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Wool Strike Indicators Can Help Your Fish Hookup Ratio

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June 28, 2012

Wool Strike Indicators Can Help Your Fish Hookup Ratio

By Kirk Deeter

I know I've told you to "ditch the bobber." I've been hard on strike indicators, calling them "crutches," "training wheels" and other nasty things. I still think the professional guide who does nothing but drag nymphs through trout runs all day, every day, without endeavoring to teach beyond the indicator is lazy. I stand by what I've written in the past.

But I also am a realist. I know that success breeds interest. And in some places, at certain times, nothing works on a fly river as well as the high-stick nymph rig, period.

It took a bit of convincing, but I've been noodling around with a new strike indicator system recently. And it worked so well, I feel obliged to talk about it, even if that means eating some crow.

The StrikeIndicator tool was developed in New Zealand (famous for its fickle trophy trout). It's a pretty simple deal: Small tubing pieces are threaded on a tool that grabs the leader like a mini crochet hook. You pull the leader, slide the tube in place, and form a loop through which you place chunks of colored wool. Then you cinch the loop tight, and the wool stays in place — you can slide it up and down the leader on a whim. You choose how much wool forms the indicator, depending on the currents you're fishing. You can go with orange-dyed wool, or white. I like white, because it looks like the bubbles already on the water.

To me, the wool is the real attraction. Why do we like things like wool sweaters and socks in the first place? Because they wick water. In the case of this indicator, a little dab will do. It rides high, but sinks quick on the tug, so it's super-responsive. Casting-wise, I think it slices through the air cleaner than a hard object, and it lands on the water surface with barely a splat.

I've learned that the wool can be shaped for effect. I like to make it stand up in a tapered "flame" shape. That post stands straight up when the weight and flies drop into the zone. Any hitch or bobble prompts me to set the hook. And when the flies are grabbed hard, it plunges.

The bottom line is that when I fish this system, I think I hook fish I would otherwise miss, were I using a different indicator.

The setup costs $16.95, which includes the tool, tubing, and some wool. Sounds like a lot compared to foam or other options, but it can last a long time if you're judicious about how you use and save the wool.  And if you think you're missing fish (we all do, even in the best circumstances), I think it can help your hookup ratio.  Check out StrikeIndicator.com for more details, and to see a video of how it all works. 

Again, I'm not encouraging anyone to lean on the indicator as the end-all, be-all solution for catching trout with flies.  But if you're going to go there — and most of us go there, sooner or later — this option is worth a hard look.

Comments (7)

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

A cute little gadget.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I've been using yarn lately tied into leader, and while it's the most sensitive indicator it's a hassle to move. Looking forward to trying it, thanks for the write up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

You can tie wool on a leader using NO KNOT AT ALL..not a knot on the leader or a knot on the wool. And it can be slide up and down the leader under pressure. Old Chinese trick, and it costs less than a penny. If you put up a penny you get change back.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

So tell me why is the "tube" better than an a rubber band? I take a tiny metal tube from a craft store, hammer down one end flat, drill a hole so I can attach it to my clip. Now I take the multiple rubber bands and twist them on, slide them down. I simply insert a loop of leader into the tube, push the rubber band on to the leader, thread through the yarn and now I can slide the leader up and down all day. Cost maybe $1.00.
Sayfu. How do you do the chinese trick? Interesting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

flutter..I've used it now for years. Many years ago a Chinese guy showed me how to slide a piece of yarn down over my corky as a steelhead bait for driftfishing for steelhead. Steelheaders use a lot of yarn, and float bobbers in front of the hook to float the hook up off the bottom, and create a egg/skein looking type setup. Sure saves on the $16.95 cost. I mfger'd these rigs, and sold them commercially. Now I use the technique as a strike indicator tying it in above a leader knot, or "attaching" it in as it were, with no added knots. If you pull it down off the end of the leader off comes the yarn with no knots in it, and none in the leader. Then I goop it up with fly foatant that costs about as much as the yarn, and purchased in the drug store as what? What is the cream fly floatant brand name sold in the drug stores?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abartkowski wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Nothing like try to make your guide friends mad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

abar...guides do not get mad! The customer is ALWAYS right....unless they don't care about getting a tip.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

A cute little gadget.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I've been using yarn lately tied into leader, and while it's the most sensitive indicator it's a hassle to move. Looking forward to trying it, thanks for the write up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

You can tie wool on a leader using NO KNOT AT ALL..not a knot on the leader or a knot on the wool. And it can be slide up and down the leader under pressure. Old Chinese trick, and it costs less than a penny. If you put up a penny you get change back.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

So tell me why is the "tube" better than an a rubber band? I take a tiny metal tube from a craft store, hammer down one end flat, drill a hole so I can attach it to my clip. Now I take the multiple rubber bands and twist them on, slide them down. I simply insert a loop of leader into the tube, push the rubber band on to the leader, thread through the yarn and now I can slide the leader up and down all day. Cost maybe $1.00.
Sayfu. How do you do the chinese trick? Interesting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

flutter..I've used it now for years. Many years ago a Chinese guy showed me how to slide a piece of yarn down over my corky as a steelhead bait for driftfishing for steelhead. Steelheaders use a lot of yarn, and float bobbers in front of the hook to float the hook up off the bottom, and create a egg/skein looking type setup. Sure saves on the $16.95 cost. I mfger'd these rigs, and sold them commercially. Now I use the technique as a strike indicator tying it in above a leader knot, or "attaching" it in as it were, with no added knots. If you pull it down off the end of the leader off comes the yarn with no knots in it, and none in the leader. Then I goop it up with fly foatant that costs about as much as the yarn, and purchased in the drug store as what? What is the cream fly floatant brand name sold in the drug stores?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abartkowski wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Nothing like try to make your guide friends mad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

abar...guides do not get mad! The customer is ALWAYS right....unless they don't care about getting a tip.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment