One thing that isn’t covered nearly as much as it should by the informative YouTube how-to fishermen is what to do during the most critical part of fishing – fighting big bass. Maybe this is because it’s assumed all anglers have this skill nailed down, but still, this seems odd, because if you make a mistake while fighting a fish you’re likely to lose it or break off.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when fighting a fish that will increase your percentage of landing big bass.
1. Keep Steady Pressure
Once hooked up and fighting big bass, your rod works as a lever, shock absorber, and guide to bring the fish to the boat. The biggest mistake many anglers make is to prevent it from doing its job. It’s easy to get in a hurry, but you’ll land more fish by keeping steady pressure and letting your rod tire the fish out then you will by horsing it in. This is particularly important with light line and spinning tackle, as the rods flex is what bears of a fishes fight and prevents breaking off. Keeping steady pressure also prevents slack from forming when a hooked fish jumps – which is one of the main reasons a fish will come off.
2. Don’t Jerk When Fighting Big Bass
As mentioned in the previous tip, slack is enemy numero uno when fighting a fish. Even poorly hooked fish usually make it boat side as long as there is no slack given during the fight. If you’ve ever caught a fish and had it come off in the net or pop loose as soon as it lands in the boat, this is exactly what happened. The fish was poorly hooked, but never got slack and thus popped loose as soon as it got slack from the net or boat carpet. Jerking or wild gesturing with the rod is one of the quickest ways to introduce slack to the line while fighting big bass – and a surefire way to lose more fish.
3. Use A Landing Net
If you’ve watched enough tournament coverage you’ve inevitably seen countless top anglers “boat-flip” hooked bass – or jerk them directly out of the water and into the bottom of the boat. Sure, it looks cool and can be effective the much of the time – but it’s also another chance for a bass to come off, particularly if it’s a big one. Although it may seem passé to some, a landing net greatly decreases lost fish by expanding your reach. Nets are particularly effective when fishing baits with treble hooks as they prevent a fistful of hooks.
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