Through the years I get a lot of e-mails from anglers about fly rods and lines. One of the most frequent questions is what do I prefer to use when stripping Streamers for Trout and Steelhead.
This is always a hard question to answer, because what was available to us just wasn’t the perfect system for smaller rivers such as the Pere Marquette. At least until, a few years ago when I met Tim Rajeff of Airflo Fly Lines and Echo Rods. When I met with Tim we were actually discussing different styles of Skagit Heads to swing for Steelhead here in the Great Lakes. Not being to familiar with the Airflo line selection, I asked Tim what Airflo had in the way of a Streamer stripping line I could use for Trout? What I wanted was something in the vein of a mini Skagit head type line with a sink tip built right into it. With this in mine I thought my clients would be able to roll cast a heavy tip and big fly with ease. So the Airflo Streamer Max was introduced to me. This line is ideal for roll casting big flies, just like the mini Skagit head I was looking for. This line comes in a sink tip range of 160 grain 5 wgt. to a 380 grain 10 wgt., I prefer the 240 to 280 grain. The line starts with a level, fast sinking T-material sink tip around 16′ to 18′, then transitions into a short section of intermediate zone and the remainder a floating belly of 4′ to 5′ tapering to a ridged running line. The casting is similar to working a Skagit head, get a little of the belly into the rod tip to load and let it fly. The great thing about the Streamer Max line is it’s much softer then other similar trout lines I have used and seen in the industry, it simply does not coil on you.
Rods for Trout Streamer stripping have usually been 9 to 9 1/2′ length and 6 to 7 weights. I found this to be great if I was consistently overhead casting with plenty of room on my back cast. Lets face it though this the Pere Marquette as I mentioned before begs for a roll cast. Lately I have been playing around with the shorter 8′ 4″ Echo Edge 84 in a 7 weight model and it’s awesome. The cast is there when you want it. This rod has a fast action and with the shorter length, I can get that fly in tightest spots. In Streamer fishing that means more and bigger fish. These “84’s” were developed by Pat Ehlers of Wisconsin for fishing big bugs for Bass and Muskie. They are extremely accurate and the hook setting power is there. I am looking forward to some mid-summer fun with this on some Northern Pike.
Hopefully this was helpful to any Angler new or old wanting to try Streamer fishing for Trout or up their game.
Good Luck!!!!! Big thanks to Rajeff Sports for their support.