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HugoBox

Playing Possum??

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So I hooked a decent size fish on Saturday (thanks WA Wabull). At first he just shook his head a bit but pretty much came in with not a ton of action. I've landed some bigger ones recently so I may have underestimated him a bit cause as soon as I got him boat side I started for the net (I was alone) and all [PoorWordUsage] broke loose. Needless to say the sound of the lure banging off the side of the boat wasn't good and I curesed a bit as it swam off.

The question is, if they come to the boat too easliy will you play them out to make sure you've worked through the thrashing before trying to net them?

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When I get one to boatside, or dockside (my inlaws have some nice musky fishing off their dock) I will let them sit next to the side for 15-20 seconds before putting the net in to see if they have something left.

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My rule of thumb is that if they come in that easily, they usually have some gas left in the tank. Lots of time the fish will hit the bait and naturally start to swim towards deeper water, which usually means swimming towards the boat. If they come that easy, I will let them take a good power run or so before trying to put them in the net. The only exception to this is when the water temps are cold, the fish are a little more lathargic.

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I don't think they play possum, it may be that they just have never been caught before and don't quite realize what's going on. When they see the boat they realize there is a danger (after all in the water they have nothing to fear) and start to fight. Unfortunately with skis that usually means quite a bit of thrashing. Pike are a little nicer as they just make a long run and continue fighting until tired out.

I always try to have the net in the water long before the fish is ready to be netted. I make sure the fish is in a good position to be netted (they don't necessarily need to be tired out, just in a position where they can only go into the net). I do have an uncle I fish with occasionally who just jabs at a fish with the net as soon as it gets close to the boat, it drives me nuts. Luckily when fishing with him I haven't hooked anything big enough where that wouldn't work, but still I know one of these days he'll end up netting just the lure while the fish swims off.

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i run into this a-lot on the croix, not so much on the mississippi. what i do is loosen the drag up and act like i'm going to grab the fish with one hand and thats all it takes. they turn into instant phsyco fish. i've had a bunch of them do some really awsome tailwalks. i mean porpoise in a show like awsome. with that drag loosened up a bit they can do the tailwalk better i'm thinking. of course i'm keeping extra pressure on with my thumb on the spool for correct tension. and i try to never get a fresh fish in the net no matter the type if i plan to release it. just get too tore up IMHO. good luck on the next one!!

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RK    29

Hiya -

Yeah, every fish is different, but I've had quite a few that didn't fight until they got to the boat. Sometimes I swear they do it by design. Come in like a log, then as soon as you touch them, they go ape- ...ahh, they go nuts. I had one fish earlier this summer, though, that never fought at all. Swam up, ate a bucktail, shook its head 2 or 3 times, then came in like a log. At first I thought I'd killed it (which I've also had happen), then when I realized it was still kicking, I thought I was really in for it at boatside, but the fish just sat there. Reached down and grabbed it, popped the hook out, let it go, and there it sat. Finally paddled off after a minute or so. It was weird. Happens sometimes trolling for some reason where fish don't fight much, but this was really odd.

I sort of think VahnT is right though - they don't realize they're in trouble until you try to wrestle them at the boat. Then the water starts to fly...

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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