Streamer eater.
Streamer eater.

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.

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).

Adding a mini-strip to your retrieve can help you imitate many of these other behaviors more accurately and increase your chances of triggering a predatory response from trout and other fish.

The Mini Strip

The mini strip isn't so much its own thing as it is a sincere short strip. Shortening your strip from 18 inches to 12 inches isn't making it short. Neither is shortening it to 6 inches. Sincerely short strips -- or mini strips, if you prefer -- are 1 or 2 inches long, or even shorter.

Quick, successive short strips can imitate a baitfish that is moving quickly, but not actively fleeing a predator or racing to safe territory. Slower, intermittent short strips can produce an excellent jigging motion (a more subtle version of the "Pump It" method described in 5 Tips for Better Streamer Fishing). And, mixing short strips with longer strips can produce an erratic motion that can often do a good job of imitating a wounded baitfish.

Also, do yourself a favor and take a look at a ruler before your next trip to the river, just to refresh your memory on just how short an inch is. If you're really stripping the line an inch, in many cases, mini-stripping the line won't even involve you moving your hand. Your fingers alone will do it.

The key, as noted elsewhere, is to experiment and the mini-strip is a another good way to mix it up.