How to Stop a Running Fish

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on How to Stop a Running Fish

It’s a well-known fact that structure and weeds hold bait, which also means they hold fish. However, fishing around rocks, docks, pilings, and weeds can sometimes be a truly frustrating experience. It seems like each time you hook-up on a fish they take off for parts unknown; usually thick weed beds, rocks or rocky bottoms, and mangroves. Then without fail the fish either pulls the hook or breaks the line.

What is an angler to do apart from feelings of disparity at losing a nice fish or sometimes hurling a few choice words, toward uninterested bystanders? They might try a time-proven technique that’s worked for many anglers.

Here’s a little technique that’s worked for me and other seasoned anglers for many years. Based on our success it might be worth a try when fishing near bad areas. Especially if fish are continually running into the rocks, mangroves or thick weed beds to break your line and get away. You must understand that whenever a fish is hooked, it’s a natural instinct for anglers immediately begin applying pressure by keeping a tight line. So, if you take away the pressure, what will the fish do? More times than not they stop struggling against the tight line or running toward the nearest cover. Many times I’ve had a big snook head into the mangroves and become tangled in the roots. Quite often I’ll open the bail and let the line go slack for a few moments and then without warning I’ll take up the slack and re-apply pressure. It’s my theory this has a tendency to momentarily disorient the fish giving me enough time to get it headed out of the cover. Many times this has worked this technique has been successful in getting a fish out of cover.

Another thing to be aware of is your drag system and drag settings; making certain the drag is properly adjusted and in good operating condition.

Because “lever” drag reels are much more precise, it’s best to try backing off the drag when using this type of reel. With this system, it’s possible to return to your fighting setting with good accuracy. On the other hand, reels with star drags are not as precise. Changing the drag setting during a fight makes it practically hopeless to return to your original setting.

Once the fish stops running it is time to tighten the drag and gently begin easing up on the fish in an attempt to lead it up and away from anything that could foul your line. If the fish takes off again, back off on the drag and start over again. It’s better to make several attempts than lose a trophy fish. Once you’re confident the fish the fish far enough away from trouble it’s time to get on with the normal action of landing a nice fish. However, in the early stages, remember to be patient.