Fishing Streamers on Floating Lines is great when the fish are actively chasing or moving to intercept your fly , when you can sight fish and when you are fishing to the banks from a Drift Boat . A lot of Streamer junkies I know prefer using floating lines because they feel they have more control over the depth of the fly due to the ability to easily mend to the lead thus keeping the fly down in and in the zone . I agree , especially when floating it is easier to mend keep your contact with your fly with the floating line because you have a visual on the end of your fly line ,knowing full well that your leader and fly are right underneath it . Sometimes this is hard to do with Sink Tips -establishing the whereabouts with your fly. Using a floating line allows you to “high stick ‘ your streamer through buckets and dead drift if the fish are not chasing them.The big advantage comes when fishing small to Medium sized rivers or streams. Fishing a sink tip or sinking line would result in more snags than anything , so using a floating line allows you to get the fly down via mending and once you start the retrieve you are just off the bottom resulting in less snags .If the fish are not responding then it is easy to fish a floating line streamer rig up stream which gets it down and jig or twitch it back towards you .
Of course you require weight to get your fly down .This can be accomplished two ways .Tying weighted flies or by adding weight to your leader ,just ahead of the fly. I prefer to tie streamer patterns with weighted dumbell eyes or cone heads , as mentioned earlier I am a big fan of this style (so is the fly tying World) and they get down. I use all sizes of eyes and match the size of the fly and the eyes tied on it to the size of water or river I am fishing .
As far as leaders are concerned , The minimum length I use is 9 ft , with a fluorocarbon tippet of 2 or 3 x which depends on the river and size of fish I am pursuing .Ideally 10 ft seems to work best as the fly gets down quickly .It’s also easier to fish double streamer rigs with floating lines ,compared to sink tips floating lines are easier to cast , with the added fly it is quick to see what fly they want to eat that day. If I am fishing a double rig I am using a white streamer followed by a Darker fly , you can also mix up the size of your fly, re. fishing a #6 Clouser with a #10 bugger or Slumpbuster behind it .
Another point for floating line streamer fishing that when I guide beginners , It is easier to teach streamer fishing techniques using floating lines , as mentioned the Angler can keep the fly in the zone and has a visual on what is going on ,and once again it is easier to cast .
The rods I use for the most part are 9ft. ,5,6, and 7 weights , the 6 wt is the most versatile ,especially while floating .If I am walk & wading then I am on a small to mid sized river and fishing a 5wt.
Although this technique is useful and fun , in some cases it is not practical ,however it is a versatile way to fish streamers for Trout and Bass .Give it a whirl and see what happens .Stay tuned for Part 3.