How to Lose Fish

Fishing and boating shows and expos can be found all around the country at various times of the year. Often these facilities will have pro anglers conducting fishing seminars using large tanks containing bass. These seminars are a great way to pick up tips, not only on what to do, but what NOT to do.

Although the focus of the demonstration is suppose to be the lure action or technique, it is these pampered show bass and their behavior that captivate the audience, especially when they can’t help but bite the lure.

With a rare glimpse of what happens under water, this is a crowd pleaser. However, under these circumstances, the pro angler does not want to hook their coworker. So, he purposefully makes a mistake: he lets the fish feel him on the other end. A passive, medium pull on the line often annoys the bass enough to spit out the lure.

The moderate line pull is a common mistake by inexperienced anglers especially when using soft-plastics. Too often I watch young anglers lift the rod tip brashly, without first checking with a discreet, light touch. A careful lift or finger on the line can let the angler know if the lure has been picked up without alerting the fish and if it is time to set the hook–hard.

By witnessing how bass react to the error of an angler allowing detection, one can learn how opportunities to hook up are lost. Correcting this mistake can win more splashing connections, a “Bass Thumb”, and smiles.

You Might Also Like

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.