Have you ever wondered why the guys on those weekend outdoor television shows seldom lose a fish? The bass jump a lot, but don’t shake off. The “wicked tuna” zips line off the reel, but it doesn’t part. And at the end of the show, the fish are led to a net, gaffed or harpooned and brought into the boat without incident.How they land fish after fish without losing them is simple. It begins with balanced fishing tackle that matches the type and size of the fish being targeted. The drag setting on the reel is adjusted to about one third of the line’s breaking strength. A length of heavy leader material is then attached to the terminal end of the line if the desired fish has teeth, sharp spines or rough skin. The leader also helps prevent the line from breaking when the fish is close to the boat. Weak line and improperly tied knots are the primary reasons fish are lost. That is why the first 10 feet to 20 feet of line should be checked – before using – for nicks, rough sports and evidence of lost tensile strength. If the line appears opaque, is twisted, or more than one season old, replace it. Best practices suggest that a few feet of line be cut off each time a new hook or lure is tied and after every big fish is landed. Lubricate knots with saliva and pull them tight. Those that require multiple turns of line should be drawn up tightly without overlapping. Don’t try to save money by purchasing inferior terminal tackle. Snaps, swivels and hooks should be of good quality and match the line and tackle requirements of the fish you are after. As with line, hooks need to be checked for sharpness, bent back into shape as needed and replaced when one or more of the treble hooks are missing. A firm hook set, combined with steady pressure, will assure that the majority of the fish tempted to strike are landed. Keeping the rod bowed and pointed in the direction of the fish is the key to wearing it down, not erratic pumping of the rod or high-speed cranking. Be smooth and steady, don’t jerk and keep the line tight. Should the fish start to pull line off the reel, let the drag do the work. Hold the rod tip up and don’t wind again until the fish stops running. As the fish gets closer, stop reeling when it is a rod length away. Then, lead it to the hand or net of the person responsible for landing it. Tips from Capt. GusPalomar and Clinch knots are most frequently used by bass, striper and cat fishermen. Don’t try to overpower the fish by reeling fast. Take your time and apply steady pressure while wearing it down and attempting to land it. Always net your catch head-first. Fishing seminar “Ten Ways to Catch Summer White Perch.” Free 90-minute seminar 6:30 p.m. June 19 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, in Mooresville. Details: 704-658-0822. Fishing report Look for schools of white perch in deep coves where they are hitting minnows, shiny spoons and Sabiki rigs. Spotted bass, flathead and Arkansas blue catfish are shadowing the perch and are being caught on secondary rods baited with live perch on 5/0 hooks. Bass are surface-feeding on points and in boat basins throughout the day. Fishing after dark around lighted boat docks is excellent for bass, perch and crappie.Lake levels The water level on Lake Norman is approximately 0.9 feet below full pond. Mountain Island Lake is 3.0 feet below full. Surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s depending on location or proximity to a power plant.
Friday, Jun. 14, 2013
How you can plan to land a fish
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News and a fishing guide. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.
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