Fish Like a Pro: Avoid High-Sticking

A fishing rod’s power is in the rod butt, not in the rod tip.

Poor fishing technique comes in many forms. One significantly poor technique is called “high-sticking”. The quickest way to turn your 1 piece rod into a two piece is with high-sticking. 75% of all rod breakage is not related to fighting fish.  It is estimated that the remaining 25% can be attributed to high-sticking. High-sticking is when the rod is raised to a vertical position while landing a fish, or when you are trying to free a snag. When rods are in this position they can break with very little force. Graphite rods can break with as little as 2 pounds of force when at 90 degrees.

High-sticking also occurs a lot as an angler grips the rod above the handle when fighting a large fish, in an attempt to gain extra leverage. In most cases this actually hinders the rods action, and places extra tension on the weakest part of the rod. As the the rod angle increases towards 90 degrees, you may feel you are applying more pressure, but the pressure you are exerting declines. This is seems odd, but what you are seeing is the rod bend MORE as you enter the danger zone. This tells your brain that there is more pressure being applied. In actuality, you are exerting just as much effort and force when the rod is vertical, but the rod is not working for you.

For example, if you apply a 10 pound weight to the rod and pull the weight sideways, at a 20 degree angle the rod carries the load nicely. If you raise the rod to a 90 degree position and pull the same weight, you are exerting the same force to pull the weight, but the rod will bend drastically, and may break. Above a 45 degree angle there is very little pressure being applied to the fish, and a massive amount of force being applied to the rod tip.

Practice good technique, and keep your rod no higher than 45 degrees. When the rod is at a lower angle more pressure is applied to the butt of the rod, where the rod is strongest. Rods are tapered at the tip for sensitivity, enabling the angler to detect a bite, not for landing the catch.

You can beat any fish, all it takes is 10 pounds of pressure being applied to the fish. Keep the pressure on, and you win. Pressure must be constant, and the fish must not be allowed to rest. When the fish is landed, put your rod into a rod holder and flip the bail to release the pressure being applied to the rod. Remember: Your fishing rod is not a crane. You should never use a rod to lift a fish into a boat, out of the water. Always use a net to lift a fish. If no net is available, use the leader to lift the fish.

Also, take care when rods are horizontal. When a big fish is hooked things can happen fast. A rod under load that makes contact with a gunwale is likely to break.

Comments are closed.