Very true Cliff, but take a light underwater and you're in for a heck of a surprise I did a lot of diving in the Keys in college as a scuba instructor, and it's quite a spectacle when you light up a reef, particularly at night!
Having read through the thread I will tell you what I have used and experienced fishing with streamer flies. I believe that the key to getting a fish to grab a streamer is most often but not always the motion you give the fly / bait fish imitation. I've always tied jungle cock eyes to my streamers because that's the way I found the various recipes for them when I began tying. As Davo has said many times as the fly was used and fish slowly tore things from the hook I lost the JC eyes. The flies continued to work just as well as they had before the eye or eyes were torn loose.
Sometimes a fish will take my fly even though the fish has had ample time to see it. I figure the grab is a response to motion and the look of the fly trying to escape rather than the fish being fooled into believing that it is a real bait fish. After living in a river for years and surviving by eating small fish I can't imagine a big brown trout taking a close look at a streamer and focusing on the eyes. Even when using a streamer I made for the express purpose of imitating small brown trout I endeavored to keep the fly moving in such a way that the ones I was fishing for could never get a really good look at the fly. The idea was to; through color and basic silhouette coupled with movement, suggest that my fly was a small brown trout or sub adult.
The color of eyes may well be important depending on what it is that you are attempting to imitate but with or without eyes I would advise to concentrate on good line & fly control so that your most effective aspect of any streamer fly is the motion. A good example of control and the effective use of movement would be demonstrated when you drag a Whitlock Sculpin along the bottom in short jumps and then put it into a swinging swim after doing so. I've had a good number of hard grabs when I started the swing and believe it is the reaction to the basic movement followed by the fleeing swim created by the swing. The fly AJ posted would make a fine sculpin fished this way to the known location of a big trout.
Anyway, I just use the eyes because they look cool, not because I think the trout, salmon, char, or grayling see them.
Thanks for the compliments Ard, I've seen a lot of large sculpins lately so I've been favoring the gold/dark banded zonkers, which also work as juvenile browns. The eyes definitely look cool as you state, so they catch me as the tier.
What I really need to work on is learning the proper retrieves to get strikes, though I got two bumps in a short time stripping streamers the other day. Its frustrating to get the bumps without hook-ups, but I guess that's the case when using streamers aimed at monster browns, not the smaller browns and rainbows also in the waterway. I'm just trying to summon up the mental strength to break away from straight nymphing into swinging streamers. I had no problem swinging streamers when I started out, but some success with nymphs has got me hooked...
When I think on comparing nymph to streamer I hearken back to my beginnings with fishing for trout. I began using a spin casting rod and a closed face Shakespeare reel, I used bait and I used spinning lures. When I used the lures I felt like I had had a part in catching the fish. I had controlled the speed and depth of the retrieve and enticed the fish to grab the lure. When I used the bait I felt as though the fish had been caught because I was holding the rod when it had eaten the bait.
Once you become a streamer fisher there is no substitute for it. Watching for a strike whether it's the end of a fly line or otherwise can't compare. You become a master of the currents, the depths, and knowing where to be with a fly & when. I have been doing this almost exclusively (save for some dry fly work) for a long time now and love it like no other form of fishing.
Most of the flies I see in shops with eyes on them, I won't buy. On most of the sto bought ones, especially the EP baitfish patterns, the eyes are too big and project below the hook shank, sometimes so far below the shank that the hook gap is closed up so much I doubt it would ever hook a fish.
I would much prefer jungle cock or black magic marker eyes.