Friday, March 31, 2017

Two Days Spey Casting

I just took two days to do a little bit of learning with my new two handed rod and skandi shooting head. I knew from the start that I wasn't going to be even the slightest bit proficient at spey casting after these two days, but I hoped to get a feel for things and find what I really need to work on. 

During those many hours on the water I discovered three things in particular that I need to fix before shad and spring stripers start showing: anchor positioning, line management, and avoiding over powering the cast with my right arm.  

I was fished the Salmon, mostly because I wanted some moving water and that was the biggest closest option. Not terribly big, but big enough to get at least somewhat of an idea of how far I would be able to cast. Plus I already know the water like the back of my hand, so I could compare how the two hander outperformed or under-performed what I can do there with a single handed rod. It's complex currents and pools would also allow me to practice swinging streamers, which I have not done much of for the last few years. I've don a little here and there, but I am by no means well practiced. It is actually my least favorite way to fish a river. If I could get takes setting the hook and playing fish with a rod much longer than I am used to would be a plus, but I was not expecting to catch fish. I shouldn't really have ruled that out as quickly as I did. 

Not only did I catch fish, swinging Atlantic salmon and steelhead flies was working much better than pretty much everything else I saw being done on the river in those two days. And I truly wouldn't have been able to make the casts and control the swings like I was with a shorter single handed rod. The amount of control I had over my fly at distances on 70-100 feet was just awesome, and the fact that I could feel a grab at that distance, set the hook well and then watch the fish 80 feet away start leaping, that was just a great feeling. 

The first day I got out for only four hours, but I got a handful of browns on a Cascade Shrimp and 6ips sink tip. Al coincidental, I was not trying to catch fish at all. But obviously I won't complain about it happening! By the end of that first evening I could feel that when I was focused a few of my casts were on point. They did what I needed them to do and went where I wanted them to go. For the second day, yesterday, I alternated every two hours between finding some private stretch to just practice casting on and actually going where the fish were and trying to fish out each cast to the best of my ability, and when I did that the floodgates opened. My flies were getting wrecked by trout left and right, and I wasn't using traditional stuff by any means, I was fishing blue charms, cascade shrimp, snaelda, buck bugs, stuff like that. I would never have fished flies like these in this stretch of water had in not been for this two day two hand stint. They worked and worked well. The only traditional trout fly I fished was a hornburg, and even that I don't typically use for stocked trout. Like I said before, swinging streamers just isn't something I do for trout. 

For a little while I had a mouse on. I wanted to see what my fly was doing when I made mends and such and the big buoyant mouse did the trick. It also caught this dinky brown:

From about 1:00 till 3:00 I had an pic run of fish on a buck bug varient. Must have pulled 12 fish out of one short stretch of water with that fly. All very aggressive strong pulls.

At the end of the day I decided to make the run up to my favorite pool, the Big Bend Pool. It is really made for swinging and long roll casts. Perfect for spey practice. I didn't think they had even stocked that far up but a few casts proved me wrong.

"bug factory" 
 After a bunch of fun fights with just spastic little rainbows and browns my Same Thing Murray got slammed at the end of the swing. I came tight and felt powerful head shakes from something big and angry about 80 feet away. After a pretty substantial battle I had a nice 17 inch rainbow at hand.

I kept working the pool and got plenty more trout. A few jumped seconds after the hook set, and that was really surreal. They seemed so far away they couldn't possibly be the thing I was hooked into. What a great two days. I can't wait for the shad run! Soon, very soon.


  1. Thumbs up for the two handed rod and just pick any fly! That worked very well! I'm sure you will master the cast. The ducks were saying, "go Rowan".
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Just pick any fly? There were a lot of guys that had clearly not picked well. There were lots in my box that I wouldn't have picked, and a few that I tried simply didn't work (leadwing coachmen never got a touch).

  2. Sounds like a great couple of days! Well done!

    1. Thanks,
      It was a fun change of pace from my normal trout methods!