Here are some tips for fighting trout that I always find useful and spend time constantly telling people – they should up your catch rate (unless you count long line releases):
1. Use the strongest leader and tippet you think you can get away with.
2. Make sure you check your leader and tippet for any weaknesses before you cast to that hog.
3. Keep the rod tip up – show the fish the butt (not your’s – the rod’s). If you have a low flat rod you will shock load the tippet and risk losing the fish.
4. Keep your check (tension) low – enough to stop over spooling only – use your index and forefinger with the line running through it to increase or decrease tension when you need to. If you really need too up the check when you have the chance.
5. If the trout makes a long run away from you that will take care of all the lose line spooling around in the water.
6. Get on the reel.
7. Clear the hand from the reel (completely when the trout runs).
8. If the trout runs at you – strip line in (from behind the hand that the fingers are controlling the line tension with and if possible move away from the fish.
9. If you are in the water – move out of it when you get the chance – it’s always fun when the trout swims between your legs.
10. Get your hands up above your head (until you too get tired). the extra 2-3 feet elevation on the rod will lift the trouts’ head up (great on brownies) and allow you to maneuver the trout where you want it to go more easily.
12. Soft wrists when the trout goes airborne – if you lower the rod tip and end up with too much slack as you lift you may shock the tippet.
13. Use rod angle to direct the fish where you want it to go as much as possible.
14. Always keep one eye on the fish while you move over tricky terrain during the battle.
14. Be aware of the terrain – as much as a river runs through it, a lost fish is better than drowning.
15. The battle is not over until the fish is in the net or up the bank.
16. The net is unlike a tennis racket.
17. Try not to water net unless there is no other option – keep one foot on the bank.
18. If you are fishing with a friend communicate throughout the battle – generally the guy on the rod is the Chief and the net guy the Indian.
19. Fight Hard
20. Unless it’s really necessary don’t use a net – beach the fish.
21. Beg, steal or buy a set of knee high stockings – cut the toe end off – wear one on a wrist while fishing – when you go to handle the trout (with wet hands) roll it down and you will find you can get a much less slippery hold on the fish until you release it.
22. You can hold the trout quite firmly just in front of the tail fin (with the stocking hand) while the other rests very gently under the belly.
23. Photograph and take dimensions quickly. While you are doing this give the trout a drink between photos.
24. Hold the fish upstream in light flowing water (maybe behind a rock).
25. Release hands and watch the fish swim away to battle for another day.