Every angler dreams of landing a big catch. And once you’ve mastered the basics of fishing, it’s time to up your game and aim for the big game. Big fish means more meat on the table, and when it comes to catch and release, that’s a great story to share. But you have to have the right strategies because a big catch means a fierce fight.
Here I share with you the 5 tips to maximize your chances of a great catch.
5 Tips for Catching Big Fish
1. Have the necessary fishing gear
Before deciding on a fishing location, you should first gather the necessary equipment. Invest in large-catch tackle for everything from casting to reeling in your target species.
The most important fishing gears to tailor for a larger hunt are the fishing reel, fishing rod, and fishing line. Check the weight specifications of your fishing gear to ensure that it can handle the weight of your trophy fish.
Here are some tips for choosing the best fishing equipment for big fish:
- Fluorocarbon or braided line has a higher tensile strength per unit of line diameter than monofilament line. Additionally, they are difficult to break, and you get more fishing line for fighting large catches, which can easily pool off the line up to +100 yards.
- If you’re fishing with braided lines, use a thick monofilament leader so the fish can see it. Use 4-6 feet of +80 pound monofilament line as the leader to prevent the fish from noticing your mainline. Use a steel leader when pursuing a species with sharp teeth.
- With saltwater fishing pliers, you can unhook your catch with ease. Sharks and bluefish, for example, have strong teeth that may easily rip your fingers off if you come too close. Thus, saltwater fishing pliers that are powerful enough to handle huge species are the best.
- Use hooks rated for trophy catches when targeting big fish. The best hooks are made of high-carbon hardened steel as they do not easily shatter or bend.
2. Locate a suitable body of water and select an appropriate fishing location
You may have the proper equipment, but the location where you are fishing is failing you. There’s no way to reel in a big catch if you can’t present your lure in front of it. Look up rivers, lakes, and ocean locations where large fish can be found on the internet. Once you’ve arrived at your fishing spot, cast deep because trophy species prefer deeper waters.
Deeper waters can be found with a fish finder or estimated with watercolor because deeper waters are darker. Fish from steeper parts of the shore if fishing along the shore, as steepness goes underwater.
Keep an eye out for big fish congregating in the transition zone between shallow and deeper waters, as they are looking for prey. Because large fish can travel long distances in a single day, try to cover as much ground as possible.
3. Go fishing during the proper season and at the appropriate time
Being at the ideal fishing location does not guarantee a catch if you are there at the wrong time of year and day. When fishing in northern climates, for example, fish are inactive and difficult to catch early or late in the year. Furthermore, fishing in the middle of the day in July in Southern America reduces your chances of landing a large catch.
To increase your chances of hooking a trophy fish, always research peak times and seasons based on your chosen location.
4. Depending on your target species, use the appropriate lure and presentation
The first step in catching a fish is to get it to bite on a hook. Big fish are drawn to live baits like worms, baitfish, and minnows because they resemble what they eat.
Use large lures like a massive candlefish jig, a large spinner, and a large spoon if live bait is prohibited in your fishing area.
To catch the fish, you must swing with the proper action after selecting your lure or bait. The best method for presenting lures when fishing for large fish depends on your target species, but here are some general guidelines.
- Begin by presenting your lure slowly. Big fish are wary, and presenting your lure aggressively can easily spook them. Start slowly and carefully, and if you don’t catch anything, gradually increase the speed with which you present your lure.
- Allow time for the fish to consume the lure/bait—setting the hook as soon as you feel the bite could rip the lure from the fish’s mouth. Allow some time for the fish to get a good grip on the lure before applying pressure to firmly hook it into the fish.
- Keep your fishing line straight—Be careful not to cross your lines with those of your fellow anglers when turning your boat. If you hook a fish with your lines crossed, you risk losing the catch while trying to untangle the tangles.
- Consider using chumming fishing techniques, which consistently produce larger catches. You can also keep your lineup current by trolling or casting.
5. Use caution when reeling in the catch
Hooking up and landing a catch are not synonymous, as some anglers lose them while reeling them in. Here are some general guidelines to help you successfully land your catch:
- Set your drag appropriately: if the fish is running the line too fast, use more drag; if your rod is bending too much, use less drag.
- Fight the fish with the conditions in mind—pull the fish up in shallow water, reel away from underwater structures, and adjust your boat in open water to get the best angle to reel it in.
- Maintain pressure by keeping your rod high and pointed towards the catch– Keeping the rod high and pointed towards the catch prevents the catch from throwing the hook.
- Use a large gaff or net to bring your catch onboard and unhook your lure. If you don’t have one, you risk losing the fish or, worse, getting hooked while trying to unhook it.
- If the fish isn’t ‘catch and release,’ kill it humanely with a spike or billy club. If you plan to eat the fish, bleed it by throating it.
- If you jerk while reeling, you risk causing a slackline, which can cause a fish to pop off.
Getting a big fish shouldn’t be a pipe dream anymore. Take the tips above and go out and catch a big fish like a pro. Above all, be patient and put in more time, and you’ll soon be sharing successful trophy fishing stories with your friends and family!
About the author:
Name: Ally Mash
Bio: A world traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Ally has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty with fellow adventurers like him on Adventures Pursuit!