Fishing Tips: How to Reel in Fish

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Many small fish can be landed simply by reeling them in. Hold the tip of your fishing rod at a 45 degree angle and reel.

Learn the basics here.

When a fish feels the hook, it struggles to get free. This might involve jumping, making a long run, swimming back against the line or swimming around obstacles. Each species of fish reacts differently. Fish hooked in shallow water are more likely to jump and behave more frantically than those hooked in deep water. Deep-water fish often seek the bottom.


Bigger fish pull harder, and can be more challenging to reel in. You will know it is a big fish if it starts to take line off of your fishing reel while you are holding it tightly. You’ll know this is happening by the sound the reel makes when it goes into reverse. An important part of learning how to play a fish is knowing not to reel while the fish is swimming away.

  1. Relax and let the drag and rod do the work. Just keep the fishing rod up at about a 45-degree angle to the water, aim it straight towards the fish, and be ready to reel when the drag stops moving and buzzing.
  2. When the fish slows down and stops taking line off your reel, it's time to go to work. When learning how to reel in a fish of greater size, a great technique to try is the pump and reel.
  3. Without reeling the fish in, lift the tip of the rod up like you’re trying to point it skyward to about 90 degrees. A stronger, or heavier fish will often put a major bend in your fishing rod, but don’t worry this is normal.
  4. Then reel as you lower the rod tip back down to about 45 degrees, keeping even pressure on the fish.
  5. Repeat this process.