We are all going to lose a trophy fish at some point in our careers. Many times, though, cockpit mishaps can be avoided. It amazes me to see how cluttered most boats’ cockpits are at any given point, especially while fighting a fish. After hooking up and clearing the lines, I make sure all the extra rods are placed well out of the way, either in the rocket launcher or in the rod holders on the flying bridge. They should not be placed in the port or starboard gunwales because they will prevent a leader man from walking a fish up the side of the boat.
Teasers should also be secured and put away, not left hanging from the outriggers where a dredge weight could possibly crash into the salon window. Raw-water washdown hoses should be coiled up and stored under the gunwales. Rod leashes should be organized and hung under the fighting chair. The deck should also be rinsed of any fish slime or blood that could cause an angler or crew member to slip. Every person in the cockpit should be wearing appropriate deck shoes. If a mate or angler trips and loses a fish, it should not be because of a lure, leader line or safety leash carelessly left on the deck.