You can take the trout fisherman
out of the stream, but you cannot take the trout
fishing out of the trout fisherman. How to strip strike
a saltwater fish on the fly. Fishing the flats of the
Florida Keys and Key West as a guide now for quite a few
years I have not been able to conquer one thing with my
clients.... It never fails. No matter how many times I
tell these guys who are die-hard Stream trout fishermen
not to "lift" a strike on a saltwater fish, they do.
Lets look at the physics here. Brook trout- I am looking
at a picture of one in a book here as I have never seen
one in person let alone experienced catching one. They
have soft mouths, very soft mouths, and the fly is
really small. Ok, here is why the trout fisher person
uses a lifting technique. He / she does not want to rip
the lip or break that super thin line that he / she is
using. Taking advantage of the soft tip in those trout
rods sets the hook very nicely almost as if it were
placed in the fishes mouth strategically. What a talent!
I have read enough about trout fishing to feel like a
recreational pro at the sport. Looks fascinating and I
cannot wait to try it. Saltwater fish- We will use the
Tarpon, as our example. The tarpons mouth is a lot like
a concrete vise, and the fish weighs a whole lot more
than most fish we attempt on fly. Generally using a 12
wt rod with a floating or intermediate tarpon taper
joined with a menagerie' of knots to create a shock
absorbing medium for the leader system that is generally
6 - 12 ft long. My most liked tippet strength is the 16
lb. I find that this allows my anglers to stick the fish
without breaking the tippet yet allows the fish to break
off without damaging the rod or the line should a
mistake occur. (Will do a tip and trick for home made
tarpon leaders that work if the readers request it.)
Lets get to the strip strike. Presenting the fly is
extremely important in saltwater as most fish are very
weary. For the strike you want to make sure the fly is
presented and the line used is reasonably straight.
Keeping the rod tip pointed at the fly or the direction
of line run is VERY IMPORTANT. This keeps any slack or
bend from taking away the strike to the fly. When the
guide yells "strike" take the stripping hand and grab
hold of the line firmly. Yank it back in a hauling
fashion WITHOUT lifting the rod tip. Your rod tip should
not leave the straight line, there should be NO bend in
your rod otherwise your strip strike is not being as
effective as it needs to be to drive the hook home. In a
tarpons instance the fish, once he has been stuck, will
shake his head slightly under water just before he
completely cuts loose. You can choose to do two things
here both are equally important. 1. Yank the fly into
his mouth again with force almost great enough to break
the tippet. 2. Look around you to make sure all the line
at your feet and on the deck is clear because it is
going to fly.
Now is the time to come to Key West and experience tarpon fishing. The migration is in full swing and the fish are chewing well. Fly fishermen, this is your month here in Key West. Sight fish for tarpon on the edges of the flats. The tides all day long are working and holding fish. We have had a cool spell at the beginning of the month holding the tarpon to a bite all day long, not just morning and evening.
Flats fishing is really coming alive. The calmer weather has shown up now and the fish are on the flats ready to eat. Permit and Bonefishing will improve throughout the month with the unseasonal water temps the fish dont care what time of day it is.
I use a technique of making a circle between my thumb
and first finger of my stripping hand to clear the line
smoothly while looking down to see what may get tangled.
while doing this lifting the rod may help in absorbing
the sudden impact of the fish coming tight to the reel.
That is what it takes to sink the hook to a tarpon. Down
here in the Florida Keys we get lots of practice. In a
days time during the migrations season it is not
uncommon for my clients to jump 10 tarpon and land 1.
The reason the ratios are so bad is because of the hook
set. Practice, practice, practice.
If there is anything the readers of this site would like
to know about saltwater fly fishing I will be happy to
write about it. Drop me an email and lets get some
information out to you folks about EXTREME Fly Fishing
in the Florida Keys.
Fishing Key West website was designed and created by Capt. Steven Lamp. Capt. Steven has been a licensed captain since 1986.
Capt. Steven Lamp and Dream Catcher Charters are Members of the Key West Chamber of Commerce
My Office is located at Sunset Marina 5555 College Rd.. Key West, Florida 33040
Call 1-305-292-7212 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org