9. How to present a streamer (9 of 20)
Now that you've learned about the flies and lines, let's explore how to present the fly in all kinds of water. The traditional way of fishing a streamer is to cast across the river or at 45 degrees downstream and strip back. This works well, but there are many subtleties you can incorporate into your streamer game. In streamer techniques, whether you're stripping the fly or just swinging it, keep your rod tip low and pointed at the fly.
Don't think of striking. Just keep stripping until you feel the solid weight of the fish. Raising the rod tip to strike a fish may pull the fly away from a fish, and you also can't always get a solid set by using the rod. It's much better to strike with your stripping hand, then quickly lifting the rod to fight the fish.
Bait fish and crayfish don't often swim across current lanes, especially in faster water. They either struggle upstream or they dart downstream when being pursued by trout. By introducing a mend into your cast, either with a reach cast or by mending after the fly line hits the water, you can swim your fly upstream or downstream for longer distances than if you began your strip immediately.
Additionally, an upstream mend can help to sync your fly a bit more before you start your retrieve. So sometimes when you're fishing a streamer, you want the fly to change direction, and it's really easy to do that with mends. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to cast my line out here. I'm going to start with a couple strips with the line straight.
Then I'm going to make a mend to the left, make a couple strips, make a mend to the right, make a couple strips. And that streamer will dart back and forth through the water like a predator is chasing it. As with any kind of fly fishing you need to experiment with your retrieves until you find what works. In streamer fishing, it's especially important, as changing conditions can change the mood of the fish even from one day to the next.
So there's a number of ways you can fish streamers. One is you can just cast across the current or quartering downstream, and just let the fly swing. Maybe put a little mend in there to get the fly down a little bit, and then just let it swing in the current.
Do nothing else, let it come all the way around. Strip it a few times back to you, pick up and cast again. You can fish a streamer upstream and kind of strip it to, back to you. You can strip it fast, or you can strip it with some pauses, and let it flutter in the current. You don't have to worry about detecting a strike because the fish will really hammer this fly.
And the other way you can do it is you can take that cross stream delivery. And instead of swinging the fly, you can strip it and make it move. Sometimes you want to strip steadily, sometimes you want to do maybe a couple little strips and then pause, mix it up because you never know on any given day, what approach and what retrieve the fish are going to prefer.