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ORVIS – How to Fish Jig-Head Streamers

“ORVIS – How to Fish Jig-Head Streamers” is a comprehensive video that highlights the method of fishing jig-head streamers. While jig head streamers may deviate from traditional fly fishing, they offer an effective technique for reaching deep waters and attracting fish at the bottom. The video covers various aspects of fishing with jig-head streamers, including the importance of the jig head’s weight and quality, recommended rod and line setups, leader considerations, and the types of predatory fish that are attracted to these streamers. It also provides tips on casting techniques, targeting specific areas such as plunge pools and deep runs, and the overall benefits of using jig-head streamers in streamer fishing.

The narrator of the video offers a frank perspective on this method, acknowledging that it may not align with the preferences of purist fly fishers. However, the video serves as a valuable resource for those interested in exploring this alternative approach to fly fishing, sharing insights on equipment selection, casting techniques, and strategic considerations for successful jig-head streamer fishing. With the expertise provided by The Orvis Company, this video equips viewers with the necessary knowledge and techniques to effectively fish jig-head streamers in various fishing environments.

ORVIS - How to Fish Jig-Head Streamers

Choosing the Right Jig Head

When it comes to streamer fishing, choosing the right jig head is crucial. The weight and quality of the jig head will have a significant impact on your fishing success. Firstly, consider the weight of the jig head. The weight should be appropriate for the type of fishing you plan to do. Lighter jig heads are suitable for shallow water or when you want the streamer to stay near the surface. On the other hand, heavier jig heads are essential for fishing in deeper waters or when you want to get your streamer down quickly.

In addition to weight, the quality of the jig head is equally important. Look for jig heads that are well-constructed and made from durable materials. A high-quality jig head will last longer and withstand the rigors of fishing in various conditions. Cheap jig heads may break easily or lose their shape, which can affect the performance of your streamer.

Recommended Jig Head Weights for Different Conditions

The recommended jig head weight depends on the conditions you will be fishing in. If you are fishing in shallow water or targeting smaller fish, a lighter jig head around 1/16 to 1/8 ounce should suffice. For deeper waters or when fishing in strong currents, you may need to opt for a heavier jig head weighing between 1/4 to 3/8 ounce.

It is essential to consider the conditions and adjust your jig head weight accordingly. Experimenting with different weights will allow you to determine what works best for your specific fishing situation.

Selecting the Appropriate Rod and Line

In order to effectively fish with jig-head streamers, it is crucial to select the appropriate rod and line. A 7 weight or higher rod is recommended for streamer fishing. This will provide the necessary power and backbone to cast larger and heavier streamers, as well as handle the aggressive strikes from predatory fish.

When it comes to the fly line, floating or sink-tip lines are the go-to choices for fishing with jig-head streamers. Floating lines are ideal for fishing near the surface or in shallow water, while sink-tip lines allow you to fish at different depths by sinking your streamer to the desired level.

Recommended Setup for Larger Rivers Aiming for the Bottom

If you are fishing in larger rivers where getting your streamer to the bottom is a priority, consider using a combination of a sink-tip line with a weighted jig head. This setup will allow you to accurately present your streamer near the riverbed where predatory fish often lurk. The sink-tip line will help get the streamer down to the desired depth, while the weighted jig head will provide additional weight to quickly sink the fly.

By utilizing the recommended setup for larger rivers, you can increase your chances of enticing predatory fish to strike.

Setting up the Leader

After selecting the appropriate rod and line, it is crucial to set up the leader correctly. The leader is the section of line that connects the fly line to the streamer. For streamer fishing with jig-head streamers, a heavier leader is recommended.

A leader with a breaking strength of 12 to 20 pounds is suitable for this type of fishing. The heavier leader will provide the necessary strength to handle the aggressive strikes from predatory fish and prevent break-offs.

In terms of length, a leader between 7 to 9 feet is a good starting point. This length allows for accurate casting and control of the streamer. Experimenting with different leader lengths may be necessary to find what works best for your fishing style and conditions.

Targeting Predatory Fish

Jig-head streamers are highly effective in attracting predatory fish such as big browns, walleye, and pike. These fish are often aggressive and are known to strike streamers with fervor. By using jig-head streamers, you can increase your chances of enticing these predatory fish to strike.

The lifelike action and enticing movement of the streamer, combined with the weight and hook placement of the jig head, make it an irresistible meal for predatory fish. When fished correctly, jig-head streamers can be a game-changer in your pursuit of these formidable species.

Using a Dropper Fly

Using a dropper fly in conjunction with a larger streamer can be a highly effective technique when fishing with jig-head streamers. The dropper fly is typically a smaller streamer or nymph tied on a shorter leader, which is attached to the bend of the larger streamer’s hook.

The advantage of using a dropper fly is that it can imitate different forage species and provide an additional enticement for predatory fish. The smaller streamer or nymph will trail behind the larger streamer, creating a more enticing presentation and increasing your chances of success.

Experimenting with different dropper fly patterns and sizes will allow you to determine what works best for the specific predatory fish you are targeting.

Mastering the Casting Technique

Casting jig-head streamers requires a different technique than traditional fly casting due to the weight and shape of the streamer. To effectively cast jig-head streamers, a more powerful casting stroke is required.

Start by loading the rod by slowly accelerating the forward stroke. As you come forward and the rod tip begins to straighten, apply a strong stop to transfer the energy and launch the streamer towards your target. It is important to practice and develop a smooth casting motion that allows you to accurately place the streamer in the desired location.

Fishing Strategies

When it comes to fishing with jig-head streamers, location plays a crucial role. Predatory fish often seek refuge in specific areas, such as deeper pools, undercut banks, or rocky structures. These locations offer the necessary cover and ambush points for predatory fish to stalk their prey.

By targeting these advantageous locations, you can increase your chances of encountering predatory fish and enticing them to strike your streamer. It is essential to observe the water and look for signs such as surface activity, baitfish presence, or underwater structures that indicate the presence of predatory fish.

Casting your streamer near these areas and using various retrieve techniques, such as stripping or slow retrieves, can help trigger a predatory response and elicit strikes.

Accurate Casting and Depth Control

One of the advantages of fishing with jig-head streamers is the ability to achieve accurate casting and depth control. The weight of the jig head allows for more precise casting, especially in windy conditions. By properly loading the rod and utilizing a powerful casting stroke, you can accurately place the streamer in the desired location with minimal effort.

Additionally, the combination of a sink-tip line and weighted jig head allows for better depth control. By adjusting the speed of your retrieve or using different sink rates of the line, you can effectively fish at various depths and target the specific depth where predatory fish are holding.

By mastering accurate casting and depth control, you can increase your chances of success in streamer fishing with jig-head streamers.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

While fishing with jig-head streamers can be highly effective, there are common mistakes that anglers should avoid. One common mistake is retrieving the streamer too quickly. Predatory fish are often triggered by erratic or wounded prey, so it is important to vary your retrieves and occasionally pause to imitate a struggling baitfish.

Another mistake is using a leader that is too light. Predatory fish often have sharp teeth or powerful jaws, and a light leader may result in break-offs during aggressive strikes. Opt for a heavier leader with a breaking strength that matches the size of the fish you are targeting.

Lastly, it is crucial to read the water and observe the behavior of predatory fish. Familiarize yourself with their preferred habitat, feeding patterns, and the types of forage they are targeting. By understanding the behavior of predatory fish, you can make more informed decisions on where and how to fish with jig-head streamers.


Choosing the right jig head, selecting an appropriate rod and line, setting up the leader correctly, targeting predatory fish, utilizing dropper flies, mastering the casting technique, employing effective fishing strategies, and ensuring accurate casting and depth control are all essential components of successful streamer fishing with jig-head streamers. By understanding these aspects and avoiding common mistakes, you can increase your chances of catching predatory fish and experiencing an exhilarating fishing adventure. Embrace the versatility and effectiveness of jig-head streamers, and you will open up a world of exciting opportunities on the water.

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