8/12/2008 4:08:00 PM
Gerry, BFHP from VA says I let the rod and the drag do the work.....
Hard pumping is going to enlarge the hole made by the hook. This will increase the chance that the fish will get off.
I've landed a lot of big fish including drum, striper, bluefish, stingray and shark (don't smirk at the rays, I've landed some huge ones) by simply letting them run against the drag. Most fish are good for 2 to 3 runs and typically they will head along the beach. If you feel like your going to run out of line, simply follow your fish. Unless your equipment is way to light or the capacity of your reel is small you'll be ok.
I've only been spooled once and that was against a big ray that played up and down the beach for about 15 minutes and then decided to visit Europe. At the time I was fishing for flounder with 12 lb test and I would estimate that ray at over 40 lb.
Once the fish is done with his runs you can start to apply pressure using a slow pump. You move the fish on the upward movement of the rod tip. You gain line as you lower your rod tip toward the fish. Don't reel when your raising the rod tip and moving the fish (not as important on a conventional reel with a good drag, but if your using a spinnning reel and cranking when the drag is running you'll be putting twists in your line!)
Usually, it is just a matter of time before you get the fish to the beach -- but getting a big fish through the surf line can be a trick. You've got to time it so the waves push the fish up onto the beach. I've seen a lot of lines snapped by trying to beach a fish against the undertow.
Gerry is the creator and editor of the Bass Fishing Home Page. He frequently fishs the Virginia's Occoquan Resevoir and Potomac River.