Landing that BIG FISH with your guide

Hawkins Outfitters

As simple as this sounds many anglers do not understand how to best land a fish with a guide. We've shot a couple short videos to help explain this simple yet critical procedure. Please watch it and I'll try to explain. I'll discuss this from the standpoint of fishing from the boat, if you are in the water, wading all the same things apply.

No matter how strong or fast you are with a net it is NEVER a good idea to try a chase a fish down from behind (tail first) with the net. That results in lost fish. The second hook can get tangled in the net bag and it juices the fish up to fight longer, increasing the chances of a lost trophy. The first and most important rule is to bring the fish to the net nose first, head up. Hawkins Outfitters Guides will not try to net a fish until the angler does that. A good net job is when the guide is poised, net ready, the angler brings the fish to the boat and the guide stabs quickly and assertively to put the fish in the bag. Look at the video and watch how fast Jon Ray scoops these fish. He is always waiting for the client to bring the fish to him.

When you have a fish on and it begins to tire, bring it to the boat with your rod low and reeling in line. Remember you will often get a final surge from the fish so be prepared to let it run one more time. Get the fish close to the boat with the rod tip low to the water (generally pulling the fish upstream). When you have the fish close to your rod tip, lift the rod up and roll the fish, lifting it's head and bringing it towards the boat. That's when the guide will make his or her move to net the fish.

A couple of things to remember--

  • Rod tip low to the water
  • Anticipate a final surge from the fish
  • Don't reel into your swivels, weights etc.
  • Don't move your feet or your position in the boat. The guide is trying to get the correct spacing from you and the fish, don't change it
  • Have a short line from rod tip to fish
  • Lift smoothly up over the guide's head, rolling the fish and lifting it's nose up and bringing it towards the guide head first.
  • Smile and take off your sunglasses for the picture.