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July 12, 2005

10 Ways To Lose A Trophy Fish

You, too, can lose that big fish! Just follow this experts list of 10 Deadly Sins.

5. Be Unprepared or Ineffective at the Strike
"Right at the hook-set: That's when the greatest number of fish are lost [on my boat]," says Bacon. Too many times, he explains, fishermen aren't ready for a good strike and end up whipping up the rod several times in a row, often with slack in the line between sets. Worse, the rod is held high, and "a hook-set loses power [when the rod is] above the 10 o'clock position."
"Not staying alert when you are on strike - that's the most common mistake inexperienced anglers make," says Capt. Bill Billson of those who are "up" next in a rotation. "If you've chartered a boat, make sure you've been properly tutored by the crew on what they need you to do," and practice until you know the drill.

The skipper, who runs the custom 46-foot sport-fisher Viking II out of Cairns, also recommends rotating strike duties on a time basis "so the intensity of your full attention will be focused for an allotted time."
Yust actually prefers that the angler hit a fish three times in succession at the strike - cranking as necessary to keep the line tight at all times, of course.
Any advice pertaining to hard strikes applies to J-hooks. But J or circle, the necessity for a tight line until (and after) the hook has found purchase applies universally.