Strip Hard For Musky!

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

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.

DSC_1922According 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
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4 thoughts on “Strip Hard For Musky!

  1. Yeah, strip hard for musky. If you’re lucky you’ll get his attention. Spin those tassels on a pastie as fast as you can. Peel off that g-string and toss it hard. Maybe you’ll get his attention. Hope that Papa Masquinongy is in a good mood, a little bit drunk and into passing out vertically folded $5 bills all day. Maybe if you’re really good, he’ll go for a lap dance in the back of the boat.

    • Hahahaha. Thanks for your humorous take on this! If someone told me that would’ve worked, then I’d have done that as well! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Amen. I’d say it matters a lot fishing a streamer almost all the time and anytime. In fact if folks are in a boat and casting with wind at their back easy strips do little more than take slack out of the line.

  3. Or just dangle the fly off the side of the boat in the air.
    Then sip a beer while drifting in the wind with your wedding ring hand lazily hanging in the water.

    See what happens loll

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