Podcast: Streamer Presentations — All About the Head of the Fly — S5, Ep8

by | Nov 20, 2022 | 6 comments

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The longer we toss around streamers, the more we realize that it’s the most subtle changes in presentation that make a difference. Faster or slower? Sure. But how about letting the fly free fall in the current? What about a slight cross lead before reestablishing a strike-zone path in one seam? Or let’s try sliding a streamer off the bank with a broadside look, because that often draws a strike when nothing else does.

I think most anglers start fishing streamers by casting and stripping, keeping it simple at first. And that works. But as time goes by, we realize how much control we truly have over the streamer. And we learn that making it dance, swoon or dart can bring trout charging and crashing into the fly.

Understand this: What we do with a streamer, the motions we give it and the manipulations we perform with the rod or the line start with the head of the streamer. That’s what we’re moving.

Trout care about the head position of a streamer. They recognize the head, and they feed in a way that is different from nymphs, wets or dry flies. The other fly styles are too small for a trout to care about where the head is. But there is no doubt that trout are keenly aware of the head of a baitfish. That is their target. And while chasing a moving food form, trout certainly recognize where the head is and where that food is going next.

As streamer fishermen, we should consider the head as well, because all of our animations to the fly start there. It’s our attachment point to the fly. And what we do with the rod or the line hand directly affects the head of the streamer first. It’s how we bring the fly to life.

In this episode, we talk about the head orientation of the streamer in the water — how the streamer moves with the currents or against them, and what looks more natural vs what might look more attractive. We also dig into what added weight does to the head of a streamer, how that affects the action and how that limits or enhances the presentation styles that we have available.

We Cover the Following
  • What head angle converts the most fish in the net?
  • What head angle brings the most interest?
  • Do trout eat the head first?
  • What head angle looks like a baitfish that is holding, fleeing, dying?
  • How weight in the head affects the fly and the presentation

READ: Troutbitten | Category | Streamers
READ: Troutbitten | The Old School Streamer Thing
READ: Troutbitten | Streamer Presentations — The Head Flip
READ: Troutbitten | The Meat Eater Minority — Streamer Fishing Myth vs Truth
READ: Troutbitten | Streamer Presentations — The Cross Current Strip

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Next Time

Season Five of the Troubitten Podcast continues next week with episode nine. So look for that one in your Troutbitten Podcast feed.

Fish hard, friends.


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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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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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  1. Hi Dom
    Another great podcast. When it comes to the head position flip, from down stream orientation to upstream, especially with the mono rig, it is most easily accomplished, for me at least, if the streamer or gig is more or less directly across from me. Attempts to change head direction while fly is upstream of that direction gets harder the farther upstream the move is attempted and often turns into a vertical jig. Using regular fly line and a good upstream mend can turn the head at a point farther upstream but with the decreased sensitivity and hooking as discussed. I also assume that a direct straight upstream cast can produce only up down or slight side to head direction change.

    My questions:
    How far upstream of directly across can you effect a mono rig head flip
    and what do you do to accomplish this?

    Thank You!

    • Great episode!

      On the Rapala thing, it is indeed a last name. Bill had the pronounciation almost right, just add a proper (short) rolling r and keep all the a:s identical.

      On the subject, this summer I had a small perch take my nymph really close to me. While I was trying to gently shake him loose in the water, 4 bigger brown trout shot from behind nearby rocks and went berzerk trying to catch him. When the perch stopped struggling and running away, the trout calmed down but when I pulled on the line and made the baitfish move faster, the they started attacking him again. One actually ate him and held on for long enough for me to almost net him. I’m not sure what to make of this, but since then I’ve been trying to figure out how to mimic the movement of that baitfish, haven’t cracked it yet.

      • Lauri Rapala lived in Finland (1905-1974); he was a commercial fisherman and invented his original floating Rapala in 1936.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauri Rapala


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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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