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Fishing the muddler
Effective retrieval tactics include stripping the floating Muddler across the water surface rhythmically, imparting a "wake", or allowing the Muddler to sink and twitching or pulsating it against or across a river's current. An unweighted Muddler will float and appears as a hopper, moth or struggling mouse. With a tiny piece of split shot in front of it (or an intermediate flyline) the Muddler can be made to swim slowly over weedbeds and shallow gravel bars. With more weight, the Muddler can be stripped wildly in the shallows to imitate and alarmed baitfish, or allowed to settle in deeper water. When weighted—either on the fly itself, with split shot, or a sinking leader or line—the Muddler may be fished right on the bottom to effectively imitate a sculpin. When imitating sculpins, Muddlers must be kept right on the bottom and fished slowly, with occasional fast strips of maybe a foot to a yard, as if trying to escape a predator.