Hairwing Streamers

Hairwing Streamers

One simple tying technique can be used to make a variety of different streamer patterns

  • By: Jack Pangburn
Streamers are the most blue collar of flies. Almost all of them are ridiculously easy to tie and don't require much more than a decent cast and a simple retrieve to fish effectively. They're what you tie onto a newbie's leader when you don't want to bother teaching them the esoterica of nymphing. Although minnow imitations and lures have been used by anglers for some 200 years now, it was only recently that streamers entered the canon of orthodox fly-fishing. Even 50 years ago, tying a streamer to your leader relegated you to the realm of "streamer fisherman," just one caste above the worm dunker, it would seem.Perhaps this sentiment arose out of jealous snobbery: Streamers have the tendency to catch the largest fish of the day, a fact that blueblooded dryfly-casters with their fancy little flies might have found a little vulgar. There are two general classes of streamer: the deceiver and the attractor. The deceiver is designed and tied to imitate the various kinds of local minnow-like baitfish. Deceiver patterns aim for realism-which is decidedly not the case with the usually colorful attractors. Attractors are designed to stimulate a predator's territorial dominance and aggression. Originally, the term "streamer" invariably meant a featherwing fly. However, during the 1930's hairwing variations were introduced and quickly became popular. Unlike tiny insects, the small fish that streamers imitate are strong swimmers and dare to enter fast open waters. This allows the angler to fish streamers almost anywhere and at any speed. In fact, the streamer should be active and attractive in all fishing situations. Keep in mind that really big fish are not easily satisfied with small insects; not only do they prefer and prefer calorie-rich baitfish, but they expect to have to chase them. Furthermore, when the trout begin to spawn, they display highly territorial and aggressive behavior. This is the time to chuck bright attractor patterns in an attempt to simply irritate them enough to generate a strike. Trout at this time also show their cannibalistic propensity by eating the young of their own species. The small survivors of prior seasons usually gather in areas that offer some haven of safety like shallow water areas, weed beds, underwater structures and stream entrances. If you are streamer fishing, these are the places to cast your hairwing streamers. Be sure to give the fly some action to make it look like a live minnow trying to escape. Keep the fly moving; Speed up and change directions much as a natural would. If a big fish follows your streamer do not stop the motion: A natural baitfish is not going to stop moving to say, "Hello, here I am; eat me." Following are eight classic hairwing streamer patterns that are remarkably easy to tie. The technique required to tie each pattern is identical; only the colors and materials are different. Instructions 1) Start the thread at the head of the hook and take it to the bend of the hook. Tie in the tail material if required. At this same point tie in a length of rib material (ex. tinsel) return the thread back up the shank to the head and tie in a strip of body material (ex. floss, chenille or yarn). 2) Form the body by winding the body material down the hook to the bend and back to the head. To limit bulk, use small chenille or single strand lengths of yarn. Follow up with a spiral wrap of the rib material. 3) Now for the wing, which is usually in three parts: Tie in a bunch of light-color hair (bucktail, for example). Add on top of this a bunch of medium color hair. Touch the tie-in area of each bunch of hair with tying cement. The third and top bunch of hair is usually dark-color and shorter in length to represent the back of the baitfish imitation. Tie in the collar material if called for or desired. 4) Tie off hair-wing material and form the head of the fly; finish with varnish or enamel. Note: Aside from deer hair and bucktail, two other options are the tail hairs of squirrels and foxes. Squirrel is particularly useful. Squirrel tail is of a fine silky texture that does not flare like deer hair. There are three natural squirrel colors: the gray, fox (red) and the black. The longest hair fibers come from the end of the tail. Although one tail will provide material for several dozen flies, it is not that expensive to acquire a supply of all three colors. The hair can be dyed to yield even more color choices. Recipes: Those marked"A"are attactor patterns, and those marked "D"' are deceiver patterns. "A&D" means they can be fished either way. Cardinelle (A) Thread: Fluorescent red or orange Body: Fluorescent chenille or yarn Rib: Flat gold tinsel Beard: Yellow dyed hair Wing: Under-wing, fluorescent pink dyed hair Over-wing: Fluorescent magenta dyed hair Jack Frost (A) Thread: White Tail: Red calf tail or wool yarn Body: White chenille or wool yarn Rib: Flat silver tinsel Beard: Red, same as tail Wing: White arctic fox Mickey Finn (A) Body: Flat silver tinsel Rib: Oval silver tinsel Wing: Bottom, yellow dyed hair Middle, red dyed hair Top, yellow dyed hair Chub-Shiner (D) Thread: Brown Tail: Natural deer hair Body: Flat gold tinsel Rib: Oval gold tinsel Wing: Bottom, yellow hair Middle, brown hair Top, dark brown or black hair Black Chenille (D&A) Tail: Black hair or yarn Body: Black chenille or yarn Rib: Flat silver tinsel Beard: Black, same as wing Wing: Black silver fox or squirrel Gray, Black or White Ghost (D&A) Tail: Yellow dyed calf tail or yarn Body: Black floss Rib: Oval silver tinsel Beard: Yellow, same as tail Wing: Choice of gray, black or white fox hair as per streamer identity Black Nose Dace (D) Tail: Red wool yarn Body: Flat silver tinsel Rib: Oval silver tinsel Wing: Bottom, white hair Middle, brown natural deer hair Top, black hair Perch Fly (D) Tail: Green and black hair Body: Cream chenille or yarn Rib: Flat gold tinsel Beard: Fluorescent orange dyed calf tail Wing: Bottom, tan hair Middle, green dyed hair Top, black or dark green hair Note: A variety of patterns and effects can be made by varying the materials used to tie the fly. Here is a list of a variety of materials that can be used: Sidebar: A Sample of the Many Body Material Possibilities: Chenille Wool Yarn Floss Peacock herl Raffia, Swiss Straw Tinsel A Sample of Ribbing Possibilities Floss Thread Sparkle yarn Flashabou Oval silver and gold tinsel Clearwater stretch strands Flat silver and gold tinsel Swannundaze Krystal Flash Copper, brass and silver wire Embossed French tinsel