7 Tips for Fighting Your First Big Fish

Sointula Lodge is the ultimate destination for every avid fisherman. Our remote location on Blackfish Sound puts us right in the heart of British Columbia’s wilderness, where the water is teeming with salmon, halibut, and more. During your stay, you can roll out of bed, take a stroll down the dock, and be on the water in minutes. And on the day when our famous Burger Boat visits, you won’t even have to leave the boat to eat!

But Sointula Lodge isn’t just for experienced outdoorsmen. In fact, if you’ve never cast a line before, this is a great place to do so. With experienced guides there to help you through the process and teach you everything from tackle to technique, it’s a great chance to hone your skills and catch your very first fish. If this will be your first time fishing, or you’re still new to the sport, keep reading to learn a few tips to help you prepare for your very first fight on the water.

1. Take a Deep Breath

The excitement of feeling a big catch grab your hook is something that never quite goes away. Whether it’s your first day on the water or you’ve caught more salmon than you can count, that first tug on your line can send your heart to your throat–and maybe cause you to lose your fish before you ever have a chance to fight for it.

While you certainly should soak in that first moment of excitement, do yourself a favor and take a deep, calming breath. Take a quick second to focus on what you’re doing and everything you know or that your guide has taught you, and get ready for what’s to come.

2. Keep a Solid Grip on Your Rod

Another side effect of that quick shot of adrenaline is that many new fishermen and women loosen their grip on their rods. Sometimes it’s the result of a quick, hard pull on the rod. Other times it’s just a natural reaction to the sudden movement. 

Either way, losing hold of your rod means losing your fish, and maybe some gear as well. Even if you don’t lose hold completely, loosening your grip will make it impossible to set your hook and could allow your catch to get loose. When you take that deep breath, check your grip on your rod as well.

3. Consider Your Rod Position

As you start your exciting fight with a salmon, halibut, or other Pacific catch, it’s tempting to move your rod around as the line pulls taut and you start to reel it in. However, to maximize your leverage, you’ll want to keep your rod in the center of your body, with your hands close to your mid-section and locked firmly on the rod. 

If your arms are too far from your body, you won’t have the same power and control that you’ll need to keep your catch on your line and to reel it in if it fights back. If you’re worried that you’ll forget this position when the time comes, try to focus on keeping your rod here while you’re fishing before you feel that first bite on your hook.

4. Let the Fish Do the Work

A King Salmon can weigh over 100 pounds. But even a smaller King or a 15-pound Chum or Sockeye can put up quite a fight when it’s on your line. Simply trying to reel in a fighting salmon or one that is moving away with the current will be nearly impossible.

Instead, your guide will talk you through letting the fish do the work. Methods include lowering the tip of your rod and applying side pressure to move the fish. With a big catch, your guide might choose to “chase” the fish, moving the boat towards it. Your job will be to keep a steady hand on your rod and slowly reel in your line as you approach your trophy catch!

5. Watch the Slack

Whether you’re chasing a fish or fighting it in place, slack can occur in your line in a split second. Unfortunately, this short amount of time is all that fish needs to get off your hook. Or, the fish may be able to dive or move even further away, making your fight even harder.

Always be aware of the slack in your line, and be ready for your fish to move towards you and cause that slack at a moment’s notice. 

6. Take Your Time

The faster you try to reel in a fish, the more likely it is that you’ll lose it. Even a smaller catch can get away if you try to yank in your line too quickly. You might dip your rod or allow slack because you aren’t paying attention to where your fish is, allowing it to get lose from the hook. While you do need to stay focused and react quickly, take your time reeling in your catch.

7. Trust Your Guides

If your visit to Sointula Lodge will be your first time casting a line or you’re still new to the sport, this list likely seems like a lot to remember. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.

With just three to four guests on each boat, our experienced guides can focus on helping each person learn everything they need to reel in their first catch. When you feel a tug on your line, a guide will be right there to coach you through the entire process, offering advice and help as needed to maximize your chance of nabbing your catch.

Reel in Your First Catch at Sointula Lodge

If you’ve ever dreamed of reeling in a massive King Salmon or halibut, or if you’re just eager to catch your very first fish, we can help. Book your 2021 visit to Sointula Lodge and let our guides teach you everything you need to know to mark that off your bucket list and enjoy the trip of a lifetime–or at least the first of many annual visits!