There is a drag on your fishing reel; do you know how to use it? I’ve seen many anglers lose their fish because they didn’t have their drag set properly. The drag is used to fight the fish and, when used properly allows you to put a good fish in the boat and keeps you from breaking your line or breaking you knot.
Most anglers today use some type of monofilament line on their reels. The heavier the line you use, the fewer the strikes is a general rule of thumb. These monofilament lines get bruised, nicked and frayed over a period of time; this is why I recommend changing your line periodically throughout the fishing season. Even the sun and heat can damage your line.
Playing a good fish involves using the drag on your reel properly. Many anglers never check their drag and, if set too tight, can easily break off a fish even on the hook set. Many of those “man I laid into a big one yesterday” are only small fish that have broken a bad line or a bad knot. Some of those little bass that I call bait stealers can take a plastic worm under a tree root in a heartbeat making an angler think he or she broke off a big one.
You can land a big fish on a six or eight pound test line if your drag is set properly. Make sure when you adjust your drag that you can pull line freely from your reel. When I head into heavy cover I will adjust my drag so that the line will barely pull free but, once I get the fish out of cover, I loosen the drag and play the fish out in open water.
I use bait casting reels to fish for bass and closed faced reels to fish for crappie and bluegill. I can thumb a bait caster if I want to really put a charge into my hook set. It is important to wear your fish down; play it out so to speak before you net it or slip it in the boat by its jaw.