We’ve all witnessed the spectacle of a boat captain backing down hard in a large sportfisherman. In the old days before electronically controlled, common-rail diesel engines, a cloud of black smoke would send out a signal heralding the actions of such enthusiastic throttle jockeys.

With the new, cleaner diesels, you need to look a little closer to find them. Some guys seem to just love the rush of reverse, pushing up a pile of white water behind the boat and often filling the cockpit in the process; the telltale wall of water gives them away every time

Such aggressive boat driving, while undoubtedly dramatic, doesn’t necessarily help you catch the fish any more quickly, and it invites potential catastrophe in the form of injured crew, equipment drenched in salt water, and maybe even a sunk boat.

Now, if a fish stays close to the boat, moderate backing down in pursuit makes sense, especially if it’s calm. But flat seas can’t always be counted upon, and fish usually choose not to cooperate by hanging around after you’ve hooked them. When you’ve got a hot fish on that takes off with several hundred yards of your line, there’s a better method for chasing them.

Savvy captains know it’s better to give chase in forward at a quartering angle to where the fish has gone. It’s easy when you’re fishing standup tackle, as the angler can simply walk over to the appropriate gunwale and keep the rod tip pointed at the fish. But even when fishing from a chair, it’s not that difficult. In that case someone must steer the chair for the angler to keep the line pointed in the right direction.

Capt. Karl Anderson, who skippers the 72-foot Merritt Brier Patch, says other considerations come into play as well. “Drive the boat, don’t let the fish drive it for you,” Anderson says. “Once we get a bite when trolling, I make an inside turn toward the fish and we keep our other baits fishing, looking for multiple hookups. This does two things: We keep fishing so we get more bites, and we get a jump on chasing the fish.”

Using similar methods, backing down can definitely be an effective move and can lead to you landing HUGE fish. Although, you must know how to do it effectively and have great communication with the anglers. Their lives and the boat is at risk preforming this maneuver. Practice makes perfect!

Source: Power And Motor Yacht