Posts Tagged ‘Spey Gear


Fly Fishing: Hemostat Triple Twist~Grab Tag & Pull

h/t to John Newbury from FB re this knot tying technique: The Hemostat Knot.  This might be particularly helpful when the finger tips are frozen, or for general use.

For the beginning fly tier, you would be well served to practice your tying techniques while tying a limited scope of patterns. The temptation is to tie every pattern in that book and more that come to mind. Tie this and tie that. If you were limited to just tying as a past time with no opportunity to fish your creations, then tie hither and yon, but otherwise I would stay toward basic nymphs, dries, emergers, streamers and flymphs/wets (or, the basic patterns for the species you chase….it could be a variety of streamers only for a predatory species). This way there is a practical benefit to your targeted tying.

Flymphs: this style of ‘wet’ fly is worth a study on your part and worth a lot of tying. Selection of hackle and style of body are the two key considerations. Sparse patterns for almost dry fly presentations have/had their place. But, buggier dubbing and softer hackling offer a great deal of animation and life. A flymph can fish from the bottom up to the top with the correct presentations: Leisenring Lift.

A couple presentation considerations: study spey (two hander) casts and research their applicability to a single hander. Jean Paul from Roughfisher mentioned this the other day and it true. Line handling with bigger flies or more staged presentations can be easier by moving line, dumping it and then rolling it out into a zone. Research this. Also, for the stream fishing angler chasing primarily trout there is a tendency toward only using a floating line and rarely a sink tip. I use five lines for stillwater but severely limit myself on rivers when chasing trout. (I carry multiple spey line heads). But, a readers comment about using sinking lines and manipulating the fly up through pools and rapids reminded me of watching an old timer fish streamers with a clear, intermediate line to fish streamers on a river (something I would normally only use on a lake). 


Fly Fishing: Spring Cleaning & Reorg

Headed Out Early (SwittersB)

A reminder for the multi-directional (species targeted) fly fisher: sort out your gear that has spread far and wide (albeit in the same rig in different gear bags). Bring it together for stillwaters, rivers, ponds.

Spring has sprung. The flies tend to stay divided amongst the species. But, pay attention to spools of tippets for rebuilding leaders, tippets and the tools (nippers, pliers, etc.) Clothing can get spread out. Have you laid eyes on those booties and fins since last October? The anchor you were going to fix? Do it now. My pontoon boat has a leak. I have been thinking about it all Winter, but have put it off, not wanting to do it in the cold.

My Winter Steelhead gear is consolidated (not used near enough). The smaller Steelhead flies, set aside for the bigger flies of Winter, are in the those boxes…where now? In one of those gear bags.

Just a reminder…..  If you fish various species of fish, then your gear gets subdivided and scattered. Spring is a nice time to consolidate the gear and see where you placed things while traveling, dumping gear in a hurry, and forgetting to go back to dry it out (oops!).


Fly Fishing: Tying for Chrome

Accomplished fly fisher, Larry Tamiyasu of Portland, Oregon, travels far and wide fly fishing for a variety of fish species. He is an accomplished tier and like most of us, anticipates success with his own creations.

Preparing by Larry Tamiyasu (SwittersB)

And, more often than not, he and his fishing partners are successful where ever they wet at line.

Successful Fly Pattern by Larry Tamiyasu (SwittersB)

Thanks Larry for sharing. He and his buds have already booked their digs for next October. Anticipation……………….



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)


Fly Fishing: Excitor Seduction………….


Mike Kinney (Word Pictures for the Drift)

I have to recommend, again, Mike Kinney on FB. His ability to provide small snippets of imagery via his words is perfect. If you are a beginning fly fisher chasing steelhead, whether with a single hander or two hander, you owe it to yourself to read each paragraph and visualize the process. Also, he takes some nice photo’s. Mike has been around a long time, but his recent posts on FB are excellent.


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)

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July 2020

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