Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deer Hair Streamers

Fly Fishing with Streamers

It was in Poland at the European fly fishing finals that I first realised the importance of knowing how to fish streamers correctly, they saved my competition from blanks. I would argue that this type of method is far under used and developed in Ireland. Streamer fly fishing is not an elegant or easy method to fish but the facts of using this approach to catching wild brown trout cannot be denied.

Approximately 80% of the time trout are feeding they are eating underwater rather than taking bugs or flies floating on the surface. Even though dry fly fishing is great fun, sometimes the fish are simply ignoring that manner of feeding. In order to catch those gorgeous trout one must then switch to nymphs or streamers. Streamers always have the potential of catching huge fish because the larger flies appeal to those desirable bigger fish looking for a substantial meal.

Streamers usually work best near the bottom imitating the fry and other appetizing food for trout. Using a weighted streamer, a weighted tippet, a braided butt leader with weight in it, a sinking tip line, or a sinking line all can be useful for getting the streamer to the bottom. Select according to your preferences and the fishing conditions.

To properly fish streamers, you are likely to snag the fly on the bottom. This means that either you are definitely getting the fly deep enough or that you are stripping the line too slowly. The fact is, if you are fishing so you have the best chance of catching trout, you are bound to lose a few streamers on sticks, moss, or whatever on the river bottom. In shallow slower flowing water you have to strip the streamer rapidly to keep it from dropping completely to the bottom and snagging. In faster deeper water a slower strip may be better.

The idea of stripping the streamer is that you cast it across the current and start stripping the line in short jerks. This gives the streamer the look of a swimming minnow. You can do this in shallow clear water to see how it looks. Slightly uneven stripping action can make it look like a wounded fry which really attracts fish. Different conditions require varied stripping actions. Colder water usually requires slower stripping. In deeper water if you are not using an enormous streamer or a lot of weight, dead drifting can be effective. Test different speeds of stripping to find what is working best.

You can also experiment with different colors and sizes of streamers. Sometimes the fish hammer the largest sizes. Other days they give that large streamer a bump and roll away. 

The bumping action can be an indicator you should immediately cast right back into the
same spot. Fish often bump a fry or minnow to stun it and then go back a second time to
actually eat it. If the fish are bumping the streamer without ever taking it, you may discover that streaking is a good option. Strip the streamer as fast as you can to provoke the fish into an emphatic response.

Streamers typically are the largest wet flies and some of them can be ridiculously large.
If you are tying streamers, hook sizes 6, 4, and 2 are preferred choices. Adding lead during the tying process helps they drop near the bottom in the current more quickly. It is also a more effective method if the angler is in the water and retrieving directly down stream and the rod tip is under water at the required dept.

When tying these streamers i generally use a long shank hook be it a size 12-6, the body can be made up of metallic Hends dubbing, floss, spectra dubbing, pearl tinsel or UV blend dubbing. Ribbing can be to suit the body and the style of the fly. The zonker strips can be either musk rat, which is a lovely soft and fine zonker or rabbit zonkers both can be got in different sizes, I use clear mono to rib in the zonker for strength also. The heads I form with two different colours of  Hends deer Hair it is a soft and easy product to work with and you can stick on eyes if you desire. 

To find all the zonkers, deer hair and dubbing just click on the link to Irish fly tying to your right and enjoy streamer fly tying and fishing.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou, some good information here. Did not think about the 'Bumping" follow up.