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Puppy Pre-school: The Fight

July 22, 2017

Rose Daniel with a Barramundi caught in Darwin

Welcome back to the Puppy Preschool! It has been a while, life has been very busy for us all. Over the past few Puppy Preschools we have spoken about the importance of structure, matching the hatch and how your lure, rod and reel all work together during the retrieve. Now we are going to look at the exciting stage, the fight!

Once hooked, a fish's natural instinct is to get away from you. Some fish dive deep, some run away at great speeds, others head back to the structure and others take to the air. Some fish, will only do one of these things, while others could do many. Your research, and the many weekly fishing shows, will give you a very good idea as to how your fish should fight. Bream will not jump out of the water for example.

The mighty Barramundi is known for stunning leaps, with its mouth open and head thrashing from side to side. While it looks amazing, the fish is actually trying to dislodge your hook from its mouth. So stopping your Barramundi from jumping is key, but how can you stop a fish from jumping? Your secret weapon is your rod, and how you use it.

Previously we have spoken about using your rod to steer your lure around snags and adding more (or less) action to your lure. In much the same way, you can use your rod to drive your fish away from danger. Keeping your rod-tip high above your head, will force a fish towards the surface. Which is great when fighting a fish heading back to structure (like a Mangrove Jack) but bad when fighting a fish that loves to jump (like a Barramundi). While fighting a Barramundi, you want to keep your rod-tip as low as you can, even putting the tip of your rod into the water is fine.

Youtube is full of videos of Barramundi jumping, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur1TmP7Rpfw is one of my favorites.

Fighting a fish is much like walking a dog, if your dog heads towards the road (or a fish towards structure) you gently apply pressure in the opposite direction. The key is to keep everything you do smooth. The other important job of your rod, is to make sure your line doesn't touch the bottom of the boat. Line will break instantly if it touches your boat while fighting a fish. You might have to put your rod in the water to keep the line away from the boat (just not your reel), but don't worry as-long as you wash it down when you get home the rod won't be damaged.

It is also important to keep your line tight when fighting a fish, slack line makes it very each for the fish to escape If you feel your line go slack during a fight, very quickly wind your line in. Sometimes fish will swim towards you, so wind very fast till you know for-sure the fish has escaped.

Most fish escape when it is close enough for you to see it. So next month we'll cover the last few moments of the fight until the fish is safely landed. My last trip to Rockhampton was filled with strikes, short fights and lost fish. I did not manage to land a single fish! Ryan did manage a personal best Barramundi on lure, which was a high-light of the trip.

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