Solo, how do you fight your fish?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by Matsutake, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Matsutake

    Matsutake Active Member

    So I mention in the 'boats, motors, trailers' section I am looking to upgrade form my leaky riveted 16 ft boat to something a bit sturdier. I do a ton of my fishing solo and I really like fishing in a tiller boat for ease of control when you have a fish on. I previously had a 18.5 double eagle and I found it very difficult to manage boat control when I hooked up. So, my dilemma is, should I go to a 16-17 ft console boat or stay with a tiller?
    How do you guys, when fishing solo, deal with boat control when a fish is on? This may sound like a total rookie question but any feedback would be much appreciated, thanks a ton!
    Chuck likes this.
  2. scott craven

    scott craven Well-Known Member

    I would steer away from traffic and get the fish under control first, once this is accomplished
    slow the boat down. Depending on the current/wind you should be able to continue
    your tack away from other boats while you play the fish.
    Once close to the boat, I will put it in neutral.
    I find it a whole lot easier to net a fish with the boat out of gear.
  3. pescador

    pescador Well-Known Member

    I fish solo lots. I run a 23 footer. My drill is the boat gets steered away from other boats. Goes into neutral. All riggers get pulled in balls out of water. Second rod gets pulled up. All done while I’m fighting the fish. Sometimes the rod gets stuck in a rod holder while I deal with something. I lose the odd fish. No big deal. I’ve found it’s important to get the rigger balls out of the water. They cause the biggest issue in my view. My net is in a specially designed locking rod holder for quick access.
    fshnfnatic, Sharphooks and Original like this.
  4. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    I am curious about the net holder for this very reason. Having solo'd, one of my biggest frustration is that my net rides in the side up the boat (23' WA). Have always wondered about a different location and set up for solo fishing?
  5. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    With 3 grandkids and a few fishing buddies I don't get to fish solo very often but really enjoy it when I do. With the boat I have, Ranger EC 21 it can be a real challenge at the best of times but especially so when solo. I have a full length canopy over the cockpit to keep the sun off of my wife due to a couple of bouts with skin cancer so landing a fish and dealing with the roof and supports can be tough. No walking around with rod in hand on my boat. As with the other here I try to steer way from other. Once clear, for smaller fish I stay in gear, swing the downrigger in a bit and steer straight and do my best to get it to the side of the boat and land it mid-ship. For larger fish, once clear, I normally go to neutral and try to play the fish more,,, one arm reaching through the cabin door to bump in and out of gear, turning the wheel to keep the fish on the same side of the boat the other hand out through the door hanging on to the rod for dear life. Hopefully once I have the fish tired enough to land I swing the boat perpendicular to where the fish is, knock it out of gear and bring it to the net. I've lost a few because of this set-up but I get to keep my share. Not the best fishing platform but my boat has given me, and others, many hours of enjoyment. If you see a crazy guy out there trying to hang on to a fish with the boat going all over the place,,,well,,,that's probably me..Sorry
    ronin2024 and Original like this.
  6. tubber

    tubber Well-Known Member

    I'm still trying to work this out after quite a few years.
    I started the year with only one rod down. After 15 minutes I caught a keeper and then never did that again all year.
    I saw a guy fishing shallow hit a fish, get some bend in the rod, put it back in the holder, clear the other rod, get the other ball up, then play his fish and get that ball up. It took 10-15 seconds to get back to his fish. He was good.
    Based on the number of doubles I had this year, if the boat keeps moving, the one in the holder will usually stay on.
    I lost a few nice ones this year too, but usually when I lost tension mucking with the side with one hand, not around the other gear.
  7. Time

    Time Well-Known Member

    Agree, steer away from crowd, slow power to keep tension on line while clearing other lines and downrigger (although I seldom bother to bring up, with 12 feet between DR pulleys, second DR doesn't really get in the way), never stack lines when solo. Net, if not in reach when in your fish fighting position on deck, it's too far away. Put a rod holder somewhere that you can stick handle in and reach it, use a Scotty Net Minder clip to keep from billowing, blowing, into your way and have net ready for use. Net looks cool when set up this way.
  8. RiverBoy

    RiverBoy Well-Known Member

    i personally never take the boat out of gear when fighting fish. even in crowds. chinook are efficient and they always pull directly away from the resistance, so if leave it in gear i can control the fish better this way and keeps the fish behind the boat.

    additionally sometimes you need gas to help keep lines tight if you can’t keep it tight enough.
    then i put boat in neutral and proceed to net fish.

    i lay my net along the gunnel with the hoop tucked into the bow tail, and i actually found lengthening my handle to be helpful in storage and net retrieval. i have a scotty net keeper which pinches the belly of the netting and keeps the bag from snagging onto downrigger etc.

    eventually i want to go to gaffing salmon.
    silversands likes this.
  9. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    Another little tip. Get an autosteer device. If you are a cheap SOB like me, you use a bungee cord to keep the wheel from spinning
    islandboy likes this.
  10. Matsutake

    Matsutake Active Member

    Thanks guys, great tips here. It's going to be fun comparing different style boats, tiller or console, no idea what it will be yet but definitely leaning to a welded aluminum.
  11. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Tiller the value stays with motor in a portable compact way.Tiller you don't feel the pounding (they do) .Tiller you stay put in your chair and manage to catch fish solo .Tiller is small enough to have the bow ride higher comming and going to shore.Tiller tinny would allow some people easyer acsess of vessel from shore launch .Tiller tinny in many ways allows more space to transport cargo in vessel than console . Tiller tinny you could have a loader for roof racks above truck and trailer your home.console your stuck with a trailering boat .shopped a 2019 yam F25 lwhc @137# $3800 . good luck and pick your days to fish carfully. FC
  12. merrittboy1

    merrittboy1 Member

    I fish by myself a lot, 24 ft Trophy. I hardly ever use two rods. Too much hassle for me. I get my share of fish using just the one. If the water is perfect and few boats around I will try two rods. When hooked up if open area put motor in neutral, start plying fish. Will move rigger towards side of boat, let ball stay just under water line and grab clip line. My net is longer and I will keep it very close within reach. I like to use a 9 ft rod as it makes it easier. The hardest part for me is netting. I use 7ft leaders so shorter rod is nice. I lose a few fish at the net, certainly enjoy it when I have a partner on board. If I am in a crowd I put it in neutral as well if I am by myself. People are very good, usually, moving. If I try to steer boat and play fish it is a challenge. If others on board we will try to get boat out of way. Haven’t really had a lot of trouble, but I tend to avoid crowds.
    Rain City likes this.
  13. Gong Show

    Gong Show Well-Known Member

    I went solo tiller because I am always looking forward.
    The dancefloor is everything in front of me.
    Netting technique is good, but gaffing technique is the bomb!
    Release or kill, same tool in my hand.
    Hey ho, away we go!
    Matsutake, Prfisher and Rain City like this.
  14. Sharphooks

    Sharphooks Well-Known Member

    I fish solo 100% of the time. My last three boats had tiller....i'm right handed...tiller in my left, rod in my right. A few years ago I chased a big fish for over an hour on the tiller steer....gunned the engine as long as I thought I could get away with before reeling like nuts to get in the slack, then back to rod in one hand tiller in the other hand, rinse and repeat over and over and over until I got him in the net.

    The next year I got a boat with remote steer with kicker controls and a steering station out on the dance floor. When making the purchase I remember thinking if I ever get another big fish everything will be different and maybe I won,t have the control I had with tiller. Well, things are way different because a tiller in hand is way more precise. But in the trade-offs, you have the comfort of a steering wheel and a control box side by side and you can wait until the last minute to think about getting out the net (stored on the wheelhouse roof secured with a large clothespin hanging from the rocket launcher)

    Oh, and I NEVER fish two rods. When you hook that once in a lifetime fish, lots of things can go wrong and when they do, you'll be glad you only have one ball to get out of the water and one rod to worry about.

    But with two rods you can cover different depths you say. Maybe yes, maybe no. With my one rod I'm never at one depth for more then a few minutes. I'm up and down the column all day long, rod in one hand, other hand working the Scotty, so it's like fishing two rods.

    That notched stick is my rod holder

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
    Matsutake and RiverBoy like this.
  15. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    Go CC if your fishing solo, just way easier in so many ways, here's a video of roughly how i land fishing solo
    ... do it this way every time, whatever it takes gear in and out to keep the fish to the starboard or port side..
    sometimes i'm gunning it to stay ahead of the fish, soon as he lays on it's side it's ready, head first...

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
    NAD, trophywife, Stizzla and 4 others like this.
  16. pescador

    pescador Well-Known Member

    2B268603-FE58-42B4-9AA4-19E5D48C7D6A.jpeg 7E0EAC01-C660-4961-AADE-1E10E75D52B2.jpeg
    So my net is set up using a Scotty rod holder (Orca I think it’s called) to clamp down on the handle, then I had a custom fabricated stainless bent tube made that’s attached to my stainless upright on the starboard front side of boat that locks the net in and stops it from moving back when I’m under power. It doesn’t move around and it’s easy to grab when I’m doing battle.
  17. habberdasher

    habberdasher Active Member

    I also fish solo often I bought a used Arima Hunter in Oregon and it didn’t cost a arm and a leg. It’s been ideal for solo fishing!Being small it’s easy to trailer and launch.being an Arima you feel safe as it’s great in the slop and is unsinkable.
    The odd time I actually hook up l turn away from other boats then bring up the down rigger ball which I have set to be just subsurface then I play the fish trying to keep it on that side by turning into it. The boat is nice and small that I can sit on my seat and steer and play the fish . I have a old Scotty net that I tuck under my arm and after reeling in to the flasher I raise the rod tip and the fish slides right into the net
  18. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    Thanks for the description and the pics - looks great!
    pescador likes this.
  19. habberdasher

    habberdasher Active Member

    Thanks great idea for the net I switched to Orcas for my rods and find them very good
    I have been spoiled using Downeasters for my freshwater for decades they work the same way
    pescador likes this.
  20. fishbadger

    fishbadger Active Member

    Autopilot with a wireless lanyard for the win. . .hook fish, do staggered turns on the wireless out of the fleet while still in forward, while clearing the other line and balls, cut to neutral and put the biscuit in the basket,


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