We've talking a lot about streamer tactics lately, with an eye on improving on-the-water success while fishing streamers. Almost all of the tactics we've highlighted have been founded on the same basic premise: streamers are intended to imitate prey that swims, and getting better at fooling fish with them means getting better at making your streamer look and act like the real deal, being an active predator and doing more than just covering water with a swung fly. And while we've relayed many ways to get better at doing just that, we've yet to talk about what many seasoned streamer anglers consider the most deadly streamer tactic of all: the jerk-strip.
A streamer eating Beaverhead River brown trout (photo: A.J. Swentosky).
Steamer experts like Kelly Galloup and Gary Borger have been talking about the jerk strip years, noting its effectiveness above all other tactics and its penchant for producing the most feverish of strikes from the biggest of trout. If that sounds good, then its time you made yourself familiar with the jerk strip. Along with its effectiveness also comes difficulty, however. The jerk-strip retrieve is a very active retrieve that requires precise timing to master in order to produce the most accurate imitation of a fleeing baitfish.
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the Lower Keys Guides Association and KeysKeeper recently joined together in urging the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to address ongoing issues surrounding the state's barracuda population. According to a press release issued by the three groups earlier this month, "there has been a slow but steady realization by many South Florida fisherman that the Keys barracuda population is in decline." The perceived decline is supported by data from a survey of keys scientists, anglers and fishing guides.
The release notes the importance of barracuda as a keystone predator species, the decline of which can lead to a domino-effect of consequences through the marine ecosystem, some of which may be irreversible.
The message delivered by the groups cites the unregulated commercial harvest of barracuda in Florida as a likely cause. According to the release, recent years have shown a 65% increase in commercial harvest, a figure that is derived from limited data published by the FWC. Also highlighted were potential health concerns with the commercial harvest of barracuda, which are known to carry ciguatoxins, and their presence in the seafood market where they are often marketed under other names which conceal their identity to consumers.
It’s literally a 10-minute boat ride from the Westin at Cape Coral to the public boat launch where Jim Bandy’s truck and trailer needed to be. We’d planned a full afternoon of fly fishing, but work got in the way and all I could do was offer Jim a hand getting his boat from one place to the next.
It was the least I could offer after cancelling the fishing, right?
So we shuttled the trailer over to the launch, and then Jim hopped in with me for the ride back to the Westin. There, at the marina, his boat waited for the quick trip across the bay to the launch.
“We should at least bring a fly rod,” Jim said, maybe trying to salve my disappointment. “There are some mangroves we could hit on the way.”
I cracked a quick grin, opened the trunk of the rental car and quickly plucked the strung-up 7-weight out of “temporary” storage.
When fishing streamers, most anglers want to go big. Big flies, big casts, big strips. This alone can often be a recipe for success but, as noted in an earlier piece titled 5 Tips for Better Streamer Fishing, the key to improvement when streamer fishing is finding new ways of eliciting a predatory response from the fish you're chasing. To do so, it is useful to think of all of the varying behaviors -- not just some of them -- that fish might see from the prey they're seeking and how to best imitate all of them -- not just some of them.
David Raisch cradles a streamer-eating cutthroat from the South Fork Snake River (photo: Eric Gordon).
Swimming prey, which our streamers are designed to imitate, do all manners of things in the water. Some of these things are big, but many are small. And so we must go small sometimes, too. Baitfish, crayfish, leeches and so on aren't constantly racing across the stream in mad, feverish dashes that long strips and quick retrieves most accurately imitate. Sure, they are sometimes, but they're also seen quickly moving relatively short distances in small bursts, slowly plying the currents for prey of their own, or moving erratically (often when wounded).
Last week we brought back our weekly newsletter and we want those of you that aren't already signed up to receive it to do so. We think it's for your own good. Not only will each week's newsletter catch you up on anything you might have missed during the week, it will contain content you won't find anywhere else such as our photo of the week, fly fishing quick tips and more. No spam, no nonsense, just more good fly fishing content. Hopefully, that sounds good enough prompt you to sign up. But, just to be safe, we're going to bribe you.
Starting on Monday, November 24th, we'll be giving away at least one fly fishing stocking stuffer every week day (sometimes more). In order to be eligible to nab one of them, you'll need to sign up for our weekly newsletter. That's it. Once you've signed up, you'll be entered every day. If you're already signed up, there's nothing to do besides cross your fingers.
The contest features prizes from Simms, RIO, H&H Outfitters, Goat Head Gear and Loon Outdoors. Prizes range in value from $5 to $30.