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LA. Your description of a Dee fly is accurate, but I have never heard of it being fished in the way you describe or that this is the reason for the flat wings and drooping jungle cock cheeks. These flies were intended to be fished 'down and across' in the conventional way, and Price Tannatt says they were designed, like Spey flies, to give a generally 'fishy' appearance. I haven't fished the Dee, but have fished with Ghillies from that river elsewhere, and have never heard of a fly being fished like a floating plug, which is effectively what you describe. I'm sure such a radical technique would have been recorded somewhere in literature, even if by an Englishman (or indeed a Swede) fishing that river. What is more, the technique you describe would only be possible with a floating line, and Dee flies date back to long before Wood. John Ashley Cooper dates the Ackoyd to about 1880.

Remember also that Atlantic salmon don't feed in fresh water, so attempting to imitate a damsel fly would be unlikely to succeed. Furthermore, the Dee is a fast flowing river with little weed, and I don't believe it is even capable of supporting a significant population of damsels!


Per. I agree with you about tackle moving on. The old books define a Spey cast as a roll cast that involves a change of direction. Back then it was just single or double Spey. But having said that, there was and is no single style and technique of single or double Spey. Michael Evans, when giving casting demonstrations, makes the point that his style of modern Spey cast is really quite different from that developed with big greenheart (and cane) rods. That is not to say they aren't both Spey casts.

Surely a Spey cast is simply one in which the forward stroke is made with the line forming a loop beside the fisherman rather than aerialised behind him. Within this definition there are different styles and techniques, just as there are many different styles and techniques of overhead casting.
 

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It doesn't add up!

Hi LA. I am puzzled by your description of your buddy's technique, although I am familiar with the concept of 'two way fishing', to which it relates in a way. Can you explain to me how it is possible for him, with 100' of line out, to mend so as to cover a strip 50' out from him? Simple geometry indicates that, assuming the fly remains directly below the fisherman, this requires the line to extend at 90 degrees across the river for 50', and be doubled right back on itself forming an extrordinarily tight loop so the other 50' of line is pointing back towards the fisherman. That is a very remarkable mend! It also requires the fly to be more or less adjacent to the fisherman - yet you say that this amazing manoeuvre involves moving the fly 'slightly upstream'!

I didn't in fact say that I had never seen the so-called 'Dee cast' (although I haven't). What I said was that I have never even heard of or read about the entire way of fishing a fly you describe, including the Dee cast. I do not dispute that fishing a 'dead drift' fly may be effective where you are, but I repeat that it has no place in salmon fishing in the British Isles. Wood never allowed his flies to drift lifelessly in the current - and nor did or does anyone on this side of the Atlantic except as the most minor of tactics. I have never come across any reference to it in UK fishing literature - and I include books going back to pre-Wood days. Furthermore, the floating fly for salmon has almost no place in the UK and Ireland, and never has. I simply cannot accept that these forms of fishing were practiced and yet have not even been mentioned, let alone analysed, in any of the multitude of books written about British and Irish salmon fishing.

I do not mean to be disrespectful towards someone of your great age - if your uncle introduced you to the Dee cast in 1920 I assume you must be about 90, at least. However, given that I have the word of one man against the whole panoply of salmon fishing literature, you will understand if I, like Willie Gunn, take your posts with a large pinch of salt!
 
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