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As we near the end of the year and the seasons change, the avid fly fisher knows that right now can be some of the best fishing of the calendar year. Some may credit this to the temperature changes, some to the aggressive browns looking to put on some weight pre/post spawn, but really we all know it’s STREAMER TIME! Streamers are becoming more and more popular and if you’re neglecting this tactic of chasing big fish then you’re missing out! It’s a great way to find and chase the bigger population of a river system and many would agree it’s the most exciting. Now, were all in chase of that big once in a lifetime fish, but before doing so do you ever think about the small fish and where they might be? This is where my theory “Big Fish, Little Mind” stems from. Before we can try and catch the big predatorial fish we’ve got to think like a small fish.
Thinking like the small ones can be a bit difficult but here are some places to start on your next outing. Before you even get your feet wet, fish the first 10ft of water out from the bank back to the shore. In most cases that’s the softest water and most of the juvenile fish will be feeding on small bugs. During a hatch some small fish make themselves vulnerable to bigger fish by concentrating on eating and not the two foot brown below him just waiting for an easy opportunity. Another great place to locate big fish while thinking like a small one is near current change and slack water. This may be behind structure or where two currents meet such as below and island or at a bend in the river. Bigger fish will be resting and saving energy in less turbulent conditions and the chance at a passing meal or threat just might cause a strike at your imitation.
Streamer fishing is a game of persistence and commitment but the payoff can make it worth all the while. Cover lots of water and don’t give up. Stay at it and try to think in the minds of the prey not just the predator as you may come to find it being helpful in finding that personal best.