After 30 years of trout fishing, I have the trout set down pat. Every trout hooked, I go straight to the sky with the rod, or left or right depending upon which side of the river you are fishing nymphs from. You gotta be quick on those wily trout, any hesitation and you could miss the fish of a lifetime. Two years ago I moved to Minnesota and began chasing muskies on the fly, because why wouldn’t you, they are huge angry beasts that live in our local waters. They are extremely predatory like big browns, but much bigger than big brown trout which sounds like a perfect recipe for an epic time. For whatever reason I managed to land three muskies in Lake Calhoun the very first spring and summer I was here. Pure luck I guess, just enough to get me addicted and think that its not all that hard to catch a muskie. This was followed by a year and a half of getting my ass handed to me. Plenty of looks, a good amount of hook ups, but my rod went to the sky every time. TROUT SET!! FISH GONE!! BYE BYE. As many times throughout the day as I could tell myself to strip set, I still went to the heavenly realm with the rod.
With muskies, not only do you want to keep the rod as low as possible when they strike, you want the fish to eat the fly, turn away, and the strip set comes into play very last. So about a two to three second hesitation from first seeing the fish to the set. Watching a 44 inch fish eat your fly before your very eyes makes it literally impossible to hesitate on the set. Gabe keeps telling me, feed the fish, feed the fish. Let em eat it, let em turn, let em have it. Well, the moon, the stars, and the whatever else all aligned on Sunday and I managed to feed a fly to two muskies and drive the fly home with a quality strip set. 44 inches of pissed off ate my fly and somehow I managed to focus and stay calm. From this point forward, I am going to strip set every trout I catch.