Ever wondered why so many fish come unbuttoned during a jump? Is it coincidence? Hardly.
Fish are able to contort their body faster and more violently when airborne than they can in the water. After all, there’s far less resistance in air than in water. When under tension, this can cause an unexpected yank on the leader able to break tippet or easily dislodge a fly.
Most saltwater anglers are familiar with the phrase, ‘bow to the king,’ when referring to jumping tarpon. The concept is simple; To combat the inevitable jump from a hooked tarpon, savvy tarpon anglers will thrust the rod tip towards the fish and down towards the surface of the water, as if paying homage to the fish with a well deserved bow. Doing so introduces slack into the fly line, thus reducing tension for the fish to pull against whilst thrashing above the surface of the water. It works well on tarpon, so why don’t many anglers use the same technique when fighting other species?
We’re not sure either! Whether you’re fishing for rainbow trout, silver salmon, smallmouth bass, Atlantic salmon, or virtually any other species prone to rocketing skyward throughout the fight, try taking a page out of the tarpon angler’s playbook, take a bow, and hopefully you’ll bring more fish to hand.
Martin Bowers says
Great tip on bowing. It’s automatic for me after many years in the salt and I think it keeps me attached to more fish. I think loop knots might be worse than a direct knot during jumps because the loop can flip over itself with no resistance.
Mike E. says
What are you to do if you are using barbless hooks?