“Landing big bass” As we are coming into that time of year, (spawning season) where the female bass are big and heavy, let’s consider ways to put these big fish into the boat, weigh, photograph and release them. – Gordon Brown
As we are coming into that time of year, (spawning season) where the female bass are big and heavy, let’s consider ways to put these big fish into the boat, weigh, photograph and release them. This also applies to any big fish anytime in the year.
Alot of good competitive and professional anglers have developed techniques and strategies on landing big bass. Successfully landing a big, hard fighting bass begins with consideration made before the lure even hits the water. All of the considerations below and more can determine whether you land or loose a big fish.
I am always thinking about what I am going to do if I get a bite, in a particular situation. Am I going to set the hook to the left or to the right? Is there an open gap in the vegetation or grass, and how can I get the fish moving in that direction? One always has to consider the type of cover. If you’re fishing heavy cover, it’s likely the fish will hang you up in the cover, and you have to be prepared to hit the trolling motor on high and quickly go get him out. If it’s more of an open water situation, I know that after I set the hook, I can take my time and play the fish back to the boat.
Let’s move on to after setting the hook. Now what? If it’s possible, check how well the fish is hooked. This will determine how to fight the fish. If the fish is lightly hooked with only one treble hook on the one side of his mouth, by giving him a bit of slack line and moving your rod in the opposite direction, sometimes moves the lure across his mouth and getting another treble hooked into his mouth. This will give you a much better chance of landing the fish.
The most dangerous moment during the battle between bass and angler is when the fish decides to jump. A list of bad things can and do happen when a bass is airbourne. How do we avoid this occurrence? One reason they tend to jump is when one exerts a lot of pressure on them, and the only way a fish can ease that pressure is to come up. So by going easy on the fish, it will tend to turn back down and start thumping. As long as the fish can take a little line once in a while, the fish will keep its head down. One common tactic used to discourage hooked bass from jumping is to thrust the tip of the rod beneath the surface of the water. Always watch your line, it will often be able to tell whether the fish is going to jump or not.
A while ago I had to lip land a 5kg plus fish for my Zimbabwe partner when fishing an International in Zimbabwe. Even though we were opposition, I had to make sure I did not mess up. I had to be patient and display steel nerves of a bomb squad technician. My partner eased the fish to the boat as I had one hand in the water to grab the bass. I put my thumb as deep as I could in his mouth and secured my fingers firmly under his jaw. Once securely gripped, I used my other hand to help slowly lift the bass into the boat. For my partner, all this seemed to take forever, and this beauty was safely boated. Remember, don’t try and lift a big fish until you have a good grip on his jaw.
Another technique used, is by placing your hand under the belly of the fish. If not using a landing net and the fish has a face full of trebles, this is a good way. This seems to relax the fish allowing the angler to lift it into the boat.
When fighting any fish around the boat, make sure you dip your rod deep enough down manoeuvring around the trolling or outboard motor and also when a fish decides to swim under the boat.
All the above and more can determine whether you land or loose a big fish.
I know of many anglers that can relate to what I am sharing and are still drying tears from their eyes. Trusting UIBU ZPV XJMM QVU UIBU i#JH 'JTIw PG B MJGFUJNF JO UIF CPBU and be able to treasure that moment for eternity. *Gordon Brown is a multiple Protea bass angler and a regular SA Bass contributor.
The author with a trophy size fish caught during a Cast-for-Cash event
Don’t try and lift a big fish until you have a good grip on his jaw
Hennie Naudé landed this trophy size fish at Mteri