I spend time each summer chasing trophy Chinooks and trout our on Lake Ontario with Aldo Nava, www.niagarafishingadventures.com . I must say that once you have one of these big fish on, if you keep your cool and fight it properly odds are you will get the fish close to the boat. The challenge than come when you try and land the fish. How do you do it without having the fish run sideways into the downrigger cables and lines, afterall, the boat keeps moving while you’re trying to land your fish.
As Cassia Boyd demonstrates above, having control over your salmon is crucial throughout the fight. This is done by holding the rod high, using one hand to grip the rod above the reel, stabilizing the long rod-butt with your tummy, and holding the rod handle with your hand (not just your fingers).
Keep the rod as high as possible even when the fish nears the boat and tries to dive down below the surface.
As soon as the fish nears the surface try and get it to plane on top, preferably on it’s side and start walking backwards. Do not try and reel more line in.
As soon as the fish is in the net, don’t try and swing it up around downrigger cables or lines.
Hold the fish so that it drops down to the “bag” of the net, close the bag and gently lift the net in a vertical position into the boat.
This is the safest an most efficient way to land a Great Lakes trophy Salmon or Trout.