Troutbitten Fly Box — The Full Pint Streamer

by | Jan 23, 2019 | 23 comments

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)

Connection: 19 strand Beadalon wire, with 6mm red-orange acrylic bead

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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Hooks

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.

Conehead

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 Bead

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.)

Tail

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 . . .

Body

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.

Mallard Flank — the main ingredient in a Full Pint

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.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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23 Comments

  1. Gamakatsu B10S and Southern Tier 2X IPA are two of my favorite things.

    Reply
    • If i drink more than 2 – xx I’m done fishing unless I’m in a chair on the bank.

      Reply
      • So true. Strong beers take away my will to fish hard. And sometimes that’s just fine.

        Reply
  2. I’ve been searching for a light colored streamer pattern. Too much olive in my box. Thanks for sharing! That Southern Tier is money. Do you stay with the B10S for the half pint as well?

    Reply
    • Hi Mike. Yeah, that’s one of things I really love about the Pints. You can see them quite well many times.

      No, I use a Daiichi 2461 #4 for the half pint.

      Reply
  3. Interesting pattern Domenick. In your video you mention a link to the Half Pint Streamer. Maybe it’s under my nose but I’ll be darned if I can find that link and I’d sure like to read about that fly. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks Alton. Yeah, I mentioned above that it’s coming soon. Probably be a couple weeks. Videos take a LONG time. I said it that way in the Full Pint video because that video will be up for many year, I assume. Know what I mean? So there’s a week or two lag here. The Half pint is the same thing, but on a Daiichi 2461 #4. It also has a 4mm bead of the same color. I mount that on a knotted piece of 20# Maxima Chameleon coming off the back of the hook. It doesn’t stick out far, though. I’ll include a picture of that in the post above. Check back later today for that.

      Cheers.

      Reply
      • I see that it’s been posted. Thanks Domenick!

        Reply
        • Cheers. Figured that would help. Thanks for asking.

          Reply
  4. First of all, your recent fly box videos are really well done! Second, thanks for this. I’ve become a huge fan of the Moto’s minnow which has been a great producing fly for me. These “pint”streamers share some of that DNA and look like another winning combination. I look forward to tying some and even more to getting them wet.

    Reply
    • Sure thing, Bill. You know I was using the Moto’s for a while now. Love the style. Cheers.

      Reply
  5. That’s one nice looking fly. These days I must admit spending time at the vise is a chore, not a passion. I have regressed to tying only guide style streamers that can be cranked out in 2-3 minutes and catch my local non-discriminating brookies just fine (sometimes I think they would hit a bare hook). Maybe when I go after some wise old monster browns in the heavily pressured river near me I will bust this one out.

    Reply
    • That is certainly the downside of this and many other streamer patterns. This takes me about 20 mins to tie. Probably more.

      Don’t fish it on thin tippet, that’s for sure!

      Reply
      • I am never as bold as I need to be in my casting to that undercut (where the big boy is lurking) flanked by the tangled mess of branches when I am slinging a “30 minute fly”. I have seen hours of work at the vise be lost in the branches in a matter of a few back to back poor casts…part of the game I guess.

        Reply
  6. Interesting technique clumping the mallard. I haven’t tried it before. Tying some up this weekend. thanks for opening your streamer box for us

    Reply
  7. I’m a dry fly guy looking for a floating streamer pattern to dead drift. Gary LaFontaine had one he called “Bread”. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Rick. My favorite fly of that type is called a Bad Mother. You can find it pictured here on Troutbitten with a search, but email me, and I’ll send you the pattern recipe. Cheers.

      Reply
  8. To cold to fish,to cold for golf and it’s to cold at home .

    Reply
  9. Very bob ross like soothing tone. Love the streamer

    Reply
  10. Bravo! Very nice pattern and video! I will definitely give this a try. I was wondering what to do with a box of wood duck feathers given to me. Another pattern to my list for 2019.

    Reply
  11. Hi Dom,
    First, what a beautiful and natural looking pattern. The video is very well done. In reading the article and watching the video I must of overlooked what size cooper cone head is used for this pattern? I love the Full Pint name goes well with the deep rich cooper amber tones of a rich freshly brewed IPA…, I’m very fond of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale myself. I look forward to tying the Full Pint at my desk along side a pint of my favorite brew in your honor. Thanks for sharing your pattern.

    Reply
    • Hello Ty,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Large Copper Cone.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply

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