published October 24, 2009 by Ben Adams

How to Use your Fly Fishing Reel to Land Bigger Fish

One of the most misused and misunderstood pieces of fly fishing equipment is the reel. Most anglers consider it some sort of glorified line storage device. I must say that I feel the reel doesn’t really matter until you hook a good fish. Most people choose to just strip in most, if not all, of the fish they hook. In fact, I often ask: “why did you spend four hundred dollars (or any other astronomical amount) to buy that reel, if you are not going to use it.” If you are going to successfully land a big fish, you must fight it on the reel.

The other day I was guiding two gentlemen at Rim Shoals. One of them hooked a trophy trout. I got a pretty good look at it and it was a righteous twenty four inch rainbow with broad shoulders and a bad attitude. The fisherman was stripping in the fish, and I suggested that he fight the fish on the reel. He told me that he would just strip it in. As you can imagine, the rainbow easily broke the 5X tippet and quickly escaped. I said nothing.

Two hours later my other client, who was on his first fly fishing trip, hooked a good trout. In this case it was a stout twenty one inch brown. I suggested that he fight it on the reel. He carefully listened as I explained how to get the line on the reel and fight the trout and did exactly what I suggested. Four minutes later the brown was in the net and we were taking pictures and swapping high fives. Both of the anglers learned something important that day, if you hook a big fish, fight it on the reel.

Discover tips on how to effectively land trout with your reel inside the Arkansas Fishing Forum.

About the Author

Ben Adams

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