Last week I wrote about throwing and trolling a tandem streamer rig. I was able to land a channel cat and some hybrids using this set-up and it definitely has its pros and cons. Let's start with the negatives first. It is a little harder to cast since you have two flies dancing around one another in the air. If your casting is off by much, you're going to end up with knots which takes time away from fishing. The feel of the cast feels a little awkward as well. You just don't get that pure-feeling cast that you get with one fly. On top of this, the two flies that I was throwing were both waited fairly well which made things a little bulkier.
On the other hand, there are some positives with the main one being an attractive set up for fish. Fish might see the first fly and it might get their attention. By the time the second fly comes by, they are already in a more aggressive mood and are prepared to strike the second one. I just see it as a way to increase your odds for a bite. Then there is the opportunity that everyone probably hopes for when throwing two flies and that is catching two fish at the same time. This is not something that I have ever accomplished but I know the day is coming and I will chase it until it happens!
As far as how I assemble this rig, it is pretty easy. I like simplicity so I keep it simple. I use an improved clinch knot to attach the leader to the first fly. I then tie an improved clinch knot to the bend in the hook of the first fly. I finish things off with an improved clinch knot on the second fly. In terms of distances between the flies, I like to keep it between 1 and 2 feet. If the distance is too short, then I feel like you lose some of the action. If the distance is too great, then you are going to have more tangles.
When it comes to size line, I really don't have a definitive answer for that. I typically use 6 pound fluorocarbon as a leader and as a connector when I am fishing for smaller hybrid striped bass, bluegill, and smaller bass. For bigger fish, I would bump up to 8 or 10 pound fluorocarbon. You can always make the connector lighter than the leader as well if you want. This would afford you the opportunity to only lose the back fly rather than the entire rig in a situation where the last fly gets hung up on something.
As far as fly size, color, and type of streamer, that is another tough call. I have been doing well with two white wooly buggers lately. The fish that I have been catching have been feeding on shad so this makes sense. I sometimes use a fly that is heavier in front and a fly that is lighter towards the end when casting. When it comes to trolling, I usually have both flies of the same weight and size because they are both going to stay close to the surface anyway. In terms of color, feel free to play around with colors and experiment. On a bright day with murky water, use a bright colored fly up front and a darker one in the back...or vice versa. There are not rules that you have to play by here. It's the same case when it comes to types of flies. Throw a zonker and wooly combo or troll a clouser with a game changer. Whatever you choose to do, just take note of what works on that day and what works best for you! The better you get dialing in your set up, the closer you are to that two fish on one line experience.