26
Sep
12

Stripping Line Onto the Apron (Stillwater Fly Fishing)

A frequent scenario that occurs while fly fishing: you are retrieving the fly line while presenting the fly. The fish takes the fly and the fly fisher, tight to the fish, continues to fight the fish, with coils of line at their feet or on the apron of deck of a vessel (float tube, pontoon boat or drift boat, etc.), by stripping the line/fish inward.

This is not a huge problem if the fish is smaller and the fisher can strip it inward to the net/hand. But, if the fish are likely bigger, my advice is to get the fish on the reel/drag. Do not continue to strip in lengths of line while pinching the line to the cork. I know this is common, I do it also for fish up to 18-20 inches. 

A second problem: the coils may or may not be a problem of tangling as they lay below the reel. I recently purchased a Rio Aqua Lux Intermediate line for stillwater fishing. My previous, older Intermediate coiled badly in cold weather and frequently had multiple knotted, messes tangled on my apron.

When a larger than usual fish took line, the knots jetted upward toward the stripping guide. The knots jammed there, or if they made it through the stripping guide, they definitely jammed against the more fragile second guide. Fish were lost or damage occurred. The new Rio Aqua Lux line never tangled once during days of fishing and thousands of strips. Sure there were a couple simple slips knots, but not the sticky, coiled tangled messes that use to beset my old Intermediate line. 

My suggestion is buy quality lines that are less prone to tangles/coils and when that uncoiled line slips up through the guides, as a bigger fish takes line, get that fish onto the reel. Even if you pinch tight to the cork at the first signs of a hook up, reel the loose line onto the reel in order to get tight to the fish.


4 Responses to “Stripping Line Onto the Apron (Stillwater Fly Fishing)”


  1. September 27, 2012 at 10:17

    Great tip…I tend to play the fish off the reel whenever I can…I feel it gives me better control.

    Like

    • September 27, 2012 at 11:34

      I agree, although, I find myself well into stripping, which is why I wrote this as I saw the complications at times. A drag well adjusted is important also. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  2. September 26, 2012 at 23:10

    If I might comment, as a general rule if the fish doesn’t pull the line out to the reel I play it by hand, if it is bigger and it pulls the line to the reel I play it on the reel. Reeling in slack whilst pinching the line against the handle seems to bring with it a much greater risk of “bouncing” the fish off as reeling tends to produce a lot of rod bounce. I have however found that the large arbor reels, and in particular the Sage Click reels seem to produce less of this tip bounce and one might expect therefore less chance of losing the fish. Perhaps though we do need to spend less time thinking about flies and more time considering how we play fish. Both for their good and ours. Thanks.

    Like


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