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).
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