Landing your Fish

This procedure may seem easy enough but, many a big fish have been lost getting it into the boat.

As your fish gets closer to the boat, drop your entire rod and reel to your waist. If the fish goes under the boat, get your rod tip in the water and follow it. If you can see the fish, you’ll know when it’s tired. It’ll roll over on his side. And if you can’t see the fish, you’ll be able to feel it.

Mouth Pick Up

Carefully avoiding hooks, many bass anglers use the thumb and index finger to grip a bass by its lower jaw. This holds the jaw wide open and temporarily paralyzes the fish. You can also land pan fish by pulling the fish towards you with the rod. Then grab the fish by the mouth or around the belly to remove the hook.

Gaff Landing

Don’t gaff a fish unless you’re planning to take it home. In most cases, you should try to land your catch with a net. If you gaff a red snapper or a grouper that’s too small to take home, you’ll be releasing a fish with a gaping hole in its side that’s not likely to survive. Today’s nets are made to withstand a lot of weight when handled properly.


Always try to land a bigger fish with a net. Place the net in the water and lead the fish into the net head first. Don’t stab the net at the fish. If you don’t get it the first time, re-aim and try again. Keep the fish in the water if you plan on releasing it. If you plan on eating the fish, get it out of the water as quickly as possible and take the hook out away from the water.