Landing Fish With a Handline

  • Using your gloves, grab the hand line and pull the fish toward the boat – always keeping the line away from sharp edges – like the motors or hull.

  • If it is a large fish it might pull back harder than you can hold – that’s OK – just let the line slip back through your fingers and allow the shock absorber to handle the load until the fish tires a bit. Always maintain tension on the line.
  • For fish small enough to bring aboard without a gaff, (usually anything under about 40 lbs) bring the fish alongside the boat and, after making sure the coast is clear, swing the fish right up and into the boat in one smooth motion. With some practice you can use the fish’s energy to help propel it out of the water and into the boat. If you’re really good, you can swing it right into the cooler. Remember – make it smooth and steady.
  • If you anticipate large fish, you will need strong leader on your lures and hooks that won’t bend. For trolling we recommend hooks no smaller than 9/0 and 150 – 300lb leader. Bring the fish alongside the boat and have a gaff ready.

Safety Warning

WARNING! Children should not use the handline. Never allow the handline to get wrapped around any part of your body. If entangled, there is a risk that significant pull on the handline can cause injuries due to constriction and could result in pulling you overboard causing death due to immersion in cold water conditions or drowning. Likewise, for very small craft (e.g. kayaks) if the handline is attached to your small craft there is a risk of overturning the craft which could result in death due to immersion in cold water conditions or drowning.

These risk are mitigated by selecting your leader strength such that it will break before the forces become strong enough to cause injury, pull you overboard, or overturn your small craft. Always keep a knife on you to cut yourself loose should you get entangled. Also, fish caught on handlines are usually very lively when brought on board. Use extra caution to avoid hooks, spines, and teeth.

Handline Fishing Tips

  • When running multiple handlines it is generally advisable to keep them the same length to avoid tangles.
  • We strongly recommend that you unwind the entire handline on the deck while at the dock and anchor the handline to a cleat along with the shock absorber. Have a lure rigged and ready to go so that once you’re offshore you can simply put the lure in the water and let it out. We do not recommend letting the lure in the water without the other end anchored to the boat – you risk losing your handline should you get a big strike or your fishing buddy has a mental lapse and lets it go…
  • One of the best features of the WaayCool Handline is the ability to recover quickly from tangles. While thinner lines get easily tangled, the ropes we have chosen recover from tangles rapidly. Even when it looks hopelessly tangled (e.g., after a Mahi Mahi has thrashed around on top of the handline for a while), just simply pick up the end starting with the hook and put your lure back in the water. Using one hand to keep the tension of the lure from tightening the knot, use the other hand to simply shake the tangle free using gravity. Should there be a knot in the line (rare actually), pull it back in, undo the knot, and repeat the process. Use rubber bands for an audible alert of a fish strike. Keep lines away from motors and put the engine(s) in idle if the fish is cutting under the back of the boat.