Keep the Rod Tight
Slack is the enemy. This not only applies to fly casting, but also to fish fighting. Seems pretty basic right? Well over the years I have noticed a lot of anglers loose fish from having too much slack in their line and not enough tension on the fish.
Key Points to Fighting Fish
- Keep the line locked under your finger. - Do not let go of the line under your finger... this refers to the finger on your rod hand that you use to control the line. As soon as you remove the line from this finger you loose control and begin to loose tension on the line.
- Long and smooth strips are better than short, quick pulls when stripping fish in. - Initially after getting the fish hooked up, get the line tension under control by using long and smooth strips. I'm talking 2-3' pulls of line at a time. This will tighten up the rod and keep the tip from bouncing and introducing slack. Short 6-12" strips usually don't get the fish under tension fast enough and cause the rod tip to bounce.
- Reel with one hand... not both. - Be aware of what you do with your rod hand when reeling in fish. What happens a lot of times is the angler is so focused on reeling in the fish they don't realize their rod hand is moving in rhythm to their reeling. Musky Dave calls this "pedaling". Keep your rod hand locked in one position and keep the tip of rod from bouncing. Rod tip bounces... slack is introduced... fish pops off.