Chasing a Caught Fish Like a Tournament Pro
When the water is heating up, and fish species like King Mackerel, Mahi, and Wahoo are coming closer to shore, that means the smaller boats are reaching out to put a big one in the boat while the getting is good. Many times this means chasing these bigger fish to close our distance. We recently sat down with Captain Eris Jones, the 2015 Southern Kingfish National Champion for his advice, and Eris gave us a few simple, but important steps that must be followed:
The Boat Operator has to listen carefully to the speed and directional instructions of the Angler, keeping in mind that the Angler has the best perspective of what’s going on with the fish as he is stationed at the bow of the boat. The bow is the best position to give the Boat Operator instructions for where the boat needs to be headed for the best rod angle, and removes the problem of having to move around the Console or T-Top while fighting the fish. Next, keep the rod tip up. This is the most effective angle for keeping the line pressure on the fish. The third step is to reel every chance you get, keeping the line tight at all times. Note: allowing the fish to work his head back and forth too much will wear a hole where the hook has penetrated that will eventually cause the hook to come out. This is especially important considering King Mackerel and their soft mouths.
With Mahi, the fish will commonly turn sideways and will increase the pull by using their wide, flat bodies against the water current. Again, keep the line tight. In every case, bring the fish to the side of the boat and make sure to gaff them behind the line to not knock them off the hook.
Catching a big fish in a small boat can be a great fishing experience. When the rod bends and the reel starts screaming, the fun begins! Follow these great steps and you’ll be fishing like a Tournament Pro.