By Louis Cahill
Tired of hooking big fish just to lose them in the fight?
This came up the other day when I was fishing with a buddy. Like too many anglers, he’d been losing big fish, one after the next, over the same simple mistakes. It was a ‘face-palm’ moment when I pointed it out. In part because he actually knew better than to do any of these three things, and did them any way.
I’m not ragging on my buddy. I’ve seen plenty of anglers make these same mistakes and suffer the consequences. Simple habits you can get away with on the average fish become huge disasters when you hook a trophy. Have a look at this list and make sure you you’re not making the same mistakes.
3 Bad Habits That Lead To Lost Fish
Ignoring wind knots
How many times have you felt a wind knot in your leader and thought, I’ll fix it next time? Maybe the fishing was hot and you didn’t want to miss any action. How many times did ignoring that wind knot result in breaking off a nice fish? The only time to fix wind knots is NOW. As soon as you find them, and it’s a good idea to check your leader often. If you find wind knots, chafing, nicks, or anything other than a perfect leader, fix it right away. You never know if the next fish to eat your fly will be a trophy.
A sloppy reel
Ever look down at your reel and see a sloppy mess of fly line poorly stacked on the reel? I know I have. Maybe things got hectic fighting the last fish or you just spooled up a bunch of slack line in a hurry when you saw a fish rising in the next pool. That sloppy reel is an invitation for disaster. Poorly spooled line can easily bind or knot when a strong fish starts ripping it off of the reel. When you see a bird’s nest in the making, stop, strip it all off of the reel and stack it neatly. It’s time well spent.
The statuesque angler
Like Fred McDowell said, “When the lord gets ready, you got to move.” I’ve seen too many anglers stand in one spot and watch bad things happen during a fight. When a big fish starts to run, you have to go with him. Especially if that run is downstream, or toward structure. If you are not able to maintain a ninety degree connection to the fish, or use side pressure against him, you’ve got to move. And sometimes you’ve got to move fast.
I remember a time when I was on a photo shoot and the angler hooked a huge trout, which tore off downstream. It was a rough wade and the angler wasn’t confident about moving downstream in a hurry. I put down the camera and we locked arms and chased the fish together. Stay light on your feet like a boxer. They call it fighting a fish for a reason.
Fly fishing is a craft as much as a sport, and attention to detail is key to success. If you find that you are making any of these mistakes, make today the day to start good new habits. When that trophy fish eats our fly, you’ll be ready for success.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!