I learn something new every time I go fishing. And I’ve been fishing a lot, so I’ve learned plenty.
There is one skill I’ve never really studied, though: how to properly fight a fish once hooked.
This was something I took for granted. I focused on getting the fish hooked, but never really worried about properly fighting the fish once it was. I had always kept the tip up to apply steady pressure to the fish. I’m not sure whether I was taught this technique or just fell into it.
Apparently that technique is incorrect, at least when applied to fighting redfish. No one had ever corrected me in all my years of fishing, until my most recent trip to Port Aransas.
Each fly fishing scenario is specialized. Sure, they each require a fly rod, tippet, flies, casting skills, and patience—but permutations of those are infinite, and very specific combinations are called for in each situation. For example, consider the different procedures for setting the hook with a trout set and a strip set.
When trout fishing, the common hook setting technique is a simple lift of the rod straight up to apply pressure on the fish. The size of the fly is likely very small when trout fishing, which demands the tippet or leader portion of the line also be extremely fine.
This makes presenting the fly, setting the hook, and fighting the fish a delicate procedure. It often takes just a simple lift of the the rod to set the hook. With too much pressure, though, the fish will break off the line.