What is The Difference Between a Trout set and Strip Set in Fly Fishing?

What is a trout set, exactly?

They’re both different approaches for setting the hook when fly fishing. What’s the difference between a trout set and a strip set, though? Let’s go through these specifics and discuss when each method should be used.

Let’s start with what they have in common. They’re both ways of tying the knot. After a fish has swallowed your fly, one of these two approaches will be used to force the hook into the fish’s mouth. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between a trout set and a strip set in fly fishing.

It’s a sort of hookset in which the angler tightens the line and drives the hook point of the fly into the mouth of a fish by moving the fly rod. The phrase “moves the fly rod” is the most important part of that term.

Most fly anglers learnt to set the hook this way, at least if they learned to fly fish for trout and salmon.

When you set the hook on a trout, you move the fly rod upwards and sideways in response to a fish attacking your fly. This can be a quick jolt (dry fly takes) or a gradual lift (delicate nymphing). The goal is to get a good hookset by forcing the hook tip of the fly into the fish’s mouth.

It’s instinctive and intuitive. Set the hook when you notice a strike! Why wouldn’t you want to react reflexively? Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of employing a trout set.

The benefits of a trout set

    • To be instinctive, you don’t need any more instruction.
    • To set the hook, move the fly vertically. When a fish must rise to a fly and then drop after catching the fly, this is ideal (dry fly fishing, topwater fishing, and most nymphing).

The drawbacks of a trout set

    • If you miss the hookset, the fish will be unable to strike the fly. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to cast and try again in most circumstances or switch to a different species entirely.
    • If the fish does not turn after snagging the fly, you may be able to pull it right out of their jaws.
    • The hookset loses some of its power due to the flexing of the rod.
    • The last point is the biggest disadvantage of employing a trout set. The flexing of the rod as you draw up wastes a lot of energy. This isn’t a problem with soft-mouthed fish like trout, but it can lead to a weak hookset in fish with bonier mouths. This lack of power can determine the difference between landing a fish and a fish throwing the hook.

When is it OK to utilize a trout set?

In the following scenarios, a trout set should be used:

    • When it comes to dry fly fishing.
    • The majority of nymphing situations.
    • In the vast majority of trout, salmon, and char fishing conditions,
    • When pursuing small, fragile fish (such as when micro fishing).

The only time this isn’t true is when you’re fishing for streamers. At the same time, you can use a trout set when streamer fishing for trout, a decent strip set is usually preferred. This is one of those instances where personal preference and experience are the deciding factors.

Most modern fishing hooks are chemically sharpened, which is worth noting. These hooks are substantially sharper than typical fly fishing hooks. As a result, when employing current hooks, you can afford to lose some power during a hookset (at least when trout fishing).

What is a strip set, exactly?

A strip set is unique. The rod does not move in any way. Instead, the hook is set with a sharp, hard draw backward on the fly line. To reduce flexing of the rod when completing a strip set, the rod tip is usually directed directly at the fly during recovery.

What is the best way to strip set a fly fishing rod?

    • Begin by pointing the fly rod directly at the fly during the presentation, rather than lifting or to the side. Maintain a downward and low angle with the rod tip toward the fly.
    • Pull the fly line backward when the fish hits, careful not to move the fly rod in the process.
    • To force the hook into their boney mouth, predatory animals require a sudden sharp draw backward.
    • Bottom-feeding species like carp and bonefish require a longer, steady pull backward to secure the hook while preventing it from being pulled out of their mouth.
    • After the hook has been set, you can lift the fly rod and begin fighting the fish.
    • You can either hand line the fish in or recover the line and fight it off the reel at this point.

The fish has been caught!

The purpose of a strip set is to make a direct connection between your hand pulling the line and the fly, and thereby the fish’s mouth. This guarantees that the hookset’s full force is employed to drive the hook into a fish’s mouth, with no force being lost due to rod flexing. This is especially critical when targeting fish with bony mouths, as securing a strong hookset requires quite a bit of force.

When fishing for the majority of saltwater species, strip setting is the norm. When hunting freshwater predatory species like pike or musky, it’s also a popular choice. It is widely accepted.

Benefits of a Strip Set

    • During hookset, there is little to no force loss.
    • Nothing is lost in the flexing of the rod since power is carried directly via the line to the fish’s mouth.
    • When setting the hook, the fly is moved horizontally. As a result, streamer fishing connections have improved.
    • The fly can only move the length of your arm if you miss the hookset. This provides the fish with a second chance to devour the fly.

The drawbacks of a strip set

    • When nymphing with indicator rigs or on the dry fly takes, it’s not as effective at setting the hook.
    • It takes a lot of practice to get good at it. As a result, many anglers automatically switch to a trout set.

When is it OK to use a strip set?

    • When one or more of the following qualities are present, a strip set should be employed.
    • When pursuing creatures with bony mouths.
    • In the vast majority of streamer fishing conditions.
    • When pursuing fish that do not turn after consuming the fly, Bonefish and carp are two good examples.

A word on the two hookset techniques.

Regardless of which approach you employ, it’s vital to keep your slackline to a minimum. You should be able to make a fairly straight connection with the fly. On the other hand, you don’t want to waste the hookset’s power straightening up a tangle of slack, looped line.

For certain presentations, a little slack in the line is acceptable but only as much as is required. When presenting a dry fly, you don’t want any drag, so a small bit of slack is essential to ensure the fly is presented naturally. On the other hand, when fishing a streamer, there’s no reason to be slack at all.

Minimizing slack in your line has the extra benefit of allowing you to feel the strike more clearly. Dead drifting a nymph is an extreme case. If you have a lot of slack in the line, you won’t detect a strike. Before you even realize what’s happening, the fish will seize the fly and spit it out. When there is little slack in the fly line, it is much easier to feel the little bump in the line when the fish snags the fly.

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.