Travis Johnson: great instructor, as well as world champ, highly recommended - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Travis Johnson: great instructor, as well as world champ, highly recommended

I recently had a chance to fish with Travis Johnson of "All Waters Angling." Travis is well known as a world record holder in distance spey casting and he provides specialized instruction in that area for competition bound casters.

But my post is to highlight for those interested in just having a great guiding experience and some tuning to an already functional cast -- Travis is superb. He is not the kind of guide who remarks on every single mistake, happily. Instead, he watches for a period long enough to understand a pattern that he might help you with. And just as he sees your own frustration at not being able to tune out a problem he'll come forward. He often starts by doing the "let me first show you what you are doing." He expertly repeats your error. Then he offers "Let me show you a change that will make this better" where he repeats something familiar as your stroke, but with a single improvement.

The contrast to many is this great care in finding where you are and leading you ahead a step or two, vs just giving you a perfect cast that you're not quite able to compare to your own! Those analytical skills to see that difference are among the hardest to acquire, and Travis knows this. It's part of what he teaches you to do.

So he may be good for all levels--but I can tell you first hand if you are in the intermediate level, shooting line and fishing a pattern on the water and knowing your lines, but seeking to get to advanced -- Travis is a god send. He'll give you a master class on anchor placement that's not in the usual books. He'll show you how to modify your stroke for overhanging shrubs or blockages without collapsing it. And he'll give you new insight into the physics of getting line speed that will stick to your ribs. Best of all -- he'll do this in live runs, when you're actually logging a few of those 1000 casts required. He may also like to take a casual trip with hot lunch on the beach for all I know, but if you want a lights out intense training camp as I did--I can't imagine a better instructor. Very worth the value you'll pay and I know those who guide with him at All Waters have a similar range.

Travis guides out of Tygh Valley, Oregon but fishes the Sandy, Klackamas, Deschutes depending on the season.

ps. Here's a pic of Travis landing a nice hen for me on the Sandy River. The fly was the "Rambulance".
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 10:12 AM
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This does not surprise me.

I was steelhead fishing in NY last year, and hooked a hot fish, which naturally ran down river, fast. I was quickly well into my backing while standing waist-deep in a strong current. Before long, the fisherman below me, whose casting I had been admiring for some time, stopped fishing, and proceeded up the bank to ask whether I needed a hand. I thanked him, and said that I was OK. He stayed 25 yards or so below me, ready to tail the fish, if I asked. I worked the fish into the soft water, and brought it to hand, without assistance. The fisherman walked up and congratulated me on a nice fish and a good job landing it. It was then that I recognized him as Travis Johnson, who I knew to be on the river. I was impressed that he came up to offer assistance, and then waited around just in case I changed my mind, or the current got the best of me, I assume. Anyway, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and boy, can he cast!


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 11:05 AM
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Angler, Champion and Gentleman.

Awesome post SpeyRey

Steelhd23. Great story brother, and sounds right on the mark.


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 11:48 AM
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I would echo all...

I had an awesome experience fishing with him on the deschutes this past september well as dinner the other night LMFAO

Id consider him a friend..lovely person on all accounts

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 11:23 PM
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I'm fortunate to live near and fish the same rivers Travis guides on. I've also been on several trips with him where I come away with a joyous day and armed with new information. Travis is a solid guide...not just a caster, not just a fisherman. I've never had a bad trip-sometimes the fishing was bad but the experience was good.

I appreciate Travis's style and PASSION for the sport. Some guides live a life of ground hogs day...and it shows. Travis brings the energy and you can't help but jump on board.

Travis would be the first to admit he competes with very solid guides on the rivers he fishes, some with a decade more experience, but he will put you into fishy areas, and improve your casting.

Oh yeah, don't be surprised if your reel screams and you hear "[email protected]$& Yeah!!!!" coming from the bank-he's excited as you are!

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 12:17 AM
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Helpful videos too

I've never had him as a guide, but I will say that his videos on casting are some of the very best I've come across.

The tip on this video about keeping your thumbs aligned on the upper and lower grips is pure magic. Right up there too is the point he makes about keeping more of your line in front of you on the anchor.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 02:56 AM
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DITTO: Have had the opportunity to use Travis as a guide on the Sandy and Deschutes Rivers. He is a great instructor and is fun to fish with. Love watching him bomb a few casts as well.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2016, 07:16 PM
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I could not agree with debarb more! The Travis Johnson video is great and shows very simple features of improving your spey casts. I tried the grip, stance and anchor in front. The results were unbelievable! You feel the rod load on every cast! The length of the distance cast will be greater than what you have done before.

I have never met Travis Johnson and have only viewed his video and gained quite an insight. Travis would be a great instructor based on his video showing a few salient features that are so important.

Debarb, thanks so much for your listing of Travis Johnson's video. It is a game changer.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 12:43 AM
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Great thread! Heading out for a guided camp trip w Travis in August and you all are just making me more excited than I already was. I think I've watched everything the guy has posted online by this point (Debarb's link is solid and tremendously informative). Heard absolutely nothing but positive things about the guy and his talent/work ethic. I lost 2 of my dogs to cancer in last 14 mos, and Travis was extremely understanding when I had to reschedule my trip I had already booked for this past Oct. for this upcoming Aug...second was just diagnosed and starting treatments. Really appreciated I know some folks don't take too kindly to bumps in their schedules, no matter what the reason. Just seems like an all-around good dude who is a treasure trove of casting/fishing knowledge. I plan on becoming a sponge and soaking it all up!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 02:18 PM
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At the risk of becoming a pariah

pretty serious about it all isn't he. Not my preferable style but I bet he is great after a few drinks at the bar
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 12:46 AM
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Huh? You have no context for your statement. That video is from a presentation at the Sandy River Spey Clave. The presentation is about having confidence when you are fishing and being a hunter. I have no doubt that a day with Travis guiding would be well worth every penny. Why would you make a negative post if you've never even met the guy?

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 01:11 AM
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Since you asked . . .

I've never met the guy

I found his presentation to be unappealing. Before I knew who he was I thought he was just a gasbag

But he clearly has merits and a reputation. But I found that video and style to be a bit much and a turn off.

When I listen to the legends of the sport, the men and women who set the standards, who have reverence, invented technique, who fight for sustainability, the people who made the sport stand on its own: they don't sound like Travis.

But like you said, I've never met the guy. But I wouldn't hire him either. I don't even find what he said interesting. I found him condescending arrogant and over the top about fishing. What's fishing mean to you? For me it's about grace, outdoors, a bit of solitude, it's about being mindful. Travis has his way and according to him it's the only way. I dont agree with what he said on several accounts but I don't fish for a living either. And while his advice is likely sound and based on lots of experience, mine works too and I don't make other people feel silly if they do it differently.

I don't know just my take but I'm probably mistaken. Like I said, at the risk of being a pariah. I will watch it again and see if it strikes me differently
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 12:14 PM
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J. James et al,

I know what J.J. means about that particular presentation. I was there and, well, to be honest, didn't like it either. I felt like I was in boot camp, which would be fine if I had been in boot camp.

That said, on too many occasions to count I've been explaining something I'm interested in, or making an point in a discussion, and what felt to me like nothing more than interest and focus comes off as arrogance or anger. That was the last thing I felt at the time, but the first thing that was received. My spouse can testify!

It seems like that's what was going on with Travis. Don't know him, but I trust those who do. In any case, what I like about his casting instruction elsewhere is the fact that he seems to have cut through some of the spey casting cliches and replaced them with with specific, concrete advice. Those kinds of insights are hard won if you have to discover them on your own. So I appreciate the shortcuts, and will happily spot him some intensity.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 12:48 PM
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I feel a little uncomfortable about people publicly evaluating an person/instructor based on a video. There are other vids of travis that are not so alpha at all. I have one fishing friend on here who loves him (and has actually fished with him) and another who got turned off by a mere phone call, so it is possibly a situational and/or personality thing. I have a third friend who is ex marine corp who is normally the sweetest guy and open with his help. But he also gets paid for lessons. The one time I specifically paid him for help with my single speys I guess he felt the added responsibility to "teach" and he shifted into a very drill sargent mode - I was even afraid that he would start calling me "maggot" and do laps around the lake.

But I still learned a lot ... people don't always have to have their egos massaged. Style is not necessarily substance, and teaching, especially a large anonymous group, is hard!
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 02:19 PM
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Funny but I took the 'boot camp' presentation for the humor that it was. Sure he was serious at times. Sure he poked some fun. Sure it can come across as abrasive. Everything he pointed out are mistakes made along the journey. If you can't laugh at yourself then who can you laugh at? Do I agree with everything he said? Yes. And what really stood out is how basically simple he was trying to break the game down. Into those pesky fundamentals. My own 20+ year journey plus the viewpoint of fishing with others backs up everything he points out. I have never met him but have zero issues hiring him for casting lessons or as a guide. And the last steelhead guide I hired was for one day in 1994. Maybe its the years of being coached in athletics while growing up where his style (in this presentation) just doesn't bother me. I expect to learn something when I am on the river and while there is ample enjoyment from just being out there (the whole point IMO), it hurts nothing to up ones game along the way.
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