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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
On another thread a few of us are discussing the development of spey lines. I thought it would be useful to create a new thread on the subject.

Here's my take on the developement of lines that have had a significant impact (created a great deal of excitement/shaped the way we approached casting and fishing and/or were highly influential on line design) on the spey community, the order that they appeared, and the country of development:

1. DT lines (UK)
2. Alexander Grant's lines (UK)
3. modern long belly DT lines (UK)
4. shooting heads cut from DT lines (Goran Andersson/Scandinavia)
5. Michael Evans Specialist Speycaster (UK)
6. Mastery Spey (US)
7. Wulff Triangle Taper (US)
8. Windcutter/Acccelerator (US)
9. MidSpey (US)
10. XLT (US)
11. Jetstream & Partridge (UK)
12. Skagit (US)

Let the debate begin!
 

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Have you got 1 and 2 in the right order?

7? I would not think that the mid spey was a leap forward. The acclelerator was the best line Rio have made shame they stopped producing it.

9,10 I would accept 9=as I'm sure the Jetstream was being developed at the same time as the XLT.

No mention of Michael Evans? He surely deserves a mention for introducing the two coloured lines, if nothing else
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
Gaelforce
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Dana, you forgot Jock Scot`s description of short torpedo shaped `heads` mentioned in Fine and Far off. The predecessor of the windcutter???
I am sure that there are many others that we dont know of, would be very interesting to hear about them.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #4
Malcolm,

Wasn't the DT silk line the one that Grant was dissatisfied with, hence his development?

I debated with myself about the MidSpey, but included it because it seems that after the MidSpey suddenly everyone was manufacturing "mid belly lines", and these along with Windcutter-style were the norm until the advent of the XLT.

I saw your post about Evans on the other thread and included him. You are absolutely correct--Michael's innovations sometimes get lost in all the excitement, but he did develop the first modern long belly line and the two color lines.

Bruce,

I never thought much about that torpedo head reference in Scott until you mentioned it above. To me he was referring to a shooting head used for overhead casting--at least that's how I always interpreted it. Do you view his comments as referring to a line that was being speycast? If so, that certainly would give a basic design for the Windcutter (reference pg 67 of Fine and Far Off for anyone looking for it).
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
Gaelforce
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Dana, I always took it that he was referring to a line for spey casts but even if he wasn`t am sure that some inventive caster did use it for spey casts and not just overhead. Like I stated before it would be interesting to know if there is more than what we know of.
 

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Dana, Thanks for Michael Evans, now we just need his country added.
I accept you point re 1 and 2.

fisshman26 said:
Dana, you forgot Jock Scot`s description of short torpedo shaped `heads` mentioned in Fine and Far off. The predecessor of the windcutter???
I hesitate to suggest that perhaps the Skagit line was orinially designed in Inverness, horror
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #7
Bruce,

it would be good to get some sort of definitive history up about the lineage of the various lines we see today. I have an interview with Mike Kinney pretty much done in which he discusses how he got started with spey, and it details some of the early moments of the whole "Skagit" style, including line stuff. It would be good to know where some of these other ideas got their start, and how they developed along the way. Clearly there has been a lot of parallel development and cross pollination occuring over the past decade as international interest in spey has grown. We see a lot of vigorous debate here on speypages about Skagit lately, and we've been part of other debates in the past, and I think your reference to Jock Scott is an important one, for he noted that salmon fishing was the source of much controversy in the intro to Fine and Far Off and I'm certain he would not be surprised to find that the debates rage still.
 

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Hi Dana: Great idea to put line development into a historical perspective. I think we should remember that Al Buhr's SA Mastery Spey line preceeded the Windcutter and Accelerator by a year or two, and was the first commercially available "modern" weight forward line (1992-1993). It is also my recollection that the Mid-Spey debuted sometime after 2001, but I can't remember exactly.

Where would you chronologically put the short head Scandi style lines (Vision, Loop, Guideline, etc.)? I know that Per was fishing commercially available shooting heads from Guideline back in 2000-2001...

Malcolm: With regard to Ian Gordon's original Jetstream, this was the line he cast at the first Musto that Steve and I went to (where we finished 1, 2, 3). The original Jetstream had a head length of 60 feet (and in my opinion, is still the best casting short head available). The XLT 9/10 that we used had a head length of 112 feet, and was debuted in 2001, cast at the Musto in 2002. The next year, Ian developed longer head Jetstream versions for Jimmy Jack. As Ian and I are good friends since the first competition, he doesn't mind sharing that his inspiration for his longer head lines was the XLT.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Way!

Did the Mastery Spey pre-date the Wulff, or was it after?

I'm not sure when the Scandinavians actually started to have their shooting heads manufacturered. I think you and I met Per around the same time, and he was using LOOP's Adapted shooting heads back when I met him, but I don't know if those were early versions or if those lines had been around for a while. I think Goran started cutting up DT lines in the 60s and 70s to develop and refine his underhand technique, but I don't know who started to make dedicated shooting heads available to the consumer or exactly when that was. I'm guessing LOOP when they got rolling back in the late 80s/early 90s. I should ask Christer about that.
 

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loco alto!
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the midspey debuted summer/fall 2000, recorded in the archives.

Many of us were asking RIO for a line longer than the Windcutter, without the unusual taper attributes of the Accelerator. Marlin at RIO sent several of us "Accelerator" upgrades early in 2000 to lengthen our Windcutters. The Midspey design emerged from the feedback, and was released fall of the same year.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Steve! I remember that! I was casting on the Skagit with Hogan and he had these funky extended Windcutters that were super secret stuff and he let me try them. I thought it was a good idea and it looked like RIO was getting ready to make these available. These became the MidSpey.

The archives are a great resource aren't they? Especially since so much of the stuff that's happened since 2000 has been recorded there. Once again thanks to Sean we have that stuff here and it wasn't lost to us when we moved off the original ISC site.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #12
I talked with both Christer and Goran at LOOP today. Goran started cutting DT lines for use as shooting heads with two-handers back in 1960. He marketed these custom lines through the 60s and 70s, then when he, Christer and Tony formed LOOP they had the lines custom made for them by 3M; this was in the 1980s. Since then Goran has continued to refine his shooting head systems.

I haven't heard of anyone claiming to have done anything like this with 2 handed shooting heads prior to Goran, and since Goran is widely considered in the community to be the pariarch of modern two-handed fly casting with faster action rods and shooting heads, it seems safe to say that he led the way and continues to have a significant influence on modern casting styles.

When I interviewed Dec Hogan in 2000 he told me he first got really excited about two-handers when he saw a Goran Andersson demo on the Skykomish back in the late 80s or early 90s when Goran was collaborating with Sage on the early European action Sage rods. Dec said that Goran's shooting head systems made more sense to him than long belly DT lines, and that his experiments with sinktip heads were in part influenced by applying what he saw of Goran's approach to the demands of PNW winter steelheading.
 
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Thats a bit interesting, but Dan Blanton has a story about sunset woven lines used in competition before 1940 and the first real shooting head used for fishing was 1946. A bloke called Lex Wedlich cut a DT line in half in 1947 to make a shooting head and caught fish on it.
According to history a guy called Marvin Hedge first used a woven shooting head for competition casting in 1930 and a number of casters including Jim Green used these woven heads until 1946 when Charles Barfield used on for fishing,which started a revolution. The introduction of plastic came out in the 1950's
In any case prior to the invention of plastic ALL lines were woven silk and were treated with a heap of junk to make them float or sink. Sunset line and Twine made these lines in the USA. Who made them elsewhere is a mystery, to me anyway.
I'd be interested in Goran unloading his history bit on this site, because I'd really like to get the story straight, form both sides of the planet.
I used a chopped WF 5# as a shooting head in 1967 and have used nothing else but shooting heads since that time.
I am rather peeved that my introduction to DH overhead casting, and the DH rod system itself came so late in my fly fishing life, because its a marvellous system, beats 9 foot technology to pieces. Its also interesting that this thing, DH overhead casting should come from Scandanavia. My first DH rod was a 15ft Talon and my next, a present from Loop, a 12'4" Blackline came second.
Now I don't own 9 footers. But I do own a 8'6" 2 weight VBG. Max
 

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Great Post!

Dana,
Getting this information while almost everyone is still alive is terrific! And those in Europe that aren't, were personally known to Malcolm!

Tim Rajeff told me of Jimmy Green's work with high grain weight shorter lines, among his many accomplishments, and hopefully one of his associates can fill in here.

Did Hugh Falkus do line work?
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Dana,

What about Mike Maxwell's modified DT lines where he cut the front 4'-6' off the line and then spliced in the front 15'-20' of a DT one to two sizes smaller to the line. I remember hearing Maxwell talk about this producing an "extended WF front taper on the line that improved castabilty and turnover, expecially when a sink tip was looped or spliced in as the front section of the line. I think he was doing this back in the late '70's or very early '80's. I seem to recall Jim Vincent telling me this was the inspiration for his Accelerator spey lines.
 

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Way, I spoke breifly to Ian today, and he confirmed that the line he used when he won the Musto was the early Jetstream with a head length of 75 ft, not 60ft. He was using basicly a fish set up, 16 ft rod and 75 ft line.
 

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Flytyer has quicker fingers than I, Mike Maxwell should be included some where in the history of line development.
Leroy...................
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #18
I agree that Mike deserves a place in the history of line development, but my own criteria was commercially available lines (although I didn't mention this--my fault). Did Mike market his lines? If we want to include custom tapers (and I see no reason why not), then we would want to add Mike, and Derek Brown, and Harry Lemire and Mike Kinney and Jim Green and all of the PNW guys who were cutting and splicing custom lines in the 80s, and so on...this would become a pretty big list!

Vincent has always credited Mike for inspiring the Accelerator, just as the Windcutter grew out of the PNW custom line experiments.
 
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