landing fish more effectively

Landing Your Fish of a Lifetime More Effectively

Angling is one of the many activities we do to relieve stress. But usually it doesn’t work that way especially if you’ve yet to land a fish! Here are some things that you would want to do right on your next Vanuatu fishing trip.

As a guide, there are some things that just shouldn’t be done or said. Over the years you bump into all sorts of characters from different levels of the economic scale like millionaires, guys that have been saving for the trip for years, and the mad keen bloke who does trips a few times a year around the world and work only for normal survival like clothes, food, beer and angling. Rest assured we treat everyone the same way just like every other keen fisho.

Casting the levels of experience aside, no matter how good or bad you are at angling, I have seen them all make mistakes, and this article is just for this purpose. Avoiding the smallest of mistakes that cost everyone their fish.

Let’s go through some of the head scratching “why did I do that?” moments shall we?

1 Setting the Hook

We’ve kind of discussed this before but let’s elaborate more on the hookset.  So, you have just had an insane strike that almost pulled your rod out of your hands. First things first, set the hook and set HARD. You will have to set the hooks a few times to ensure a solid penetration of the hooks and you should remember that when you go to set again you will have to wind back down to tighten the line, otherwise you’re really not achieving much as you are only setting slack line.

This applies to jigging as well. When you feel a solid hit while jigging, I recommend that you continue with your jigging motion, pulling up extra hard while turning your reel handle twice the times you were while jigging. This will ensure that you are constantly tightening the line and punching the hooks through the fish’s thick jaw tissue.


“Remember, fish is already cooked from the fight so a little less tension will help you and your guide land the fish faster and safer.”


2 Gimbals

Gimbals are one of the greatest inventions in stand-up tackle and they do a pretty awesome job at keeping anglers comfortable while allowing them to fully utilize their body weight during the course of the battle with fish. I love them and always recommend our Ocean Blue guests to use them, but I also hate gimbals for the simple reason that people lose so many fish due to wanting to put the rod into the gimbal prematurely.

Setting the hook once then the rush and panic when trying to find the gimbal creates a lot of slack line resulting in lost fish and a grumpy guide. “Do not put your rod in the gimbal” until the fish “starts running” or starts to take line of your reel as this is when you have no chance of slack line. In one smooth and solid movement, use your off hand to push the rod butt into your gimbal. Make sure that you’ve checked where your gimbal is and is facing the right way or is adjusted properly. Making last minute gimbal adjustments are another big factor in lost fish due to slack line.

Just to make sure you got my point, only put the rod butt in the gimbal when the fish is off for a run. Reel hand on the rod and reel, off-hand to push the butt into the gimbal in one smooth and solid motion.

3 The End Game

So both you and your guide see color and the fish at this stage is pretty well poofed, so the guide will generally start coming boat side with you and concentrating on the leader. You don’t want your rod in the gimbal. Stop smiling, I know you’ve done this a couple of times before. Keeping the rod in the gimbal will cause too much pressure on your rod tip due to a high angle and will most probably snap your rod tip, in other words high-sticking. Remember, fish is already cooked from the fight so a little less tension will help you and your guide land the fish faster and safer.

  • So once the you see color, pull the rod out of the gimbal and stick the rod under your arm to allow a good 30 – 45 degree angle from rod tip to fish.
  • When the guide starts reaching for the leader, you would want to realize that the guides’ arms aren’t 7 foot long so helping out by stepping back and angling the leader towards him will ensure a great end game.
  • The free spool. This is once the guides have controlled the fish and are about to lift in the boat, you need to free spool or open your bail arm to release some tension from the rod end, otherwise you will get stink eye from the guide holding a 50kg fish while your line is still tight.

If you want to experience landing your fish of a lifetime, BOOK NOW a Vanuatu fishing adventure with Ocean Blue Fishing!

Call us now at 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at

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Landing Your Fish of a Lifetime More Effectively

Jed heads up our fishing team. Jed has extensive experience as a fishing guide and running operations in some of the most remote ...Learn more

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