The difference between landing a fish and losing one often comes down to attention to detail. Overlooking a few standard yet crucial steps can mean the difference between a "grip and grin" photo or the heartbreak of a long distance release.
|Having a sharp hook can mean the difference between landing a big or losing it during the battle.|
Add these small details to your angling repertoire this season and watch your catch rate increase.
Sharpen Things Up
Although it is well known that a sharp hook is crucial to catching fish, how many of us routinely touch up our points during the course of a fishing day? Unfortunately, failure to follow this one small detail is the biggest reason for lost fish.
For those that fish on a boat or shore, a hook file should always be handy. Get into the habit of touching up your hook point after EVERY fish you catch, as well as EVERY snag you encounter. Although it may not seem like much, each of these incidences will dull or burr a hook, leading to less likelihood for full penetration on the next hook set.
I also make it a habit to touch up my points each time I tie on a new bait or hook, as well as regularly throughout the course of the day. At most, this "detail" takes 10 seconds. Not a bad investment for an increased chance to catch that next fish.
The most important link between yourself and a hooked fish is your line. Many fail to give this most crucial piece of equipment the attention it deserves. First of all, change line regularly. For those using monofilament, twice a season is standard. Braid can be left on reels for a season or two, depending on what sort of conditions you encounter or stress you put it through.
Check line frequently throughout your outing. I suggest once every 15 minutes, concentrating on the last 2 feet. Run your lips or fingers along this section to ensure no nicks or frays are present. Nicks can occur for a myriad of reasons, but the common culprits are snags, structure and fish (gill rakers/teeth.) If in doubt, cut and retie.
Study a few standard knots and learn to tie them well. Certain lines perform better with a specific knot, so knowing which to tie can alleviate breakage dramatically.
Always lubricate your knot before tightening. A small detail for sure, but one that can increase the effectiveness significantly. It will also make the knot easier to tie.
Finally, checking your knot regularly to ensure it is snug (as well as sitting on the eye of the hook correctly) is a good habit to get into. Again, very little time commitment or effort, but the results will be well worth it.
Pay attention to small details this fishing season. They may not seem like much, but they will take your "catching" to the next level.