The Full Pint is one of the only permanent additions to my streamer box in the last few years. I test a lot of patterns against my confidence lineup, and very few flies make the cut. My box of long flies covers all the bases, really. And because I’m (mostly) a minimalist, I don’t add anything that is similar to the other flies that I already carry.
But the Full Pint dazzled trout at the first dance. It had a big night the first time out. Then, day after day when I set the hook on a swirl or felt the jolting stop of a large trout slam the fly in mid-strip, I marveled at the Pint’s effectiveness.
Trout eat it. What else can I tell you? Like my favorite Bunny Bullet Sculpin, trout commit more to this fly than so many others. They don’t just chase it. They want to eat it.
The Full Pint is the two-hooked big brother of my Half Pint streamer. Inspired by the Moto’s Minnow, I adapted colors and changed materials to suit my needs. Like all fly tyers, I used the materials and the look that I already had confidence in, added a little of this and took away some of that. I brought those confidence materials onto a streamer platform and whip finished.
So when the Half Pint rose to the top of my streamer list on my home waters, I articulated it for some more aggressive trout — the ones that are on the hunt for something even bigger — fish that can handle a Full Pint.
Be sure to choose HD 1080p for best quality on the video above.
Full Pint Streamer Recipe
Hooks: Gamakatsu B10s (#4 for rear, #2 for front)
Thread: White Uni Thread 6/0
Conehead: Large Copper Cone (front hook)
Weight: 15 wraps of .025” Lead Wire (front hook)
Tail: Tan Marabou
Body and Collar Dubbing: Hareline Superfine Dry Fly Dubbin (Sulphur Orange)
Body: Mallard flank natural and Mallard flank dyed wood duck color (tan/brown)
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The Full Pint is about 3.5 inches long, with a Gamakatsu #2 on the front and a #4 on the back. That’s right in the sweet spot of “big enough to catch the interest of the largest trout in the river,” and small enough to hook average fish as well. So it’s a fun size to fish. Use larger hooks if you want to go longer, of course.
(I use a single hook for the Half Pint, so it comes it around 2-2.5 inches.
The junction of 19 strand Beadalon wire is stiff, allowing for the motion of the back fly to happen at the ring of the eye and not in the material of the junction. The hooks foul less with this type of articulation.
Copper heads are the perfect match for the body color of the Pint. Gold seems a little too bright. And I like the patina that copper takes on over time. Some days the flat dark copper of a well-used copper conehead makes all the difference. So don’t throw away an old fly that’s lost some shine.
The 6mm acrylic bead is red/orange. I prefer plastic rather than glass because I believe lighter weight at the junction allows for more movement at the back half of the fly. I use these beads for articulation on many of my two-hooked flies. And on the Pint, it’s the perfect contrast.
The color of these beads is the same color of the Nuke Egg patterns that work so well for me all winter long around here. It’s a turn-on for trout, and there’s no doubt about it. I know the bead draws strikes.
(On the Half Pint, I tie a hot orange thread band at the back of the fly, just before the tail. The mallard flank envelopes the hot spot, and the orange peaks through. It’s a great look.)
Tan marabou matches the body. I like it full and a little longer than the shank of the hook. I know it’s popular to add Flashabou or Krystal flash to the tail, and for a long time I included a couple strands of peacock herl (like the Moto’s Minnow). But these days I mostly leave it off, since I seem to do just as well without it.
Body and Collar Dubbing
The sulfur-orange dubbing is a good addition, and it’s there to fill in space on the hook. Although dry fly dubbing may seem like an odd choice, I like the shimmer. It provides a subtle flash and a little contrast. It’s also the same dubbing I encountered thirty years ago . . .
In my early teens, my uncle gave me some streamers that were tied by his uncle. They were two-inch long creations with three simple materials: a yellow-orange dubbing, mallard flank and copper wire. My uncle called the pattern a Spook. It took trout easily, and before I wore out the flies that were given to me, I created my own copies.
As an adult, I learned that the wild trout in my area were often in need of something with a wider profile. And when I first saw the Moto’s Minnow, I immediately knew how to convert the confidence I had in the Spook to a new fly.
Marrying the designs of these two patterns proved to be a winner.
Building the body with pinched-in pieces of mallard flank allows me more control over the length of the fly than wrapping the feathers. I usually pinch in pieces around the shank for the back part of the fly, then I find feathers with the right length to wrap for the front half.
Most of the feathers are mallard flank that’s dyed a wood duck color. Natural mallard flank (a cream/white) is used for accent and to improve the mottled appearance that is a key trigger for trout.
Importantly, the dubbing is used again near the head — at the collar — to build up the body just below the level of the conehead. Then the final feathers of mallard flank are added. And a last bit of dubbing is wrapped for a finished collar.
The fly looks a little raggedy after the whip finish, but it simply needs all the fibers to blend together. And for this, a toothbrush is the right tool. Fluff it up, and bring the fibers together. The river will do the rest.
It’s a Full Pint
At my tying desk one night, I leaned back into the shadows bordering the radius of my desk lamp. I reached for the full glass of Southern Tier IPA. I took a long, satisfied drink and returned the glass into the light of the lamp, directly beside the streamers I’d been tying. The head of the beer, mixed with the copper, yellow and tan of the liquid in the glass was the same color scheme as the fly next to it.
Sometimes it takes decades for a good thing to fully develop. That night, my favorite streamer finally gained a proper name.
The Full Pint and the Half Pint are killers.
P.S. — About the Half Pint
I received a lot of inquiries about the Half Pint, on the day I published this Full Pint article. Honestly, the Half Pints in my box get more of a workout than their big brothers. Half Pints just seem to go down easier for a trout.
The Half Pint is, well . . . just half of the Full Pint. There are two things to consider:
First, I prefer a Daiichi 2461 #4 for the Half Pint. It’s the perfect single hook streamer choice, and I explain why in the Bunny Bullet Sculpin article.
Second, I still want the red/orange color at the rear of the Pint. because I strongly believe it’s a trigger. Previously, I used a small orange bead hanging from a the rear of the Half pint, threaded on a piece of Maxima Chameleon. Now, I simply add a hot orange thread band on the body, just in front of the tail. As described above, the mallard flank envelopes the hot spot, and the orange color peaks through. I love the look.
Fish hard, friends
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N