How to Reel in a Fish


How to reel in a fish varies slightly depending on the rod and reel you use as well as the size of the fish. Various techniques on how to reel in a fish are also available depending on your experience level. Furthermore, the process of how to reel a fishing rod is often known as “playing” or “fighting” the fish, as this refers to the actions you take to bring the fish closer to your boat, dock or pier.

Furthermore, many tips for reeling in big fish are also available. However, reeling in big fish is much more time-consuming and requires more patience. Generally, you can determine whether you have hooked a large fish by the amount of line it pulls from your reel, as larger fish will take more line. For additional fishing reeling techniques, review the sections below.

What are different techniques on how to reel in a fish?

The fishing reel techniques you use will vary depending on the size of the fish you wish to land as well as the behavior of the fish. For instance, the process of how to reel a fishing rod varies depending on the direction in which the fish swims as it attempts to free itself and whether it runs to or away from you.When reeling a fishing rod, the basic pumping and reeling technique requires you to complete four steps: lifting, lowering, reeling and repeating. To pump and reel a fish, you must:

  1. Lift your rod to pull the fish closer to you.Aim your fishing rod toward the fish you wish to catch and positionthe rod upward at a 45-degree angle. When the reel’s drag system stops moving and the fish stops fighting, lift the tip of the rod to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Lower the rod to create slack in the fishing line. To do so, lower the tip of the rod down to a 45-degree angle.
  3. Reel in. Quickly reel in to tighten the fishing line.
  4. If necessary, repeat the entire process until you are ready to land the fish.

How can I reel in a fish that swims away from me?

Your technique on how to reel in a fish will vary depending on whether the fish swims toward or away from you. To reel a fishing rod when a fish swims away from you, for instance, it is important to let the drag do its job and avoiding reeling in the fish until it stops fighting. Once the fish stops swimming or pulling additional line out, reel in the slack before landing the fish.

How can I reel in a fish swimming toward me?

To reel a fishing rod when a fish swims toward you, you simply need to reel in the slack from your line. If the fish begins to swim away, however, it is important to let the reel’s drag work until the fish tires itself and stops swimming.

What are tips for reeling in big fish?

How to reel in larger fish is much more complex and time-consuming than many of the methods used to catch small panfish. When reeling in big fish, the process can often take as long as 15 minutes. When reeling a fishing rod after catching a big gamefish, you must:

  1. Keep the line firm. If your line is not tight, the fish is more likely to get away. However, too much line tension can break the line, resulting in lost fish.
  2. Keep the tip of the rod up. As you smoothly reel in the fish, keep the tip of the rod pointed upward and pull the fish toward you. Face the direction of the fish and move your body along the side of the boat or dock if necessary.
  3. Set the drag. If a fish begins to swim away from you, it is important to loosen your drag slightly to give the fish an opportunity to take excess fishing line and tire itself out. However, do not let the fish swim toward cover or structured areas. If the fish heads toward structure, you will need to draw the line, tighten your drag and pull the fish away from the covered area as quickly as possible.
  4. Reel in the fishing rod. Once the fish tires, lift the tip of the fishing rod in an upward motion and pull the fish toward you. Then, lower the tip of the rod and slowly reel in your line.

Which fishing reeling techniques can I use with a fly rod?

The process of how to reel in your catch differs if you use a fly fishing rod and reel. As such,tips for reeling in fish using a fly rod include:

  • Once a fish bites and pulls from your line, allow the reel to spin until it stops. Once the reel stops spinning, you can begin to reel in the fish.
  • Fight the fish with the butt of the fishing rod, rather than the tip. To do so, bring the rod down low as you fight the fish and reel it in. This will help to exhaust the fish much more quickly.
  • When fighting the fish, sway the fly rod from side to side, rather than up and down (this technique is known as the “down and dirty”). However, you should pull the rod in the opposite direction of the fish’s movement. If the fish swims to the right, for instance, you will need to pull the rod to the left.


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