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Old 07-31-2010, 08:56 AM
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Default Help!

Folks, I am in a bit of a situation. I prostaff for a rod company, on Wednesday I met with the owner of the company. In passing I mentioned that I would like to learn spey casting. In return I was given a 12' 9" two handed rod for an 8 or 9 line. I have a decent reel for the rod, a Lamson Lightspeed 3.5 already waiting to go on it, I have the web address for the Red shed, and not a clue of where to go next. I've flyfished for the past 25 years and am very comfortable with single hand rods of all sizes but I'm seriously intimidated by this huge thing!
My fishing is going to be on Lake Michigan/ lake Superior tribs for fall run brown trout, salmon and steelhead. What type of line do I need? How do I cast the rod using all of the specialized casts? Can I use the typical streamers I use now on a single hand rod? Do I strip streamers in or only cast down and across swinging flies? What about leaders etc.? I'm sure there are many more questions and doubtless I'll get to them in time. I appreciate any and all help!
Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Help!

I'm about to head off to the office in a bit.

First check with your local shops to see if a Spey instructor can be found. I'm sure there is another pro staff member or guide who can help you out.

Your Lamson will be too small for that rod. You will need a reel that has the capacity to hold a 10 to 11 weight line. Spey lines are thick. Most likely you will be casting a 600 grain head.

Poppy at Red Shed is a great source.

Here is a sampler from Jeff Putnam's video.


I'm off to the shop. I will check on the progression of the thread later.

MP
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:12 AM
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Default What I have learned;

Driftless,

Unless you find rivers that are clear, relatively shallow, and not very swift, the across and down thing will not work well for the species you are after. The across and down allows for those movie moment casts that are seen in pictures and DVDs but when the waters are high, deep, and swift you may as well stay at home if across and down is the only cast set up and presentation you have mastered.

I live in Alaska and none of the water in my area is suitable for this traditional style of cast and presentation. It didn't take but one day on the water with a Spey rod for me to figure out that an upstream and quartered across cast was going to be the only way to get a fly down to where the fish are by the time my swing hit the strike zone. When water conditions are as I have described (deep, swift, etc) you will also need a type 4 head. I do not speak Spey, therefore I must write in the language of the fish catching tribe. I have a 13' 8wt rig and use a Scientific Anglers Short Head multi tip line. The Hi density tip (15') is always on my line. When combined with the up and across cast the sink tip consistently puts my fly where I need it to be. However when using a heavy sink tip you can forget about those effortless 110' casts that make Spey fishing look sooo cool. Using the basic single and double Spey casts I had to learn quickly that the method for casting a fast sinking head is totally different than what you see or would use when casting with a full floating line. The timing needs to be pushed way ahead when you 'set' a line and often I have had to invent casts that will produce for me in a given water condition. These are set ups and casts that are not in the books as far as I have seen. Admittedly I don't spend much time reading books about casting and looking at pictures I take the rod and I go find out what works on my rivers.

One thing for sure, you will need some room to fish. Having a guy 30' upstream from me would make fishing with my rod impossible. When fishing 'River Left' in swift water I find that at the end of the swing the best way to re-present the fly is to hurl my line directly upstream of my position, and then draw it quickly, make the 'set' and quickly make the cast back to where it needs to be. By doing this I found that I can create the exact conditions that a person casting across and down has when they re-cast. As I said earlier, the timing is totally different with the sink head so actually doing the fishing is the only way to catch on to the various styles you will have to use.

I can not go on with further explanations because I don't intend to write a book on two hand fishing. What I have found is that the long rod is the most effective way to fish my flies (see Flies For Alaska in Alaska Forums) that I have ever seen. Even with the unwieldy tip that I use for presentation the rod will allow for effortless casts in the 50 - 70' range. In the reality of fishing for and hooking salmon this is about as far as I ever need to cast and many of my casts are right around 50'. It is easy to judge distance when you know that your leader is 6.5', and the tip is 15', you can add up the floating portion of line on the water and will know where to concentrate your development of skills. I have cast my floating tip and can tell you the 110' thing is true but I have my doubts about hooking a big silver and keeping him on with that much line on and under the water. When a Pacific Silver Salmon gets a hook in its jaw they go berserk. The long rod makes getting the line back on the surface and in the air easier than any 9 foot rod ever could. What I mean is that when a fish jumps and you think you know where it is based on the lines location going into and under the water is proved wrong when it blasts out of the water again 50 or more feet away. Your line is deep under water and slicing madly across the surface, this is when they come loose or break off, the long rod helps with line control and will get that line up and reconnect you to the fight.

What I said about having doubts about hooking up on a really long cast is reflected in what I wrote in the last paragraph. A fish hooked at 45' can quickly be more than 120' away (thats when I hit the backing) and I can't imagine starting this scenario with the fish already 80 or 100 feet away. That would not put salmon in the oven, freezer, or smoker, at least not for me. One more thing I just gotta say, since you are going to do this, you might as well use real flies. Don't get caught up in that business where you carry a rod like you have now and use a glo Bug for a fly. And for the love of Pete never even look at a slinky and nymph rig, you can catch em with a Spey fly.

So enjoy your new rod, find what works for you and I truly hope you become a member of the fish catching tribe.

Ard
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Old 07-31-2010, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Help!

Ard, is dead on in his description(s) above. Trust me!
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Help!

Ard covered it pretty much.

Here are some pieces to read. The first piece was written by Simon Gawesworth of Rio Products. It will give you a general idea about fly lines that can translate between brands. The second piece was written by instructor, Eion Fargrave, about Skagit style casting.

http://www.rioproducts.com/photos/fi...nes%202010.pdf

Speycast: The world of Spey Casting - Skagit Fly Lines by EF

MP
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Help!

Gentlemen,
Thank you very much! I undoubtedly have a fair piece of road ahead of me but I'm looking forward to the journey! I'll be in touch with Poppy soon He was also recommended by another fellow.
I don't intend to fish eggs, or nymphs. ( I don't really see the point of owning a spey rod to fish indy rigs etc.) It is just something that I've always wanted to do. IMHO it is without equal as an art form involving water.

Be Well,
Don
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