Secrets from my streamer box

Monday, December 6, 2010

secrets from my streamer box

I don’t tie flies…yet. I have a thesis to write. I am intrigued by the act of tying flies. But, if I am to be honest, I am little worried about my fine motor skills. While, my Montessori education has maximized my fine motor skills, I think the apex of said skills is quite low (see ability to fold napkins for thanksgiving celebrations). I started fly fishing in April of 2009. Over the past year and a half(ish), I have learned to appreciate and enjoy the delicate art of presenting tiny dry flies to rising trout, the systematic approach of nymphing, and slapping large hoppers or stones next to the bank. But, I have fallen for streamer fishing. And I have fallen hard. I now prefer to throw gobs of weighted rabbit fur at browns, bows, cutties, and bulls. I particularly like double hooked articulated streamers. The aggression and size of the fish that a streamer attracts, attracts me to streamer fishing. It also attracts Alex at 40 Rivers to Freedom to streamer fishing. So in the spirit of the holiday season, I have decided to share some of the patterns that have had great success and some of the patterns that have not. Note: All of these patterns were skillfully purchased at fly shops.

Stars of the Great Bugger Barn of Glory (or the GBBG)

Officially, the three streamers seen above are known as double screamers. My friend Bucko and I have devised our own names for each color variation. We refer to the pattern itself as “it”. “it” is an articulated, approximately five-inch long conehead streamer available in a wide variety of colors.

The Original – black, olive, and silver

The Original killed the browns during the pre-pre-spawn period of a wide variety of in western and southwestern montana. This streamer has dark and flashy elements. I surmise these elements make it irresistible to large brown trout. I lost one of these in a card game. Quite possibly, the saddest night of my life.

The Modified – red, yellow, rainbowy gold

The Modified enjoyed success on the Big Hole during the brown trout pre-spawn period. At one point, when fishing it in some backwater, I had three 16 to 19 inch browns following it. The 17 incher won.

The Rasta – white, red, yellow, green, and seasonally shiny tinsel

Someone in the fly shop where this fly was purchased, referred to it as The Traffic Light (red, yellow, green). We dubbed it The Rasta. I think Jimmy Cliff or Marley was playing on the way to Ennis. This color scheme saw great success on the Madison in November (see yukon goes to the madison). It was only recently discovered by myself and has not been used during any other period of time.

Flies that havent made it out of the GBBG

officially known as the Clarke’s Rat – known personally as the 5-weight destroyer

Based on the amount of rabbit fur involved with this fly, I should love it. I secretly do. But, it shattered my 5 weight redington red2fly rod on the first cast. Not a clean break either. The rod suffered vertical stress fractures immediately above the cork handle around the entire circumference of the rod. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have been trying to throw this massive fly with a five-weight. Probably a good-to-great fly for large trout, I suspect the bulls would love it, but it has not been used since it shattered my rod.

Globs of Green

Never used it. Never will. Don’t know why I bought it.

Kind of Brown

Like the great Miles Davis album, except brown, not sonically pleasing, and terrible at catching trout. I used it once on a late August morning. This late August morning turned into the day that the Original became the Original. This fly hasn’t been used since.

Articulated Rubber Legs of Crap

As I have expressed, I am enthralled with articulated streamers. Not this one. This has to be fished with sinking tip or a full sinking line. I like a streamer that I can fish on both floating and sinking line. This is not one of them. It stays high in the water column, often breaking the surface. Like the rest of the streamers of doom, I haven’t given it much of a chance.

Excluded from the list of greatness are Kelly Galloup’s famous streamers like the sex dungeon, the boogie man, the heifer groomer, and the articulated butt monkey. This is not a function of the gobs of animal fur not working. I just haven’t had a chance to purchase any. Missoula’s local shops do not carry his streamers and his shop was closed when I went down to the Madison in November. One of these days….one of these days.

What about your streamer box? What are your go to patterns? What do you regret buying or tying?

Posted by Ivan at 10:04 AM

Labels: it, streamers, the modified, the original, the rasta, YGF


Owl Jones said…

I pretty much did what you did, just in reverse. I began my earliest trout fishing with streamers, and then found searching dries…namely elk hair caddis and Stimulators. I still fish the occasional streamer in white and gray (streamer, bugger, etc. – which doesn’t seem to matter to the fish) but I’d rather catch a fish on a slashing rise than a hard hit in a deep run. And that’s what’s so very, very cool about fly fishing. There’s just so many ways you can enjoy it!

PS – ugly streamer you don’t know why you bought…sounds like a recipe for an ironic trophy fish battle to me. 😉


December 7, 2010 7:27 AM

Ivan said…

Firstly, thanks for commenting Owl. I really enjoy your blog. As you said, these small differences in approaches is what is so cool about fly fishing. I must admit a slashing rise or a subtle sip of a dry is quite nice and I look forward to some early spring, maybe even some mid-winter, dry fly fishing. I think I have been heavily influenced by the people who mentored me in my fledgling fly fishing times. They have all taken the the dries to streamers approach. I remember fishing with a friend of mine earlier this year as runoff was coming down. He fished a streamer and I had a double nymph rig on. I was outfishing him, but he was getting consistently larger fish. That was my undoing as a nymph fisherman, I have been ruined since then. Don’t get me wrong, i will not pass up a chance to fish to rising fish or slab a fatty stimulator on in the dog days of summer.

December 7, 2010 10:12 AM

DarkoV said…


I think the way that you “posed” the flys is key to a multi-purpose frame of mind.

If not fish is snookered by the dazzle of fur and fibre, you can always use them as C’mas tree ornaments. In fact, I’m sure some truly committed (committed, I mean, as “committed to a state farm” committed) fly-fisherman has probably decorated his tree completely in flys.

Carry on….& keep that thesis-writing going! I’m sure you’ll catch plenty of something with that project’s completion.

December 15, 2010 9:09 AM

Bigerrfish said…

Smokin hott streamesrs dude!!

December 21, 2010 3:53 AM