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It's the moment every fly fisher waits for. The trip has been planned, the equipment gathered, and the perfect spot has been picked. After setting up your rod, wading into the water, and casting into a likely area, you have hooked a fish. Playing it and bringing it ever closer you now face the most critical part of the fly fishing experience, landing your catch.

The fish has only been aware of an inescapable pressure, but as it tires and begins to approach you, it will glimpse the root of its discomfort. The fish's first reaction will be to swim away as fast as it can. Because of the line it will not get far but it may try to escape this way several times. To keep it from breaking away you must release the line slowly and be able to take your hand off the reel.

After you have tired the fish in this manner, you can ready your net. Beforehand it is a good idea to check over your net to make sure there are no holes or weakened strands that could snap and drop your catch back into the water. To prevent this your net should be of a sturdy weave resistant to breakage. When you bring out your net, shake it to remove any tangles so that it will go in the water and extend properly. A carefully used net will contain and control the fish, making landing faster and hook removal easier.

When the fish is close to you, place the net down in the water and draw the fish over the lip. Hold the net still while you lift your arm and rod until they and the fish are directly over the opening. Trying to scoop the fish with your net will only frighten it and make it more difficult to land. Pull the net upwards, gathering the fish into the webbing, but do not remove the net completely from the water. The water will absorb the fish's movements and make the net easier to hold and put less pressure on the leader.

When you have secured the fish so that it cannot escape, you have successfully landed it. The last step is to remove the hook and decide whether to keep or release your catch.