I get the pleasure of fishing with many people each year that don’t fish much but enjoy a day trolling for Great Lakes salmon & trout. I normally go out with Aldo Nava who operates, www.niagarafishingadventures.com . On thing that both Aldo & I agree on is that most people that are only casual anglers and may have not fought a larger fish on a charter boat, really need some coaching to make sure their trophy fish gets landed.
Here’s Scottie Martin showing you the proper way to fight a trophy Chinook. As soon as a fish strike it’s important to grab the rod keep it high in the air and keep steady pressure. Many anglers try and set the hook with one sharp “jerk”, which is not necessary and often it creates slack-line and the fish gets off. Steady, even pressure with no slack line is best.
If it’s a big fish it will usually start to head-shake and then engage the drag. Let the fish take drag until it stops and than gently and firmly start lifting the rod and and reeling in the line as you gently do down to and lift again. Smooth is good!
When the fish get’s on the surface and you see it, it will either fight behind the boat or head left or right. Remember there are multiple lines out and the boat is still moving. This is where you need to guide the fish back to the center behind the engine-trail, or if it’s stubborn, fight it out to one side.
When you feel it is done making runs and engaging the drag, try and get the fish on the surface and guide it towards the boat.
This is the time not to reel in too much line. The best thing to do is to keep at least a 10-12′ lead of line off the rod-tip and slowly walk backwards angling the net-man to approach the fish. Once the fish is netted, just relax and let the loose line hand allowing the captain to remove the hook. If you follow these simple steps, you will definitely land more fish!!