Streamer Presentations — Let Them Eat It

by | Nov 8, 2023 | 9 comments

Fishing a streamer is our chance to sell the illusion of life. With dry flies and nymphs, we dead drift them, painstakingly preventing our hitched leader from influencing the flies. But fishing a streamer releases us from those restraints. With creativity, with motion, we invent life from furs and feathers, until the fly dances and dives. It stalls and swoons around stones. It swims and flees from an imagined predator that’s ready to pounce from the corner of a logjam.

Be the streamer. Make it a living thing, and then get inside it. Feed your anticipation through the fly rod. Send your expectation through the leader and into the streamer. This is the intrigue of streamer fishing — creating life and coaxing trout along with an illusion that you’ve construct.

Make them eat it, by showing something irresistible. Ride the line of vulnerable vs elusive. Sell availability, but tell the trout they have to buy it right now.

Photo by Bill Dell

Let Them Eat It

Most of the styles within this Streamer Presentations Series allow for a moment of pause, of vulnerability to the fly. These presentations have built-in, static moments that give trout a chance to eat the fly.

Attract them with motion. Then let them eat it.

With Galloup’s jerk strip, the fly hovers in place for a moment in between each jerk. Trout always eat on the hover.

While twitching a fly, they eat in between twitches.

Basic jigging moves the fly up through the column, and then allows it to fall. Trout always eat on the fall.

The Head Flip changes the head orientation of the fly. And right after that head movement, trout eat the fly.

This is so common that we come to expect it. Experienced streamer anglers anticipate the strike in the best spots, after dramatic pause.

Attract them with motion. Then let them eat it.

So we plan for the streamer’s pause to happen in precisely the perfect location. Slow slide off the bank, twitch, twitch, then rest, just in front of the deeper, greener pothole.

My good friend, Bill Dell, says this all the time: Let them eat it. Don’t take it away from them. I’ve burned that simple message in my brain. For many years, I focused obsessively on the motion I would give to a streamer, I now focus equally on where and when I will pause it.

Attract them with motion. Then let them eat it.

Streamer fishing for trout really is that simple. But the variations within the framework are where artistry arises.

Fish hard, friends.

READ MORE : Troutbitten | Category | Streamers

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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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9 Comments

  1. So true! I found that to be the case in many different fishing scenarios. Casting spoons or jigs to striped bass or redfish. The take frequently happens on the drop.

    When using streamers, I’ve often felt a thump during a swing/strip retrieve. In those cases, I’ll pause and try to get the streamer to drop just a bit. This is somewhat contrary to the advice typically given of don’t change your retrieve. My thinking is that it looks like a bait fish that was stunned or killed sinking to the bottom. I am interested in your thoughts on that.

    Reply
    • Great point about the hit on the drop. Jigging for striped bass here in NC the eat is on the drop 9/10 times. For me it also seems contrary to instinct to let it drop/pause and the excitement often gets the best of me. Perhaps in time I’ll learn to stay calm in the moment and remember to let the meat stew…

      Reply
    • I try make my presentation with a 2 or 3 foot jerk followed by a pause immediately after the fly hits the water. The impact of the fly gets their attention and the darting streamer makes them react. I’ve also gotten away from exaggerated jerks and twitches with the rod tip during the retrieve. I get more solid eats and better hookups when I work the fly with strips. I’m far less likely to yank the fly away from the fish if the rod is pointed more towards the fly and strip set, especially in clear water.

      Reply
      • Interesting. I do almost the opposite! Ha. I love rod tip motion, and I think it makes a big difference. I also tend to pause my streamer just after entry.

        Everything works sometimes.

        Cheers.
        Dom

        Reply
  2. I’m absolutely convinced dead drifted buggers and streamers are far more effective then traditional swinging and retrieving, but also much harder,especially in faster,deeper water. Why I love using long rods,much easier keeping line off water. Do you have specific methods that work?

    Reply
    • Well, I don’t dead drift streamers much. I dead drift nymphs so often, that when I change to streamers I want to do something different. So I love casting up or up and across, though, and that’s where most of my presentations with a streamer start. I don’t like the swing either. Do I have specific methods that work? Yes, check out the rest of the articles in this Streamer Presentations series here on Troutbitten. That is a good start.

      Cheers.
      Dom

      Reply
      • My best brown was on a dead drifted bugger. This is on a tailwater and many dead drift rapalas on the surface to imitate the dead or stunned smelt. I have never tried a floating streamer, but I prob should. Dead is the ultimate pause I suppose.

        Reply
        • Hi there. Around here I don’t dead drift streamers much. But small buggers I do once in a while.

          I’ll also mention that lots of my pauses aren’t dead drift time. Usually, there’s some tension on the streamer and it’s gliding or sliding somewhere during the pause.

          You might like a presentation that I call the DEATH drift. Article here:
          https://troutbitten.com/2019/10/27/streamer-presentations-the-death-drift/

          Cheers.
          Dom

          Reply

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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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