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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:confused: Well, I'm a complete rookie when it comes to spey casting. I don't know of anyone nearby that knows about spey casting, but I think that there are a couple of applications around here where it would work great. How would you recommend for someone to pick up the skills required to spey cast without having someone to learn from?
I will be making a trip to the Charlotte flyfishing/rodbuilding show in a couple of weeks, so I'm hoping that there is someone there that can at least point me in the right general direction. Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome to the Board

It really helps to get some instruction. There are a number of "little" things that are really important in learning that are difficult to master without an extra pair of eyes to help sort it out. There are some Board members in that general area of the country, that you might try to contact.

Some of the videos are a help - The art of speycasting, gives a good overview of many techniques. Simon G's book helps. There are a number of other videos that are useful.

Finally join the Board and get Dana's material. Better yet, plan a vacation and get some instrction from him, or another good instructor.
 

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The Frugal Flyfisher
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"How would you recommend for someone to pick up the skills required to spey cast without having someone to learn from?" (quote).

Frankly, I would not recommend that route. Self teaching is a slippery slope to mediocrity, unless you are an exceptional self teacher (very rare).
However, if you insist on that direction the best I could recommend would be one (better yet, several) of the fine instructional video tapes or DVDs on spey casting currently available. For that, I would start with a call to the Red Shed Fly Shop (208-486-6098) and Mike Cummins (better known as Poppy to the readers of this forum), one of the fine sponsors here. He has the best, most complete collection of spey instruction DVDs and videos that I know of. Discuss with him your level as a one hand overhead caster and he will recommend a video/DVD to start with. He might well recommend the John and Amy Hazel DVD "Introduction to Spey Casting," which is what I also would recommend for a first stage spey casting beginner.

However, having said that, I would emphasis that, in my opinion, trying to learn spey casting skills totally on your own is not a good idea. A better idea would be to buy a good starter video AND get some hands on instruction from a qualified spey instructor. To see if one is near your location, you might start by going to the Federation Of Fly Fishers website (Google for the URL) to see if there might be an FFF certified spey casting instructor near you. There might also be someone qualified near you who is a member of this forum. Of course, since you haven't provided information as to your specific location (Great Plains covers a whole lot of territory), no one on the forum would know whether they are anywhere reasonably near you.

Also, you might consider attending one of the several spey claves throughout the country. One of the ones in the Great Lakes region might be near to you. There is always lots of free information and instruction available at a spey clave, which would be an excellent place to start. Check the threads in the "Claves and Other Gatherings" section of the Spey Pages here for location and time of the one nearest your location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I updated my profile to be a bit more specific on location. There is a small but growing group of flyfishermen and clubs in the area, but I haven't found anyone yet that has done any spey casting yet. The nearest certified 2 hand instructor is over 700 miles away.
I wouldn't say that I'm set on teaching myself, but I think logistics and expense may exclude many of my best options. But that is why I'm asking. I want the opportunity to learn, even if it doesn't happen in the timetable or methods that I originally envisioned. That being said, catching a clave if there is one in my general area of the country might be a great option. Any chance of something happening in MO or TX? I'm pretty sure Kansas is out of the question. :chuckle:
 

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I face the same problem

I live in Virginia and haven't found any certified (or even not certified) instructors within hundreds of miles. I have Simon's book and tape and have taken several fishing trips (Babine, Panoi, Rio Grande, Alagnak and Spey Rivers) where the guides were helpful if not true instructors, and "doing it" gave me some practical experience. When the weather warms a bit I practice for 30 minutes or so several times a week at a local pond. I've reached a plateau in my casting that I simply can't break through without some professional instruction. I'm OK to catch fish, but there is much room for improvement. It would be great to get some real instruction, but that's just not available here like it is in the Pacific Northwest or Great Lakes. If you find an answer, please post it.
 

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Hi Guys:

I will be at the Charlotte show later this month if you want to come by my booth and talk about a spey class.

We offer 2 spey schools each June for both beginner's and those with some experience. What we have found through discussions with dozens of clients is that combining spey casting instruction (beginners instruction and/or refresher instruction) along with an actual fishing trip helps put into place the various casts and techniques that are learned through a class. Both of our classes offer this combined benefit of instruction and real-time fishing experiences.

You can visit our website at www.malbaieriveroutfitters.com if you would like to learn more about the 2 spey schools we do. Certainly there are other programs run by others which would be beneficial as well.

Best of luck,

Bill Greiner
Malbaie River Outfitters
 

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Also self taught.

I too am self taught for the most part for the better of 3 years until I finally found a class 5 hours away. When you mention the word Spey in my parts they want to take you to the Vet right away. The class that I took was given by Simon on the Cattaragus in NY last August.The money was worth every penny and greatly improved things that I had self taught myself in the previoius 2 years. My suggestion would to find a reasonalbly priced outfit that is weighted with the right line and dvd's. The Red Shed is one shop I would contact to obtain such items. Then after getting your equipment get a crash helmut. That line smacking the back your head can really hurt even without a fly until you get the knack of it and DON'T EVEN think about a fly on the end of the line until you get rid of the helmut just use yarn. Just kidding about the helmut but not the fly part. Next find some suitable water and practice, practice, practice. Get some one to video you and compare that to the dvd's so see what is right or wrong. Do one cast at a time until you get it then go on to another cast. Good luck, it's great fun and lots of laughs at yourself.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey plainsnplanes...

While I agree with the premise that lessons from someone familar with "spey casting" might be the best route I certainly wouldn't sit around and wait until
the logistics or your finances were more condusive. If you do you may never try it or you will at least miss out on many enjoyable hours and a satisfaction that only comes from "doing it yourself". I know from personal experience that if you "REALLY WANT TO" you can get into spey casting on the cheap and do it on your own.

At this point my friend "fliegenfischer" can point out that my spey casting is mediocre and while he and some of my other more proficient friends try to point me in the proper direction they are mostly ignored.:lildevl:

I know there are a couple two handers in use on Toledo Bend in TX. Jack K is also down in the Gulf. That "flysoup" guy is also down in Texas somewhere. Maybe there are some "closet speyheads" in the plains states or maybe you will have to be the plains state spey casting pioneer.
 

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After reading all these threads I have to agree with MJC. I am also new to spey fishing without alot of spey casting resources nearby. I did travel a ways to take a class and have collected some reading materials on the subject, however I have concluded that reading and watching t.v. cant subsitute for time in the river.
 

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The Frugal Flyfisher
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Well, ultimately, despite my posting, which I continue to stand by as the better solution, if that is not reasonably available to you then just dive in as MJC (who is, of course, Poppy at the Red Shed) said. There have never been as many resources as now for someone wanting to get into spey casting/fishing on their own.

Simon Gawesworth's book, Spey Casting, is to date the best and most comprehensive book available. That along with some judiciously chosen dvds or videos, can certainly get you started. The Red Shed has the book and the dvd/videos. I continue to suggest the Hazel video as perhaps the best "starter," then I would graduate to the Rio International Speycasting dvd/video or The Art of Speycasting dvd shot at the Golden Gate Casting Club Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama. After that, to further refine your technique there are beginning to be a plethora of dvds available from several quarters (including those from Europe and Japan) that further plumb the depths of technique, including PNW skagit casting, Scandinavian style underhand casting and long belly extreme distance casting. The soon to be released new dvd from Rio looks to be very good, and I believe will cover all those techniques, but there are plenty of other "advanced," as well as basic dvds and videos. Never more than now.

Finally, I would like to point out that you can learn all the necessary spey casts and techniques on a single hand rod first, if you like, before investing in a two hand rod. Moving to a two hand rod after learning spey casting with a single hand can be a good progression that better allows you to evaluate the proper two hand rod for your spey needs. There is very good coverage of single hand spey casting on the Rio International and Golden Gate Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama dvds; in Simon's book; and in Mel Krieger's latest dvd, Flycasting Faults and Fixes.

If you do decide to plunge in immediately with a two hand setup I DEFINITELY would do it through a spey specialist shop, like the Red Shed, to make sure you get a properly balanced outfit best suited to the kind of fishing you intend to do with it. There are lots of more or less reasonably priced outfits available nowadays, but you need the expertise of a true spey specialty shop, in my opinion, to get the right balanced outfit for your fishing needs and current casting abilities. It should also be a shop, like the Red Shed and some of the other sponsors here, who will allow you a "test drive" of the gear before you buy.

All of this is, of course, just my personal opinion. Take it for what it is worth to you.

Good luck and good speying.
 

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JD
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Kansas & Spey casting

Whewy, you probably couldn't get any further away from Spey anything if you tried. :chuckle: Seriously though, where there's a will there's a way. All the suggestions offered are credible.

I took up the long rod while living in So. Ca. (almost as bad as Kansas) Also took up bluegrass banjo while living down there.:roll: Fortunately, buried amongst all the weirdo's down there were a few who were into Spey and you'd be surprised how many were into bluegrass. Kansas? Don't know 'bout that.

Although,,,,nothing beats time on the water. Moving water. That's were you learn when & why the different casts are used. Spey Claves are neat because you not only get to play with all the new toys and get the seminars, but you get time on the water. Sometimes you can even weasel in some private instruction.

Someone on the board used to put members up at his house for a couple of bottles of single malt so they could attend casting classes and could fish the local rivers. Don't know if anyone is still doing this but I have a spare bedroom and could do it.
 

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moving water=fishable water

Having lived on the "flatlands" for much of my younger life, I can sympathize with not much opportunity. That, however, does not mean you can't practice. I am far from an excellent caster, but I can get enough line out to fish most situations comfortably. I have never taken a spey casting lesson. Primarily, I learned from reading books, and most importantly fishing with other spey fishermen. I learn tons by watching other people fish, then applying successful techniques to my efforts (sometimes not so successfully!). Like all fly fishing, there is a steep learning curve to spey fishing. If you can find someone to fish with that has some expertise in spey fishing, then get a rod suited to local waters and go for it! I know, for instance, that more and more trout fishermen are using light spey rods (like the Sage 5120) to drag leeches with weighted tips for larger trout. The point is that you adapt your fishing to the waters available. If you have a river, you can spey fish, provided you have reasonable size trout inhabiting the water. Spey fishing is first and foremost time on the water. Cast, cast, cast and after a while you'll have it.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of the advice! I'm very seriously considering building my own, and I'll be looking for all kinds of information at the Charlotte show. I think I'll start with a lot of reading and videos.
JDJones: I'm not a bluegrass guy, but there is a pretty large bluegrass festival 30 miles south of me every September or so in Winfield called the Walnut Valley Festival. You ever been out for it? 4 days, six stages, lots of vendors and a good time from what I understand. They hold national flatpick, dulcimer, madolin, banjo, etc championships at the same time. The guys into that sort of thing really go all out. I'm pretty sure they have a website for it.
And you are right, nothing spey around here, but I have some goofy ideas on how to apply it to a few "non-traditional" uses around here. Maybe hitting the white bass run in the rivers above the local resevoirs, and maybe even some :eek: carp or catfish. :devil: I might even be found using the rod in some still water on occasion for bass or walleye.
 
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