A few thoughts on streamer fishing

shared here in its entirety with Mac Brown‘s kind permission.

it’s rant-o’clock ! but i don’t see it as ranting for the sake of ranting, more like a hey, lets kinda forgo the commercialism and sensationalism of contemporary fly tying/fishing for a while and get real about flies, fly design and fly fishing in general.
Mac’s parting words sum up how a lot of us feel quite well, enjoy !  “and remember it is more about your technique than the fly!”…

Bullhead-Sculpin-Gary Borger

“Streamer fishing has been around for a very long time in fly fishing. The workhorse patterns I used mostly as a youngster include the simplistic Black Ghost, Mickey Finn, Wooly Bugger, and Muddler Minnow. There are hundreds of new streamer patterns the past decade with so many new choices of materials. Many of the newer patterns have eye appeal more for the tying community than the fish!
A successful pattern is the one you can tie simply and fast and that is what I think is lacking more today than in years past.

A lot of egos at play in this game of fly fishing to think of lashing a different material to a piece of wire and a new invention that every one tries to get in a catalog for their pride basically. It is actually quite funny when you think about it.
Think about judging your streamer patterns by how many steps does it involve? Can you produce it in a short time period? Naturally color, shape, and size are also at play just like every other recipe in fly tying. The action of the fly may be important at times, however there are also times it really does not matter! I remember tying up some really bizarre streamer patterns in the mid 90’s when I capitalized on what I refer to as “impulse strikes”. These patterns made use of things like a silver beer tab glued to a hook or a piece of coffee cup Styrofoam attached to a hook. One material basically attached to a hook! They worked on many test occasions for trout just like the simple buck-tail streamers used in 1930’s. Keep it simple with your patterns and you will get more time on the water, which is always better than time at the vice as far as I am concerned.

There is no doubt that streamer fishing puts up the majority of really large fish throughout the year. It is also among the simplest technique to learn for a youngster. Both of my kids have had plenty of action at very young ages swinging streamers over active fish. One of the reasons it is the perfect technique for folks new to fly fishing is that the fly line remains under tension as the pattern swings in the current. When a fish strikes it virtually hooks itself!

Here are a few other streamers that have served me well over the years. The Bullhead Sculpin from Gary Borger (you can find it on his blog) is one of the best producers on the stream and is among the most simplistic patterns to tie. One of the best days on the lower Nanty a few springs ago had 6 brown trout to the boat while floating that all went over 6 pounds. Not a bad day to kick off the season since this is no New Zealand in Western North Carolina. We have to compete against hardware fisherman, worm drowners, and corn chunkers-many of our best tailwaters in the Southeast are open game with little regulation.
The acoustic footprint and color of the bullhead sculpin make it among my favorite overall streamer patterns! The other fly is a pattern I learned from Rich Brostic here in Bryson City back in the early 90’s. It uses only two materials which include black chenille body and an olive marabou wing as long as the hook shank. This simple pattern has caught thousands of really big fish all over the globe. You can tie it in under a minute at the vice. Mike Sexton’s “Blank Saver” is another smallish streamer that works great and deserves a row of them in your flybox! You can tie a ton of them in one evening!
I think over time folks progress to really big streamers that are articulated. I know I went that direction in the late nineties tying 6-8 inch streamers. The drawbacks of getting too big include air resistance increases may require a much heavier line. I am sure that over the years the one to three inch streamers have been the most productive. I have hooked many Muskie in western North Carolina when fishing for trout with three inch streamers.

Streamer fishing is all about movement so over time you will play with all kind of retrieval rates and mends on the water. Changing direction of the streamer through use of mends is more advanced but it often can be productive against a bank or differential water current. Play around with different fly line configurations and densities for streamer fishing. One of the most common mistakes I see is the overuse of floating lines used for attempting to catch big fish that hold near the bottom in big water. Build some high density lines that get your flies down where the fish are holding.
When fishing with other folks try to get your group to mix it up rather than everyone chucking thingamabobbers all day long! Your group will learn far more about a watershed throwing nymphs, dries, streamers, and wets! They will all produce fish. Bigger nymphs are often fished like a streamer just for the sake of mixing it up. Enjoy playing around with streamer fishing and remember it is more about your technique than the fly!”

When asked why she tied flies she replied, “Because they’re pretty”

“In a cottage in northern Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled bits of feather, fur, silver and gold into elaborate fishing flies – at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales.

With breathtaking cinematography and expressive, hand-painted animation, this film both adheres to and escapes from traditional documentary form, spinning the facts and fictions of one woman’s life into a stunning meditation on solitude, love, and its illusions.”

Kiss the Water, embrace the beauty. this one’s more than special.
reserve yourself an hour and be sure to watch it in full screen HD. enjoy !

EDIT– sorry folks, the video has been removed.
hopefully its replacement will be available soon. stay tuned !

Underwater Zombie Frog Ballet !

warning to the squeamish: the video below is exactly what the title says so you might want to refrain.

for the others: enjoy !
although it can include frogs, this little dancing film isn’t so much about fly fishing… but this is something really special and well, different to say the least.

deep-throat sunday

nothing’s better than having a good breakfast before heading out for a hard day’s fishing. bon appétit !

what its like to be Hank.

in what’s one of the more charming, humble, understated and interesting angler profile films i’ve seen yet, this little video is indeed rather special.

enjoy !

” Henrik is one of the members of troutvision.se. He’s modest and doesn’t say so much. He’s not that kind of person who makes alot of noise. He’s a fly fishing angler. And he’s good at it. This is a short movie for you guys to get to know him better. He’s a special person, so don’t miss out! ” 

Fly Fishing and Sex

First-Ever Fly Fishing Sex Survey by Scott Bowen via MidCurrent “In the first study of its kind, the Federal Institute of Human Sexuality and Sexual Health (FIHSSH) surveyed 2 million American fly fishers about their sex lives, in a search for data about the potential impact of fly fishing on human sexual behavior.” masters-and-johnson_640 when it comes to fly fishing with all the sexy thises and sexy thats branded about freely, it’s hard at times to really know what’s up. for the complete the lowdown you’ll have to click HERE but in the meantime here’s a few choice morsels.
“1. How satisfied are you with your sex life?
2. How often do you engage in sexual activity with a partner?
3. What would you change about your sex life?
4. What is your main fly-fishing endeavor?”

“Nationwide, more fly-fishing hours are spent angling for trout, but the dry-fly group and general trout ranked sixth and fifth respectively in overall sexual satisfaction and frequency. “Hardcore dry-fly fishers also often wish their partner would embrace, or at least accept, a fetish for tweed.” “A fly box full of bass bugs is indicative of a slower-paced sex life, with bass fly fishers scoring a 3 in sexual satisfaction, and indicating monthly sex frequency, on average. We have a theory about that,” Dr. Dangerfield says. “Hot weather. You’ve got people fly fishing for bass across the South, and it’s just too humid to get it on, you know?”
as for those who get it the most, you’ll have to visit the page. enjoy !
ps- we’ll notice that nymphing isn’t even mentioned. i wonder why…
pps- even if this was posted on April 1st, i still believe its true. (specially the nympher part)

Relax a Minute

but while we’re at it and since it feels so good, let’s make that seven.

some thoroughly enjoyable, slowed-down fly fishing moments from Silver Creek Outfitters. enjoy !

On waterproof fly boxes:

and of the interesting things said about them on fly fishing forums.

– ” Been thinking about ‘waterproof’ flyboxes. The only real advantage I reckon is that they should float.
Otherwise this waterproofing stuff is just a method on how to ensure that moisture cannot escape the flybox. How to get nice and rusty flies if you don’t open your boxes to dry after getting home… ” *

– ” I know from experience. They have two advantages they can make your hooks rust faster, and you can watch them drift off on the current, rather than see them sink out of site! If you paint them bright orange, so you can see them better, you can see them float away into the extreme distance. 
The worst of all worlds are ones that only float for a short while. They drift off to where you can’t reach them, then sink. There is an inverse square law with the probability of loosing a box being dependent on the cost of the box and the time effort and expense put into filling it.
Not that I’m cynical about it at all ;)  ” *

i’m eager to see if anyone comes up with any solutions that aren’t overly complicated…
fly box leash TLC 26-6-13

* (names where withheld to protect the innocent)

Fly Tier Showcase- Mike Townend

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most salmon flies make me think of drag queens: ghastly, tarty-tasteless gaudy caricature creatures haphazardly put together with ill-died feathers and plastic diamonds.
whether they catch fish or not is irrelevant, it’s the human factor and the horrendous side effects of complacency and a general sense of ineptitude induced to both viewers and creators of such tackiness that’s still wreaking havoc (of sorts) in the fly tying world after hundreds of years.
one could say they are the neon lights used to lure in trucker-cap crowds to the local strip mall. (please use your imagination for that last part and don’t actually go there) anyhow, this is some serious shit and not something to be taken lightly so let’s see what a recognized  expert has to say about this phenomenon.

“Hence man’s otherwise inexplicable passion for salmon flies and hence his attribution to precious stones of therapeutic and magical virtue…. In other words, precious stones are precious because they bear a faint resemblance to the glowing marvels seen with the inner eye of the visionary. “

Aldous Huxley’s pretty in-deep quote from his marvelous essay Fly Tying Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell’ shows a much higher understanding than i ever could as to why these gaudy flies are so popular and get the most ‘likes’ on Facebook.

now, on the other hand and thank goodness !, we have these quasi-mystical shrine-like flies tied by Mike Townend of Aberdeen, Scotland prompting aw-inspiring reflections such as:
“The hook, for example, of that fly–how miraculous it’s tubularity, how supernatural it’s polished smoothness! I spent several minutes–or was it several centuries?–not merely gazing at this salmon fly, but actually being it—or rather being myself in it; or, to be still more accurate (for “I” was not involved in the case, nor in a certain sense were “it”) being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the salmon fly.”

right. rendering the acquisition of  illegal lotions and potions pointless, thanks to Monsieur Townend we get to view, absorb and be the sublime and not have to wait eight hours for it all to wear off.
(hmmm, the more i re-read all this the more it all makes sense but in case it don’t, if you ignore the words you’ll at least enjoy these awesomely stunning examples of what can only be considered ‘feather poetry’)
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What is a double taper line for fly fishing?

as alluded to in yesterday’s post Double Tapered vs Weight Forward Fly Lines – Which is really better?, there’s an enormous amount of let’s say, less than informative information available on the net when it comes to explaining this or that about fly fishing, fly casting and basically fly-anything.
here’s a real gem in the rough in the matter. the poor guy is so lost at attempting to teach us something that he doesn’t know. it would be sad if it wasn’t so funny…. enjoy !

btw, it’s this.
mastery_trout-dt
and to get a little more technical, a taper is:
taper |ˈtāpər|
noun:

• a gradual narrowing: (click the link at the top of the page for Bruce Richards’ basic explanation of mass, weight distribution and other goodies and how they affect a fly line’s performance).
verb:
•diminish or reduce or cause to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end : the tail tapers to a rounded tip | [ with obj. ] : David asked my dressmaker to taper his trousers.• [ no obj. ] gradually lessen: the impact of the dollar’s depreciation started to taper off .

ORIGIN Old English (denoting any wax candle), dissimilated form (by alteration of p- to t-) of Latinpapyrus (see papyrus), the pith of which was used for candle wicks.

hmm, it turns out that thanks to Mr. DT we found out that the word taper finds it’s origins in candles and we can use it when chit-chatting about trousers so, i guess it aint all bad.

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does tenkara fishing affect a fish’s vision ?

in yet another blundering attempt in showing us how the tenkara style is so unique here’s a funny chart that makes one wonder if this method doesn’t affect the brain and how it works.
– once again, what does it teach us and what have we learned ? nothing.
– does a fish always come to the fly from the same angle and has it anything to do with tackle ? surely not.
– angler A has a much shorter rod than angler D. does this mean we would have to change rod, line and leader just to fish a little bit further back that angler A ?
that’s not a very enticing perspective for the angler wanting to try this method, is it ?

as a sort of conclusion and what’s nice, is the traditional angler (or ‘western style’ as they call it) that wants to give this simplistic method a go has nothing to worry about. they can keep on casting, approaching fish and catching them and it won’t affect our slimy friend’s vision at all.

fish vision & tenkara

just to set things straight, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this method of fishing, in fact i consider it really cool.
the born-again wheel-reinventing bozos on the other hand…