March 12th, 2001

The Forgotten Method
By James Castwell


Face it, streamers are imitation bait; bait-fish to be more exact. The idea of imitating such a thing with a fly is beneath us, well, some of us, OK, at least a few of us. Probably a dumb idea, at least if we like to fish for trout and also catch a few of the rascals.

Now I'm not talking about the big stuff here, not the 'blue-water-bananas.' Those guys are in a world of their own. Here I am looking at the little fellas, ones you can actually cast with a normal fly rod. (No email please you salt-water guys) These are some of the names we all have heard and seen and most likely have never fished.

I think we need to clarify something here first. Dry-flies represent winged bugs, nymphs are the equal of the undeveloped stages of them and streamers look like little fish. Mostly little fish do not eat little fish, they eat bugs; BIG fish eat little fish! You are starting to understand here, good.

There are as many ways to fish a dry as there are to fish a nymph, each has it's schools and devotee's. You know, up or down, dead-drift or twitched, and all stages in between. And it does take a lot of learning and practice to get good at both methods, years and many miles of stream are the classroom for such things.

But, how do you fish a streamer? Well, in some ways, much like a nymph, so if you are good at that, you will only have a bit more to learn to fish streamers. That's right, I said 'more' to learn. Remember, they are not bugs. They are small fish and must behave like them, they must be the right size, must be the proper color (and must change with the seasons), they have to be tied so they look right in the water. Hey, the fish get a good look, a very good look at these things. Sometimes you can hang one on a trouts nose until he smacks it out of just pure orneryness. This is not a beginners game; but oddly enough a beginner can do very well at it. Even to the extent that they can be fished without even knowing how to cast!

The truth is, many years ago I used to use a size ten 'Little Trout' streamer with a small nymph on a dropper ahead of it. Kinda looked like the streamer was after the nymph. It worked very well, so well in fact I quit doing it as it made me feel like I was doing something I should not be doing. (The smaller trout would take the nymph, bigger ones went for the streamer).

Streamer-Fly Fishing

If you have not ever done any of this kind of fishing, or have not in a long time, or just would like to learn a bit about it, or simply reflect on some of the good days you had in the past doing it, there is an inexpensive book available from Lyons Publishing called Streamer-Fly Fishing. It is not new, been out about ten years, but is in reprint again. At only $14.95 John Merwin has crammed into eighty-six pages about all anyone would really need to know to do a pretty good job of using streamers definitely upsetting the eating habits of some big fish who may have never have seen a streamer.

I think you can have some fun with this no matter what stage of fly fishing you may be at. I know I enjoyed it enough to write this for you and just may dig out some of those 4x long hooks I had. ( I have no idea where I put them) ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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