By Justin Pickett
You can’t strip the fly too hard for a musky.
This past fall I spent several days chasing trout and musky around West Virginia with Esox freak, Murphy Kane. We spent the first day tossing dry/droppers and indicators at some gorgeous, native trout, and the following three days would be devoted to running rivers in search of musky.
The moments leading up to the first few casts were exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. Would I be dumb lucky enough to call one up on my first cast? Would I see one at all? Would I completely lose my shit on the hook set? Visions of big, gnarly silhouettes emerging from the shadows to follow my fly immediately filled my head. Needless to say, I wasn’t thinking much about what I was actually doing.
However, through my fantastical daydreaming, I hear Murphy, “You’re not stripping hard enough.”
“Huh?” I replied.
He added, sarcastically, that, “You have to strip hard as hell to get that fly to move and push water, or a musky won’t even look at it.”
According to Murphy, I was sissy stripping the fourteen-inch T-bone I had lashed to my wire tippet and I might as well have been fishing in a Koi pond. What he wanted to see me do was strip with force and authority, bringing out the full potential of the fly’s action. Stripping large musky flies with some oomph pushes more water and causes the fly to flare and kick sideways, giving predators like musky the broadside profile that drives them to strike.
Don’t get me wrong, swimming the fly with a more relaxed strip will catch fish, however imparting more movement on the fly is only going to increase your chances of hooking up. I’ve been using this advice since the trip and I’ve noticed more movement in flies that I’ve been fishing for years for both bass and trout. The materials dance and flare more, and I get more sideways kick, which has been especially deadly when fishing for bass. The next time you’re stripping streamers, try adding some more gusto to your strips. It may just entice a few more fish to strike!Justin Pickett Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!