How to Swing a Bass into the Boat…

After fishing with a couple of new members in my bass club this year, it reminded me of a simple thing that will save some of you a lot of headaches.  It seems simple, but there really is an art to swinging fish into the boat.  My partner was doing it all wrong, reeling down to about 12” of line and then trying to lift the fish into the boat.  I warned him not to do that and that he is going to snap his rod tip.  Sure enough the next time he went out he busted the tip of his Shimano Spinning Rod.


So here are the basic principals:

  1. When you are lifting a fish leave about a 4-6’ of line out.  This lets the line and rod work together, plus when you lift the fish will swing right to your waste.  Only bad things happen when reeling right down to the fish.
    1. Short line puts unnecessary stress on the tip of the rods; this severely shortens the life of your rods by snapping tips off.
    2. The short amount of line focuses the stress on a short section of line, which can lead to line breaking or straightening off hooks, plus it gives the fish a much better chance to throw the hook or tear out of its mouth.
  2. Uses the fished momentum, when you have a fish coming just lift and swing.  Never try to dead lift the fish when it’s just lying next to the boat.  Its basic physics!
  3. Never try to swing too large a fish for your equipment.  If you are using 8lb line on a spinning rod, you probably should net or lip anything over 2lbs.  If you are fishing a frog on 65lb Braid with a flippin’ stick, you can probably handle swinging a 4-5lb bucket mouth in.
  4. Once this fish is in the boat, handle with care, do not let is bounce all over the floor of the boat.  Swing it to where you can quickly grab it and then handle the fish down in the center area of the boat.  If you do drop the fish, it will be less likely to flop out of the boat, like it would if it was bouncing up on the deck area of the boat.  I am sure you have all seen Jim Bitter’s Classic debacle and I just witnessed my non-boater drop a 3lb fish back into the lake up on Le Homme Deu, which probably cost him a couple hundred bucks.

So if you are going to swing your fish follow these guidelines and land more fish and save your equipment.  It just takes a little practice and you can swing them in like the pros.  But remember, netting a fish is almost always a more reliable way to land a fish in a tournament.


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