I'm with you on the unweighted streamers. Most of the fish I attract with a streamer I find in shallow water, either at the banks, edges, or tails. When presenting the fly I try to move it the instant it touches the water so it takes on the shape of a minnow rather than a disjointed unbalanced glob of fur or feathers. Get's a lot of aggressive strikes after the first little strip but it's always fascinated me when a fish decides to follow, having not made up it's mind at first sight. They become sharks, right up there on top, following the fly showing me a wake so that I can gauge their reaction to every twitch I give the fly. It becomes cat and mouse. A game I love to play with a brown trout.
You refer to a plan "b". I always thought of it as "try this when nothing else works". Rather than using the tactic as an alternative though I found I had some real fun and it was an exciting way to fish. I just made it a normal routine. Matching a hatch is a satisfying way to fish but sometimes it gets anti climatic after you get it figured out and use it day after day. There's other ways to skin the cat and you'll never know what you might come up with. It just might be the "largest trout you've ever had on" huh.
Your readers cast brings up a great way for the fly fisher to think a little out of the box. I see a lot of them get into ruts.
"As far down the river as he could see, the trout were rising, making circles on the surface of the water, as though it were starting to rain."- E.H., The Big Two Hearted River