Posts Tagged ‘Spey Casting


Imagery: Provocation & Seduction

spey fly TMuncyA pencil drawing of a Spey fly with the trailing stinger hook. The Steelhead is enticed, provoked, seduced into engulfing the fly and upon the take turning and jetting away. The stinger hook tries to ensure a more assured hook up with the metal head, steel jawed piece of flexing muscle.

Spey Fly Stinger

This fly was tied by my son Tony. The same one that drew the pencil sketch above years ago. There is a real, visible sense of the artistic here. Does the fish appreciate that? No…simply predation. Provoked to consume….a gentle way of saying ‘to kill’ another in the food chain.

Echo Lamson Rocks Moss SwittersB

Feathered Bark Rod Reel SwittersB2

One of the primary tools for the quest. In this instance, a two hander…a spey rod…as opposed to the ‘normal’ one handed fly rod. Different skill sets to learn. Greater potentials in presentation: distance in casting. Notice the pieces of wood that are now high and dry? They were submerged and the forces of the current have stripped the bark into fans, feathers……..

T Muncy SwittersB ImageIt has been awhile since I have aggressively pursued sea run trout..Steelhead. I did for many years with a single handled rod (normal fly rod) and did well. Somehow, I got caught up in the machinations of the two handed rod and immediately stopped catching Steelhead. Paying my dues? Hmm? Not sure. I lost focus and intuitively lost interest. Now, I feel I must justify the expenses of gear and catch/release a Steelhead. You will notice I have no pics of a Steelhead and SwittersB to display. Remember my resolutions? Time management, focus, location/presentation, desire.


Beckoning: Deschutes River (The Big D)

deschutes sb-001

Deschutes River dropping down into Maupin, Oregon. The whole phrase…’dropping down into’ is full of anticipation for the person approaching a canyon.

So, an exercise in multi-planning: October Caddis, BWO’s (Blue Winged Olives), Mohagony Duns OR Steelhead into the mainstem below the Locked Gate. Trout rod and Spey rod. I am going with others that rarely fly fish…one from Minnesota. Do I fish or do I mentor? A little of both no doubt. Visuals, smells, sounds, a pulse onto its own. Take it in and keep it mellow.

October Caddsi-Deschutes River (SwittersB)

An October Caddis on the Deschutes R.

Outcomes and The Moment

Trout D SB


A Woman, A Spey Rod & Perfect Imagery

Todd Moen of Catch Magazine fame put together this video of a Hannah Belford in Northern B.C. running a guide service and showing some nice skills while pursuing Steelhead. At 9:50 to 10:00 minutes is what one lives for swinging flies. Hannah Belford is truly inspiring as an angler. A nice, inspiring video by Moen too….holds your attention. Check it out.

Hannah Belford

Hannah Belford, British Columbia, Spey Angler in Steelhead Dreams


Spey Casting Advice (Nice fix)


This is a nice, short reminder on foot placement, Snap T landing points and just the visuals of how the cast should look and what a Steelhead actually looks like…..been toooooo long. Video from FlyFishUSA (Bachmann)


Fly Fishing: Prep & Common Sense

Lately my life, like many of yours, has been consistently diverse and problematic. I learned yesterday that a pesky upper back issue requires surgery, and soon. Persistent pain indicated something was not right.

Well geese! Surgery? I will miss out on fishing after surgery. I thought I better get in a little fishing while I could. Silvers, late Summer Steelhead and a few Chinook were pushing up the river. Out I went. I would don my waders and try the two hander. I hadn’t had any chance to use it since last Winter.

I was pretty much alone. Maybe a half dozen anglers, mostly gear guys, & a few ladies, lined the bank. Salmon were breaking the surface. Mischievous Jack's jumped into the air, no doubt avoiding an aggravated mature male. The clouds hung low and only the faintest sprinkles hit my lens.

When I put on my waders and packed away the needed tools and prepared the rod, I felt pretty relaxed. I walked to the river’s edge and felt energized and care free. I had very nice conversations with some fellow fly fishers and lit my briar. What an afternoon…yes, indeed.

The crossover, lifting the line up and back. Pivoting with the bottom hand (not the impulse I may always fight given how infrequently I get out)

There was a hint above: my spey rod hand not been used since last Winter. The Skagit line and 15′ cheater were still on the reel. I gave no consideration to the balancing of the line to the water’s depth etc. I stood out there attempting to get the hang of it all and frankly I sucked. I did not have the proper line on…where was that Scandi…oh, back up at the truck. Too impatient to re-rig or study in advance and re-rig.

I could not get the proper movements down and soon felt this odd sensation in my upper back. Next lesson: passion for fishing…the obsessive drive once on or near the water is a force we praise and cherish. But, sometimes common sense suffers. What a bozo! I had just, this day, received word from the Ortho Surgeon about the need for surgery….he explained why. Definitive…no nonsense advice to ‘take it easy’.

Nope…hear I am on the river needing to wet a line because I could foresee it being a cold day in hell…or December before I fish again. And, by then I will be cold, further out of shape and struggling….yes better to get out there now!

Soon the pain intruded each time I lifted the rod to raise the line and recast. Eventually, I was making a sound like a tennis player who yells each time they hit the ball. I looked about to see if anyone was looking at me. I think they were if only for the crap casting.

I thought perhaps a fish would grab this pink little morsel, plus it was easier to cast. The larger pink Intruder pattern was just that much extra wind resistant calamity upon the water's surface. SwittersB

Eventually, I did the unthinkable. I decided to leave the water at the prime time for the salmon bite. My gut wrenched. My brain quaked. My damn spine was ready to explode. I considered getting the single hander rigged and slinging some egg pattern beneath a strike indicator. Hello!!!

All those considerations went by the wayside as I felt nausea and broke out into a cold sweat. I hiked up the embankment and made it back to my truck. It took all I had to break down the rod. I put it in back with out putting it into its case. I struggled to get into my truck. I didn’t take off the waders. I knew I couldn’t. It was a long drive home. Terrible pain. My guardian angel guided me to safety this evening.

So, as obvious as it appears: balance your gear to the waters at hand. Be prepared. And, recognize fishing’s OCD vs. Common Sense (Risk Avoidance) Dynamic. I am writing this today, slightly medicated….I hope it makes sense. 



Spey Casting: Followup Homework

I spent the better part of the day on the Sandy River fishing for steelhead. No pulls, but I had a good day. I found a very nice drift. I fished reasonably well and had the luxury of no one pushing me downstream. I got to practice, visualize (remember the post re Mike Kinney and his excellent word pictures?) and correct. At the end of the day, maybe two thirds of the casts really laid out nicely, but my attitude was such that there was no pressure, just a relaxed time on the water with beautiful conditions.

Snap T, or was it a Snap C?

But, I decided to do some followup studying when I got home and try to figure out why my Snap T’s or Z’ C’s petered out and caused my fly to unerringly wrap around the end of my rod. I need visuals. I came across a site by Alastair Gowans @ LetsFlyFish. It has some nice basic visuals re some of the Skagit casts as well as other types of fly fishing casts. I also need to pull out Ed Wards Skagit Master DVD and review while today’s fishing is fresh on the mind. I am building the imprint. Got home for last half of the Super Bowl and then it started pouring outside. The day was perfect. (Ok, upon further review, I am not bringing my rod back down river after the snap, but rather stopping as shown in pic, which leaves it open to tangles)


Spey Fly Fishing: Managing Loops & Why’s

The why’s of my drawn out dalliance with a spey rod go back some 15 years. Years ago, I won a raffle prize, a guided trip on the Deschutes R. to fish for Steelhead. Oddly, there was not a single handed rod in the drift boat. All very long two handers. That was an awkward day. The guide scouted the bank from above for holding fish and left my son, Kelly, and I to flail away. This was the days of long line spey lines. No running line.

But, despite many awkward roll casts, I could still see the fly going out into a zone that only dangerous wading and exceptional casting would have afforded me. I felt the possibilities. Yet, I didn’t mess with it again, preferring the single handed rod for swinging or  nymphing. It worked just fine.

Years later, there was a bargain on a telephone pole length spey rod at a shop. It was suggested I should grab it and just have it in case I got immersed in the new wave of spey fishing. I did, a heavy 10 wt. with a Rio Windcutter set up and multiple heads. Again, I tried it and again out there by myself, it kind of worked but again, I ventured back toward the tried and true single hander…..but, this time in my life there was a difference. My shoulders were failing. My hips/lower back were riddled with arthritis and nerve damage. My casting stroke and wading were becoming more painful and tentative.

So, a few years back, I purchased a mid-level set up: Echo spey rod and Lamson reel. Not the top of the line set up my son, Tony, has. But, it is much more of a delight to manage than my old, lumbering spey rod from years ago. It is now much easier on my my body. No, I am not much better than before in casting. But, I have an incentive to reduce pain, wade safely, reach a reasonable distance. I have never felt compelled to cast long distances with a single hander, nor will I with a spey rod. I just want to be smooth and on target like I am with the single hander. I like the new challenges and it feels easier and I like the sense of rhythm. Now, that’s out of the way as to the why’s…. how about something re line management…management of the loops.

A Long Unattended Loop of Running Line

The  stripped in running line always drifts down stream in a long loop. The drag upon that loop is resistance that hinders the running line zipping up the guides with the casting stroke. So, how to manage that running line. I have tried  multiple coils pinched in the top hand and the bottom hand. It works ok. The torque of the casts sometimes causes the slippery running line to separate away from my grasp against the upper grip. I do need to better manage this if I want to reach reasonable distances. Here are a few suggestions on how to better manage running line loops.

Deneki Fly Fishing has a visual to study. I need to better understand the turning of the hand.        

Spey Pages has some ideas as well and references Deneki as well.

Salmon River Spey suggests the multiple loops gathered in descending sizes.


Fly Fishing: Primer for Skagits & Sink Tips

This is an extensive primer on adding sink tips to your Skagit line. I particularly liked the part about those past generations of tangled sink tips (with permanent ink markings as to density) in leader wallets (or some scuffed up zip lock bag) in a gear bag. Now I have to sort through all those sink tips in those two leader wallet my kid dumped into the gear bag long ago.


“Many folks have sink-tips from older generation Spey lines like Rio’s Windcutter or Airflo’s Delta Spey.  Usually, they’re completely tangled up in some old shooting head wallet.  They live in our gear bag but never get used.  Guides love it when you ask if you can use them, especially when you have no clue what they are or where they came from.” (Rusty Hook)


Spey Casting Basics….Sloooooow

Tim Johnson @ Steelhead Chaser provides a short reminder re spey casting: go slow and then even slower. As I read that, I envisioned my own casting strokes. I could see jerky lifts, fast sweeps, and rushed applications of power to the butt or less appropriately to the right hand at the top of the cork.

I was admonished with the same advice by Matt McCrary on prior outings: ‘Slow down’ ‘easy’…..

A refresher is always good. In my case, it is beginning basics and I am in the process of building the pathways, building solid basics. Watch Youtube spey casting vid’s by say Mike Kinney or Ed Ward and notice the easy, SLOW, movements. Even they watch-feel their casting stroke.


Spey Casting: Snap T into Double Spey….Ripping


Ripping & Pivoting Toward a D Loop (Snap T Kind of.....)

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