Follow these tips on fighting big ones, and next time you’ll land it
Before the strike
After the fly lands and you begin your retrieve, the recovered line has to go somewhere. If you’re wading, try holding it in coils in your line hand. If you’re on shore or on a boat, you can drop the line neatly at your feet or into a shallow bucket known as a stripping basket.
So why bother managing the line like this? If a big fish takes off right after getting hooked, you need to smoothly let the line out until the slack is gone and the fish is on the reel, where the drag system takes over. If the line snags an obstruction and suddenly stops feeding out, however, the fish is likely to break off.
This mishap is so common that, in the last five years alone, I’ve seen fish lost due to line tangled in a vest zipper, looped around an oarlock, and in one especially sorry situation, stuck under an angler’s foot and wrapped around the buckle of his sandal.