Ahhh, the strip set. Nothing’s been beaten into the streamer angler’s brain more than the necessity for a good S-T-R-I-P to set the hook. When a trout eats, always set with the line hand, not the rod hand! Never set with the rod. Right? Oh my, no. Never do that.
Call me wrong, but I use both a strip set or a short rod jerk all the time. Whichever one I’m in position for when a trout takes, that’s the one that happens. It’s all pretty natural and not something I think about much anymore. On a trout, both methods are equally as effective at driving the hook home, and I’m not about to change over to strip setting exclusively.
I tried. Honest. But because I use a lot of rod tip motion to animate the streamer (jerks, jigs and twitches), forcing a strip set when I’m an instant away from the next jerk is just awkward . . .
There are two ways to tell the experience of an angler: how he holds a fish and how he keeps his secrets. The latter is probably more important.
My secrets aren't your secrets. The places and dreams that I find sacred and worthy of protection are likely much different than your own. Among good friends, though, the respect for another's treasure is given. It’s hard to find a good fishing partner who yields to this tenet — to find a friend who will protect your secrets like his own — because secrets are a burden to carry, and most choose to shed that weight and give up a prize that isn’t theirs.
So we come to accept that holding secrets is a lonely affair, and that’s okay for me and the other introverts — of which I think the majority of the fishermen’s gene pool is comprised. It’s the damned extroverts that you have to be wary of. It’s the gregarious guy whose off-hand remarks about a river can sink the best of spots.
As most of us quickly realize, good fishing friends are hard to come by . . .
Using the rod tip is the other way to move a streamer. And I’ll argue that all jigs, jerks and twitches introduce some manner of slack.
For my own streamer style, I welcome that slack. I use it for effect. I believe a streamer looks more alive — more natural — when it’s given a moment to rest, even if that moment is only a split second. Just a bit of slack allows our carefully-considered fur and feathers to puff and swoon with the current. Sure, a streamer has a similar chance to breath in-between strips too. But that look — that effect — is a little more dramatic when there’s no tension on the line . . .
“Let’s go somewhere a little different today,” I said to him.
So at the bottom of the driveway I turned left instead of right. Then at the bridge a few minutes later, I headed upstream instead of down.
We followed a road that parallels a no-name creek for ten miles. Joey peered across the fallow fields, through leafless branches of standing maples, trying to get a glimpse of the water. All the while, I talked to him about having the heart of an explorer.
Then as I eased the truck off the blacktop, into a soft gravely mud, Joey sat attentively, leaning forward to see ahead. And where the gravel finally touched the grass, we rolled to a stop.
“What’s this?” he asked . . .
My favorite eight-year-old looked at me exasperated, with his signature furrowed brow and troubled eyes. He animated the short speech with both hands and turned up the volume on his words. “Well Dad, I want to, but I don’t want to.” Ahhh yes. That’s my son, because I’ve felt like that my whole life.
His tortured answer was a reply to my easy question: “Should we fish today?” But life decisions are hard for a boy so full of ideas and new plans for each day. I know it. I feel it. I remember it.
At that age, I hadn’t yet learned about the bargains we make with time — that we may do this thing now and the other thing later, accepting that upon fruition the second thing may be only half as grand as we'd hoped, if only because it wasn’t done first. These decisions are desperate when you’re eight years old.
He’s stuck right in the middle of two eras — old enough that the adults aren’t regulating every facet of his life, and yet not quite adept at wielding the freedom of choice. It’s overwhelming sometimes. I see it. I get it. I remember it . . .
Live The Stream is an intimate portrayal of Pennsylvania’s fly fishing legend, Joe Humphreys, a man who was born to fish, lives to teach, and strives to pass on a respect for our waters.
This beautiful documentary follows fly fishing legend, Joe Humphreys for one year both on and off the water as he shares the sport he loves with others. From teaching youth to helping Veterans, going after personal records, and spearheading a conservation dream - this intimate portrayal is a tribute to the power of positive influence, the richness of family and friendships, and Joe’s invitation to everyone to step into his fountains of youth, his streams.
Thinner butt sections sag less. But the thinner they are, the more they lose that fly-line-style performance. And sometimes, that matters a great deal.
All of this is part of the the joy in being a fly fisher. There are hundreds of ways to make things work. And because every angler brings a unique set of goals and conditions, that’s why there are so many solutions . . .