Timing the Strike

Timing the Strike

Paul Arden | Sunday, 12 September 2021

It's been a very interesting past month or so on the lake here in Malaysia. There has been restricted lockdown access prior to this, which is both good and bad. Good because it means that the fish are less spooky, bad because it means that I have to find them and this takes time. However I have found free-risers, am slowly putting the location puzzle pieces together again and I'm finally getting on-top of them. Free-risers is an awesome fishing game. There are also a few sets of babies around - which means parenting adults too of course. It's been work in progress for me, ever since I first started fishing here, and where I am now with the strikes is to totally delay the strike, even to the extent of not striking and only setting the hook when the Snakehead sets the hook for me. Here is a Board post from today...


I’ve been getting a lot of success this year with slower retrieves. I’ve modified my flies so that they have pronounced frog legs. Gary gave some excellent advice on tying pencil or dislocated flies, which I’ve been experimenting with (but they land heavily and I need some shorter shank hooks).

In the last month I’ve had some eats very close to the boat, where I haven’t been retrieving but have in effect had the opportunity to time the strike. Over this month I’ve gradually been lengthening the delay, up to at least four seconds. And sometimes still pulling the fly out of their mouths!

Now I am letting them eat and swim off with the fly. 10 seconds strike. This is exactly how I used to fish floating fly patterns for trout!

I assume what happens is that they inhale the fly, turn around and don’t actually expel the air through the gills until very much later. And this is when you want to strike. If you strike before they’ve expelled air it’s very much a hit and miss affair. The hanging (dislocated fly) hook can help, but the better option seems to be either not to strike but to keep a tight line or else strike after a very long delay. Ashly not striking I think seems to prove this!!

It’s fishing well at the moment but now I’m heading to another part of Malaysia for two weeks.


It really is nice to be experimenting again. There are two things I'm currently working on, one is turning chasers into takers, and the other is a higher hook-up rate. If I can solve these problems I stand to land many more fish.

Some excellent discussions on the Board:

Solving Tracking issues:

Body rotation and Distance casting:

Light rods for Salmon:

Email me on paul@sexyloops.com if you would like to join our freindly and knowlegable community.

I'll be back on FP duty on Tuesday, with a planned video. Then I will be offline for 10 days presenting a TV show (they wanted someone ugly who could fish and they got me). Ashly and Lars will be running the ship.

Redneck Andy tomorrow! 

Have an awesome day.

Cheers, Paul


PS I know that the fish in the POD looks like it was caught in a dream, but actually the lens was wet. Lesson learned!