Techy Thursday - Don't Drop the Line

Why do people let go of the line as they set the hook, and what do they believe they are achieving here? For many, it appears a natural reaction to the take. The rod hand, where previously the line was under control, not working as a team with the line hand in the moment of excitement.

Picture this. Your rod is held high and you’re reaching it back as far as you can, your line hand is extended all the way down in the opposite direction, and the fish is coming at you... what do you do?

Some try and capture the line in their mouth, others regrettably lower the rod, momentarily losing flex / shock absorption to try and recapture the line beneath the trigger finger... neither usually ends well.


Firstly, control your line when on the water. Sure, you want enough slack line to get a good drift yet too much slack makes it difficult to connect on the strike. Only fish as much slack as needed and strip any excess in as it drifts towards you. You won’t have to raise the rod as far or pull down as much with the line hand to set that hook.

Keep the line clamped against the cork, beneath your trigger finger as you set the hook. This is the golden rule. Raise the rod to remove the slack line, and to get the rod into a more favourable angle to absorb the strike. Pull down with the line hand to set the hook. This movement should be quick, but smooth, similar to throwing a crisp back cast with late rotation, and hauling late in the stroke.

Two more tips:

> Remember when you strip line, strip from behind the trigger finger, not from in front. That’s strangely common I find.

> If you miss the strike, resist the urge to drop the line back on the water in front of you. If you stop your rod as the line flies behind, you may get another shot at the fish if he didn’t feel the hook. Instinctively striking and dropping the line back in front of you will usually spook the fish.