Fighting Fish With Side Pressure
Fighting fish with proper technique is obviously essential to landing more fish. When hooked up to something like a small trout or bluegill it can be a pretty simple task, but put a big, strong, ticked-off specimen on the end of the line and it's a different story! It is then really important to be on top of your game and play the angles to keep the fish "off balance." One great way to achieve this is by applying side pressure during the fight to both turn and tire a fish more quickly.
Applying side pressure is done exactly how it sounds—you do your pulling low and from either side. The idea is to pull in the opposite direction that the fish is trying to go. Why? If, for example, you are pulling left on a fish that is swimming off to your left, you're not applying optimal resistance against that fish. Now, if a fish is swimming to your left and you're pulling to the right, that fish is under more direct resistance and will be easier to stop, turn, and tire out. Once that fish is turned and heading your direction, then you can quickly gain ground and keep it coming towards you. On top of this, keeping the angle of the line very low—especially when a fish is close—can help prevent that fish from jumping, which many anglers know is when they are often lost.
Don't just think about using side pressure on the biggest fish. It can be an effective tactic to use anytime you want to gain the upper hand on a fish before things get out of control. The faster you can land a fish the better, as the fish will be in much better shape for releasing strong and healthy!