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> > Kelly Galloup's streamer fishing

BcvizinaDecember 6th, 2010, 8:37 pm
Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
I had been catching some reasonable size trout for a little while, until I really wanted to hook into a monster. After my research, I found Galloup's book "Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout" to be worth a shot.

I read the book and thought it was very well written, exciting, and informative. I especially like the information about reading the stream.

What I have also concluded, is the marketability of such a system. Using deer hair for the heads of sculpins and other streamers would require the use of a sinking tip line. Also, the description for a perfect streamer rod left me wanting to buy a whole new set up. I'm not sure how many people exclusively fish streamers or these rod set-ups he describes.

I love his patterns, especially for the early and late season. I can see these flies being fished effectively without an entire streamer set up with a sink tip line.

After watching a video on youtube of Galloup fishing a yellow zoo cougar, he talks about how popular his patterns have become. Going from selling 50 dozen flies to 500 dozen a year of the particular pattern he talks about. I was just interested to see if this was the product of his good marketing or if his patterns are really that effective.

WbranchDecember 7th, 2010, 4:19 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
I think it is a marketing ploy rather than some revolutionary type of streamer that is going to catch fish better than existing streamers. I catch dozens of large trout (19" - 24") and smallmouth every year on streamers and none of them are Gallup flies.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnDecember 7th, 2010, 7:56 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

My nickels worth...Over the last five-to-ten years streamers on the Au Sable here in Michigan have really enjoyed a resurgence...Mind you they have never gone away, but seem to be what everyone's talking about and tying etc...I think that what happens, to some extent, is that guys get on a kick for awhile and then move on to the next "new thing"...Though we all know that "there's nothing new under the sun".

As Matt was alluding to, the same old streamers we used 20+ years ago still catch fish. Kelly's flies had wonderfully strange new names like the "Zoo Cougar", the "Circus Peanut", and "Butt Monkey" to name a few...but the response they recieved from the fish was the same response they showed when chomping down on my Michigan Big Ugly which is just a modified Wooly Bugger.

For a few years on the Trophy List from Gates' Au Sable Lodge it was loaded with Kelly's flies with 20+" fish listed next to it...This last year not so much...If you back out the Hex and Brown Drakes the majority of big fish were caught on streamers and very few were Kelly's...Mr. Gartside was fairly represented with his Gurgler & his Softhackle Streamer.

Even the old ugly Picket Pin showed up on that list a few times and we all know that fly is older than Matt & I put together :)! The good old Muddler and something called a Wooly Bugger...

Kelly is a Michigan boy and we love him here and he's fun to watch and listen to at a tying table...His two big books, the streamer one and the steelhead one, have made him enough dough to live the life we all dream of...He owns the old Slide Inn in Cameron Montana right on the Madison...I'm not sure though if he studied marketing or not at the university but he could probably teach a class or two...:)

Fall here in Michigan lends itself to what folks call "Cast & Blast" or simply "Chuck & Duck"...Guys head up with a case or two of hooch, some shotguns, and streamers...It's not neccesarily a pretty thing, but fun. Big streamers, the bigger the better, are the flies du jour and this ritual has gone on for some time.

Another big user of streamers are the after dark boys who love raking something across the top of the water to harras big night time feeding Browns. There are a few big fish that fell to a Mouse on that Trophy List I mentioned above...

In my opinion their attraction is big fish with little to no effort, dare I say without getting shot at, little or no skill needed?...All you have to do is remember to duck when you screw up on your back cast :)...If you have ever been smacked in the back of the head with a "MI Big Ugly" you will remember it. It can leave you with a stutter for a week or so after and you flinch everytime someone moves anything anywhere near your head. Have you ever seen a guy mess up on the foward cast and he sees his life pass before his eyes as that monster streamer is headed right at him and he sees it coming? Now there's a treat!

Basically streamer guys can just plow down the middle of the stream, spook all of Spence's surface feeding fish, and be off the river with time to spare for the Two Track, Spike's Keg-O-Nails, or the Riverside Tavern up in Lovell's...The real reason for heading north and leaving the wife and kids behind.


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsDecember 7th, 2010, 12:20 pm

Posts: 1776
I'll check it out. Thanks.

I've done a lot of streamer fishing and have my own druthers on rods and lines. What was Galloup's ultimate streamer rod?

I used a long moderate action rod, floating line, and ~3-4ft leadcore sections looped to a relatively thin ~4ft leader butt (.015). This fishes so much more efficiently than sink-tips. Special tapers aren't needed for casting leadcore so I use a level floating line -dirt cheap they are, and you can cut em back as they wear.

You can do this with your existing rods probably. I use a 9ft 6wt. This is a GREAT way to fish streamers and wets. So easy and fun to manipulate the fly. I LOVED that fishing and while I used it mostly for lake run trout and salmon I caught a lot of big resident trout that way too.

As to patterns effectiveness... If the trout in front of you know sculpins and you can produce an effective mimic, that could be a big plus. But...I found that for attractor types a lot of things worked. I did have some attractor types that seemed esp effective, and ones that failed. Dunno whether that was a local or general effect. I did use spun deer hair heads, esp in off-color water. In general I really liked bucktail wings for the wake it pulled. Movement is great -like marabou tails, wound marabou, or rabbit strip flies. Am interested in Galloup's ideas.
DryflyDecember 7th, 2010, 2:03 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
St.Croix just came out with the Bank Robber which was designed with Galloup himself, so I assume that would be the rod he endorses.

As to whether you need a different set up, I say yes. He is throwing BIG streamers (size 2 articulated stuff) all day so a 6/7 weight makes fishing that much easier. Market ploy it may be, but its still necessary.

PaulRobertsDecember 7th, 2010, 2:51 pm

Posts: 1776
Thanks, Dryfly.

Here are the specs:

Bank Robber Fly Rods:
Model Length Action PCS Line Weight Rod Weight Handle Price
*BR906.4 9' Fast 4 6 3.9 1 $ 400
*BR907.4 9' Fast 4 7 4.1 1 $ 400

JesseDecember 7th, 2010, 4:38 pm
Posts: 378
Im going with product of good marketing for sure. Of course the flies will work and catch big fish, but most any streamer, big streamer or small, black or yellow will bring them to the hands if casted and presented at the right time with the right actions. I have never used any of Galloup's flies and have no problem seeking larger fish with 'old school' streamer patterns and even newer made up patterns. And spence, "with little or no skill needed," haha of course you would!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Jmd123December 9th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2530
Guys, how about the good old Marabou Muddler? And try tying 'em with grizzly marabou (one of my favorite materials in case you haven't heard enough from me about it) in place of the plain stuff. And either weight the underbody with (now non-toxic, formerly lead) wire or wrap some dumbells into the deer-hair head and it will sink no problem without the sink-tip. They work terific in warm waters too (you all knew I would say that...).

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3December 10th, 2010, 6:04 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I've never fished Galloup's flies, but I'd say that the flies' effectiveness probably has more to do with Galloup being a really good fisherman than a really good tier (which is not to say he's not a good tier as well). People (like me) who do more tying than fishing often hope that they will create The Answer at the tying bench, when in reality they would probably catch more fish if they spent more time on the stream working on their presentation. Great fishermen can sell rods, reels, lines, and, yes, flies, but they're doing so based on their merits as fishermen, not tiers. If you catch lots of fish and big fish, people will want to tie on whatever you're tying on.

That marketing strategy only works to a point, though. Lee Wulff was continually asked what his best fly was, and his reply was that it was an Adams' body with nothing else - basically a greyish-brown cigar. But even he wasn't a great enough fisherman to sell those flies - no one would buy them, even with his endorsement. Eventually, he met another well-known fisherman (can't remember who it was) who shared that his best fly was the same as Wulff's, but that no one would buy his, either. He said that to sell it he had to put a little silver tinsel over the body to give it some flash. The pattern fished worse but sold better. If you want a pattern to sell, it has to be sexy.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
PaulRobertsDecember 10th, 2010, 7:54 am

Posts: 1776
Good post, Shawn.

Seen the "Teeny Nymph"? It's a pheasant herl cigar with some butt fibers left for legs. Jim Teeny is a presentationist -and you can go a long way there. But flies do matter at times.

My guess is, from seeing his designs, Galloup has honed things to a certain degree. It may not just be mimicing specific food, but physical things that get a fly where it needs to go, and behave in a certain way, with the tackle you have (every lure is married to the rig it's tethered to).

As to selling flies, they have to sell anglers too, and that can be pretty subjective. But most flies that make it to mass production catch fish and meet certain needs. Those specific needs are why adding creative tying to your fishing really completes the game.
OldredbarnDecember 10th, 2010, 8:22 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

Great response! I think you may have hit the nail on the head on how marketing works in general really.

A guy sitting at the bench has only his imagination as his limit...He can create to his heart's content and as wildly as he wishes...The true test will always be on the stream...That is if his concern is catching trout. If he just wants to create have at it! At this past FFF Fly Tying Expo last weekend an old friend was tying up "Christmas Clouser's" with brightly colored tinsel in stead of bucktail...Another guy was squeezing (somehow) bucktail streamers inside Christmas bulbs to hang from the tree.

I have had this same conversation with Rusty Gates, before he passed away around this time last year, in his shop some mornings over his coffee and my tea...His father started the Lodge in 1970 and they have seen it all there basically. The old simplistic flies sit in the bins, but the lastest trend fly, however odd, he couldn't keep in stock. The glitter & flash has probably hooked more anglers than trout...:)

In terms of the skill of the fisherman vs the imitation on the end of his line...I'll take the skilled caster anytime in this bet and not worry too much over what he's tossing.

I remember a story told to me by a buddy's mom. Her and her husband were serious anglers but she seemed to out fish him from time-to-time. Most of the time actually. She told me that they were on the Pere Marquette one evening during a rather crowded salmon run...There were folks all up and down the river...She was putting on a show, hooking a few fish in a row, and for fun when someone asked her what she was using she played a little dumb and said, "I'm not so sure what its called, my husband tied it on for me. All I know is that it's the prettiest chartreuse color." Within minutes, all up and down the stream, guys were opening their boxes and praying that they had something in there with some chartreuse in it...:)

Our sport is probably not unlike anything else. There are folks out there that their major concern is making a buck from it somehow. I have known guys that if they ever gave up their "secrets" may have been famous amongst us fisherfolk...For whatever reason they just don't care about that and keep it to themselves and their close friends.

I think, for myself, that the fun of it all is the learning curve and figuring out some things for myself and maybe sharing it with a few good friends...Sitting on the bank somewhere waiting for the "magic hour", letting a fishing friend nose around in one of your boxes to see what you or he are up to lately...Sitting down in a basement during the winter tying flies together over his mom's perogies, or his vegetarian pasties, and cold Molson's, watching the Wings on a tiny TV on an old kitchen table...Telling each other lies and half-baked theories on how our latest "Plausible Fraud" is going to finally solve all riddles between us and "Mr. Big" next season..."Problem solved!"

We all know that the big boys need to eat and being hungry most of the time can make them aggressive predators...They are aggressive predators. We also know that bumping them on the nose with something down deep where they sulk is likely to get their attention...For my part and my part only I'll probably be found lashing a size 18 sulpher on a 6x tippet and waiting for the dorothea's to pop...

Hey...Merry Christmas TroutNuts! Spence is approaching bliss and the spirit of the season since it is December and he will be sitting this evening with his brother-in-law at "The Joe", in Hockeytown, watching our Wings against the mighty Montreal Canadians...Just like old times! We all know Spence is all about those "good old days"! We even have a dusting of snow to make it all just right. Go Wings! (Sorry there Tony!) :)

Both my brother-in-law and myself use to fall asleep secretly listening to the Wings on a small radio in our beds on a school night back in the 60's...He was in Redford and I was a few miles south of him in the South End of Dearborn Heights...Back then, to both of us, it was all about beating them Montreal Canadians...Tonight there will be no Yvonne Cournoyer or Kenny Dryden, no "Pocket" Rocket or Guy Lafleur, no Jean Beliveau or the Mahovlich brothers but that won't matter...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsDecember 10th, 2010, 9:09 am

Posts: 1776
In terms of the skill of the fisherman vs the imitation on the end of his line...I'll take the skilled caster anytime in this bet and not worry too much over what he's tossing.

I’ve come to this: It’s been quipped that presentation is 90% of the challenge. But I add that, after you have presentation down, the image you present looms large.

There are folks out there that their major concern is making a buck from it somehow. I have known guys that if they ever gave up their "secrets" may have been famous amongst us fisherfolk...For whatever reason they just don't care about that and keep it to themselves and their close friends.

Bc trying to mix business with pleasure has terrible downsides. You also have to be of a certain ilk I think. Talk goes around in bass fishing circles about “going Pro”. Nearly every kid dreams of it. But who’d want to live that lifestyle?? I think trying to make a business, much less a living, out of fishing is a tough road –different than what many realize at the start. Maybe the best thing you can hope for when you die is that you were able to hold on to some of the romance for the game you started out with.

For me, my insatiable focus is on how nature works. When I was doing university research I once blurted out to a senior collaborator that "I wanted to see the face of God" (metaphorically speaking). That hasn't changed. When I was very young I'd go to the library, run to the nature section, look up at all those books and just know tha tI'd know it all someday. Alas, I now know that I will die knowing very little.

Our tiny school (29 kids K-5th) my son attends (and my wife teaches) had a distinguished visitor yesterday: one of the chief designers of the Hubble space telescope. Today they are all going to see the Hubble Imax in 3D. My son and I have already seen it of course (are you freakin kidding me?). It follows the astronaut crew from training to lift off through the space walking to upgrade Hubble. Then it showed some results -galaxies far enough in distance and time that they don't even look like today's more mature galaxies -primordial galaxies. It all BLEW ME AWAY! I was almost in tears that I could be alive to see this. I vaguely remember the black and white images on TV of the first moon landings. Bob, the Hubble engineer, told the class that they are alive at a time when a lot of the big questions about the cosmos -it’s origins –will be answered. I envy my son’s youth, but also equally feel thrilled for him.

Maybe that "very little" we all end up with could be a lot in poignancy.

Anyway, fishing for me is just a window into one F$Kn’ amazing place.
OldredbarnDecember 10th, 2010, 10:14 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

Hear! Hear! I second that emotion as someone here in Detroit use to sing.

I can remember a guy coming to my high school and he was one of those "Mr Wizard" types and he had all these odd things he did with a scientific bent to it...You know the guy who pulls the cutest girl from the crowd with the longest blond hair and has her put her hand on a "jacob's ladder" device and all he hair stands up...A million miles from your Hubble guy. I remember him mentioning something about something he called a microwave oven...Hmmm...What's that I wonder?!

Mr. Dylan sure got it right when he said, "These Times They Are a Changing", eh?!

I looked on the Cabelas' site and I think they are the E-Z Pliers? I have seen them but have never used them...I'll check them out.

Take Care!


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfDecember 12th, 2010, 6:05 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Paul, that last sentiment is well-put, and one I suspect many of us Troutnuts share.

To Spence and all the other Troutnuts, here's looking to Happy Holidays for all. I hear Santa's bringing me a new rod and a pair of boots, and I'm starting to dream of spring already, and the excitement that makes me just a kid again, hoping for a fish on the end of the line.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
BippieDecember 19th, 2010, 7:40 pm
Altoona, PA

Posts: 25
I've caught a ton of trout on streamers on the same rod and wff line I use for drys, nymphs, etc. The old White Maribou and Black Maribou streamers along with Black Nosed Dace, Squirrel Tails, and various formations of Muddlers..... with an occasional Wooly Bugger. My experience is that trout hit streamers hard!!
EntomanJanuary 22nd, 2011, 5:16 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Galloup's "sculpin imitations" have nothing to do with sculpins. Sculpins don't swim down stream with rapid staccato movements inches below the surface. Those big deer hair heads cause disturbed water flow around the feathers making them flutter. That's their real secret, not imitation. His patterns never really took out here, since similar characteristics have been incorporated in western designs for years. His observations on big trout behavior are worth discussing - though I'm more than a little sceptical about finding mossback browns in skinny water midday. Not that I doubt the veracity of his reporting; I just think it's anecdotal to the max.

I think the real contribution is his aggressive retrieve technique. What gets missed a lot is the point of his short leader and sinking line is not to get deep but to keep the fly from waking.

Final comment, unless you employ a rod caddy, I'm not an advocate of special purpose rods when stream fishing on foot. Assuming you need a rod that will cover a variety of techniques, a 9 ft. 5 wt. rod is like the American Express card. Never leave home without it.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DurangoNYMarch 4th, 2016, 3:55 pm
NC, WB Delaware

Posts: 1
Thanks for a very thoughtful post. I've come to see that no matter how much I learn, that black hole will will always be bottomless. The best we can do is to pass on a little of what we've learned in the hope that someone else can take it a little farther.

On another topic--making sink tips from leadcore--you posted some extremely useful information. Do you have any additional thoughts since those posts?
MartinlfMarch 5th, 2016, 6:02 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Like DurangoNY, I'm curious about this too. Do you use LC13? Do you make any longer than 4'?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRobertsMarch 8th, 2016, 1:50 pm

Posts: 1776
DurangoNY, yes it is bottomless. But the surface and edges are still plenty cool! :)

I haven't thrown leadcore in years. (That's kinda sad to say. I loved it. That kind of water just isn't in my beat anymore.) There are a number of threads here where I describe rigging, casting, and fishing with LC. If you search "leadcore" and "PaulRoberts" they'll come up.

Louis, I didn't use LC13 or other such products bc they are vinyl coated, which adds diameter. Getting down is a matter of opposing forces, of weight vs diameter. I used 45lb LC trolling line bc it had the most lead/diameter. The lighter ones (18, 27lb, say) just didn't plummet as well. Adding vinyl to the LC may make it prettier but it's less effective. That said, there may be new stuff out there. There might even be a tungsten product out there now. I once looked through the periodic table looking for the densest element. I seem to remember that being Lawrencium, many times denser than lead. Depleted uranium is another option. :)

I made leaders long enough for the 8-1/2 and 9ft rods I used. The LC stays outside the rod guides and the length of the rig must allow me to reach hooked fish. Roughly 4ft of LC and

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