SETTING THE HOOK
Probably the most common way to lose a fish for new anglers in by not setting the hook when the fish strikes. Most fish
will take your bait in their mouth with out actually bitting down hard enough to set the hook them selves. Most times you
will need to jerk your rod tip back and up quickly to set the hook into the fishes jaw. This is the hard part if you do it
too soon you can jerk the bait right out of their mouth, wait too long and the fish may just spit it out , or simply jus make
off with your bait. Fish can strike in different ways but the only way to learn this is by fishing, and adjust accordingly
as you learn.
FIGHTING THE FISH
After you set the hook, you need to remember to keep your line tight. If your line gets slack the pressure on the hook
is lessened and the fish can toss the hook with a head shake. Keep the tip of your rod high, your line tight and keep the
pressure up on the fish. If he wants to fight stop reeling and let him fight. If he wants to run loosen your drag and give
him some line, but always keep that line tight. Remember to be patient if you rush it you will loose it.
LANDING THE FISH
There are a couple of ways of landing the fish. You can walk backwards away from the water and pull it to shore. You
can simply pull it out of the water if it is small enough, or you can use a net. When using a net have you net in the water
before you bring the fish to you. Lead the fish over the net. Then relax the tension on the rod slightly , almost every
time the fish will dive down into your net. Then just life the net straight out of the water. Only use a net if you intend
to keep the fish, nets can harm the fishes protective coating. If you are going to release it try to keep it in the water
when you remove the hook.
HANDLING THE CATCH
OK so now you’ve got one...what now? Fish taste better if they are cared for properly right after it is caught.
First try to keep it alive until you put it on ice. You can use a stringer and keep them in the water or a live well or
aerated bucket. Some fish cannot be kept alive very easily out of the water they came from so you need to dispatch these
and bleed them, and dress them and try to get them on ice as soon as possible. A wet burlap sack will also keep the fish
cool if you don’t have access to an ice chest. Be sure to dress the fish quickly. Pack the empty cavity with ice
, put it in plastic, and then pack it in ice. This will keep the fish firm and tender.
PREPARING THE CATCH
Fish can be either filleted or dressed(cleaned). Filleting a fish is simply removing the edible portion of the fish.
While dressing a fish involves removing the inedible portion from the fish and leaving the edible portion and the bones.
Smaller fish don’t really need to be scaled. Larger fish can also be cut into steaks, by cutting off the head
and cutting it up into section ½" wide. These steaks are very easy to cook but can only be obtained from large fish.
Filleting the fish leaves you with boneless strips of meat and can be with or with out skin.