StreamerBowl XLIX - Scuplzilla vs. The ONE Sculpin Streamer
February 2, 2015
Yesterday was the big match. It was the ONE Sculpin Streamer versus the reigning champion Sculpzilla in a pre-superbowl streamer shootout on the Yakima River. I'm not even going to comment on the outcome of the game. Ok I am. I can't help it! Although disappointing, there were MANY years in Seattle when just getting to the playoffs was a pipe dream. Do the names John Friesz, Dan McGwire, Rick Mirer, or Kelly Stouffer ring a bell? Yea, that puts it into perspective doesn't it.
Now onto the StreamerBowl! We wanted to get some fishing in before the big superbowl party at the lodge so we did a 4 mile float and fished with streamers on floating lines from a moving boat. This is often called "Montana Style" streamer fishing. You can cover a lot of water chucking weighted streamers towards the shore into tight holding pockets. It is really fun and a great way to make your own action. It is definitely the most technical strategy when you compare dry fly fishing, nymphing, and swinging streamers. While they all have their own nuances, dry line streamer fishing requires accuracy, dead drifting at times, swinging at times, and stripping the fly to create action. An angler needs to have a well rounded skill set and keep in mind that there is NO strike indicator. You need to be an accurate caster and know where your fly is so that you can pick apart the structure.
Fly Rod for Streamer Fishing
Before you go into the fly details, don't rule out the advantages of having a good fast action 6 weight rod for this kind of fishing. You will have greater control, accuracy, and catch more fish. Accurately placing a weighted streamer along the shore is tricky business. If you don't want to go all in on a Sage ONE or Sage METHOD, at least consider the Redington VAPEN. For less than half the cost you'll get 80% of the performance. This rod is a sleeper! We're waking it up.
The Fly Matchup
We fished two patterns all day. The first is the reigning champ for this style fishing, Sculpzilla. This in a size 4 is a great chuck 'n duck pattern because it sinks fast but..... it forces you to strip really fast in shallower water which costs you a lot of hookups in cold water. In warmer water a fast strip is ok, but right now you need to slow the retrieve down. A fly that is too heavy will also bump the bottom a lot more resulting in "false" hook sets which prevents you from covering all the water contiguously.
The ONE Sculpin Pattern on the other hand is about the right weight for current conditions. On a scale of 1-10 it is a 5 or 6 for casting on a 5 weight rod. A "10" being nearly impossible to cast. It has weighted eyes but it doesn't sink half as fast as the #4 Sculpzilla (which is about an 8 out of 10). The ONE had an edge over Sculpzilla yesterday for a couple of reasons. #1, it is a damn fishy pattern! #2, the weight allowed the angler to slow down the retrieve and give the fish more time to attack. You can also fish the ONE Sculpin on a near dead drift since it doesn't just plummet to the bottom. Rainbow trout LOVE dead drifted streamers.
The Winner is...
The ONE Sculpin had a slight edge yesterday because water temps are down and the fish were holding in softer pockets. We did catch some GREAT fish on the #4 Sculpzilla, but it snagged up a lot and it had to be stripped super fast in the softer water less than 3' deep. The smart angler has a few patterns of different weights so that you can quickly swap out flies when conditions require it.