Landing a Large Fish

Sooner or later every fisherman faces the task of landing a truly large fish. There are a few things that I have learned over the years that may help you deal with this situation.

First on my list is knowing your equipment. By this I mean how much pressure you can apply via the drag or by palming the reel before you break off. If your rigging is put together with the right knots you should know exactly how far you can push it. The objective is to apply as much tension and leverage as possible during the fight.

When the fish runs, point the rod in his direction holding it above the fish. Do not hold the rod high and vertically over your head - - that's a great way to lose control.

Stay as close to the fish as you can. The more line he takes the higher the risk of a break off and it reduces the amount of leverage you can exert on the fish. The sooner you can move him into shallow water the better.

I'll increase my leverage by holding the rod at a 45 degree angle. In this position I will constantly try to steer the fish into a landing position. I won't force the situation but I won't let him get his head down.

Landing the fish is a crucial point. Next to the initial hookup this is where most fish are lost. If he detects you or the net, you're certain to get a final burst. Do not try to net a fish that is still "hot". It's a recipe for disaster. When he's ready, net him head first.

Depending on the circumstances it may be easier to beach a fish. Some years ago I was fishing with a friend in a lake when he hooked an absolutely huge rainbow. Although he was carrying a good size net, the fish was simply too big for it (he ultimately measured 28"). He finely landed it in the net just as the tippet broke - a very lucky guy.