The rod hits with a fish but shortly after you’re on the rod you lose the fish. Bummer. You try again. It happens again. Your buddy loses his fish. What is going on?
There could be a few things. The fish could have a soft mouth and get off the hook. But the best first place to start is to listen to the crew.
Often we see charter passengers doing things we know will cause them to lose the fish. The crew is there to coach and teach you to get that fish in the boat. It doesn’t always happen, but there are a few key ways to help ensure you’re more likely to get that fish than to lose it.
Listen to the crew, not your buddy. You’re out salmon or trout fishing while trolling Lake Michigan. Now is not the time to act like you’re bass fishing. We had some trips in late summer where 9+ fish were lost. That’s enough to drive First Mate and Captain Rickey crazy! He starts getting anxious. He always gets fish in the boat! But the customers kept listening to a friend about how to reel. Once the next fisherman was convinced not to “set” the hook and how to reel correctly, they were slaying them!
DO NOT STOP the line from going out. Time and time again we see folks thumb the line or mess with the bail on the reel. If the fish wants to run out some line, let them. You ever watch Wicked Tuna and you hear them yell, “It’s a Screama! They’re taking out line!”? That’s alright even when you’re not tuna fishing if you’re fishing for salmon and trout on Lake Michigan – you want that fish to get tired. As long as you’re reeling correctly, you can have good odds of getting that runaway fish in the boat.
Get on the rod as soon as the rod goes off. Know who is next up for when the rod hits. There isn’t time for you to decide who is going to reel in the next fish – in just seconds, that fish can swim around and jump off the line. Get on the rod and get reeling!
You or your friend or family member spent hard earned money to go out on a charter. We’ve also spend hard earned money replacing/upgrading/repairs rods and reels, keeping lines and leaders fresh, putting on sharpened hooks and invested in lures and meat rigs. Make your day out of the water worthwhile and listen to the crew!