How to land a big fish

Steve Ringer explains how to get those bonus big carp in the net

How to land a big fish

by Angling Times |

A big fish is always a welcome bonus, especially in winter when bites are few and far between, and for ease and security there’s no better way to land them than on rod and line tactics.

However, that’s not to say it’s just a matter of pulling hard and winding the fish in, something that’ll only make the job twice as hard. Even in cold water, a big carp will be feisty and needs a bit of care to land it safely. Using the right strength of line and size of hook is only part of the battle – these alone won’t get the fish in for you.

A lot can happen during a fight with a big fish. They can power off on that first run, find their second wind and bolt off to catch you unawares, or find a snag that you had no idea was there. There are a few simple playing techniques worth learning which can help you...

A big fish is always a welcome bonus
A big fish is always a welcome bonus

Keep rod parallel

Once you pick the rod up and make contact, keep the rod low to the water and almost parallel to the bank. This ensures that the fish stays low down in the water and won’t swim out of the peg quickly. Keep the rod low and keep steady pressure up until the fish is near to the bank.

Keep rod parallel
Keep rod parallel

Get the right grip

I like to take my hand off the reel handle and grip the rod just above the reel at times. This second hand lets me increase or decrease the pressure I’m putting on the fish and also gives me a ‘feel’ for how the fight is going. If the fish powers off, I can pull more firmly on the blank to apply more power.

Get the right grip
Get the right grip

Point your rod up

You may not be able to see them, but dead lilies or reedbeds close in under the water can cause you trouble. To prevent losing fish, lift the rod in the air when it’s at short range, to convince it to move away from danger. At Boddington Reservoir underwater rocks can cut through the hooklength.

Point your rod up
Point your rod up

How to give line

Big fish will take line, but whether you use the reel’s clutch or anti-reverse is down to personal choice. I use the anti-reverse at long range, but closer in the clutch comes more into play. The anti-reverse can be flicked on and off in seconds and the tension altered by using your forefinger.

How to give line
How to give line
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us