Articulated Streamers in Still Waters
I first experimented with articulation techniques way back when the movie Ghostbusters was still in the theaters. I got the idea after I saw a damsel fly nymph pattern in a magazine that had an articulated tail made of marabou. It used a bare hook shank connected with some soft monofilament. Looked like a genius idea. My first attempt to copy that idea was to create something that mimicked a jointed rapala. I was using really stiff mono at the time for the joint and couldn’t make it swim right, plus with my early casting skills I decided I was just a good way to lose two hooks instead of one, so i gave up on the idea after a season or two.
However, today’s new young tyers and innovators have it down to a science and articulation is showing up like never before. However, in my opinion, most of today’s articulated designs are designed to perform in one specific situation… fast retrieves in moving water.
The huge hydrophobic heads and whippy back end designs are perfect for creating that much sought after “S” movement. However, to get that holy grail of actions it requires one important aspect… water flow. Which means forward movement. In a river, these things swim as soon as they hit the water. Obviously, when you move to still waters there is no water flow, therefore, no swimming action….at all. Its a different world. That doesn’t mean these articulated designs have no place in the lake, you just have to change it up and develop new techniques of making these patterns effective. Specifically, you have create the water flow yourself. In my experience, articulated patterns work their best with fast moving retrieves, which only make sense, and isn’t hard to figure out. On the pause, the heavy hook weights in the rear sections coupled with the large water resistant head designs cause the thing to bend at the join and that awesome tail section just sinks until it just hangs there at a 90 degree angle. Eventually the head causes the whole thing to hang vertically in the water and sink tail first. Not so natural looking.
So, I tend to use articulated versions early in the morning and late in the day when the fish are actively chasing or on an active feed. Faster retrieves with no or very brief pauses are the ticket to making these swim. Also, these are my favorite goto patterns when I’m after a truly huge bass and duplicate the ever popular swim bait techniques. Use super long casts parallel to walls or steep banks around open water. Coupled with a slow but steady retrieve, this works to bring up the sea creatures from the depths. Again, these can be fished in the same situations as the other pattern types, just remember to fish them a bit faster and keep it moving.