A lot has been said for streamer fishing mostly negative but Steve Cullen is sure that’s because a lot of anglers have never bothered to give it a go!
I have been dabbling for about 10 years, with varying degrees of success. When it’s on, this is usually when the fishing is tough, either low water or high water, it can be THE method. At other times it’s like banging your head against a brick wall, just not as painful. Have you ever tried banging your head against a brick wall? There’s only one winner, the wall.
It’s not the hardest method in the world to master but like everything there are skills that you’ll learn; you have too or you won’t catch, as you go along. It’s all about presenting the fly in such a manner, as to be attractive to the trout.
You can do it with a sunk line on large rivers when in flood and the results, especially when you’re poking in and around the black eddies and slow seams, This is great because when you do hook a fish they go ballistic and head out into the current, it’s hang on tight time!
The way I like to fish streamers, is a little bit different, small rivers, summer lows and bow and arrow casts - floating line only, into small holes as I work my way up river.
I love this kind of fishing, it’s more hunting than fishing, me against the trout, the wild, hiding away and not really interested trout! It’s good as I have work a little harder to make my fly provoke a response.
It’s all about work rate, the more water you cover the more chances you have, but you also need to give the fly life!
I don’t bother with gold beads as they are to light I want weight, weight equals movement and movement means fish!
I have two favourite streamers and they are so simple as to seem ridiculous.
Heavy head is a necessity anything from 3mm to 5mm tungsten, marabou, again the movements issue, and chenille body, simple cheap and very effective, body hackle, always cock feather, and that’s it, a strong barbless hook and a bit of rib, usually silver wire, jobs a good one.
One thing to remember, and I see people getting this sooooo wrong all the time, is to ensure you can fish the fly as soon as it hits the water! It’s no use, losing the line and then having to pick it up before retrieving, nope, you’ll miss out.
Cast, stop rod, and trap line so all turns over, good stuff then you're in contact.
The vast majority of takes come with a second of it hitting the water, be like a coiled spring!
The ultimate retrieve is as follows, figure-of-eight, but as you do, continually flick the rod tip, like you see those coarse boys doing when they are jerk baiting for bike, retrieve flick, retrieve flick, and repeat until the flies a few yards away. Like you would on small water lift and pull the line to work the fly into view, this is another key time, just as you’re about to lift off trout will take, be ready.
Use a tapered leader and thickish tippet, I use 0.12 Stroft, sometimes on big rivers I’ll go with a more robust 6lb fluoro, that’s usably enough.