never seen this asked and figured it be great for beginners. I remember when I got my 1st big fish on a fly rod. thank god it was a channel cat with a thick lip and I was using a barbed hook! I had no clue what to do. let it run? pull it in? take it to the reel? if the lip wasn't so tough I prolly would of lost it in a second. matter of fact I still don't know exactly. I have lost a couple big ones and wonder how is the best way to fight them? now that I watch more videos and caught a few big fish I think I understand a lil bit more. like when I hooked up with something huge on a black bugger and lost it cause I let it run when I wasn't suppose to. the rod wasn't even bent hardly. so after watching these vids I see that the rod is pretty bent in most vids. correct me if I am wrong. I believe I see now that you can use the rod as a judgement as to when to let the fish run? basically the harder the bend in the rod, its time to let the fish run, less bend reel or pull the fish in? also if the fish jumps drop the rod tip? please someone with experience run us beginners through a huge catch and how to get the monster in!
I palm my reel so I just go by the feel of how hard I'm having to press. When I feel like I'm stopping the reel enough that I'm about to break my tippet I let it run a bit (but still with a good bit of resistance from my reel to turn it when it gets tired.)
I learned how much it takes to break my tippet from snagging things on my backcast. It gives you a good judge of how much it can really take to break the line . . .
I always set my drag with a drag scale before i start if i use a 12lb tippet i set the drag for 1/3 of the tippet rating.Pay attention to what the fish is doing, lower your rod when the fish makes a big run. Do not give any slack. I try to wear the fish down with the backing so the line to backing knot is not going thru the guides repeatedly. Point the rod at the fish when the knot is going thru the guides. Make sure your equipment is ready before you hook up!! The big key is to PAY ATTENTION to the fish and dont rush it.
the further they run the less drag you want..never tighten a drag, loosen it as they run..the line cutting the water adds to the drag...also turn the rod to the side oppisite the way the fish is running to get him to turn,,,
Use the flex in your rod tip to protect lighter tippet, when the fish is a tuggin, keep your rod tip high and let it work as a shock absorber, if a fish wants to make a big run, lower the rod, let him go and start hoofin it, chase him if you can, just don't put yourself in danger doing so, Don't pull a Brad Pitt move.
And as mentioned above, have a good reel that you can learn to palm.
George... The first thing to do is to understand you have a big fish on. A really big fish is not going to come straight in. The first problem is getting rid of the loose line between the fish and the reel. A really big fish makes this easy as it will pull line out and put itself on the reel. The first key is to keep some pressure on the line at all times. So I would pinch the line lightly between two fingers, using my reel hand, as the line plays out until the fish is on the reel.
The second way to keep pressure on the line is to keep the rod tip up but not past 90 degrees up and certainly not aimed at the fish. This lets you use the fantastic flexibility of the fly rod tip to absorb any impacts as the fish starts to run. Although you can move up to palming the reel as you gain experience, I would consider using the drag at first to control the fish. The drag does increase as you 1) raise the tip and 2) line peels out and the diameter of the spooled line decreases.
Once the fish stops running it is time to get some line back on the reel. Wind down with the reel and then lift the rod and then wind down the reel etc. "pumping" the fish in. At some point it will be obvious that the fish is about to run again. So be it, let the fish run, keeping the tip up, and let the drag do it's work. Always be prepared for the final run when the fish gets near the shore or sees the boat. The trick is to understand that you are turning the fish towards you as you bring it in. The fish wants to turn away so that it can run. Once the fish turns completely away from you, the fish has the advantage and can run better. Sometimes no one is winning and you and the fish are just in a holding pattern say at 90 degree angle going left and right. Hopefully, you have bigger muscles than the fish and will win this battle.
Now about that hookset. I sometimes reset the hook a bit after the first run, when I have the fish on the reel and on pressure and ready to reel in. I reel down a little, pinch the line against the rod with my rod hand, and just give a little extra lift and then reel down again. I figure that if the fish breaks off with this little extra lift I was going to lose the fish anyway.
Finally, sometimes you need to chase the fish downriver. At this point stupidity usually takes over as you risk life and limb rather than loose the fish.
I agree with all the above. I get my line on the reel and let the drag do its thing. I don't use any scale or anything, just adhust it as needed. I also do the rim thing cause I do own a Vosseler with NO drag.
I fish glass mostly and total BARBLESS ar all times so I do lose fiah on occassin cause with the soft rod and the barbless, they can get loose. I keep the tip down as long as possible and set the hook by pulling the line with my stripping hand and maybe raise the tip a little. As far as fighting a big fish, keep tension on and if it jumps maybe a little slack so they can't shake and throw it.
If shore fishing, I make sure I can run down the shore, if stillwater, I am ready to turn around and chase. I have only had two fish take me to backing and to my surprise I ended up landing both.
I also try steering the fish from side to side to tire it out a little. I've also landed 4 fish on stillwater that I have to say thank you to my old man for being close enough to net them cause I didn't have the strength to lift them in the net, plus hold the line and rod with the other hand. In other words, a two hand lift! LOL
If shore fishing, I make sure I can run down the shore...
In rivers current is a big factor. If the fish takes in some slower water and is trying to get into the main current, and you're losing the battle, it becomes a now or never situation. If it does get into fast water, start running!