We've been talking a lot about streamer tactics lately, with an eye on improving on-the-water success while fishing streamers. Almost all of the tactics we've highlighted have been founded on the same basic premise: streamers are intended to imitate prey that swims, and getting better at fooling fish with them means getting better at making your streamer look and act like the real deal, being an active predator and doing more than just covering water with a swung fly. And while we've relayed many ways to get better at doing just that, we've yet to talk about what many seasoned streamer anglers consider the most deadly streamer tactic of all: the jerk-strip.
A streamer eating Beaverhead River brown trout (photo: A.J. Swentosky).
Steamer experts like Kelly Galloup and Gary Borger have been talking about the jerk-strip for years, noting its effectiveness above all other tactics and its penchant for producing the most feverish of strikes from the biggest of trout. If that sounds good, then its time you made yourself familiar with the jerk-strip. Along with its effectiveness also comes difficulty, however. The jerk-strip retrieve is a very active retrieve that requires precise timing to master in order to produce the most accurate imitation of a fleeing baitfish.
Typically, hokey holiday-themed pieces aren't my thing. But, at a time when it seems that fewer and fewer anglers are in tune with the things that we should all be thankful for, this year's Thanksgiving holiday seemed like a good opportunity for a few reminders. No angler is more fortunate than the American angler, and sincerely acknowledging some of the things that make us so can help keep us on task.
The Grande Ronde River, a BLM Scenic and Wild Waterway (photo: RW Bailey).
Our Public Lands
This is the big one. The US public lands system -- our National Parks, National Forests, BLM Lands and so on -- is unparalleled across the globe. It provides anglers in America free access to vast swaths of wilderness not only to fish but to hunt, hike, camp, ride horses or ATVs and graze cattle. This endowment of public lands, set up by visionary leaders of our country's past, is something that we have all grown up with. It is stitched into the fabric of what it means to be an American. They are truly our lands. And our ownership of them is a privilege that is virtually wholly unknown to citizens of most other countries across the world, where hunting and fishing lands are almost entirely under private control.
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the Lower Keys Guides Association and KeysKeeper recently joined together in urging the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to address ongoing issues surrounding the state's barracuda population. According to a press release issued by the three groups earlier this month, "there has been a slow but steady realization by many South Florida fisherman that the Keys barracuda population is in decline." The perceived decline is supported by data from a survey of keys scientists, anglers and fishing guides.
The release notes the importance of barracuda as a keystone predator species, the decline of which can lead to a domino-effect of consequences through the marine ecosystem, some of which may be irreversible.
The message delivered by the groups cites the unregulated commercial harvest of barracuda in Florida as a likely cause. According to the release, recent years have shown a 65% increase in commercial harvest, a figure that is derived from limited data published by the FWC. Also highlighted were potential health concerns with the commercial harvest of barracuda, which are known to carry ciguatoxins, and their presence in the seafood market where they are often marketed under other names which conceal their identity to consumers.