Capt. Anthony Randazzo subduing a hooked trout is all a matter of technique.

"When fighting a trout, it is always important to keep your line tight but not too tight from the moment you set the hook until you have him onboard," Randazzo said. "The trout's mouth is extremely tender, and will tear under excessive pressure.

"Once this tearing occurs, the fish has the luxury of shaking his head to dislodge the hook from the newly formed opening that can be (significantly larger) than the diameter of the hook shank."

When the moment of truth arrives, Randazzo uses a fluid motion to swing the trout over the gunwale, but he reaches for a landing net for all sizeable specks and those that are loosely hooked.

In deeper water, he advises anglers to pay attention to how quickly a hooked fish races to the surface.

"Almost always, it is better to begin your lifting motion over the gunwale prior to the speck reaching the surface of the water," Randazzo said. "If the fish is allowed a chance to break the surface after rising 15 to 20 feet, you can bet the head will be shaking and the fish will have a very good chance of throwing the hook.

"These deepwater trout have a knack for rocketing to the surface in an attempt to get free."

Of course, properly setting reel drag is crucial to avoiding having a fish tear off the hook.

"Lastly, it is important to use a lighter drag setting to avoid tearing the mouths of the bigger specks when they turn and run away from the boat," Randazzo said. "On really big specks, particularly those that hit topwater plugs, I will use almost zero drag on the reel and allow my thumb to put pressure on the fish when needed.

"This has helped save some giant trout from escaping."