Leapin' lizards: How to keep a jumping fish on the line

Leapin’ lizards: How to keep a jumping fish on the line


As we enter the summer peak calendar period, the fishing for just about everything is reaching a crescendo, and so is the anguish for many anglers.

Hooking the fish of a lifetime, they often watch spellbound as a big bass, giant muskie, trophy northern pike or humongous salmon leaps out of the water, often several times in succession, and then they lose it.



To be certain, there are few more exciting moments than watching a huge fish leap into the air.  It takes away your breath no matter how many times it has happened.  But if you want to land the fish, here is some sage advice: keep it under the water.

Honest truth, I can’t count the number of times when we’ve been filming television shows, hooked into a big fish, pulled up on the rod and applied a little extra pressure to force it to jump for the camera, only to have it pop free.


So, don’t do it.

Instead, pull sideways on your rod and reel steadily to maintain a good bend in order to keep the fish DOWN.  And lower your rod tip as close to the surface as possible.  Many times I’ll even dip the tip below the water in order to control the fish and pull it back under.


Whatever you do, don’t ease up on a hard fighting, jumping fish, or get caught with your mouth open and your line slack, as you watch, mesmerized, as the fish takes to the air.

When you give a big fish loose line, it will use the advantage against you every time to shake free the hooks.

With all this in mind, it is the perfect subject for this week’s short Fish Talk With The Doc that aired recently on the Fish ‘N Canada television show.

Give it a watch – and remember – control the leapin’ lizards!