Tunes to Tie To

A good buddy, and smallmouth/streamer junkie Adam Spence came up with an article about tunes to tie to, and since it’s now tying season… Enjoy!

Winter is nearly upon us, and with La Nina projected to pound us with snow, I’ve started thinking about how I’m going to spend my days snowed in. One of my favorite winter time activities is sitting down at the vice, cranking up the tunes, hammering out a bunch of big, meaty streamers and imagining a monster brown or angry smallie coming out to kill it.
So what kind of music do you need for a long tying session? I enjoy several genres, but when I’m tying streamers, it doesn’t matter how you want to label a song or artist. My music has to cross off one checkbox: attitude, just like my streamers need. I’ve put together a little list to get you started when the shelf ice is just too treacherous and you’re tired of cleaning frozen guides every three casts.

“High Ball Stepper”- The White Stripes
No lyrics necessary for this one. This is just Jack and Meg White jamming out and creating the perfect tune for wrapping in and flaring some bucktail.
“Copperhead Road”- Steve Earle
Because what says “I’m tying streamers” quite like bootleg whiskey?
“The Ballad of John Henry”- Joe Bonamassa
Better make sure you get the live version of this one so you can experience all of Joe B’s crazy solo as you tie Mike Schultz’s Swinging D and try to figure out who the hell killed John Henry.
“Gimmer Shelter”- The Rolling Stones
One of the many great Stones songs, crank it up while you tie up a Home Invader to lure a lunker smallie out from his cover.
“Cochise”- Audioslave
I get pumped up to go mousing, and Audioslave builds up to an awesome crescendo in this one. I can just picture a big brown smashing my Master Splinter mouse as the lead guitar rips into this song.
“All Nightmare Long”- Metallica
“Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long!” That’s what James Hetfield is screaming and personally, I think he is definitely talking about hunting down that big brown trout that you know likes to hang out in that one log jam on that one river.
“Bad to the Bone”- George Thorogood and the Destroyers
You want a fly that’s bad enough to hook up with whatever predatory fish you can come across? The Great Lakes Double Deceiver gives a great profile and has great swimming action to elicit strikes from smallmouth bass to pike.
“Born Under a Bad Sign”- Albert King
When fishing streamers, you’re going to run into some tough days when it seems like the only luck you have is bad luck. Don’t fret, you’re targeting big fish with your big streamers, and sometimes they smash ‘em, and sometimes they don’t. We call it “fishing” and not “catching” for a reason.
“Sex on Fire”- Kings of Leon
This is a great one to turn up while spinning some deer hair on Kelly Galloup’s famous Sex Dungeon: one of the fishiest streamers out there.
“Grown So Ugly”- The Black Keys
Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, er- be-eater, and some of the streamers in my box are prime examples of this. I have a fly I tie that I call“Beer Farts”, so yeah, Grown So Ugly indeed.
“Hold That Train”- Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials
Ever made a perfect down and across cast, landed your Meal Ticket right next to that perfect undercut and had it totally freight trained by an angry smallmouth? Yeah, me too. It’s awesome. Hold that train!
“Texas Flood” – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
I hear Stevie lay into his guitar on this song when I’m tying and start to drool over high spring flows- the perfect streamer conditions.
“Life Wasted”- Pearl Jam
I know I said streamers, but seriously, you are wasting your fishing life if you don’t tie up some poppers for the hottest days of summers.
“Only a River”- Bob Weir
For our last song, it slows way down so you can admire your hard work: the broken thread, the spot of blood on your tying bench from that rogue Gamakatsu stinger, and the pile of protein ready to flung, stripped, and hopefully, devoured. Like Bob Weir tells you over and over, “Only a river’s gonna make things right.”

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