After every season Joe takes inventory of all the charter fishing gear. It’s not pretty. Rods have their guides torn off or bent wildly out of center, spinning reels with crooked handles, reel drags that have been so worn out that they won’t hold a troll rig in place. The list goes on. By the following season, everything is either fixed or replaced so we are as good as new. However, much of the damage could have been avoided if our charter anglers wouldn’t have panicked when a fish was first caught. The heart races, the adrenaline rushes, and the instinct to get the Striper or Bluefish into the boat as fast as possible takes over. This translates into the aforementioned gear damage. That’s why, my first advice when a fish is being landed is, “take your time.” Let the rod and reel work together to tire the fish out. In so doing, the fish is tired and easily brought into the boat. And you’ll have a memory of an epic fight to go along with your trophy fish. Yesterday, we had Nicole and Troy for an afternoon charter. Nicole has been fishing for as long as she remembers, going back to her days fishing with her dad. When her trophy Striped Bass struck her live Mackerel she didn’t panic. She expertly let the fish take line, knowing, eventually it would tire. She kept her rod up and let the bend of the rod and drag work as intended. And after an epic and well played fight her trophy Striper was brought aboard. Truly one of the best examples of how to fight a large fish this season. Congratulations Nicole!