When it comes to fishing, learning to properly land your catch is critical. We all have a great story about the huge fish that we almost landed… but there’s no photographic evidence (or dinner on the table) because we lost it while trying to get it into our boat. Learning to land your fish can be the difference between a good and a great day. There’s nothing like catching the fish of a lifetime and as soon as it gets next to the yak, it comes unglued… This usually happens when you try to lift the fish into the boat with your rod or you try to grab it with your hands next to the boat. There are many different types of tools that you can use to land certain types of fish in different types of situations. The two main tools that I use to land fish are a good landing net and lip grippers. These two tools can improve your game and help you successfully land more fish.
Landing Net- This is the number one thing that I depend on in tournaments when it is most critical to land the fish. When picking out a net decide on what size fish is the average that you will be targeting. The last thing you want on your kayak is a huge clumsy net that is always in the way of your paddling or fishing. For inshore species I like to use the EGO Slider 2 17” or 19”. Reasons why: First, it has rubber mesh that is easier on the fish and is extremely easy to remove the hooks from (no tangled mess). Second, it has an extension handle that makes it easy to use for reaching out on kayaks or when using a fly rod with a long leader. Third and most of all it floats! : ) People ask me all the time what if I catch a huge fish? Trust me I’ve landed 40+ inch fish in this net. Most of the time if you get a large fish’s head in a net it will break it will and give up, giving you complete control of the fish.
Lip Grippers- I use lip grippers on an everyday basis! Either to land a fish or after just to remain in control of the fish. A lot of times I have a bungee tied to the grippers so I can let the fish rest in the water (to lessen the stress put on the fish) while I decide to get out a measuring board, camera, etc… They have many different varieties out there from floating ones like Fish Grips to ones that you can actually take weight measurements from like a Bocca Grip. None-the-less, they all work great for keeping control of your fish.
Until next time, keep control of your catch and land the fish of a lifetime! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!