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Puppy Pre-school: Safely landing your dream fish

September 12, 2017

Puppy Pre-school: Safely landing your dream fish

Welcome to another Puppy Preschool! Last month we ended the Puppy Preschool at the late stages of the fight and now comes the hard part, safely landing your dream fish. Even though you might think the fish is worn out, I have lost more fish at this stage of the fight then at any other. You need patience and communication with those you are fishing with.

When the fish is nearing the boat, you have to be super careful that your line doesn't touch the boat. You are bringing the fish, towards the boat, that will slice through your line if they touch. Barramundi and King Salmon are known for having one final run starting from beside the boat. If they decide to run again, let them, just make sure your line doesn't touch the boat, motor or anchor! This is where you need patience! The more tired a fish is, the more on its side it will be, but always be prepared for that one final run.

Once you are confident that the fish is tired, the runs have stopped and it is on its side it is time to get it into the boat. I recommend using some type of knottless landing net, but some people just prefer just to lift the fish directly into the boat (not recommended). When using a net, guide the fish into the net, don't try and scoop it up with the net. Let the fish come into the net, don't chase it with the net. Also, fish might see the net and go for another run so be prepared for another fight. Once the fish is in the net, put your reel into free-spool and put your rod somewhere it won't get stood on or a flicking fish won't land on it. I have heard of stories of a large Barramundi flicking out of a landing net in the boat, and straight onto some rods, smashing them all!

Once the fish is in your boat, you need to make sure the fish and you are safe. Use a wet towel to cover the eyes of the fish, no-one likes looking directly into the sun. If the fish is jumping around in the boat, the weight of a wet towel over its body will also help settle it down. Use some long-nose pliers to remove the hooks, and then put the lure away so no-one can stand on it. Also remember that fish have spines, spikes and teeth so be careful when getting close.

When lifting your catch, either for photos or to release it, use one hand to control the head (lip-grippers are perfect for this) and the other hand under the fish's belly. A great photo is where the fish is resting across your legs while you sit down (or giving it a cuddle).

Just remember, while you are out fishing you are also sharing the environment with other wild animals. On my last Rockhampton trip, this little fellow decided to see what I was catching!

Next month Puppy Preschool is going to be a little different, hopefully full of stories of catching the mighty PNG Black Bass on some Old Dog Lures!

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