Fooling and hooking a fish is obviously important, but many beginning anglers may not think too much about the fight itself. Sure, good and consistent fish-fighting technique comes with experience, but before the actual hook-up it's smart to at least have knowledge of some strategies and tips that can be implemented during battle. While certain environments may not pose much of a challenge when it comes to landing the quarry, other places require the angler to use some tricks for better success. In another article I discussed fighting fish using "side pressure," but this time around we're briefly looking at the importance of keeping a high rod angle.
When I say "high rod angle" I don't mean simply keeping the rod pointed towards the sky, I mean actually raising the rod up higher than you'd normally think about when fighting a fish. How high? Holding the rod so your fly reel is well above your head may sometimes be necessary. With the rod way up there your leverage is reduced, but your line will be entering the water from a higher angle. This can be a good and necessary thing in some scenarios!
When is a good time to hold the rod high during battle? It's most useful when you want to elevate the line above obstacles in the water. Hazards like rocks, submerged weeds, stick-ups, fallen timber, coral, and more can tangle or sever your line resulting in a lost fish. Many beginners simply keep the rod at around the same elevation throughout the entire fight which may allow the line to rub or catch on these aquatic obstacles. However, by raising the tip and increasing the line's angle, you can keep the line clear of such hazards and even help "steer" a fish around these things by pulling high and to either side. One thing to remember is that as a fish runs further from you the line's angle is reduced, so this technique is most effective for battles taking place in relatively close-quarters.
Be vigilant during the fight. Maintain proper tension, play the angles, and always be on the lookout for obstacles that can stand in the way of a successful fish catch. Remember, it's not all about just getting the fish to bite—you gotta land them too!