Skip to main content

Tough Fishing Lessons Learned – The Landing Part

That one little thing we don't think about while on the water, it's what separates the men from the boys.

Tough Fishing Lessons Learned – The Landing Part
(Image courtesy of Game & Fish Magazine)

Shane and his father went fishing one hot afternoon in August. Figuring the bass would be in cooler water, Shane’s father pointed the johnboat toward an old, partially submerged fence line shaded by willow trees on the familiar farm pond’s bank.

In unison both father and son casted at a fence post and let their Texas-rigged worms sink to the bottom. Almost simultaneously they felt taps on their lines. Shane reared back to set the hook, but his effort was met with the unwavering firmness of the rusty fence. He instantly and hopelessly knew he was hung. Meanwhile his father hooked a small one and quickly brought it to the boat. Just after he released the fish and began retying his line, he swiveled toward Shane.

“There for a second I thought we had ourselves a double. What happened, son?” he playfully teased. “Didn’t you learn anything when I expertly landed that brute?”

“I must’ve missed it, Dad. Or maybe it was so small I just couldn’t see it!” Shane replied. “Now can we go fetch my line?”


Shane’s old man eventually obliged and eased the little boat close to the fence. After many jiggles and a few mighty pulls, Shane finally popped the hook free. His plastic worm, however, was gone.


“I knew it!” said Shane. “No doubt a 10-pounder wrapped me around the fence—as the big ones often do. Anyone can catch small fish, Dad. If you’re not gettin’ hung, you’re not fishin’ for the big ones like I do.”

Shane’s father grinned at his son’s well-rehearsed trash talk and pointed the Minn Kota toward another spot.

“Well,” piped the father, “anyone can get lucky and hook a biggin’. It’s the landing part that separates the men from the boys. By the way, son, you better check your line. I’ll bet it’s frayed like dental floss from all that fence ropin’ you’ve been do—”

But before he could finish, Shane had already casted and hooked a fish. Moments later the young fisherman reeled in a little bass that couldn’t have weighed more than a pound.




“That’n’ will probably go at least three!” declared Shane.

“I’d say more like six!” his father crowed back.

The pair caught fish, drank Cokes and joked with each other for the rest of the afternoon like they usually did. As they neared the dock at dusk, Shane skipped his topwater close to the bank and gave it a chug. Suddenly the water exploded as a behemoth bass inhaled his Pop-R and ran toward deeper water. Shane’s face showed panic as he tried to stop the fish by tightening his drag, but just as he did the fish turned and shot toward the surface.


“Get the net!” Shane screamed to his father as they saw a boil and glimpsed the head of an enormous largemouth right along the side of the boat. Shane’s father already had the landing net in the water, and for a brief moment there was joy and pandemonium … until they both heard a sickening pop and saw Shane’s line go slack.

Shane lurched back in his seat and reeled in his empty line that had snapped just above the hook. He slammed his rod down in frustration and slumped over with his hands on his hat. He almost wanted to cry.

“Son,” said his father, who was still holding the net in the water, “did you learn anything today?”

“Please Dad,” said Shane, “I don’t need a lecture right now.”

“Just tell me one thing you learned, quickly son.”

“Dang it Dad, I should’a checked my line for frays when you said to,” Shane said flatly.

“Nope!” said Shane’s father as he hoisted the bulging net over the side of the boat. In the bottom of it a bass of at least 7 pounds slung water everywhere. “You should’ve learned that when it comes to landing fish, your ol’ daddy is the man!”

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A Bolt Action from Benelli?

A Bolt Action from Benelli?

We know what you're thinking: Isn't Benelli a shotgun company? Of course it is, but decades of shotgun manufacturing actually put Benelli in a unique position to redefine what a hunting rifle should be. Episode 1 reviews some company history to explain how this all came about.

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells had an exciting visit with Mark Hayes, design engineer for Mathews, as the pair looked at the new V3 27 and V3 31 bows.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties are accompanied by melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and Thousand Island dressing and then pressed in between two toasted and golden brown pieces of rye bread.Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe Wild Game

Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe

Kristy Crabtree - October 27, 2020

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021 SHOT Show

Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021

Game and Fish Staff - January 12, 2021

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever SHOT Show

Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever

Richard Mann - October 27, 2020

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward Stories

Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward

Keith Sutton - November 12, 2018

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will combine the top two hunting and fishing retailers in the United StatesBass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal Stories

Bass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal

Abhijith Ganapavaram and Sruthi Shankar

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will...

An hour here, 30 minutes there, 10 casts after work; sometimes that's all it takes.Perspective: Satisfy Fishing Passion When You Can Stories

Perspective: Satisfy Fishing Passion When You Can

Adam Heggenstaller - June 24, 2020

An hour here, 30 minutes there, 10 casts after work; sometimes that's all it takes.

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a lake's optimal water temperatures.For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key Stories

For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now