I have long been against hucking streamers while fly fishing. Why, you might ask? It's not a very good reason, but it's simply that I have always felt like I should just be using a spinner rod if I'm going to do that. It's basically the same thing, right? For those of you who don't know, streamers are large bass-like "flies" that are cast out and reeled back in...like bass fishing.
Well, after being heavily engrossed in the fly fishing world for about 10 years now I finally found myself hucking and chucking and loving it. With that enjoyment, though, came a bit of shame and embarassment. Not for throwing streamers, but for not having done so before!
But I should back up a bit and give you some context. This revelation was part of my recent fishing trip to the Bighorn river in Montana, which has been an annual trip for 6 years now. The Bighorn is a great tailwater chock full of fish, gets fished 24/7/365 and yet still is a pretty easy destination to catch fish even for newbies. During every visit here we have floated and fished the first 13 miles of the river, but every time we we fish the first 8 or 9 miles pretty hard and end up just floating or rowing out the last 4 miles, maybe half-heartedly fishing it. This is what I became a bit ashamed of this year. Apparently this lower section is fairly good streamer-land with deep runs and lots of cut banks with overhanging brush--great territory for meat-eating cannibalistic monster pigs. We've seen people tossing streamers here but never did so ourselves.
That all changed this year and I now find myself asking myself "why not before??" Apparently chucking streamers is a blast! Not because you catch tons of fish because you don't. But because when you do get a bite it's full of the excitement of bass fishing where a fish nails your streamer, often near the surface with ferocity beyond the fish's size. Beyond the obvious excitement of harsh bites out of nowhere streamer fishing adds in the art/skill of fly casting. It's a ton of fun to try and toss streamers to targets just a foot in diameter, sometimes with overhanging trees, grass, and bushes (not to mention not hooking yourself or your fishing partners who are all confined to the small space of a drift boat). Sure a few bugs get lost in said trees, grass, and bushes, but who cares? And when you're fishing with people who don't row boats all the time, like those in our group, you also get the chance to test your distance casting when the boat ends up 60 feet from that amazing spot on the bank you HAVE to fish.
To prove how much fun it is, this is how the trip went: first half of trip, mainly
And I now consider myself a pro at double hauling a 1/4oz bug on the end of a 7wt pretty much the entire length of the fly line and hitting that hole at the bank within a couple inches. It only took a handful of lost bugs too!