Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"

It was a perfect day, the wind was light from the east, the sun was at out backs and the fish were biting. I mean you could not have asked for better conditions, right. My clients were from Dallas and had not fished for speckled trout and reds much, but were seasoned anglers. The first demo cast that I made with the Mansfield Mauler with a Norton Bull Minnow on a 1/8 oz. Jig head about 20" below, proved the fish were still here. The day before we had caught our limit of thirty trout and nine reds on this rig. So I new it was going to work today as well. The conditions were the same as yesterday.

I handed the first client the rod after showing them how to work the Mauler, and he made his first cast. Down went the Mauler and he set the hook. His first reaction was ohÖ itís a small one, and just reeled in the little fish like he was disappointed or something. Big mistake. This leads me to my first tech tip. Donít give up on a fish just because you think itís a small fish. So many times when you set the hook on a fish, you turn the fishís head in your direction. That can cause the fish to take off swimming in your direction giving you the illusion or the feel of a small fish. Keep the pressure on all the way to the boat and donít give up till you see the whites of their eyes. This particular fish, which turned out to be a 27" trout, ran straight to the boat and kept going right under the boat.

I canít till you how many times this has happened to other clients and not always with a successful out come. Most of the time when a big fish swims right at the boat and explodes underneath it, it will almost always be a lost fish due to a broken line, or worse yet a broken rod that hits the gunnels. Keep the pressure on as hard as your drag allows and hopefully, the fish will turn and go the other way giving you a great fight.

Another thing that happens when you donít keep the pressure on is the fish can shake the hook out. Imagine the same scenario as above. The client gives up only to have the fish spit the hook. Then they say to me, oh I lost it, Da.. Set the hook and keep it tight till you get the fish to the boat and can see that itís size. Then, if itís small you can give up if youíd like. This applies to most any and all baits whether top waters, Bull Minnows, gold spoons or even live bait. Most of the time when you set the hook on a fish, you do not get the barb into the fishís mouth. The hook set starts the penetration and the steady pressure during the fight works the hook on into the flesh. So without the steady pressure, the barb dose not do its job and you stand a good chance of losing the fish.

Set it hard and keep it tight and youíll land a lot more fish. I like to set the hook hard enough that the drag slips. Then I know that Iíve set the hook as hard as possible. However it dose not mean you canít set it again, two or three times doesnít hurt. Just to make sure itís started into the fishís mouth.

The closer your reel is to a 6 to 1 gear ratio, the better off youíll be as you work to keep it tight. The higher the gear ratio, the better the retrieval rate of the line. Thus the more slack line is removed for every revolution of the reel handle. On windy days and fast drifts youíll really appreciate the faster retrieve reels. 5.3 or even 5.7 to 1 gear ratios are noticeably slower than the faster 6 or even the 6.1 to 1 ratios. Gear ratios are the retrieval rate of the spool (or drum on spinning reels) to one revolution of the reel handle. Thus the higher the first number the faster the retrieve.

However, the faster the gear ratio, the less power there is for fighting the fish. The lower gear ratio reels are designed for more power as opposed to the speed. On trout and redfish this is not a real problem. You just have to play the fish a little slower and not turn the handle as fast. Let the fish run against the drag and retrieve when you can recover line without the drag slipping. I personally like not having to turn the handle at the speed of light to keep the line tight.

Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email


Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray

Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Fishing-Months
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tarpon Techniques
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre


Find us on Facebook
© islandoutfittersspi.com All Rights Reserved