Sixth in a Series – The Retrieval and Release – You are hooked up, now what. You should expect the fish to run and escape. Let them take the line. The fish will tire quickly if the drag is set right and you keep tension on the line. Remember, do not reel in line when they are running. This can cause the fish to break off.
The retrieval requires the angler to pump and reel to keep drawing the fish toward shore. If the fish is taking too much line, slightly adjust the drag to prevent it from being drawn off too fast. Do this tightening slowly. Smoothly raise the rod tip, then lower it while reeling. This is called pumping. You draw the fish nearer with each pump. Pump and reel until the fish tires.
Shortly, you should begin to feel the fish tiring out and the reeling will become easier. Use the waves to help bring the fish to shore. Stop reeling when an outgoing wave is pulling the fish out. But reel more quickly when the wave is coming toward the shore. Keep the rod tip up and pressure on the fish.
Once on the shore, the fish will continue to fight. I use a wet rag to control the fish to make removing the hook easy. There is a slimy and slippery coating on all fish. They is their protectant against disease. Try to minimize wiping this slippery substance off.
Nylon nets can really damage this protectant. If you need a net, try to use a plastic or vinyl type. And keep them in the net only for little help control them. Remove them quickly to your hand or flat surface.
If you are harvesting this catch, promptly place in a cooler with ice.
If the fish is going to be released, make the fight short. The longer the fight the less likely the fish will survive after its release.
Also when releasing the fish, do so carefully. Hold the fish in your hand, not vertically but horizontally with your hand supporting it’s belly and then place it in the water, watching for its movement to swim. Keep your hands or rag wet to avoid wiping the protectant, slim or scales off the fish.
Remember to never just throw it back in. A stunned fish is less likely to survive and is easy prey for a passing bird.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony