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· chrome-magnon man
5,373 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day One

A Great Day on the Bay for Spey! Sunny and windy (a following breeze on the ponds) until 4pm, then wind and rain.

Lots of rods and lines flashing around the Golden Gate Casting Ponds. The casting competition will be very exciting! Gordon Armstrong (22 years old) with Carron is impressing the heck out of everyone with his consistent 50yards+ single speys. This gent seems to be able to pick up any rod/line combo and make it sing!

Great to finally meet Willie Gunn; his choice of single malt is exceptional.

· Registered
2,100 Posts
No qualifying round

Club management decided against a qualifying round. Twenty-three competitors begin Sunday morning, April 23, at 8:30AM. A morning start time will avoid the significant afternoon winds.

It is interesting for us mere mortals to watch the world's longest casting Speycasters dealing with swirling winds--sometimes winning and sometimes losing.

I second Dana's pleasure at meeting Willie Gunn -- a real joy, as it was to meet Dana, another gentleman and super caster.

Kush and Juro are here, as part of the CND team. Kush throwing long lines, Juro wet wading and throwing long lines. Carron has a large contingent, including the company owner.

The Scots have definitely provided the color, with fine casting and traditional garb. Friday night's dinner showed Greg Scott can belly dance with the best, and receive a tip for his efforts. How I wish we had a video to post.

A close second prize for color at Friday's dinner was provided by Francoise of Team Loop, competing for the belly-dancing prize with his rendition of the Spey caster's belly dance.

Peter Anderson, an 80-year-old gentleman from Scotland, was by himself worth the price of the trip. He casts a mile, single- or double-hand and has very firm, and logical, opinions of correct technique and proper tackle design. I learned a ton from Peter, and hope our paths cross many times in the future.

There has been ample time for testing rods and lines provided by vendors, and it is often a challenge to find a piece of water to stand along side of, or wade into.

Today's demonstrations were outstanding. Steve Choate and Way Yin with a fine program explained and demonstrated physical principles that one cannot find in a book.

Simon Gawesworth, Mister Smooth, gave a fabulous presentation, including material on Skagit heads and his new, advanced double Spey cast. Simon makes it all look easy, and his humor keeps an audience in good spirits. There is no better.

Chris King, a Northern California guide, FFF Master Instructor and Two-Handed Instructor, spent almost his entire program Spey casting with a nine-foot five-weight single hand rod. A superb program. I am going to seek Chris out to learn more, and consider Chris California's secret Spey weapon.

Al Buhr spent his time demonstrating practical fishing casts that I never dreamt were possible. If any of you have the chance to see Al Buhr cast, run--don't walk to get front row seats. Al is a superb caster, and is one of the key individuals in the development of a standard Spey line rating and creating FFF's Two-Hand Instructor Certification.

Scott Mackenzie, Mr. 59 yard Spey cast from the last Musto competition, demonstrated his techniques and shared a secret or two, even in the presence of his competitors. Many thanks Scott!

Stennar [?] of Norway gave a fine program with both single- and double-hand rods. He is a Scandinavian style caster using shooting heads and running lines. What a pleasure to it was to see the ease with which Stennar casts, and learn his methods.

Mr. Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club, Mel Krieger was present, and was kind enough to offer advice that solved an overhead casting dilemma.

It's really true when I say that I wish you all were here.


· Registered
2,095 Posts
A great day at Speyorama

I was there most of yesterday, and it was a great learning experience.

The main reason for my trip was to watch and listen to Ed Ward re Skagit casting. Unfortunately, he didn't make it.

However, thanks to RPhelps, I got a great one on one lesson for about an hour yesterday afternoon. Thanks Ray for sharing your expertise and time with me.

I got to talk to Simon and Juro. Simon and Juro are great ambassadors for the Spey Kingdom. Besides being experts who love the two handed rods, they are both real gentlemen.

Bob Meiser is now like a West Coast celeb. He had a huge table/booth and a ton of people around him and his table/booth the entire day. A rep for another rod company noted that Meiser had a large group of his Groupies at this meeting.

I got to meet in person, Chris Andersen (He spells his last name, wrong) with Sage Rods. I borrowed Simon's Skagit 450 to use with Chris/Sage's 6126 instead of the WC 8910 Chris had. That rod and 450 Skagit was the combo that Ray Phelps used in his instruction with me. Ray was effortlessly threading the needle between other casters out to 60 to 100' with his casts. Then, I took the 6126 with the 450 Skagit back to Chris Andersen, and he showed us how to Skagit using the Circle C. After a few warmups, he was effortlessly casting the piece of yarn most of the length of the casting pool. Everyone, who used the combo was truly impressed. Earlier, another member from Sacramento had tried the 6126 with the WC and was somewhat impressed. I handed him a TCR 8123-4 with the Rio Skagit 550. He and the rod/line combo lit up, and he was doing some great casting in a tough situation with tall trees and bushes on his backside of the pond. It was love at first cast. Now, I'm probably in trouble with his wife.

Speyorama is truly an international event. You could hear different accents all day. Of course the Scots were heard, so were the Brits with their Devon/Cornwall accent, Skandas, and Japanese. I believe that I heard a couple of Russian casters talking.

Everyone seemed to be having a good time watching, trying different rods/lines and just talking to others suffering from two handed rod addiction.:chuckle:

· Registered
2,100 Posts

Today, Sunday April 24, 2005, San Francisco's GGACC's last day of Spey-O-Rama, began overcast and threatening rain. Fortunately for competitors, the club decision to hold competition in the morning insured winds were not a competitive factor in championship results, and all appreciated that forecast rain did not materialize.

The official name of the event is the 2005 Jim Green Memorial Spey Casting Competition. Jimmy Green, recently deceased, was the GGACC’s seed of Spey casting. He brought two-hand casting to the world’s finest casting facility and its members, and together with Al Buhr of Salem, Oregon, and others, developed lines, methods and tackle that deeply influenced western North America Spey casting.

Jim Green is the god of San Francisco bay area two-handed fly-casting, and his philosophy of holding real world fishing condition competitive events dictated the rules here.

Nelson Ishiyama, the event chairman and long time Jim Green compadre, briefed the competitors on the rules and goals of the competition. Respecting Jim Green’s philosophy, this was NOT AN EVENT FOR MUTANT POND CASTERS. [God, I love that phrase.]

Some of the rules that made this event comparable to fishing situations:
- The best of three casts was scored in each of four conditions, twelve casts.
- Three casts from a left boundary, over the left shoulder, with an approximate 40-degree change of direction [COD].
- Three casts from a left boundary, over the right shoulder, with a 40-degree change of direction.
- Three casts from a right boundary, over the left shoulder, 40-degree COD.
- Three casts from a right boundary, over the right shoulder, 40-degree COD.
- Contestants wading in water about 3-feet deep.
- Using a GGACC supplied fly, quite large, very visible and well greased to prevent sinking.
- With two barriers behind the casters: the pond wall 30-feet behind [a 2-foot 45-degree sloping wall], and a “police tape” barrier attached to sawhorse type construction barriers 40-feet behind the casters, about 4- to 5-feet above the water. There was no penalty for hitting a barrier, other than it destroyed the cast.
-There was a two-minute warm-up/preparation time, followed by six minutes to complete the twelve casts.
- Maximum rod length: 15-feet 1-inch, made by a recognized manufacturer.

The rules made this event’s results [distances] meaningful to real-world fishermen.

The Scots ruled! Following are results.

1. Scott McKenzie, avg. of four casts 132 feet
2. Gordon Armstrong, avg. 130.5 feet
3. James Chalmers, avg. 117.25 feet
4. Ian Gordon, avg. 116.5 feet
5. Andrew Toft, avg. 116.0 feet
6. Mariusz Wroblewski, avg. 115.5 feet [home GGACC]
7. Steve Choate, avg. 113.75 feet
8. Gary Scott, avg. 112.0 feet [from Manchester, England “emigrated” to Scotland per Peter Anderson], the best belly dancer in all Speydom, and a heck of a fine caster.
9. Al Buhr, avg. 110.75 feet.
10. Bill Drury, avg. 110.25 feet.
11. Frank Chen, avg. 110.0 feet [home GGACC]
12. Jay Clark, avg. 109.25 feet [home GGACC]
13. Simon Gawesworth, avg. 109.0 feet
14. Tyler Kushnir, avg. 108.5 feet
15. Juro Mukai, avg. 107,5 feet
16. Hiroshi Okada, avg. 106.5 feet
17. Brian Niska, avg. 102.75 feet
18. Knut Syrstad, avg. 94.0 feet
19. Malcolm Newbould [aka Willie Gunn—the Scottish stallion], avg. 90.25 feet
20. Francois Blanchet, avg. 89.0 feet [a close second in dancing to Gary Scott—you had to be there Friday night!]
21. Way Yin, avg. 86.0 feet
22. Takashi Shimosawa, avg. 85.25 feet
23. Stener Skogmo, avg. 80.25 feet

1. Donna O’Sullivan, avg. 80.0 feet [home GGACC]
2. Michelle Shin, avg. 66.75 feet [home GGACC]

To say this was a tough event is an understatement.

Following the competition a series of presentations began. Mr. Speypages, Dana Sturn, presented a chronology of his casting evolution from Hugh Falkus’ roundhouse style, through Derek Brown/Simon Gawesworth modern methods, to a tennis/caster’s elbow mandated movement to the underhand method. It was great!

Bottom line: this is a must event. The discipline of a competitive event focuses attention on performance of people, tackle and technique. It was surprising that attendance was not higher.

· Here we go again!
620 Posts
Pretty cool gathering.

Spent Saturday and part of Sunday at the Speyorama. Nice facillity in a beautiful place and a great group of folks.

Highlights for me were:

The people!! Meeting Dana, Kush, Juro, Meiser, Sean, Cary Burkheimer and Rob Allen was great. The Gents from Great Britain were a hoot! Bill Drury and Gordon Armstrong were very friendly and helpful and Peter Anderson was an amazing caster, having some very definitive views on how and why rods worked the way they do. Would love to spend time on the water with that gentleman!

The early saturday morning hangovers were fun to watch :chuckle:

The Saturday barbecue! Just about the best BBQ ribs I ever had.

Most fun? Casting the rod Nobuo built especially for the tournament (referred to as the "O'Rama") with the Carron tournament line. (Probably enjoyed it so much because I don't think I was supposed to be casting it :D Just happened to be talking to Kush and Dana when they were throwing it and asked Kush "Hey, you think maybe I could, uh....")

Least fun? Casting in settling ponds :mad:
Took me the better part of the day Saturday to be able to cast at all standing on the 2 1/2 foot concrete ledges over the ponds. Something about that just mentally screwed me up. Kept crashing my D Loop into the concrete all day and trying to overcompensate for the height/angles.

Actually there's nothing wrong with the ponds at all, just a little odd at first with a spey rod. Heard a lot of comments on that. Just made me appreciate the really good casters that much more.

Best rods I tried: The new Burkie 14' 7 weight, the CND 13'4" 6/7 Solstice, Meisers 10 1/2 foot 8/9 switch rod.

Sundays Casting tournament was really fun to watch. Took my wife (who pretty much hates this stuff because I'm so absorbed in it) and she really enjoyed it. The sun appeared and we spent the afternoon watching the waves crashing onto the beach a few blocks from the club. Excellent way to end the weekend. Thanks to the GGACC for putting on this event!

Will post some pics in a couple of days.

· Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
1,771 Posts
To sayt it was a lot of fun is perhaps the understatement of the year.

Bob -

Could you post long casts for each participant (or as Nelson to provide them so you can, etc...)


· #&%*@^# Caster
3,057 Posts
It was really a fun event. Team CND was fun to hang out with as always and was very impressive watching the Scots cast. I learned more over the weekend then I have in the past year. Only took one day of watching those guys cast and an average caster like myself can now deal with the whole head of an XLT. I am so excited by what I learned I was out this morning practicing.

Both the carron lines and Ian Gordons long head lines were very impressive lines as were Ian's new partridge rods. Hands down the best 15' rod I cast at the event. Ian is a top notch guy to say the least. The sunk line lesson he gave me has me thinking about giving it a go next winter. He is a hell of a nice guy to boot.

Team Carron are a bunch of good guys and very dedicated long line casters. That Gordon Armstrong kid can really cast. Still not enough though to catch Scott. It was a close competition and Musto this year should be interesting.

Other rods I liked:

The 16'1 CND solstice is unreal. I am usually a fast rod guy but that thing throws an 8/9 XLT like you wouldn't believe.

The Burkheimer 14' 7 wt was a great little stick. Someone finally has built a true 14' 7 weight.

Meisers 16 8/9/10 was another impressive stick. Looking forward to seeing the 15 footers in the next month or so.

Tim Rajeffs new airflo two hand striper lines on the atlantis are sweeeet.

Like I mentioned earlier Ians new rods as well as lines were very nice. Cannot wait until they are in production.

Throwing almost 1000 grains( 450 grain rio skagit head and 500 grain big boy) on the 1307 T&T. I had a hard time believing Bob Pauli when he told me what I was casting. It was too easy...

It was very nice to finally meet Malcolm (Willie Gunn). Good to have someone keep us casting 'proper' over the weekend :).

Good to hang out with Dana as we rarely see each other. Was very nice to talk technique and cast rods with you all weekend.

Finally thanks the everyone at the GGCAC for hosting. All of you are great folks and very kind hosts. The planning put into this event was amazing.

Already looking forward to and practicing for next year.


· Registered
3,042 Posts
A big part of the coolness of Spey-O-Rama is that Spey-World converges on one place. This gives the chance to see friends that we see only at events or on-line. It is awesome to hang-out.

For Team CND it is the same, this is one of the few places that we all are together - what a blast!

From left to right we have Nobuo Nodera (Japan), yours truly Vancouver BC), Bill Drury (Scotland), Tak Shimosawa (Japan) and Juro Mukai (Boston).


· chrome-magnon man
5,373 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It was a great event! Sorry for not posting again earlier but I have been seriously under the weather since Sunday night and this is the first time I'm well enough to manage a little keyboard time.

Some highlights for me included:

  • watching Knut Syrstad throw 162ft on his Saturday night practice session
  • talking with Stener Skogmo
  • Gordon Armstrong's incredible casting
  • Scott McKenzie's relaxed, solid championship performance
  • casting with Ian Gordon and Bill Drury
  • meeting John Till, Bob Pauli and all the folks from GGACC
  • as mentioned, hanging out with the singular Willie Gunn
  • watching parts of The Art of Speycasting dvd produced at last year's Spey-O-Rama
  • meeting so many of the speypages regulars and sponsors

Without doubt this is one of the world's premier spey events and well-worth the trip for anyone interested in the double-handed fly rod.

· chrome-magnon man
5,373 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
10 Best Casts at Spey-O-Rama

Nelson Ishiyama has compiled this info from the 2005 Spey-O-Rama casting competition. He has also added the following background info:

The competition was a very tough test. The shorter distances may be a little deceiving when compared to those achieved in more traditional speycasting events. Some of the reasons why excellent casters who have made much longer casts in other events did not cast as far at this one are:

•They had to cast with the line starting from “downstream” on their left as well as “downstream” on their right, and in both situations had to cast over their right shoulder and their left shoulder (simulating wind from both directions).

•They were standing in hip deep water, not on a platform.

•Rods were limited to 15’1” rather than the longer lengths allowed in other events.

Those rules were intended to simulate fishing conditions rather than to generate huge casts. Jim Green, was a great tournament caster, but also pushed successfully to introduce casting games that were more like real fishing into official casting tournaments. His aim was to create casting events that could be done with equipment that could be bought at the store by Joe Average rather than exotic gear that was available only to tackle industry and tournament casting insiders. He also favored contests that simulated fishing conditions. That’s what we tried to do too..

Nelson Ishiyama


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