Create Separation: Let The Line Fish the Fly
Kelly Galloup’s Zoo Cougar and Tommy Lynch’s Drunken Disorderly are two examples of buoyant streamers. And they are both awesome patterns. The Zoo Cougar’s rounded head bobs up and down. The wedge head on the Drunken Disorderly cuts fast and deep into the depths. Two great flies with two totally different actions. Without a sinking line, these streamer patterns would remain floating on the surface. But with a sinking line, the movement of a wounded baitfish is created. The streamer comes to life. We need to let the line fish the fly. In other words, the line need to positioned below the fly before the retrieve. In other words, LET THE LINE FISH THE FLY.
This wounded minnow appearance occurs when line (sinking line, remember) pulls the buoyant streamer downward, and, during the pause, the fly is forced upward. In other words, the fly “pops” to the surface. This Yin and Yan relationship between the fly and fly line is what creates the magic in the presentation. You know the presentation is correct, when it’s fun to watch the streamer move in the water. Up and Down. Side to Side. Zig and Zag. Yeah!
To some extent, LINE, not anglers, fishes the buoyant streamer. Streamer fishing, though, enforces the rule in a way that no other method will. When the line is positioned below the fly, BEFORE the retrieve, separation between line and fly occurs. The fly will start to ride upward on any pause. The retrieve will pull it back downward. You want the streamer to life and drop in the water column. Wounded baitfish don’t, last time I checked, sit stationary in the water column. They can’t hold for long though. The pause represents a kind of “last gasp.” It is a crucial moment, so don’t rush the retrieve. After the cast is made: pause, give the line slack, let the line sink, and then make the first retrieve. This allows the line to form a belly under the buoyant streamer, which pulls the fly downward on the retrieve. Then the process repeats itself. The retrieve creates tension, pulls the line upwards towards the fly, and creates a level plane between fly and line. Now we need to repeat: Pause, allow slack to occur, let the belly form, then retrieve. The pause is essential after every cast and retrieve. Create separation. Create Magic!