By Montana Grant

Posted: August 6, 2022

Not every fish gets caught! Many fish manage to get away. There are many reasons why fish escape the net and most of the reasons must be owned by the angler. It’s easy to blame someone, something, or some other excuse. If you just come up with excuses, you will never improve your skills as an Angler. 

Years ago, my family fished Slough Creek. The lower reaches held huge Rainbow trout. I had found a silver Mepps #2 and tied it on. A few casts later I was into a monster Bow. My Dad tried to net the enormous trout, but the net was way too small. The trout flopped off. I tried to grab it with my hands, but… The story is still a vivid and fun memory. I learned a lot from that fish.

There is more to learn when you lose a fish than when you catch one. Many caught fish are more luck than a fisherman admits. I swear that there is a special Fishing God for kids that helps them overcome everything that goes wrong when hooking up. 

Here are the most common reasons why fish Get Away!

Old Line    Rods and reel soften lay in the boat or truck, exposed to the sun. This harsh light and heat ruin the line. Fly guys often hang their expensive tippet material outside their vests. These to get ruined by the sun. When you pay for premium line, protect it. An annual change of line will land you more and bigger fish.

Dull Hooks     Sharpening hooks will help you catch 3 times as many fish. A sharp hook penetrates better and makes a hole that allows the hook to be more easily removed.

Not using the rod     Many anglers panic when fighting a fish. They point the rod directly at the fish. Eventually the line breaks since the fish is only fighting the reel. Make the fish bend the rod. A bouncing rod absorbs the power and tires the fish more quickly. The longer the rod, the bigger the fish you can catch.

Drag not set    Most anglers don’t have a clue about the drag. This line breaker is essential for fighting big fish. Adjust the drag to slip when it nears the fishing line strength.

Fighting too fast or slow    You want to enjoy the battle but fighting the fish too slow or fast can be an issue. The only way to learn this is through experience. Most fish can be landed in 2-4 minutes. Monster fish can take longer. Saltwater sea monsters may take hours.

Bad knots     A lifetime of guiding has showed me how few fishermen can tie a proper knot. Practice knot tying. Lick the line before you snatch the knot tight. Use heavier line or yarn for practicing. Two must know knots are the Clinch and Blood knots.

No Net     Nets are a useful tool but can be too large or small. Net skills are also learned. Try to learn how to slide the net under the fish and not scoop them. If you plan to keep the fish, landing odds are best if you beach them.

                Too excited    Its ok to get excited. If you don’t get excited, you are doing it wrong. The trick is to control your excitement until the fish is in the net. Now you can do your Happy Dance

The Fish got tangled or freed itself    Watersheds are full of snags, debris, and things that can make landing a fish harder. There are times when fish jump and land onto the line or become tangled in it. Drop your rod tip when a fish becomes airborne. This will help you survive an impact.

Whatever your fish Got Away story is, consider why you lost the fish. Analyze the mistake and fix it. Make your weakness your strength.

Or you can continue to tell stories about the one that Got Away!

Montana Grant

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