|Hawkins Little Rascal|
This little rascal catches big fish
Last spring, I was fishing below Tippy Dam throwing streamers for trout. There were lots of bank anglers fishing spawn sacks and a lot of heavy pressure from boat anglers. The trout were refusing most of our offerings of big streamers and we hadn’t had any steelhead activity. It was a slightly cloudy day which usually spells tough times in Michigan trout fishing. And that’s just what we were having. As white is a go-to color in sun and olive and white is the most productive color combination that I’ve experienced, I tied on two Little Rascals in those colors for my clients to change things up. Fifteen minutes later we had landed a gorgeous steelhead that darted out from a mid-stream logjam and devoured the fly. Shortly after that we landed that a 4.5 pound brown trout. A star was born.
How come a smaller streamer worked for big fish when big streamers usually get the job done? At Hawkins Outfitters, we fish streamers almost everyday because they do catch big fish pretty consistently. Along with my pattern the Nutcracker we throw a lot of large streamers that entice big predator fish and often do well. But, those same large trout and steelhead see a lot of big streamers and, I believe, grow wary of the same big patterns they see over and over again. Even the best big pattern can start to produce fewer fish if fished too much or too often. That’s why I created the Little Rascal. It’s a smaller, slimmer pattern, so it’s just different enough from the typical big patterns that you get strikes you wouldn’t get on a the big flies. Plus, it has a great, lively movement and action in the water. I tie the tail with rabbit strip to get that movement that trout love. Combine that with the conehead and you get that all-important jigging movement that predator fish often can’t pass up; plus the conehead gets the fly down better in deeper and heavier water.
We don’t just fish Little Rascals in the spring. You’ll find that you’ll have luck with them year round. You’ll get the best results if you vary retrieves and colors depending on water temps and sky color. When fishing colder water, use a slower retrieve than you would fishing warmer water. The fish’s metabolism is down and the fish themselves are slower at these times and will travel less distance to feed. If your streamer is retrieved more slowly, the fish will see it better and be able to strike. As the water warms, you can quicken your retrieve. As far as color goes: on dark days use dark colors and on bright days use bright colors. You can fish the Little Rascal in any water conditions except when the water is extremely dirty. Then, you’ll want to stick with a larger streamer. You can also use it for just about any freshwater species. I’ve caught brown, rainbow and brook trout; king, pink and Coho salmon; plus small and large mouth bass on the pattern just this year alone.
Pick a selection up today and be ready to switch up when the fish cool down to big streamers.
- By Chuck Hawkins