Our last post focused on fall fishing and the fact that this may be the best time to throw streamers for Trout. A few Sundays ago I found myself heading to one of my favorite rivers. All of my buddies were ether up in Martha's Vineyard chasing Albies, working or had previous plans so I was flying solo. I have some new patterns I have been working with and I had decided to fish a new streamer pattern all day. The "Headbanger" series of flies evolved from great mind of Rich Strolis. These Sculpin based series of flies are highly effective, easy to tie and can be tied in a verity of sizes and colors. Using all three sizes of Fish Skull Sculpin Helmets this pattern can be tied as small as 2 inches or you can articulate it and tie a 6 inch fly suitable for an 8 weight. Brown / Rust and Black / Olive seem to be the two most popular color choices.
Articulated and about 6 inches long an 8 or 9 weight is in order here. This is the original Headbanger.
The "Roadie" is about 3 inches long, uses the medium Helmet and throws nicely on a 7 wt.
The "Groupie" is about 1.5 inches long, uses the mini Helmet and can be cast with a 5 or 6 weight rod.
After arriving at my spot, I rigged up the six weight Pro-4X and the Lamson GURU with a 6' Rio Versa leader with a 3.6ips sink rate and a simple leader of three feet of 3X fluorocarbon. I debated between the two colors and settled on the Brown / Rust pattern
Knowing I wanted to fish down stream I started the hike up stream to the spot where I wanted to start fishing. After about a 45 minute walk I was at the starting point and got in the zone...cast, swing, strip. Moving down 3 steps each time and repeating the process. I will admit I was a little surprised the amount of water I covered before I got my first take, which I promptly missed. I didn't have to wait long as on the next cast I was rewarded with a bit of a surprise.
I will NEVER complain about landing a Smallmouth, even a little guy like this one. This is just not what I expected. I didn't have to wait long until I got the one I was looking for. This little guy absolutely smashed my Sculpin. It is hard to believe a fish no longer than 12 inches can fight the way these wild Browns do.
I continued working my way downstream swimming the little Sculpin around and under every rock I could see. I am not sure if it is because the hook point is up or if the design of the head has anything to do with it, but the fly really didn't seem to hang up much at all. Even when I put it in places I probably shouldn't have. A couple more Browns came to hand then I got a real treat. I was sure I had a better than average Brown on. He was shaking his head like crazy and went straight to the bottom. He actually earned his way to the reel and after a short battle this beautiful Smallmouth came to the net.
All in all 3 Smallmouth and several wild Browns were landed that day all on the same brown / rust Strolis "Groupie" Sculpin. I actually fished the same fly all day. Here are a few more pictures from the day.
I really do enjoy fishing Streamers in the fall, and now is the perfect time to do it. Rich has come up with an exceptional pattern here. I am sure this will be a staple pattern in my Streamer box before long. If you are looking for A change from the norm grab your six weight, a sink tip and some big "meat and potato" flies and go have a ball. If this streamer thing is as exciting to you as it is to me you may be interested in our "Articulated" fly tying class. This class will start on October 23 and run four consecutive weeks. Cost is $75.00 and we have 3 seats left. Please give us a call if you are interested.
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