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Discussion Starter #1
How did you get started with the Spey Fishing Bug? I'll start:
Fishing one of my favorite run on the Deschutes River in my single-handed days, I was presented with a fallen tree in my back cast area. I really wanted to cast to three rocks that had rewarded me in the past. What I did was dump the line up stream and waited for the line to float down so I could roll cast the fly out (I didn't know at the time I was doing a very crude spey cast with my 8100 Saga single-handed rod). That incident got me thinking: How could I present a fly with limited back cast area? A video by Derek Brown, spey claves, speypages and local spey guru got me on the path of passion, obession and now addiction to any form of two-handed fly presentation. Now I practice daliy, attend spey events and even started a spey casting club. Addidididction, Addication, addict. Klem
ps. I did have a take but I was thinking (hard for me): How in the world was I going to make a presentation cast with no back cast room? The fish jump and I stood there thinking "SLACK" from a POOR roll cast. The Steelie just laughed at me and swam off. That ticked me off and that's probably when my spey journey really began.
 

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Relapsed Speyaholic
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Great question Klem.

For me I owe it to Bob Arnold, author of a couple great books on steelheading. I had been swinging a 10' 8 weight for several years for winter fish. Bob was speaking at a local shop and in one of his books had written fondly about one of his friends who had passed on. The guy happened to be my wife's great uncle and I had "inherited" much of the old guys supplies and flies so I drove up to talk to Bob and give him some of the flies. That night, Bob went on and on about how much easier on the body a doublehander was. Later, after I got home, my wife was quizzing me on how it went. I mentioned the doublehander discussion and she said that I should look at getting one. That was many, many rods ago and I'm sure by now, she regrets giving me that push to pick up my first. :D
 

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SRO Direct Dealer
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578 Posts
My Path to Spey

My wife and I were in Poulsbo shopping for antique furniture when I saw the Northwest Angler sign. It had been over 30 years since I had fished so I suggested we go in a see how equipment had improved. While I was receiving information on fly fishing in general and the benefits of the two handed rod my wife picked up information on Steelhead fishing classes and a Bed and Breakfast. For my birthday she gave me a two day Steelheading class and a weekend for us at the Bed and Breakfast. I told her she had no idea of how much money she had spent. The weekend was just the beginning.

Sunday afternoon at the end of the class Troy gave a short demo and discussion of Spey casting. I thought "Spey casting may allow me to get back on the river. I have two bad knees and wading deep is in my past.

A Spey casting class from Kaufman's and I was hooked. A day on the river with Steve Choate and many hours with Aaron have turned an interest into an addiction. Last week my wife said "My you sure have a lot of reels"

Rich
 

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Junkyard Spey
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I had been fishing shooting heads for everything since I read an article by Dan Blanton in 1979. About 1999 I decided I could fish a lot better with a multi tip line. This makes no sense now but it did then. In searching the web for info on this I found an article by some guy named Dana Sturn. The article was Dana's "Winter Line" article but it had some info that I was able to use. At the top of the page was a picture of this Dana guy with a two handed rod. I found some more info on Dana and one day stumbled on to a site called the "International Spey Clave". Since reading about fishing is more fun then working I started reading the posts. I remember reading about another guy named Aaron Reimer that had a virtual spey shop. All of this was pretty interesting so I decided I needed a two hander. As I was BROKE at the time I was trying to figure out how to get a two hander and in more searching came across the "Steelhead Site". There were some guys on there talking about building spey rods from pieces of other rods. I had a barrel full of rod parts so I decided "what the Hell, I can do that and the "Junkyard Spey" was born. I saw this guy online named Marlow that seemed to know something and I e-mailed him and he kindly replied. I got enough info to build a workable line (41' of DT10F and a piece of Cortland peach WF5F running line and I was off.
1 1/2 yrs later I got a really good deal from Silverdoc on a 14' 9/10 St Croix and the rest is more or less history. I think being the owner of a tiny spey tackle shop makes me an spey addict but as Fred Evans says "life is good".
I have met a great many super people connected to spey fishing and I'm having a Hell of a good time. Thank you Dana!
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Well it all started about 2 1/2 years ago with this thread:

http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/showthread.php?t=7564

It is funny I had been helping Dana with the site for about 6 months before I really got into spey casting. Took a while to get it through my thick skull.

Although, it really started 6 months before that post, at least in my head. Was fishing with Juro , Tyler and Brian Lencho on the Sauk and I was using a 10' 8 weight. By the end of the day my shoulder was sore and these guys were still throwing lasers across the river. I vowed to never cast a single hander for winter fish again. Juro showed me some casts that day with his custom Kinney Head and I knew that is how I wanted to fish. Things really started to click when I went to Fred's charity clinic and got some instruction from Way Yin and Steve Choate. That really opened things up and improved my casting 1000%.

I have only been at it a couple years and seeing it has taken Kush 1 1/2 years to get good at skagit casting it is no wonder I am still a hack :) It is fun though and one of these days I will find some more time to practice. For now my practice time has been strictly fishing time but I get around.

Probably the most important thing has been this site and the guys I have met through it. Truly some of the best people you would ever want to know. Here in the PNW we are very lucky to be in the center of the spey casting boom. It really cuts down on the learning curve with so many knowledgable and helpful folks around. It was really cool at the spey days just to see how far everyone has come with thier casting over the last couple years. A testament to all the hard working folks out there helping us newbies along.

-sean
 

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Steelhead are cool!
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572 Posts
It was fall of 98' I think and I was fishing the Sno. for Sea Runs and Brian (highlander2) Styskal showed up with his 8150 all taped up with masking tape.Watching him cast that long ass rod changed everything for me.
Thanks Brian!!!
 

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I've been hard core fly fishing for 30 or so years and have taught beginning and advanced classes for around 15 years. One of the videos I showed during class had a short segment showing Jimmy Green casting a two handed rod. I thought it looked kinda fun but did not see that it would interest me much. A few years ago 3 of us drove up to BC to fish the Skeena system. One of our group was just getting into two handed rods and was a very good friend of Evon Chouinard (of Patagonia). Evon happended to be up there when we were and spent a week with us essentially guiding us on his favorite runs. He was using a two handed rod and he definitley was catching most of the fish and he kept talking about the benefits of line control. Actually the two of us using single handed rods were about the only two guys I saw up there not using a two handed rod. So I bit the bullet on returning home and got a spey rod and wow did I get hooked - what a great new toy and new technique to try and master. For th first year I tried to pick it up on my own, watching all the videos. Then I signed up for the first Rogue River Spey class hosted by Fred and taught by Way and Steve and that got me on my way!!! I go out of my way to cast a two handed rod now even if the situation does not necessarily warrant it. It is just such a relaxing and fun way to spend a day on the water!!! Who needs fish!?
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Who is the "Dana" guy whose name keeps coming up? :chuckle:

In October 1994 (or 1993, I can't remember exactly) I went fishing on the Thompson with my friend Dave O'Brien. Dave caught steelhead and I didn't, and I gave myself a rotator cuff injury double hauling a 10 ft 8 weight...and Dave didn't because he was using something called a Spey rod. So I bought one a few months later and borrowed a Hugh Falkus video. I learned lots, then a lot more when Brad Michael took me steelhead fishing, then a ton more when I hosted Derek Brown in BC in the late 90s.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to cast with some of the great casters and anglers of our time, and have learned much from each of them, but I think that I learn the most from the people I teach. Their enthusiasm is always an inspiration, and their questions always challenge me to develop new insights into how we cast and fish the two-handed fly rod.
 

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Here we go again!
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My beginning was pretty simple and straight forward. I was fishing for steelhead on my home water and came across a guy who was BOOMING line way out across the river. He was a couple hundred yards upstream of me and at first all I noticed was the distance he was getting. Then when I stopped and actually watched what he was doing (while trying to remain hidden so he wouldn't see me gawking) I realized that I was seeing true poetry in casting. I went home and thought about that for a week. Saw the same guy the following week and figured I just had to know what he was doing. I'd never seen anything like it. I approached him and he was very friendly, offering answers and explainations to all my clueless questions (Duh, whas dat?) This guy has been a great friend to me from that day on and helped me through my clueless stage, my gawd awful stage, and to my present "aint too bad" stage.

Thanks Larry! :smokin:

I also got a lot of help and friendship from a great self taught caster, Simon Hseih (i-spey here on the board) and Jeff Putnam, a wonderful instructor and all around good guy.

With all of the discussions, books and videos out today a guy can get a good start on his own, but a good friend or 2 makes all the difference in the world!
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Great thread!

After many years of bliss with the 9'6" 8wt RPL and the SA steelhead taper I bought my first 14ft 9wt in the early 90's after hemmin' and hawing as the craze took hold and my curiosity won out. I put a DT floater on it and headed for my testing grounds on the Cowlitz for summer runs. No sooner than I halfway figured out how to do the cast than BANG! That line control put a fish on the line, cuz' it sure wasn't the casting back then :rolleyes: I brought my new acquisition to the Clearwater Angler's Green River Spey gathering (the first spey clave for me) arranged by Mike Duey and friends in Auburn - it was a great place to try all kinds of rods and lines.

Then winter came and my DT was not cutting it with a tip - so I went to see Mike Kinney at the Swallows Nest. He instructed me in the ways of building what would become Skagit style line, and gave me a few tips for changing my stroke from the DT to the head. No sooner than I halfway figured out how to do the cast than BANG! That sink tip + line control and coverage in high water and improving casting put a winter fish on the line. But it was me that got hooked as I picked up the 1050-4 and 7136-4 plus reels before another season would pass; soon thereafter an IMX 15ft 8/9 4pc.

In a cruel twist of fate I had to move to the east coast in 1995 but the striper fishery kept me busy. I played with all my two-handers in the surf and finally settled on the 8126-3 Euro as my choice, although it was a better salmon rod than striper rod and was discontinued shortly after it came out.

A stroke of luck put me in the good company of speypages founder Dana Sturn, and we put our sites (i.e. the forum) onto the same server for years until they got too big for the same nest just this year. This cooperation re-ignited my spey ways despite being on the east coast and this site has been a major part of my motivation and evolution as a student of spey as it has been for most if not all of us. Speypages has been a huge part of my spey path.

Then in a smoky cabin at a scotch stained table on the banks of a famous steelhead river I spoke with a world-renown Spey rod designer and my interest went from enthusiasm to sheer fanaticism. Today, Nobuo and I are committed to moving CND forward by maturing this young company's operations while keeping product innovations coming at a rapid pace. He sure knows his stuff, that goes for casting and fishing as well as rod design. He keeps me on my casting toes - he is a keen instructor and is quick to help add control to a slipped anchor or correct the angle of the rod at the end of the up-drift.

We are lucky to be able to benefit from the teachings of Simon Gawesworth, Derek Brown, Goran Anderson, and gain insights from hardcore practitioners like Ed Ward, Mike Kinney; watch and listen to the words of champions like Ian Gordon, Steve Choate, Dr.Yin, the Rajeffs; contemplate the studies of scientists like Bruce Richards; get wowed by masters of casting like Knut Systad; or if lucky find great tutors like Dennis Worley to cast and fish with. We can attend Spey Days, Sandy River Spey Claves, and Spey O-Ramas.

Today I enjoy two-handed angling on the beaches and reefs of the seven seas with the Atlantis and get to spey cast on gorgeous steelhead rivers or salmon streams a few times a year, and dream of Spey fishing the legendary rivers of the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Russia. I know I will someday. It's all part of a Spey angler's life - to practice, to fish, to dream.

I truly love to teach casting and will continue to put much time and effort into analyzing, developing, communicating, and sharing knowledge of casting. I consider this to be a large part of my Spey path looking ahead.

But in the end, I am most thankful for friends who will talk Spey casting any time, any place. You know who you are. I am most thankful for those who insist on making o'dark thirty runs to rivers un-named just for the dream of a steelhead or salmon. I guess the best situation is when those who inspire, motivate, challenge or enlighten your casting skills are your friends too.

Forever Spey!
 

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I don't know where I first learned about 2-hand rods, but my desire for one came from my inability to properly fish a pool at my favorite campground on the N. Umpqua. There were both casting and line control issues with fishing this pool.

After getting a blank and building my first rod, things got better. My casting sucked worse then--about 1996--but the line control was a huge benefit. Eventually my double spey got good enough that I could properly fish the area I suspected held fish, and I found out it often does hold fish!

In the early years, I also managed to cast a pair of glasses off my head due to improper handling of slack line on a reverse cast. But I haven't hurt myself lately, and I can now competently cast a modest length of line of either shoulder, and handle both upstream and downstream winds.

I've learned more in the last 2 years via the Spey Pages and this forum than in all the prior years put together.

--Bill
 

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I had wanted to learn how to spey cast for years, but never found anyone to teach me. At the start of 2004, unable to resist further, I started to go to the local San Jose casting pool and got to know a very keen spey caster, Frank Chen. Frank's serious enthusiam and generosity really got me going and with encouragement I started to go to the Golden Gate casting pool, where Frank, Mariusz and others up at the Golden Gate have taught me much.

Since September I have kept a log of my practice sessions and learnings and have become a serious student. Simon Gawesworth's book and the Sandy river spey clave tape have been great resources. I have concentrated on learning the more traditional 'touch and go' style with both hands up and a mid spey line. My left hand with no muscle memory has also been a great tutor to my dominant right hand. There are still many errors and as I introduce improvements it all interestly falls apart for a day or two before progressing a little. Still wrestling with much of it, but loving the journey.

Looking forward to learning more at spey o rama and meeting a number of the folks off speypages.

Barney
 

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In Scotland, it's just what we do. If you want to go fly fishing for salmon - you learn to spey cast.
 

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EAT IT!!!
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Geez, This is interesting. I guess it started out back when I was working in a shop in Michigan, annoyed at the C&D fishery for steelhead which at the time seemed like the only way anyone ever fished. A Scott G (pre Arc) 1308 showed up as a demo in the shop, and I goofed around with it a little, tossing indicators, and generally thinking myself totally superior to the lead chuckers lining the rivers. Of course I barely knew what end of the rod to hold, but hell, It was better than slinging running line and I actually caught a few fish with the mess. Shortly after, I moved to Montana. That first fall, friends of mine were fishing lake runs on the swing and I became an addict. Several of the shop's guides spend the winters in steelhead country and these guys all practiced fishing and casting their two handers on the lake runs in Montana. One trip out west to steelhead fish left me realizing that if you are gonna swing, especially on a big river, a two hander is the only way to go. The first few days I cast I remember screwing up casts so badly and not having any idea why and loving it. It put some of the mystery back into casting and gave me a whole new world to learn. So I took the advice of one of my buddies, got a rod, found this site and started trying to learn how to make the dang thing work. It has been a hell of a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my fishing around here really has cut into my spey fishing learning curve as I only fish the long rods for two months of the year and it has been slow to pick up.
 

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JD
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the web

I was digging around on the net, looking for a deal on a reel I had the hots for. Found instead, a deal on a Sage 9140-4. So. Ca. and Spey rods are not exactly synonomous. Their rivers have concrete beds and are dry most of the year. My only clue to Spey anything had been a very brief introduction by a guide on the Sol Duc.

The purchase of that rod led to this guy named Dana and that article on long lines. Then to the International Spey Casting website. Pretty soon guys were talking of setting up some sort of Spey get together and trying to find a locatiion central to everyone. I knew of the Jimmy Green Games at Steelhead Park but that was north of Seattle. I also realized that due to my location, central did not include me. But possibly somewhere between the Canadian border and California's northern border?????

I knew of the Sandy River and Mark Backmann. I had the book. So at my suggestion of the former, followed by the latter, the Sandy Clave was born. So there I was, looking for accomodations to a thing I just had to attend and knowing nothing, absolutly nothing, of Oxbow Park or the surrounding area.

One of the guys on the board voluntered to pick me up at the airport & put me up for the weekend. He would be bringing his motorhome & drift boat down for the event. This was my introduction to last cast steve,,,,Steve Choate.

I learned a little & met a lot of good people at that clave. Including this fellow who barters "clean sheets and pillows" at his So. Oregon B & B for single malt. :hihi:

Never did get that reel.
 

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Jolly Buddha
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At Skagit Anglers having Brad, Ed, Marlow and Dec coming in and buying equipment; and asking question about what they where doing. Watching one of them buy a 9140-4 and cutting off 6 inches of the tip-top section to get the right action for his lines got me thinking. That was early to mid 90’s
 

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Cool Thread

About 6 years ago I was chasing (Chrome), steelhead, on my favorite local river with a 9' 7wt one hander and 10' poly leaders to try and get my flies down to the fish. When I came around the bend and saw this little skinny guy booming out 100' + casts with what I called a two handed fly rod? He was fishing an area that I new had fish in it but I couldnt fish very well with a one hander because of limited room for a back cast. After standing there watching this guy work this section of the river with this two handed thing I was hooked. I ran down to my local fly shop that a good friend of mine owns and ordered a Sage 9140 and a RIO WC. Everything else is history since that day.... :eek:
 

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In 1996 I was in Kamchatka with WSC's Kamchatka Steelhead Project. When fishing with Adam Tavender on the Utkholok he commented on my casting and said he knew I'd really enjoy double handed rods. I told him that I'd been interested but there was so much confusing information, I didn't know any Spey casters and since upstate New York is a double-handed vacuum that I didn't know where to start. Certainly, I knew that my "home" steelhead river, the North Umpqua, was custom made for Spey casts. Adam told me, not to worry. Give Kerry Burkheimer a call and he'd tailor a rod exactly to my needs. Couldn't have been better advice. I now have 3 Burkies (2 of them Speys) and one Scott 1509 that I built myself.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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My intro to 2-hand rods occured at the 1981 Federation of Fly Fishers Internation Fly Fishing Symposium and Clave in West Yellowstone, MT. To make a long story short, I walked out of the West Yellowstone Convention Center and saw this fellow (Robert Ence) from the UK spey casting with an 18' rod. I immediately thought of many places on Montana's Missouri River on whose banks I lived at the time where a 2-hander and spey casts would be terrific. When I looked into 2-hand rods, alas, I found there were no trout weight ones being made at that time.

After moving to Western WA State in 1991, I went about looking for recommendations of an all-around 2-hander to use for summer and winter steelhead. I got my first 2-hander in 1993, which I no longer own and have acquired several more since then.
 

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Thank you, Jimmie Green

It was in Mel Krieger's second fly fishing video, think it was 1995, that I saw this 'old man'(my age now) standing in this broiling NW river casting these long, beautiful loops. What's he doing!!!!! When Kreiger asked--it was Jimmie Green I found out later---why he'd taken up the two-hander, he said, "It's because if I didn't, I wouldn't/couldn't be fishing for steelhead---my shoulders just won't take it anymore"(to paraphrase a bit). My attendance at the first two Kaufmann courses with Derek Brown in Maupan, and the rest is history. Like a golfer(my former life) who practices a lot and rarely plays, that's my lot here in south Georgia. My practices entertain me, and frequently the people who walk by my practice lagoon and ask me "What are you doing? It's so pretty!" SpeyPage guys watching me might have other comments! It's opened a new world for me. Thanks Jimmie, so many on this board, for Juro's Atlantis, Scott O. and Mike McC's personal instruction, and the fellows I look to meet. A great sporting community.
 
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