Stripping streamers in the dark
Trout do not have eyelids. They can’t squint. They cannot buy sunglasses. Trout do not like sun in their eyes…
Unless there are a ton of bugs on the surface. Then they can make an exception for a tasty rusty spinner.
We bring this up today for one, because it is Saturday, and two because content is difficult to come by in the winter months with literally no changes in the water, the conditions, the temperature, the wind, our mood, since yesterday. It is the same. It is just Saturday, not Friday. That is the only difference.
Although there are more anglers fishing today because it is not a normal workday. Tomorrow too.
Stripping streamers in the shade, under the veil of cloudy skies, or even wind chop can lead you down the road of more often streamer success.
Before daylight is good. I believe I once read in Tom Rosenbauer’s great book Prospecting for Trout, that the most active time for brown trout is the hour before daylight. The next best hour? The hour after daylight? I(t’s gotta be right up there. Right?
I was dreaming of the streamer bite, the take, and what leads us, me, down that road.
The best 1 second in fly fishing is the streamer take. Like a lightening bolt shot through your arm, body, and soul!
So found this image of angler Mark Tabert stripping a few streamers in the shade, a few years back. I was also thinking of the better fall we experienced with the streamer and swing flies. I didi more streamer fishing than last year, which was an upgrade from the previous 20 years. So much so that it interfered with the general Trout Spey period in the fall that has occupied me for the past several years.
I fooled around with many streamer lines and many differing rods. While my favorite streamer rod of the past 5 has been a Sage X 790 with RIO10″ Intermediate Streamer Tip attached I had found a new favorite. No, not a 6 weight. Nope, not an 8. Too much in my opinion. The winner was a Sage Igniter 590 with a RIO Elite Predator Fly Line Float/1 ips/ 2 ips. Worked perfectly on that rod. Cast like a dry fly line. Consequently all anglers could handle this rig.
Sometimes all anglers, do not have the familiarity with heavy tipped, cumbersome, not 5wt dry fly lines, streamer fly adorned rods. But not with this rod and line combo. Nope. Totally castabel.
The biggest part, that many forget, or just do not know is an option, is perfect rod-line match. We here at HH of Craig, make sure we know what lines will work with any specific rod. The first thing any fly shop should do is take the new rod, outside, and line it up with several fly lines. Then, you know. You know because you have cast, and felt, and watched, and understood what works. Obviously you may not try every fly line, no, but you should try a few of the most common lines that would match with said rod.
That is not what I did on this rod. I dumb lucked it. Had a few lines in the drawer, and no line catches trout in the drawer, so I spooled them up. I generally have a few, sometimes more than a few reels in the boat for emergencies, and for trading right handed and left handed retrieves for guests. I saw this line in the compartment bottom and it spoke to me. It said, “Hey I wanna fish!” So I put him on. And added a un weighted leech. And I cast it. And I loved it.
Then continued the experiment with some guests in the boat. They loved it. The common look was at the rod after 4 casts. Then a mother look after 9, at the rod. And then the question to me, Mr. Guide Man. “Hey Mr. Guide Man, how did you know that this would work well?” My answer is “I did not know, but was willing to try.” Ad that is how that went down. Light in hand, EZ to cast even for intermediate casters, and that is key to guide success. Yessir. Putting the angler in successful situations. Not only with the entire equation, but with the rod, line match, style etc.
The mark of a great guide is creating experiences filled with both success, and gentle failure leaving the guest with a taste of brilliance, and a desire for future challenges.
I have always thought that Yes Men Guides, do not get rebooked. If you do not provide challenges for a guest, or agree to all the guest says/states, he or she does not rebook. I have heard a few
lots and lots comments, those rebooking, over the years that go like this… “Yeah, I can’t remember his name. He was nice. We caught a few. But we don’t have to have him again, who else you got?” That is a guide who is a YES MAN. I believe your guide should be memorable. The comments should be Yeah, we’ve never caught so many. Or, yeah, he taught us a ton. Yeah, we can use some of those lessons at our home river. Yeah, that guy was an asshole, we don’t want him again. Creating a feeling, or a mood, or an environment for fun, success, banter, learning, netting, coaching, teamwork. That is what a guide should enable. Those kinds of things.
You gotta leave a mark, or no one remembers you. Honest. Certainly in culture and society today.
Whoa, back to the task at hand. Line match is imperative for that perfect rod set up. And that is the memory that spun out this blog. That perfect match. I have not found, the perfect match for every rod. I keep trying. That Ignitor with the Float/1/2 was/is magic. Shade is magic. Shadows, low light, dawn, dusk, bridge or shoreline/tree shadows, wild fire smoke blocked sun/false overcast…is all good. Break out the streamer rod and stripe few. Do it.
You may come across that magical 1 second of lightening. Or, the perfect line/rod match. Both are otherworldly, out of body type of fun!
Happy Saturday whatever you are doing. We have sun, a few gusts that are near 40mph, and the dream of spring ahead of us. Or hopefully midge action soon. We have some mid flirting with the surface, and trout looking that direction, but it is not “ON”, yet.
Don’t forget to do your daily rain dance either. Or snow dance. Both are appreciated.
Great post Mark. Agree and believe anglers wanna come off the water feeling a bit smarter and less intimidated. Gratifying to help an angler break through a tough moment seeing them succeed.. Favorite streamer rod is the old Loomis GL3 9 ft 7 wt 2 piece. The 6 wt gets it done too. Workhorse trout and smallie sticks – quick but not too quick that helps load that rod for shorter shots on smaller tribs.. Have pounded these sticks for years – they keep getting it done on the streamer game….. .
Totally awesome. Love a Loomis GL3. Great forgiving rod, fun to fish, not difficult to love!