Euro streamers: Buying, tying and ‘bomb jig’ fishing | Hatch magazine


Euro-nymphing tactics have become popular among fly anglers for a number of reasons. Patterns are easy to tie, rigging and casting is simple and, most importantly, flies reach depth faster than any other nymphing tactic. When it comes to surface fishing, depth is paramount – and can often make the difference between an average day on the water and a great one. My mentor Joe Humphreys likes to say that the difference between a good nymph and a great nymph is a split shot. In other words – one who gets his/her flies into the strike zone as quickly as possible and keeps them there during the presentation. When it comes to streamer fishing (another subsurface approach), getting your flies into the strike zone—getting them deep—is just as important. That’s why, these days, I fish stripers on my Euro rig more often than using traditional casting tactics such as those involving sinking lines and articulated streamers. While I still find use for traditional streamer designs, I’ve been sold on streamers for most of my streamer fishing.

Here are the qualities I look for when buying or connecting streamers.

Hook

My hook preference is for large, barbless, competition hooks that allow a large tungsten bead to be set. I currently use Fulling Mill FM5045 hooks in sizes 8 and 10, which allow me to hook 1-3″ long stripers—the perfect size and length for my home waters. This hook is needle-thin, a must when rod fishing. of Euro nymphs, which have soft tips. In traditional strip fishing, most anglers are taught to remove the fly with their hand. But often when fishing a Euro rig, the rod tip is used to set the hook, as you will to do when setting the hook during Euronymphing. Longer, softer tipped rods flex more when hooking. The greater the rod flex, the less force is created to set the hook, making the points thin and sharp hook a prerequisite for success.

Remember, the thicker the point of the hook – the more energy it takes to place the hook in the fish’s mouth. This is why I use hooks like Fulling Mill’s FM5045 instead of preformed lead hooks, as many of these hook points are almost twice the diameter and require more force to secure the hook in the fish’s mouth. If you’re trolling with a shorter, stiffer fly rod, then the need for a thin hook point isn’t as important. If you are fishing for trophy size trout then you will want to use not only a thicker hook point but also a heavier fly rod. However, I find my 11′ 3wt euro rod in combination with Fulling Mill’s FM5045 hooks (or similar) to be more than adequate for the average size trout I encounter in central ZM.


George Daniel's Sculp Snack Euro Streamer Fly

George Daniel’s Sculp Snack Euro Streamer (photo: George Daniel).

vertebrae

Oversized tungsten beads provide depth and control. When fishing Euro current, my preference is to fish a heavy channel, which is anchored near the bottom of the stream, while I use the rod tip to keep the channel at the desired depth. A key to staying in touch with your streamer during the up-and-down presentation is to keep the line/leader tight throughout the process. I want the transmitter to weigh enough to maintain tension throughout the presentation. Throughout the presentation, I raise and lower the fly with the rod tip, with little to no slack present during the flick. If you don’t feel that consistent tension with yourself, you likely need a heavier fly. You can also add a small split shot close to the head for extra weight instead of switching to a heavier fly.


Chuck Kraft's Kreelex Minnow

Chuck Kraft’s Kreelex Minnow (photo: George Daniel).

Materials

Use natural and synthetic materials that shed water. In the past I would use materials like wool and rabbit on my tape, with the thought that these materials would absorb water to help sink the pattern. While these materials help sink the fly, they come at a high cost by introducing drag during presentation. When fishing with a Euro streamer, the strikes aren’t always hard, with the fish hitting the fly with such force that it feels like the rod is being ripped from your hands. Instead, the strokes are often soft, where you feel only the slightest tension during the presentation.

When fishing with materials like wool and rabbit, it can feel like you’re dragging a wet sock through the water, taking away your sensitivity during the presentation. Instead, I prefer to use materials that shed water, allowing the model to slip and slide through the water with little to no drag. I mostly use synthetic materials to achieve this, but natural materials such as bucktail and marabou are great choices to achieve a smooth, flowing appearance. The use of such materials will allow you to feel the softest blows.

Size

Go sleeker and smaller to achieve depth. I look for or design spinners much like the current popular Euro-nymph designs – sleek and dense. These models are not designed for swimming with a lot of movement. Instead, their goal is to reach depth quickly. The motion is created by the angler moving the rod tip up and down. I like to use crochet dot patterns with a longer tail and rubber feet. Smaller single point patterns (eg the 1-3” range I mentioned earlier) fall faster than larger, articulated patterns. The body and head of the tape are unduly thin. There are countless options to achieve a slim profile, so use materials that create a slider you’re confident fishing. Two of my favorite casts include a modified Chuck Kraft Kreelex Euro jig and the Sculp Snack Jig. By adjusting the size, weight and color of these two models, I feel I can cover almost any trout situation I encounter.


for fishing with euro strips

Making a Euro jig streamer presentation (photo: George Daniel).

The last word

What I love most about these models is their simplicity and ease of connection. Although we have focused on trout fishing patterns in this discussion, I have adopted the same concepts when tying bands for other types of fish including bass, crappie, carp and even muskie. I still cast and retrieve traditional streamer patterns, but when the fish aren’t so willing to follow their food, you have to fight the fish. Building and fishing these simple strips is one method of achieving success during these periods. Flexibility is the key to success and if you haven’t tried fishing lines on a Euro rig before I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.



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