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Fighting Fish Responsibly | Fly Fish University Podcast

Dec 09, 2020

4 simple tips for fighting fish quickly and responsibly

It's Wednesday, which means it is time for another instalment of the Fly Fish University Podcast! Today's episode is about fighting fish quickly and responsibly, ultimately increasing our chances of catch and release survival and doing our part in ethical angling. 

First things first, why is it important to fight fish quickly? Isn't part of the fun in fly fishing the battle itself? Of course. Fighting fish as quickly as you can does not mean using shark rope for leader and winching them in, it simply means using all of the means within our control to bring them to hand in the shortest time possible. 

When fish get played out too long, we are greatly increasing the chances of excessive lactic acid buildup. Even if the fish seems to swim away fine at first, this does not always mean that survival is guaranteed. Unless we are planning to harvest the fish we are targeting, it is imperative to do our part in lessening our percentages of catch and release mortality. 

Fish the heaviest tippet possible

The heavier tippet we can fish, the faster we are able to bring fish to hand. If you are fishing murky water, or targeting fish that are not tippet-shy, fish the heaviest leader that the conditions will permit. Under gunning yourself will lead to playing fish out longer than necessary in attempts to not break them off. 

Using the back end of the rod

In the blank of a fly rod, the power is found in the back end, or bottom half of the rod blank. When it comes time to pull on a fish, especially big game or predator species, it is imperative that the back end of the rod is used to its maximum potential. Wedging the rod into your waist, rather than hoisting it straight in the air, will allow you to lean into the fish and gain control during the fight. 

Don't shy away from using a net or cradle

This is especially true if you are not comfortable with tailing or lipping fish on the first attempt, using a net or cradle will greatly increase your chances of bringing the fish to hand on the first attempt. Species like trout, char and salmon can be difficult to grab on your own until you get the hang of it. Using a net or cradle will decrease the amount of time between the fish being hooked and the fish being released. 

READ: "The Low Down on Rubber Fly Fishing Nets

Avoid landing fish on dry land

We can fight fish quickly, with the heaviest tippet, while using the back end of the rod, but our efforts are exasperated should we choose to land fish in and area which they have opportunity to hit their head on the rocks or stuff their gills full of mud and sand. Land fish in water that will allow them to stay wet the entire time, without coming in contact with shoreline structure. 

Listen to today's podcast episode below:



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