photo of mourning doves

Flyfishermen moving from freshwater trout to quarry such as river stripers, migrating shad, and most saltwater fish need to learn how to strip-strike. Raising the rod tip on armor-mouthed or deep-running fish won’t set your hook. Nor will it do the trick when you’re dredging striper holes with weighted lines or battling currents and tidal rips with long lengths of fly line. Here’s what to do once you feel a fish on. –T. EDWARD NICKENS

[1] Keep the rod tip pointed at your fly at all times.

[2] Release the pressure on the line with the same rod-hand finger you use to control stripping.

[3] Strip line in with a hard, quick, jabbing motion–from a foot to your full reach, depending on how much line is in the water. If there’s a lot of slack in your fly line–a deep belly from fishing weighted lines, or swooping curves caused by river or tidal rips–then strip-strike while lifting the rod tip in several short pumping motions. Or follow up a strip-strike with a so-called body strike by holding the line taut and rotating your body to sweep the rod to one side. You can also pull the line and rod in opposite directions–a strip-strike offspring known as a scissors strike.