Jun 26, 2017

On The Hunt - Strip Like You Mean it

He's on it...Strip! Strip! Strip!

Continuing the "On The Hunt" Series, in this article I wish to address your fly stripping.


I recently read a friends blog post that really hit home on the subject of fly stripping. Basically he indicates the difference between an average angler and a streamer guru is how they strip their fly. He gives a example of how a fly should be stripped similar to the beat of the opening of a old popular rap song that we've all heard. Check out the first 20-30 seconds of Tone Loc's "Wild Thing". Is this how you strip your fly?

Stuck in RRBD

Are you stuck in Repetitive Rhythmic Boredom Disorder, (RRBD)?
If you wish to maximize the effectiveness of your streamers you'll going to have to break out of your repetitive strip. I see this type of retrieve everywhere I go. I wonder if this issue isn't part reason why so many fly anglers have no confidence in streamers.

If you want a streamers to work for you with any measure of success beyond the random catch you're going to have to carefully scrutinize your retrieve. I know those are pretty harsh words to hear but take note, I am looking at myself in the mirror while I preach it to you. I need to hear it too.

Don't feel like you have to subject your memory to this song in order to become a better streamer angler. Just take it in for a few minutes and compare the beat of this song to how you are stripping your streamers. Are you coming up with anything even close!?

While we would all probably benefit with adopting the "Wild Thing" retrieve. personally I think proper strips has more to do with avoiding rhythms and paying close attention to what the fish tell you on the current day, or even current hour as fish attitude can change during the cycle of the day.

When the fly hits the water

At this point we need to decide if a response will come from a pause or instant action. Sometimes a pause is in order to allow the fly to dive subsurface, others flies dive so fast that one must get on the retrieve quickly. Either way pay attention to what the fish tell you.

Get the rod tip to the water

When stripping streamers you rod tip should be right at water level and in some cases for extra depth even plant your rod tip under the surface. Holding a rod tip far above water surface will put a bow in the line and your strips become drags. Avoid the drags!

Observe your fly's action

Watch the movements of your fly and compare with your strips. Some of today's big streamers can swim really well with side to side movements. Some need a stop and go retrieve while others perform darting action with slight rod tip jerks. More often then not I'm matching my fly to the action the fish want. Such as for slow pulsing action the fly Bad Hair Day works great, Feather Game Changers have a awesome swimming action which favors clearer water, and Swinging D's throw a lot of side to side action with aggressive strips. All these flies have their time and place for the streamer angler.

Protect Stripping Finger

If your not burning you finger stripping line through it then you aren't stripping aggressive enough. You've got to have a stripping glove or protective finger guards unless you have leather for skin. Simms Sun Gloves have a built in patch on the stripper finger...they work great for me. Get some RIO Line Cleaning Clothes. When you experience friction while casting or stripping, pull one out and run you line through it. You can also wrap it around your finger while fishing and really get your line operating smoothly. I have some other tricks regarding line slickness but they wouldn't be fly industry approved. If you wish to know more I suggest you reach out to me privately.

Be perceptive to every strike you identify and take note of what you and your fly was doing at time of strike. Was it paused, jerking, sinking, swimming, darting. All these conditions are pieces of the puzzle. Total success comes when all the pieces fit together. You don't have to get every piece right in order to catch fish but when you do fit all the pieces correctly it becomes next to impossible to not catch fish.
That should be your goal!

Reference: Ozark Fly Fisher Journal "Do It Tone Loc Style"

More "On The Hunt" Series Articles
> Never Sit Down
> Stand Ready

Watch for my next article "Detect The Strike"

I'll see you on the water...But you probably won't see me!

















Greg Darling 


"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

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