Fridays on the Fly: Abbi Bagwell Confronts Her Streamer Addiction Head-on

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Photos by Alan Broyhill

Streamers. What an intoxicating word. For those of you who don’t know what a streamer is, let me fill you in. Streamers are large flies made to imitate large baits such as baitfish, crayfish, hellgrammites, leeches, and other large aquatic insects. Streamers are the closest fly fishing gets to imitating conventional lures.

I didn’t start streamer fishing, but I have come to find this style of fishing a true addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love floating an indicator with two flies dangling from the bottom and watching the “thingamabobber” get sucked into the water, but it’s just not the same as feeling a giant fish whack a streamer or watching a fish inhale a delicious-looking fly as you’re stripping for dear life.

“Stripping” – come on, it’s not what you think. Stripping your line gives your streamer life, making the fly dance in the water and mimic exactly what your “bait” should look like as it swims along. This is part of what makes streamer fishing so awesome – the thrill of the chase. You are watching a fish physically hunt down your streamer.

What is truly the most exciting thing about streamer fishing? Bigger flies catch bigger fish. Period. You can drift a nymph or float a dry fly all day long, but tossing a fly the size of a chicken to a fish the size of a 10-year-old is unbeatable. I’m not saying the rush of catching a 22” brown trout on a size 24 midge (a super tiny fly) is not exhilarating. By all means- it’s freakin’ wild. But the work, effort, finesse, and dedication of streamer fishing is why I enjoy it so much. You are constantly moving, constantly covering large amounts of water, and constantly on your toes, awaiting a river monster to annihilate your fly.

I’ve thrown streamers all morning, all afternoon, and all evening and have walked away empty-handed. But that’s the beauty of it. That’s why it’s called fishing, not catching. For me, it’s about the journey. It’s about the experience, and it’s about learning.

So the next time you load up to go on a fly fishing adventure, take an 8wt, bring some 3x tippet, grab some Skulpin Bunnies, and get ready. You will be hooked; literally hooked if you’re standing behind, in front of, or near me as I chuck chickens to my dream fish.

Abbi Bagwell is the business operations manager for the Brevard, North Carolina-based Flymen Fishing Company. Follow her fly fishing adventures on Instagram and Youtube. 

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