Shot placement is easy to figure out. First of all you want to mentally cut the fish in half sideways – the top half, above the lateral line, is the tasty tough flesh. The bottom half is just soft belly meat and while you can land a fish shot in the gut there is a good chance it will thrash off, escape and die slowly in a hole somewhere. You need to be consistently aiming above that lateral line in the fish – a shot there probably gives you an 80%+ chance of landing it, compared to about a 30% chance of landing a gut shot. The meat there is thick, firm and will normally hold the most excited of fish.
From there you want to be moving towards finding the ‘off switch’, that single shot that instantly switches off the lights and stones it dead. This is the most humane way to hunt and is the calling card of the seasoned veteran.
This ‘off switch’ is found just behind and above the eye. Imagine a small triangle formed from the eye, straight up to the top of the skull, and the same distance backwards. That is your prime target for a clean kill, a guaranteed BBQ complete with a hitman style victory story and potential free beer, not to mention 2 perfect fillets instead of a mushy mesh that best belongs in a crime scene photo.
It’s not an easy shot for sure and you risk missing your target altogether in exchange for the easier lateral shot. However, as I say, it’s the signature of the elite hunter and something to aspire to, unless you’re just a bit sick in the head – in which case, you’ll enjoy being rubbish shot…