Skunked in the worst way

There is skunked…then there is this.

All of us have been skunked at one time or another, but what’s worse than that is finding the fish and not being able to catch them. If you haven’t already, watch the above video before reading any further. It’s only a minute long and the rest of the article won’t make sense if you haven’t watched it.

Quick set up

It was 4th of July weekend and I was out filming a promo for our sponsor Yak Lights. I knew there were fish in this area for a variety of reasons…the main one being I had seen a nice 3-4 pounder hit some bait fish in the weeds. There was no wind, so I didn’t bother with the anchor….just started fishing the grass line. Then this happened!

Frustrating to say the least. No one likes getting skunked, especially like that.

Here are 3 things I could have done to prevent what happened.

  1. Adjust my Drag: I didn’t realize it, but my drag had been tightened way down and offered no ability for the fish to take line.
  2. Check the line: I was fishing 8-pound floro and had tied the hook on before leaving the boat ramp.
  3. Expect the unexpected: When he got close to the kayak, he ran under it, while staying very shallow (right under the kayak)

None of these things would have individually caused me to loose the bass, but together they created a perfect scenario for it to get away. When the bass ran under the kayak, the line was flush against the gunnel. Combine this with the fact that my drag wasn’t set properly, it gave the fish a hard tight line to pull against. Neither the drag nor the flexibility of the rod was working in my favor. Once he had things in his favor, it was pretty easy for him to break the knot.

5 tips to avoid losing fish.

  1. Integrity of the line: Check the first 18″ of the line for wear. Do this by pinching the line between your fingers and sliding them up the line. It should feel smooth. If not, re-tie.
  2. Check the hooks: If they are bent, dull, or rusted, re-tie.
  3. The knot: If you have any doubt the knot will hold, re-tie
  4. The drag: For bass fishing, you should be able to pull line out with moderate effort.
  5. Contamination: You want to be very aware of what you are transferring to your lure. Eating, smoking, and applying sunblock are all common ways to contaminate your lure. Scents and dyes are a great way to safeguard against contamination. While not foolproof, they will help to hide your scent.

Make sure to check out the “Fishing Tips” section for other tips & tricks on how to put more big girls in the boat.

We want to hear from you. What was your biggest life lesson on the water? What mistake taught you the most? Post them in the comments below.

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