Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Land More Fish



Captain Mary A. Fink

One of the most rewarding things about being a fishing guide is sharing the excitement and joy experienced through others when they hook and land fish. It has been my experience, however, that many less-experienced anglers lose a good number of fish through improper retrieval technique. Often, fish are lost due to over excitement when the angler tries to rush the fish into the boat. Others are lost due to excessive slack in the line or improper rod tip position where leverage is lost. Although not every fish hooked will be landed, there are a number of effective techniques that you can use to increase your chances of landing more fish.

First, be cognizant of the type of fishing tackle you are using. What is the strength of the line that is on your reel spool? Is the rod ultra light, light, medium or heavy? Is the drag set properly for the line and rod strength? If you don’t know, ask your guide! When purchasing your own tackle, be sure to ask experienced anglers about these considerations prior to making a purchase. Being knowledgeable about your tackle will help you to acquire a better feel of what the tackle is capable of and what its not. It’s important that you become comfortable with your tackle whether it is your own or provided for you by your guide or mate.

Next, once a fish is hooked, lift the rod tip which will provide the advantage of leverage while minimizing slack in the line. This stage of the game is critical. While fighting the fish, keep the rod tip elevated so that the line stays tight. Any slack in the line can easily result in a lost fish. Additionally, reeling against the drag or reeling too aggressively will often result in a broken line. Using the knowledge you have of your rod and line strength, begin to battle the fish. When the fish wants to run, let it run while keeping the rod tip up. Allow the rod to do its job by providing leverage against the fish. Proper drag set, which is based on line and rod strength, will enable line to be pulled from the spool while keeping the line tight. Eventually, the fish will tire and retrieving will be easier. Be patient and enjoy the fight!

Many fish are lost in the final stage of the battle, as the fish nears the boat, dock or beach. To avoid this, be sure to use the rod tip to steer the fish away from the propeller or any other obstructions as fish will attempt to seek structure for protection. Do your best to avoid this, and if it happens, maintain the rod tip position as much as possible and avoid slack.

Try these very basic retrieval techniques to increase the number of fish you land on your next trip.

Tight Lines!


Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both backcountry and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.


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