Fly Fishing Streamers, Changing up your retrieve to catch more fish
We have all had those days where you know the conditions are perfect for fishing with streamers. The clouds are blocking the sun, the water is slightly stained to keep the fish less shy. Sometimes these days you can do no wrong, stripping in the fly at any rate and the fish are perfectly receptive. However Some days even though the weather has all of the ingredients to make it a great day for streamers your usual stripping method just won’t produce.
There are a lot of different ways to vary your retrieve to catch more trout
The super slow strip:
This method will often times work well when the fish are lethargic for some reason. There are days where the trout are lazy and just don’t want to chase a fly. Switching to the slow retrieve can be difficult if you are accustomed to a fast strip. It seems like everyone has a preferred rate that they pull streamers and deviation from that rate is tough. The slow strip is particularly effective in slower water. For instance if you are casting the streamer into a large back eddy. It also works well if you are fishing faster water, but floating with the current, or casting at a downstream angle and stripping back upstream.
The super fast non pulsating retrieve:
This is a technique used by saltwater enthusiasts, but is rarely implemented while fly fishing streamers for trout. However I have had great luck with it under the right conditions. In order to perform this method you will need to pinch your fly fishing rod between your inner arm and your chest. This will allow both hands to be free tor strip the line. You will be stripping line with both hands one after another at a very fast pace. When the trout hits your streamer you will be setting the hook with the line and not your rod. The hook set is the most exciting part of this method. You will feel the weight of the fish during your strip, and you just give it a sharp tug. This will bury the hook giving you a moment to gain control of the rod with one of your hands and get the rod bent to keep the fish hooked. This method gives the streamer the appearance of no pulsation unlike that of the standard retrieve. The reason this technique works so well is because brown trout are aggressive predators. They will instinctively attack prey that they think will escape. There has been a lot of research done on this subject for the largemouth bass. The same applies to trout. The fly will pass them at such a high rate of speed that instinct is to eat it before even thinking about it. This technique takes advantage of the trouts natural predatory instinct to eat a smaller fish, because it is trying to avoid a predator swimming erratically. I would try to use this method on days where the trout are following the streamers but not eating them. They are clearly interested in your fly, but just aren’t committed to eating it.
The Lazy swing retrieve:
This is a very simple method for fishing with streamers for brown trout. You simply cast the fly strait to the side of the river and let the current pull your fly (and your line). This is a traditional technique that works really well. You don’t have to mend, or even do anything other than cast and wait for the current to do all the work. This is particularly exciting, because you are almost never ready for the hit to come. I have seen on more than one occasion a rod get pulled out of someones hand using the swinging streamer technique. Be ready!
There are a lot more ways to fish streamers than the ways I have offered here. You can try all methods and even combinations of methods mentioned above. The fish will eat streamers almost every day of the year. You just need to figure out what color they want and how fast they want it.
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