PeteA

Drag tension and dropping fish???

Rate this topic

30 posts in this topic

I’ve been into bluefish recently here on Long Island. I’ve been dropping 2 fish for every one landed. The blues are somewhat bigger we’re I’ve been fishing 

so I’ve been keeping my drag pretty tight trying to get them in quickly for release. I’ve set the drag to take a pretty strong hand pull to engage it. I thought the bigger fish and strong fight would demand a tighter drag. I get the fish in to the point my leader is showing the fish still have a lot of life. The last head shakes and acrobatic have them spitting  the hooks. This has been with both trebles and singles and I’d say sharp hooks. I’m wondering if a lighter would wear down the fish a bit more and take out that last fight to help me land more or would the longer fight just give the fish the opportunity to drop off sooner. 
One additional note, in fishing in the surf or back bay from shore.
Any thoughts and insight boys? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drag is a compromise 

 

too little you don’t get the hooks in deep enough 

 

Too much and you bring the fish in to green and than bad things happen 

 

Use a scale and set it to 30 % of break strength only touch it if you need to 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they arent running into anything why are you rushing them?....Down here with the high water temp and some of the species of fish, they tend to burn up pretty quick so that's why we will force them in at times....but bluefish....hell those things can take any thing and still swim off....play them out and learn how to palm your spool to tighten the drag, when needed...it's faster and works... I fish from shore and the surf at times....when i hook up to something big, i just let him run, but i also make him work for it without rushing him...the more you rush him the more the hooks work the holes bigger and that might be the reason you are dropping them..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you looking to keep any of them?

 

If not, them dropping the hooks on their own, when you have them in close, is a god send. That’s why many people switch to single, barbless hooks. You can avoid a painful accident unhooking a fresh blue. 
 

And, that properly adjusted, tight drag and quick fight avoids wearing them out to the point of exhaustion and death. 
 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless yuu're planning to eat the fish, you may be in the perfect place--you get the strike, you get the fight, and then you get a hands-free release when the fish is at your feet, with the fish still lively enough to survive the fight.

 

But yes, a tighter drag, paired with no-stretch braid and a stiffer rod, will tend to pull hooks a little sooner, particularly with fish like blues that slash at the lure and are often hooked on the outside of the head, lightly in the lip by a single hook of the tail treble, etc.  A lighter drag will lessen the tendency of that happening, but tiring the fish more will also make for a problematic release and lower survival rates.

 

What you might try is just being more aware of the fish in those closing moments of the fight, and dipping the rod tip a little, while still keeping the line tight, when the fish surges.  In the days before we became aware of release mortality, I used to do a lot of light-tackle fishing, and often used that sort of active rod manipulation to keep the hook, which was often either small or, if larger, lightly set, from pulling when the fish was next to the boat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bluefish aren't picky, so keep a couple lures in your bag for them - swap out any trebles for singles and use bigger singles than you think you'd need.  With only one hook on a lure you're more likely to get the fish in the mouth, even if he takes a couple swipes at it before getting hooked.  With trebles you're going to get them in the face, gill plate, etc.  The big single hook is also less likely to hook you.

 

also, I will occasionally lighten up my drag when a fish gets in close so there's a little more "give" in the system for those last minute head shakes.

 

if you're on sand, walk backwards to beach the fish instead of trying to reel him right up to your feet.  that way you can keep the rod at a good angle and some line between you and him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try pulling line off your spool between your thumb and pinky finger for drag presser.

After all you have about 200yds off line ,use it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A hands free release of a bloofish is a beautiful thing. Those yellow eyed devils are nothing but trouble, but I love the fight they put up. It's the landing and releasing of ol' lazer lips that eye don't like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the fish get up close I find the rod action has more to do with hook retention than drag pressure. A stiffer rod can tear the hook out of a fish's mouth during those final head shakes. A more moderate rod will flex and put less pressure on the hook but still keep it pinned...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also adding to the rod action comment above, make sure you are not high sticking your rod which adds a lot of pressure when fish is close. I will tend to lower my rod angle as fish gets closer to back off on that extra pressure a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 mins ago, Kooky said:

Also adding to the rod action comment above, make sure you are not high sticking your rod which adds a lot of pressure when fish is close. I will tend to lower my rod angle as fish gets closer to back off on that extra pressure a bit.

You are absolutely 100% correct. I see a lot of anglers doing this very thing while trying to land a fish. I will lower my rod angle and hold it to the side to prevent them from becoming unbuttoned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. And that high sticking, coupled with a fish throwing the lure, sends all those trebles right towards your face. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fight all my fish with a very tight drag since I am usually fishing in heavy current and structure.  I want to wear the fish out as much as possible before it turns and makes a run.  Once the fish is in closer I back off the drag a bit. This way if the fish makes one last run in close the hook is less likely to pull.
 

As others said make sure your not high sticking when landing. It adds a lot of pressure that can pull a hook and worst case break a rod. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have said:

Self release of a blue is OK with me, all the fun none of the risk.

Keep your stick low. 

 

If I intend to land a blue I always expect and let them have that last run when they get close. 

When I land them I keep them away from my body and my hands above the hooks. No matter how tired you think they are they have at least one more good shake in them. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don’t go with a set drag at home and forget it. Tight drag for a hook set and fighting a fish. Loosen up the drag on big fish when playing them into the wash or the rocks as the situation dictates. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.