At left, a palmered-style bead-headed rusty streamer in #10 1 xl. I've had good fortune with these palmer-hackle flies because they are most forgiving to tie: in the water the hackle covers all manner of sins.
The bead-head I feel now is a mistake. Weight interferes with the lifelike action. A weighted leader and an unweighted fly on a loop makes a better presentation. Head-weighted flies are "lumps" at current speeds I fish never twitching or oscillating. They plunge.
I loved fishing my soft hackles. In 2018, my most effective technique in Michigan involved the long drift downstream. I used this technique of a slack drift past cutbanks, in front of downed timber, and in the inner edge (towards the middle of the stream) current flows that come from major obstructions.
My drifts didn't drag exactly but they produced enough irregularity that they simulated life in a struggling invertebrate and drew fish out of concealed lies.
Unfortunately, I fished to too few actual fish in 2018. I have only one note on stalking and taking a feeding trout. I fished to habitat.
SO, 2019: The Streamer.
I like feeling the take.
I like fishing micro-streamers imitating various baitfish in #5 down to #16 fry. They cast well using single-handed spey techniques.
I like tying the streamers.
I need to learn a little more. I'll look through my copy of McClane's and dig about online for some Carrie Stevens' patterns. I have Sharon Wright's tremendous Tying Heritage Featherwing Streamers but lack much in the way of hairwings in my personal library. I expect I'll be investing in the writing of Joseph Bates.
I'm looking for solid mid-size fish this year: just the chunky 12" kind. I'm told from my reading that many fish in this league transition from invertebrate diets to more piscivorous pursuits. I haven't found such references in the academic studies yet. I'll keep looking. I have reason to doubt.
Nevertheless, in the winter sessions I'll be going through bucktail and spun this and that. I'll make generous use of the over-hackle dressing for heads because I am convinced that the hydrodynamics of a prey animal is considered by a predator.
I'll have fun and in the spring, I'll flip micro-streamers along the banks and under sweepers seeking the hungry ice-out fish.
I'm really looking forward to tying fuzzy-bodied soft-hackle streamers. I'm getting my body taper technique down pretty well.
I hope the trout appreciate that effort.