him first and then work your way up the line netting fish as you go. The only drawback with this method is that it doesn't work. The way it usually goes is that the fish further up the line gets real tired and lies on the surface whereas the other fish hang around below conserving their energy until they need it.

So try it this way; net the fish closest to you first, and let the other fish swim gently around while either you unhook the first or snip the line on the dropper section (careful where you cut) and follow this procedure all the way down to the point fish.

Generally, however, two or more fish are more trouble then they are worth and the one that gets off is always the biggest.


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