Master the Dropback

Master the Dropback

Master the Dropback

There are all manner of techniques when it comes to successfully dropping a bait back to a raised billfish. Do you free-spool and count to ten after the fish hits, or do you thumb the spool and wait to hit the drag once the fish picks up speed? Strike too soon and the fish will drop the bait. Wait too long, and risk a poor hookset. It all comes down to the right touch. Here's how it's done.
Master the Dropback

Master the Dropback

1. PROPER POINT
The key is to free-spool the bait with zero resistance on the line, allowing the fish to eat. Point your rod tip toward the fish and thumb the spool only to ensure that line is paying out freely without backlashing.
Master the Dropback

Master the Dropback

2. STRIKE TIME
The moment of truth has arrived. With your left thumb poised on the strike lever, watch the fish intently. When you or your crew sees the fish turn or when the spool speed increases rapidly, prepare to set the hook.
Master the Dropback

Master the Dropback

3. FISH ON
With a J-hook, you will simply push the lever to strike and reel as fast as you can to remove slack. With a circle hook, slowly push the drag lever to increase pressure—allow the hook to set itself. If you push the lever up gently enough on the hookup, you should be tight once you reach the strike position. In either case, you'll be most successful if you avoid sharp rod jerks to set the hook.