strip set? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: strip set?

05-13-2002, 04:22 PM
While fishing with Ralph during the bone clave last year he was telling me that I was trying to use a hook set technique that is mainly used for trout fishing. He kept saying "there goes Craig with the trout set again." When I started fly fishing I did a lot of trout fishing and when the fish took the fly I got use to lifting the rod tip. I would like to get some advice on just how the strip set technique should be performed.

It is my thinking that you would just keep stripping (holding the line) and set the hook with a sidewards thrust instead of a lifting of the rod tip.

05-13-2002, 05:23 PM
Unless I'm doing it wrong you simply pull with your line hand to set the hook and this is followed by raising the rod. My understanding is that the strip set is used because the fly rod does not have the umph to really drive the hook home in a lot of saltwater fish.

05-13-2002, 06:30 PM
for every fish I've lost because I lifted that rod befor the fish was pulling HARD...
Craig, just keep stripping until you know that fish is on. If there is slack, strip faster. Do Not Lift that Tip under all circumstances! Trust me on this. If there is one thing I know, it's the penalty for lifting that rod. Too many times I have seen the only fish of the trip lost this way. ARRRGH! It kills me to think about it.

Dble Haul
05-13-2002, 08:23 PM
Another advantage of the strip strike is that the fly stays in the water if the hook doesn't actually set. It can stay in front of the fish, and if it didn't feel the steel the first time, the strip strike will keep the fly moving ahead like fleeing prey with potential to draw another bite. The rod tip set might haul the fly clear out of the water, or at least waaaaay ahead of the pursuing fish, causing it to spook or lose interest.

05-14-2002, 07:13 AM
...And besides that, it feels SO GOOD when the line goes tight and the next strip feels as though the fly is hooked to the bumper of a Ford F-350...
The finer/sharper the hook, the easier the set...

05-14-2002, 08:21 AM
Tip setting is a hard habit to get past, especially if you've done it for a number of years. Instinct, reaction, and impluse make us lift the rod first.

What you want to do is practice line sets on micos's and easy to catch situations. Program you mind to except a new signal. After awhile the new technique will become incoded in your mind, but it takes time.

Most of us use a combination of the two methods. If I strip set and there is to much bulge in the line, I start to raise the rod to reclaim the rest.

05-14-2002, 10:23 AM
I notice I have that habbit when using a single hand retreive. Its much harder to lift the rod when its tucked under your armpit using the hand over hand retreive. Slowly but surely if you use the double hand retreive it will soon be second nature to Strip Set the hook.

05-14-2002, 11:55 AM
(discussion aimed toward striper fishery)

I use the rod as the operative device to set the hook as opposed to the strip hand... but the key is to use the meaty part of the rod to do it. That means the line has to be tight before you lift, and it also means you don't have to lift very far.

Get Tight...

If you have to strip first to get tight, then strip first. But I would argue that if you have to strip to get tight, you might be missing the more important point which is to tend the line to be free of energy-depleting sags and angles and keep the line tight to the fly.

I instruct striper anglers to follow the fly with the rod tip via the shortest path to the fly. In a current, that means that the rod follows to keep a straight line to the fly during the retrieve. It means that the rod tip is very low to the water. A common mistake I see is a rod tip kept high out of the water, and the rod is not following the fly's path.

a) you feel more strikes
b) you are in position to strike

Try this sometime... hook your fly on a log. Walk away for a distance. Point the rod to the left, try setting the hook. Lift the rod "Orvis" high, try setting the hook. Now point the rod and line as straight as possible to the fly and lift... it's not possible to lift without burying the point with the meaty part of the rod. That's the position you should work the fly in striper fishing IMHO.

If you keep the line tight all the time and you might not need to think about it as the fish yanks your arm out of socket. Most of the time the take of the fish will pull the line plenty tight enough to set deep into the blank with a minimal set motion... THWONK!

If you need to raise your arms, the line was not tight enough. If you can just bend your elbow and pull your rod hand wrist up to your breastbone to raise the rod and practically pop the tippet, you were tight enough.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I would argue that the best medicine for this is to STOP strip setting for a while. If you learn to set the hook successfully using the tightline method, a single tightening single haul integrated with a short set motion will be icing on the cake.

Once all that is tended to... absolutely there is a single haul motion with the left hand to get "THWONK" tight when the rod comes up, but I wouldn't call it a "strip", and if you have to do it more than just an integral part of the set then I would work on tight line aspects again.

With all due respect and purely from a personal perspective I don't like that mnemonic "strip set" because it puts the emphasis on taking up slack that IMHO shouldn't have been there in the first place.


Per double-handed retrieve, great option for bangers and strike inducing fast retrieves. There is really only one option in this retrieve, strip set. Maybe even two or three strips as you reposition the rod back into your hands to fight the fish. Even still, keeping the line tight in the shortest path along the direction of the fly is key.

05-14-2002, 07:51 PM
Juro, I think you have given a very good description of a strip set.

05-14-2002, 09:10 PM
Cool! And half the time I don't even strip line ;)

All kidding aside, the strip set, as it's been taught to me anyway, is a hook set technique whereby the stripping hand sets the hook, hence the name. The rod is described as "kept at a low angle during the set while stripping with the line hand to set the hook".

What I meant to point out was not that. In fact, I propose that if you are thinking that way then it could very well be an indication of a line-to-fly tension problem, and that learning to maintain a line to be able to set without the line hand stripping will probably lead to greater hooking success than learning to set by stripping the line to compensate.

Of course, the combination, which is what I am really suggesting, is the best method but I meant to emphasize that the core problem is not in the line hand. In a combination set, the strip is optional and only done if necessary, which I would argue is a fraction of the time and determined by the degree of contact made by raising the rod first. Line retrieval is not the operative hooksetting motion as in the strip-set proper, but an optional complement to a concentrated lift.

Also this is purely a striper discussion without consideration for upstream mending a dry fly for trout or greaselining a Spey rod on a steelhead stream. This is merely my admittedly subjective opinion; your results may vary and folks should use what works best for them, of course.