Just about every avid fisherman has a story about the one that got away. Inevitably, the story always involves hooking the fish of a lifetime and losing it to uncontrollable circumstances. These stories, without a doubt, are heartbreaking to those who love to fish. But they don’t have to come from you. For as many freak occurrences that you can’t prevent when you lose a fish, there are things you can control that help to make sure it doesn’t happen. Use the pointers below to keep the ratio of fish hooked to fish landed nice and high.
1. Sharpen your hooks
When you buy them, most hooks are sharp right out of the box. But with enough time rolling around in a tackle box, they tend to dull down. This process is accelerated if you use the same hook for a while. Dull hooks are one of the leading causes of lost fish, especially if they’re not hooked in the lip. You have two options to prevent losing fish from dull hooks, either invest in a hook sharpener (they’re very cheap and compact) or buy new hooks more often.
2. Try a new line
For fishermen who like to go after larger game, finding a fishing line that can withstand real abuse can be a challenge. In the modern, “high-performance” era of fishing, many are making the switch from old monofilament lines to braided ones. As its name implies, braided line is a kind of aggregate of smaller lines braided together, much like a rope is. Though it tends to fray and is harder to tie knots with, it generally outlasts monofilaments and won’t break as easily when fighting a fish.
3. Use a different rod
Stiff fishing rods often put more pressure than necessary on points of tension between you and the fish you’re fighting. Using a more flexible rod will allow the line some more “give”, and prevent it from snapping when a pressure overload is applied.
4. Change your drag settings
Many fishermen simply ignore the drag setting on their reels. Naturally, this equates to them losing a lot of fish on the water. If you’ve been having difficulties lately, try lightening up the drag a bit. It will drag out the fight when you’ve hooked the fish, but will also keep you from accidentally pulling too hard.
5. Perfect your knot tying
Just about every fisherman, at one point or another, has tied a knot too hastily and ended up losing a big fish because of it. Take some time to practice the two most popular line-to-hook knots: the palomar knot and the clinch knot. With time, you’ll be able to tie them quickly and expertly when you’re on the water.
Fishing is a fun and exciting pastime, but tough situations in which you lose fish can put a damper on the whole experience. By using the tips above, you can cut down on the number of fish you lose, and gain confidence in your ability to land fish.