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Trouts Journal

Tips From The Guide Shack: ft. Kyle Wilkinson

Ivan Orsic / Mar 23, 2016

Welcome to 'Tips From The Guide Shack'.

This is going to be a new little project here on the Blog where a couple times a month we'll feature a piece of advice/tip/trick from one of our guides. Every single person on our Guide Staff is an extremely accomplished and knowledgeable fly fisherman who is full of advice and eager to share it!

Got a question or want an opinion on a topic you've been wondering about? My email inbox is always open! Feel free to send your questions over and we'll get them answered! kyle@troutsflyfishing.com

To kick this off we'll start with a personal favorite tip that seems to resonate especially well with beginners learning how to fight fish. After setting the hook on a fish and feeling those much anticipated first few headshakes, it can be very easy to get excited and start reeling or stripping line in. When it comes to fighting fish however, I firmly believe that most fish are lost within the first 10 or last 10 seconds of the fight. Today we'll focus on the first '10 seconds' part. (the last 10 seconds include not being patient when the fish starts showing signs of being ready to come in and forcing it).

So back to my advice of "Whoever Pulls First Loses". What I mean by this is that if after the hookset we immediately start trying to bring the fish in, this is us "pulling first". This is incorrect fish fighting form and will almost always result in a lost fish.

The correct way to handle this situation then is to let the fish "pull first".

Set the hook.

Feel the wiggles.

And then either start feeding line back out through the guides with your hands or let the drag on your reel do it's job. A freshly hooked fish will always make an initial first run once it feels the hook and we should anticipate this. Stay calm during these first moments. Let the fish "pull first", and I am certain you will stop losing as many fish immediately after hooking up!

Good luck out there everyone and as always, let us know how we can help make your time on the water more enjoyable and productive!

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