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Does anyone use Mike Maxwell's style of casting with the rod clasped to the chest and an upward thrust to shoot the line? I have never seen another spey fisherman use this style on either the Gaspe or Salmon River, NY. The method is described in Mike's book The Art and Science of Spey Fishing.

I have tried the cast and it is difficult to shoot line. You are lucky to get the head to lay out beyond the rod. I am interested in comments from others and would like to hear about casting distances (reel to fly) achieved.

Doug
 
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I had casting lessons from Mike two years in a row and did my first speyfishing using his style. One thing you never heard from Mike was shooting line. His style required a very soft (by today's standards) rod and a double taper line. Maybe "required" is a bit much, but that's what he used and what we all purchased to use after getting out on our own. FOR THAT STYLE of casting his approach works quite well. I did it for years using rods built on Fisher blanks to his specs and with the Winston Derek Brown Special. Then while fishing in Iceland about 2000 I met and received about a two hour lesson from Henrik Mortensson and that changed everything for me. Mike's style works very well, but you have to use the type of gear for which it was intended-long rods which bend into the cork and DT lines.
 

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Mike Maxwell

Hi JR SPEY,

Thanks for your reply. Now it makes a lot of sense as to why it is difficult to use modern rods for Mike's style of casting.

The book was very interesting. One of his many points was the caution of not being drawn into the long distance casting trap and fish close and moderate distances.

He must have been quite a fellow and did not mind stating strong opinions. You were lucky to have been taught a lesson or two by Mike.

Doug
 

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the long didtance thing

One of the most interesting "demo's" at a spey clave was when Henrick Mortensen explained the whys of the different casting styles. Atlantic Salmon run up the middle of the river, as opposed to Steelhead & Pacific Salmon which tend to stay out of the main current and run the path of least resistance. Hence, when fishing Atlantic's, you need to make those long casts to put the fly where the fish are.
 

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I had Mike's books and tapes, which I perused many times, than sold on our Classifieds. Remember that he was essentially THE rodbuilder and teacher who brought spey casting, as he had learned it in England, to North America. Although he didn't mention rod weight as such, it was obvious in his tapes that his was a method designed to cope with rods that weighed pounds rather than ounces; and the object was to keep the rod close to vertical, because swinging it from semi-horizontal front to semi-horizontal rear and back would have been exhausting. (If you've ever seen a caber-tossing contest, you'd recognize the similar dynamics.) The rods he built were graphite, but his casting style remained rooted in the big wooden sticks of his youth.
 

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A response from Brian Niska would be great. He's had years of exposure to Mike's teaching and style, and made the transition into the many modern casting styles, equipment and lines.
When I was the rep for Winston and the DBF rods, keeping the rod close to your body was the required methodology. If you didn't learn the method you'd have a chiropractor as a best friend.
 
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