Everyone hooks big fish but most people lose the fish and keep right on making the same mistakes. If you just do a few simple things you will catch your next big fish hooked instead of having a sad story about the big one that got away. I will make a quick list of things I learned the hard way.
1. Set the hook hard, use a combination of wrist and arm. Drop your rod, give it a little slack and then slam the hook. But be careful, just as many fish are lost by setting the hook too hard. Keep your drag set lose and tighten it up after you set the hook.
2. Re-tie, re-tie re-tie. After catching one big fish, or a few smaller fish you have to re-tie. The knot gets bent every which way after fighting fish and it gets weaker every fish. If you are casting jigs, you need to tie after so many casts because just casting weakens the knot. If you use a spinner bait you need to use heavier line to begin with and you need to re-tie more than any other lure.
3. Using a trilene know or most knots with twists, use more twists with light line, less with heavy line. For a trilene knot, 6 wraps with 10# test and 4 wraps with 20 pound test.
4. Never give the fish any slack.
5. Wear the fish out, don’t net it too soon. If it’s tired enough it will just lay there along side the boat, easy to grab even with bare hands. Use your rod to fight the fish, not the reel. That way when the fish runs the rod will give you a more give.
6. Test your drag because it changes with humidity and at the beginning of the day it will be dry and stuck, so pull out a little line to be sure the drag is set right, but not too much because pulling on you drag twists your line.
7. Check your rod eyes, sometimes they crack and that will scrape and damage your line.
8. Use good fresh line. Sometimes name brand line sits on store shelves for years or decades, you are better to use cheaper fresh line than stale expensive line.
9. Don’t go too light on light. Sure its real sportsman like to catch a big Bass on 2 pound test but chances are you are gong to have a lot of stories about the big one that got away. Isn’t it better to actually catch the big one and brag about that verses losing 10 big ones to catch one and bragging about using line light?
10. Your in the back of the boat and the jerk up front is catching all the fish, what to do…? Slow your retrieve down and even let your line get a bow in it, work it all the way to the boat expecting a hit right near the boat. After getting the hit, make sure you do everything listed above to get the fish in the boat.