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Own Your Mistakes if You Want to Catch Big Fish

I learned from my mistakes when I lost two tarpon in a row. The third time, I won.

Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of anglers say that big fish broke their lines.

That’s it, end of discussion. Nothing that they could have done. Better luck next time.

If that is what you want to believe, go ahead. But if you buy into the “bad luck” mentality, it’s going to happen to you again.

Heck, losing a big one is going to happen to you from time to time no matter what you do and no matter how good you are, if you fish often enough. But you will lose fewer of them when you take responsibility for what happens when you hook a fish.

Ready for an attitude adjustment? Then remember this: Fish do NOT break the line. You do.  Maybe you set your drag too tight or pulled too hard on the rod. Maybe you didn’t retie when you should have or put on new line as often as you should.

Last summer, both my friend and I lost catfish while fishing off his dock.

He lost the first one. It was about 10 feet from the dock, too far for us to see how big it actually was. Suddenly the line snapped.

“Man, that had to be a big one,” he said. “This is braided line.”

And that was the end of the story for him. But here is what I saw: He was using a rod and reel with line that had been baking in the sun all summer on his dock. He wasn’t using the rod to fight the fish. It was pointed almost straight at the fish when the line parted.

A few days later, I lost one from the same dock. The difference was that mine headed straight for brush that we’ve placed along the edge of a dropoff. The drag was as tight as I dared turn it, and, just as the fish neared the brush, my rod stopped it.

For a few seconds, we were at stalemate. If I had just been patient, I probably could have turned that fish and caught it.

Instead, I pulled back on the rod just a bit, and the line snapped. But the fish didn’t break that line; I did.

Ask my friend what happened to us last summer and he will tell you that big fish broke our lines.

Ask me, and I’ll tell you that we both made mistakes that cost us fish.

Now you tell me who is more likely to catch one of those big catfish from his dock this summer.

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Reader Comments (1)

Killer observation!

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeeg Stouffer

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