The first fly I can remember ever tying was a tuft of black hair pulled off our family schipperke, "Robert", lashed to a small mustad hook with red thread. The vice I used was the shop vice in the garage, and I'm sure I had never even heard of a whip finish, let alone used one on that fly. This was of course before the days of Youtube. That fly caught lots of panfish growing up, but from there, my fly tying career got really big, and no, not as in "I'm a big deal".
Upon moving to Bozeman years ago I was gifted a Regal and some materials and really started cranking the flies out. However, nobody ever told me that a streamer could be tied on anything smaller than a size 4. I tied boxes of streamers that were all so large that when I was on the river I would look at them, close the box, and tie on a size 18 prince nymph. Some were articulated with 2 #2 hooks and looked like something off of Sesame Street (See OYB Action Jackson). Then one day it clicked... try smaller.
Since then I have enjoyed fishing streamers much more than I used to. Why? Because I catch more fish. While I might catch one fish all day on the "huge/nasties", albeit a nice fish, I have realized that smaller streamers will still entice the big boys, but will also feed a few on the smaller side. Several weeks ago I floated the Yellowstone with a good friend Mike Greener and Ryan Holm. As Ryan and I were intent on catching a riser on a size 18 gnat, Greener picked up my St. Croix and swung a size 8 tan streamer in front of the boat. One big brown trout and 24 inches later, Greener was also sold on small streamers. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Easier to cast;
- Easier, faster, and cheaper to tie;
- Can be fished with two flies;
- Catches greater numbers of fish than a large streamer;
- Smaller hooks hold better (or so I think);
- Won't draw as much blood when you hit yourself (or someone else) in the head with it;
- Still catch big fish; and
- Easier depth control.
So, try it out for yourself. Below is one of my favorite streamers not only to tie, but to fish, give away, etc. This particular model is tan, rides hook up, and slayed quite a few fish this past winter. Materials:
- Rabbit fur strip in tan;
- Ice Dub UV brown;
- Ice Dub UV tan (bottom of fly);
- Ice Dub red;
- Dumbell eyes tied on top so the fly rides hook up;
- Size 8 Dai Riki nymph/streamer hook.
I'm not sure if it looks more like a small fish or like a fish that has been bitten in half, but get it wet and it looks tasty. I love the way rabbit moves in the water, and the fish do too. Drop me a line if you need some of these bad boys and get out and fish!!!