When fishing for bones, strip setting is absolutely essential.
Having a bonefish take your hook doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to bring him in. That’s because these fish have very hard mouths that are almost constantly open. They also chew their food with granular, crushing teeth on their tongue and upper jaw, and in the throat, helping them to grind up prey. If you want to deeply embed the hook and minimize the likelihood of having your fish get away, you’ll need to strip set immediately, rather than raising the rod tip. For trout fishers, lifting the rod tip is often an instinctive action. Sadly, this single and all too common mistake frequently results in lost opportunities and frustration.
With trout, accurately landing your hook is usually enough to do the job. In these soft-mouthed fish, the hook will easily sink right in. Given the rough and durable nature of the typical bonefish mouth, however, this will hardly do the trick. Not only do bonefish use teeth called crushers to mash up food at the back of their mouths, but they also keep their mouths fully open while chewing. When your hook lands in this tough, open interior, raising your rod tip, much like anglers do when pursuing trout, will simply snatch the fly right back out and leave you dumbstruck and empty-handed.
Strip Setting Will Make Your Fly Look Like A Live Shrimp
Strip setting is the surest way to get a solid hook set. It is also an excellent motion for retrieving your fly after a failed cast, without making bonefish suspicious. Stripping in a missed set can effectively create the look of a live shrimp that’s on the move. In addition to ensuring that you don’t spook bonefish when you miss a cast, strip setting can also help you garner more of their interest. Dancing bait that accurately mimics the movements of bonefish prey can be very appealing.
It Takes Time To Master The Skill
Strip setting is a skill that’s sure to cause plenty of frustration during the earliest stages of the learning process. This is all the more true if you’ve spent years or even decades reeling trout in by automatically lifting your rod tip after each successful cast. For most anglers turned bonefishers, the hardest part is simply learning to not reflexively lift the rod after getting a bite. As with many bonefishing skills, however, practice does indeed make perfect. With enough time and enough opportunities, you’ll start instinctively strip setting rather than raising your hook at crucial moments.