Streamer Thoughts - Part One

Sean Visintainer - 12/29/20

Mike Visintainer filtering through a box of streamer flies looking for the lucky winner.

Simple streamer fishing

For many anglers there is nothing quite like the visual of a surface feeding trout. However, there is a level of excitement that comes from dredging a well placed streamer pattern through a deep, dark pool that can be just as exhilarating, if not electrifying, the moment you realize you have something latched onto your offering from below.

While most of the trout fly angling world is dominated by dry fly fishing, streamer fishing over the past decade has seen a tremendous increase in popularity during conversations with anglers in our shop.

Our philosophy has always been to keep it simple, especially when starting fly fishing, or any new aspect you may be learning. It is easy to get overwhelmed quickly and end up frustrated.

A few thoughts that we often share with fly fishers wanting to try their luck at streamer fishing... and for the fly angler that over analyzes too much...

Dedicate the day to the tactic.
It can be difficult to bounce back and forth between techniques, we find it best if you stick with it and in-time streamer fishing will become second nature.

The right tool for the job.
Fishing your favorite moderate action 4wt that is normally designed for delicate presentations and light tippet may not be the best for your new found enjoyment of stripping heavily weight streamers. Match the rod and line to the intended use. Modern 5, 6, and 7wts of the medium-fast to fast action variety often are more suitable for the weighted, wind resistant streamer patterns. Couple that with the correct line that is designed to turn over bigger flies and your fun factor will improve tremendously.

Invest in a sink-tip line.
This may come as a sales pitch from a shop owner, but circling back to my statement about the right tool for the job we often find that many bodies of water require sink-tips to help fish streamers correctly. I'm referring to an actual sinking tip line, not just the add-on sinking leader variety. The integrated sink-tip lines are designed to turn over streamers and keep them in the zone longer. Which streamer line is best for your area? Consult your local fly shop, there are a multitude of possibilities and no one-size-fits-all answers.

It's not always about the articulated streamer.
In the world of social media fly fishing and the ever presence of fly fishing "bros", chucking meat (as the bros would say) one would think you always need to be throwing some double, triple, or quadruple articulated pattern if you are to be a successful (or cool) streamer angler. Maybe in some parts of the world, on some bodies of water, but that is not the case in most areas. Often a regular, single shank hooked fly gets it done WAY more often than those mega huge streamer patterns.

Beware of shit-on-a-hook.
Browse through any fly manufacturer catalog, or social media platform, and search for streamers and you will notice a common theme... there's a lot of flies out there with A LOT of shit on them. Often it's just to sell fly tyers and fly anglers more stuff, trust me, I'm in the business of selling flies, materials, and everything that goes with it. Simple flies are typically the most effective, offer better movement, and depending on the intended tactic will sink or swim better. A lot of flies that we call shit-on-a-hook here at the shop also literally just look like the fly designer started slapping shit on the hook with no real thought process as to what the fly actually will look like to a fish. Would I rather sell a $8 streamer? Yes of course. What often works better than that $8 streamer? A very simple one made of very few materials. Rarely have we come across a uber-spendy streamer that actually works consistently well.

Next Week - Streamer Thoughts Part Two