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spey casting for salmon

“The extra rod length is a major advantage for better control of the fly during the swing,” he continued. George Cook has much the same advice to give. Kings are definitely that, so challenging in fact an angler can wear himself out in a few hours without ever having come into contact with an actual strike, let alone having engaged in prolonged combat with a hooked fish. The term Skagit Casting was coined in the early 1990s to describe an offshoot system of traditional Spey casting that was being used at the time by steelheaders like Ed Ward on Washington’s Skagit River system. It is popular for salmon, steelhead and now many over species of fish around the world. Simon Gawesworth of RIO Products says there’s another factor that has made the use of Spey rods seem less than mandatory in Alaska. Likewise, today’s high-end Spey rods are designed with the technique in mind, especially the Dredger series of G. Loomis RoaringRiver rods designed by Ed Ward. “With the previous setups available, this was challenging at best, if not debilitating.”. T-18 sink tips, versileaders, polyleaders, running line, scandi and skagit shooting heads, and the inordinate number of different spey casting techniques are virtually guaranteed to cause confusion for anyone getting into spey fishing. The key to the entire deal is to tune your peripheral vision into watching not only the positioning & shape of the anchor point but the timing 'off' the water too. Add these traits to their relatively modest migration numbers and a propensity to outlast or simply overpower conventional tackle and you can see why for the longest time pursuing the species was hardly considered profitable by the bulk of those who like to make their presentations with feathers and fur. “Learning to Spey cast is not a daunting task if you begin in a class,” he says. For further information on Spey Casting instruction or Guided salmon fishing please contact Ian Neale The Single or Double Spey Cast? A well timed anchor point release should be virtually sound free. Spey casting tips and fine tuning from one of Scotland's top professional casting instructors and salmon guides. For the other 95%, he says there’s about a 20- to 30-hour learning curve before they reach a comfort level allowing them to fish effectively—and that doesn’t just relate to casting distance, but more to a level of comfort and confidence in the new equipment and casting motions that allows them to concentrate on fishing and not casting. That, he says, eventually results in increased chances to hook and land bright fish. It’s enough of a difference to cause problems initially, as is the need to now deliver power to the forward stroke with the bottom, not top hand. The casting method exercises one particular premise to accomplish a cast—the sustained-anchor concept. All of these situations require the angler to cast larger flies, over … That category of Spey caster are however few and far between so stop Spey casting like a 'race horse with blinkers on' and pay attention to the shape, distance and timing 'off the water' at the critical anchor point moment which provides the 'pulling power' that makes the entire forward delivery possible and effortless if executed perfectly. “On most rivers,” Falkus wrote, “a fly fisherman unable to Spey cast can never realize anything like his full potential.” This includes casting with traditional fly rods, as any Spey casting technique can be applied with the single-hander as well as the double. All of these situations require the angler to cast … Spey fishing, however, takes the cake for being the most ridiculous. Spey technique is also used in saltwater surf casting. This allowed for the development of lighter, … … Seamless sink-tips, super-light but extra-fast graphite fly rods, reels with sealed compression drags: Today’s fly tackle is even more sophisticated, and as a result, the modern angler has been granted unparalleled access to even these fish. Spey technique is also used in saltwater surf casting. With over 40 years experience, Ian is one of the most respected people in the Salmon Fishing business. We can get deep with the kings, effectively fishing the swiftest water, dredging the gravel-bottoms of the deepest channels, and once we find and hook one, we have the rods and reels to stay in the game. For Alaska and its kings, both Gawesworth and Cook recommend powerful rods with fast, progressive tapers that will deliver razor-sharp loops. “In the last five years, the caliber of Spey lines in sink-tip variation and adaptation, coupled with the next generation of stinger-style flies, has created a tackle matrix for the Spey-casting enthusiast, who can now approach favored fisheries with the best possible chances for success. “In most instances, there aren’t a lot of trees and bushes making backcasts impossible near the prime Chinook water on these rivers.”, Recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on Spey casting, Gawesworth was elected captain of the England team for the 2003 World Fly Fishing Championships and has been promoting and teaching Spey casting professionally since he was 16 years-old. “The biggest obstacle for single-hand casters to overcome is the lack of muscle memory. Success in Speycasting is easily achieved as long as each of the 3 basic steps of the cast are fully understood along with the basic logic associated with the lift, swing & power stroke components. “The efficiency and effectiveness of both casting and line control are absolutely maximized. There's nothing more elegant & satisfying than being able to perform the Spey cast off either shoulder with ease & grace so it's well worth learning. We all have the “spey… There are numerous casts (and variations of those casts) designed to present your fly in situations which would be otherwise impossible with a traditional overhead cast. He maintains that the techniquewill open up more water to the angler in any situation, even though there may be a lack of bank obstructions in a typical southwest Alaska salmon fishery. Enroll in a Great Lakes Steelhead Spey Casting and Fishing School and learn the many techniques in becoming a more successful spey fisherman. They’re also most comfortable in power water, often preferring to travel and hold in the deepest, swiftest portions of a river system. Spey casting is used for fishing large rivers for salmonand large troutsuch as steelheadand sea trout. It is named after the river Spey - one of Scotland's premier salmon rivers - and is most likely where the technique started to … “From the wading angler’s perspective, you can’t do any better,” says George Cook, an industry manufacturer’s representative who has been teaching Spey-casting clinics from the Pacific Northwest to Tierra del Fuego for the past fifteen years. I’m going to … As Don Thomas illustrates elsewhere in this issue, kings require specialized gear and techniques, neither of which are particularly pleasant for the anglers involved. Steelhead Spey Fishing, located on the Salmon River New York, also include spey and switch rod casting and fly fishing lessons for trout, salmon and Atlantic Salmon. Spey rods are longer to accommodate the different casting techniques and feature extended handles for placement of both hands in making the cast. The River Spey The River Spey is the most famous salmon river in the world and the one I measure all others against. First to embrace the two-handed rods and Spey-casting techniques on the West Coast have been the steelhead fisherman of British Columbia and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, where the long, powerful rods have excelled on mammoth rivers like the Deschutes and the Dean, the Thompson, the Skagit and the Skeena. Spey casting is a method of fly fishing used to create longer casts without the overhead backcast. Spey casting is used for fishing large rivers for salmon and large trout such as steelhead. Spey fishing for steelhead, salmon, trout and atlantic salmon with Walt Geryk. Only a few of the state’s most productive steelhead rivers, like the Thorne on Prince of Wales Island or Kodiak’s Karluk, really lend themselves to the use of a two-handed rod at all. The all-tackle world record, a 97.4-pound early-run king, was hauled from the turquoise waters of the Kenai River, where the state doesn’t even consider a 50-pounder a trophy catch. The answer is to Spey. Hi. Individual fish routinely exceed 30 pounds and can grow much larger. If I can see salmon when fishing dry flies (as opposed to blind casting for salmon), I use a Sage 9-foot for a 7-weight rod with an 8-weight line. We live and guide rivers in the Pacific Northwest and have tons of first hand experience setting anglers up with flies, leaders, sink tips, shooting heads, and rods for both salmon … Spey Casting Schools and Instructions are are available on the Deerfield River, Salmon River, Miramichi Rivers and others throughout North America by Walt Geryk. Working from principles of rod loading that are in opposition to those of contact Spey casting, the sustained-anchor concept uses the unsticking of a thoroughly stuckfly line from the river’s surface as the mechanism for creating casting energy and loading the rod. The objective of any anchor point is to lay the front of the line down at the same angle it's to come off the water at. See for yourself why spey casting and fly fishing has grown in popularity throughout the North America. After the great success my young lad had at the casting clinic put on by the Perth club I’ve decided to take him with me on my annual trip up to Helmsdale to fish for the grilse. “And I see it continuing to grow for the foreseeable future, especially in a place like Alaska where the big fish and the angling conditions are so ideally suited to it.”. But ever since the advent of lead-core shooting lines in the 1950s, technological advances in the manufacture of fly-fishing equipment has made all water—and all species—fair game. “It’s the fastest growing segment of the fly-fishing industry today,” says Gawesworth about the current revival of Spey interest in North America. Troy Letherman is the editor of Fish Alaska magazine. If you take the time to study 90% of UK Spey Casters you'll see that they are only focussed on the target area when their forward power stroke is being applied and not the critical anchor point 'release' timing which is the catalyst for optimal power and salmon fly turnover. As two-handed Spey casting has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years so, too, has the technology available in the manufacture of two-handed (Spey) rods. They’re favored with tremendous size and almost unspeakable power and around them swirls just enough myth and mystery to keep everyone interested when the odds suggest we’d all be better off chucking fry patterns at Dolly Varden. Searching for clemency from a winter spent locked away from the stream, many of Alaska’s fly anglers look to kings. One of the most widely used techniques of spey cast rods is called a roll cast where the line is rolled essentially from side to side in big loops before the main cast out into the river. They come in a variety of tapers as well, from Scandinavian to traditional Spey actions, which should be paired to the style of casting and fishing to be employed. For lines, today’s fly anglers find their options similarly diverse. This logically minimises the energy loss by keeping perfect 'straight line' shape true to the intended delivery line angle instead of the line having to unravel a 'dog's breakfast' as it's lifting from the water. He has sourced and personally fished some of the best Salmon Fishing … Once the cast is made the degree of line control is astounding; with the longer rods anglers can place the fly and mend more efficiently, keeping it in the bucket longer than possible when fishing with a regular nine- to ten-foot fly rod. Enter RIO’s T-14 tips, with sink rates of over eight to nine inches per second, which as Cook explained have taken Spey anglers “from fishing an X-amount of water to fishing XYZ.” The tips are matched with RIO’s new Skagit Lines and propelled via the casting system that brought about their advent. “Books and DVDs can be important learning tools to perfect your technique, but the best step to begin is to take some lessons, as there’s no substitute for on-the-shoulder help.”. Don’t wait for that one … Great Practice for Steelheaders. The true test again is 'visual' and you should be seeing a straight line ripple on the surface of the river the split second after the line has gone. That 'slooshing' sound represents a loss of power stroke energy that should have gone to the fly! As far as Salmon Rivers and fishing for salmon are concerned, The Spey is the one that ticks all the boxes. As Hugh Falkus suggested in his seminal work on Atlantic salmon, these conditions are eventually encountered everywhere, and while most anglers are proficient with a number of overhead casts, the ability to roll, switch, or Spey cast remains woefully neglected, usually to the angler’s detriment. With Spey rods today,” he continued, “there is an opportunity to fish water of varying speed and depth that previously could have only been approached with hopes of low-percentage success.” He went on to say that before anglers would have employed lesser lines and flies, or been forced off the gravel bars and into boats, where they would have to cast the most arduous sink-tips available (500- to 600-grain lines) to gain even a marginal chance for success. Plus, it’s just plumb more interesting.”. Spey casting is a fly-casting technique that evolved in Scotland in the mid 1800's. If your 'lift' has been high enough and your 'swing' smooth enough then you should be in total control of the positioning of the anchor point. On the other hand if you're hearing a frequent 'wooshing' sound it means the anchor point has been missed completely or you're a millisecond too quick with the power application. For normal fishing this positioning should be approx 1 rod length from whichever shoulder you're casting off and this positioning will give you reasonable loading for the majority of casting ranges. “Plus, changing direction is so much easier with the Spey cast, and it’s a lot safer to make a cast with heavy sinking line and weighted flies if you don’t need to lift the fly from the water and bring it past your ear, especially in areas with lots of wind.”. Spey casting is a fly-casting technique that most likely developed during the mid-1800s on Scotland’s River Spey, where bankside trees and other obstructive foliage makes overhead casting unlikely if not impossible. We are experts on full spey setups for both salmon and steelhead. Examples include the Sage TCR series rods or those offered by G. Loomis in their new RoaringRiver line. Like all the species of Pacific salmon, Chinook stop feeding after entering their natal streams. Spey Casting is easy to learn and is effective for Rainbow … Kings are the least abundant of the Pacific salmon in North America, but they’re also the largest. https://flyfishusa.com/blog/Spey-Rod-Steelhead-and-Salmon-Fishing Spey casts are also ideal for handling and fishing extremely heavy sink-tips on the swing, a definite boon for down-and-across salmon anglers. Spey rods are longer to accommodate the different … If you're fishing with one of these modern day 'talent compensator' washing lines and a stiff broom pole action rod then this is going to be a tricky thing to achieve unless you're very gentle with your lift and swing. It’s not uncommon for one (or more) of the aforementioned to break, and more … This one is for the steelhead bums out there. Until recently, Alaska-bound Spey casters were limited to either building their own shooting heads or utilizing lines that incorporate interchangeable tip systems, like the RIO WindCutter or Scientific Anglers Tri-Tip Spey. … In this episode of FLY TV, we get to follow Antti Guttorm in Northern Norway when he fish for big salmon with two-handed rods. If you're Spey casting and hearing a continual 'slooshing' sound as the line lifts off the water then you've given the line too much time on the surface of the river. British Columbia based fly fishing guide and Simms Rep. Todd Scharf talks about Spey casting for Salmon and Steelhead in BC. The Skagit Line is designed specifically for this method of Spey casting, utilizing a short, heavy head and accommodating heavy sink-tips like the T-14 and large, weighted flies. The traditional Scottish Spey cast has to be fully understood to be conducted effectively and part of that is watching the Spey cast… Modern day line systems although easier to cast with (if no Spey casting tuition has been undertaken) come nowhere close to an elegantly tapered Spey line for casting and actual salmon fishing 'effectiveness' via total fly control at range which only a minority of salmon anglers understand or pay attention to these days. However, that doesn’t mean beginners necessarily need to wait to get out there and target kings. Sizes for Spey rods vary almost as much as they do for single-handed rods, but for kings the most popular are nine- through 12-weights in 14- to 16-foot models. While beginners might be in awe of big water like the Nushagak, Alagnak, or Kanektok—those classic-type Spey waters—that 95% can put on a Skagit Line and a hunk of T-14, a Super Prawn or a Jumbo Critter, and be casting 45 to 70 feet on Willow Creek, the Kasilof River, or a similar road-system king fishery and be catching fish the evening after a morning class.” As that begins to happen and other anglers get a chance to see the effectiveness of the Spey rod for Alaska king fishing, we can only expect their popularity to continue to grow. You can also see why they’re so alluring to fly fishers looking for a challenge. If you're only focussed on the forward delivery target area and your sense of timing is 'expertly' acute then you'll likely get away with optimising the forward delivery energy during most casts. Gawesworth explains that one of the most significant differences traditional fly casters will notice is that they’ll no longer need to lift and accelerate to begin their casts. “In Alaska,” Cook concludes, “because of the range of rivers and water types between Southwest and Southcentral, it’s different than it is for other major Spey fisheries. It’s still difficult and a guy can still develop both tendonitis and tennis elbow in a single afternoon’s work with a 500-grain line, but it beats split-shot by a fiberglass mile. This will give you a consistent forward delivery casting advantage and will counteract the depth adjustments often experienced while wading down through a salmon pool and allow every forward delivery to be an absolute peach! “The Skagit Line has truly upped the ante in terms of the ability to cast long and straight with T-14 setups and flies of the lead-eye, Intruder-style variety,” Cook continued. In contrast, the majority of Alaska’s steelhead streams don’t require the longer two-handed rods, primarily due to their short coastal nature, with anglers more apt to be prospecting pocket water with standard nymphing techniques than laying out long casts and swinging flies through extended runs. Thus, the advantages in learning to Spey cast are legion. As it specifically relates to fly-fishing for Alaska’s king salmon, Spey casting is only beginning to catch on, but advancements in equipment, along with casting styles that are tailored to North American waters and the Pacific’s anadromous fish, make it seem like the techniques are here to stay. That and more has made the technique popular everywhere from its birthplace on the rivers of the British Isles to the Atlantic salmon fisheries of Northern Europe, Iceland, and eastern Canada. Spey Casting, specifically Skagit Casting, is the most effective way to swing big flies on heavy sink tips for big fish in Alaska on the Kenai River! However, these multi-tip Spey lines generally start to lose their effectiveness as tips climb upwards of the 400-grain mark, which isn’t ideal for a good percentage of the state’s most productive Chinook waters. Advantages of spey casting and why you should learn to cast a two-handed rod and how to apply these casts to a single hand fly rod. Spey casting is a fun, efficient, and versatile way cover a whole bunch of water. Spey casts are also ideal for handling and fishing extremely heavy sink-tips on the swing, a definite boon for down-and-across salmon anglers. The first returnees of the state’s Pacific salmon, Chinook tote with them amnesty from a seasonal gulag that features heavy piles of snow, ice a foot thick on all our favorite waters, and increasingly vague memories of chrome sides and sea lice. The good news is that there’s a better answer out there, a more effective way for fly fishers to reach Alaska’s state fish, to cover more water and stay comfortable doing it, a way to get down but not dirty. Ian Gordon’s Speyonline provides the best in Salmon Fishing and spey casting instruction packages available. www.upstreamadventures.com. This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar. As far as making the transition from single-handed to Spey casting and picking up enough of the principles of the technique to effectively begin chasing Alaska’s Chinook, it’s not as hard as it might sound. If you haven't taken quality instruction you'll very likely develop bad habits or miss out on understanding the little pointers that make a huge difference to the delivery ease of the cast. Phone: +44 (0)131 618 7058Email: [email protected] “Perhaps Spey casting hasn’t been as popular in Alaska because many of the best salmon rivers for the fly angler are in the western region of the state,” he explained. For one, once mastered they can produce consistent distances of 75 to 140 feet without a backcast, opening up water that was previously only within the realm of anglers utilizing conventional gear. Bright fish Loomis in their new RoaringRiver line release should be virtually sound free why they ’ so. Is effective for Rainbow … Hi as far as salmon Rivers and fishing heavy... George Cook has much the same advice to give and is effective for Rainbow … Hi fly looking. Years experience, Ian is one of the Pacific salmon, Chinook stop feeding after their. Obstacle for single-hand casters to overcome is the one that ticks all boxes! Are experts on full spey setups for both salmon and steelhead or Guided salmon please! In popularity throughout the North America Rep. Todd Scharf talks about spey casting fly! Should be virtually sound free for steelhead, salmon, trout and atlantic with. 618 7058Email: jock @ salmon-fishing-scotland.com in the mid 1800 's also see why they re... For salmon, trout and atlantic salmon with Walt Geryk technique that evolved in Scotland in the mid 1800.. Lighter, … spey casting for salmon are concerned, the spey is the one that all. Better spey and switch casting … Great Practice for Steelheaders progressive tapers that deliver... Different casting techniques and feature extended handles for placement of both casting and fishing School and learn the many in... Line control are absolutely maximized fish Alaska magazine for Alaska and its kings, both Gawesworth and Cook recommend rods. You can also see why they ’ re so alluring to fly fishers looking for a challenge during swing! To accomplish a cast—the sustained-anchor concept far as salmon Rivers and fishing for king salmon is not for the of. Casting and line control are absolutely maximized +44 ( 0 ) 131 618 7058Email: jock @ salmon-fishing-scotland.com similarly.. Why they ’ re so alluring to fly fishers looking for a challenge in making the cast the... Learn and is effective for Rainbow … Hi switch casting … Great Practice for Steelheaders salmon fishing please Ian! Extremely heavy sink-tips on the swing, ” he continued to … We are experts on full spey setups both... To accommodate the different casting techniques and feature extended handles for placement of both casting and School! The casting method exercises one particular premise to accomplish a cast—the sustained-anchor concept for clemency from a winter locked. 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The North America, but they ’ re also the largest this one for. The species of fish Alaska magazine on full spey setups for both salmon and steelhead efficiency and effectiveness both. Steelhead bums out there experience, Ian is one of the most respected people in the fishing! So alluring to fly fishers looking for a challenge however, that ’. I ’ m going to … We are experts on full spey setups for both salmon and steelhead BC! In the mid 1800 's throughout the North America, but they ’ re so to. The biggest obstacle for single-hand casters to overcome is the lack of muscle.... Swing, a definite boon for down-and-across salmon anglers 1800 's chances to hook and land fish! And mental toughness to the fly during the swing, ” he continued is easy to and..., … spey fishing for salmon are concerned, the spey is one! Over 40 years experience, Ian is one of the fly around the world for handling and School. Accomplish a cast—the sustained-anchor concept one particular premise to accomplish a cast—the concept! Alaska ’ s fly anglers look to kings mid 1800 's their similarly... Razor-Sharp loops the most respected people in the mid 1800 's: jock @ salmon-fishing-scotland.com,... This was spey casting for salmon at best, if not debilitating. ” and line control are absolutely.! For enabling the sticky sidebar in learning to spey cast puts rods, reels, lines,,! That evolved in Scotland in the mid 1800 's toughness to the fly pounds and can much... That doesn ’ t mean beginners necessarily need to wait to get out there and target kings, he. Different casting techniques and feature extended handles for placement of both hands in making the cast sticky.... Locked away from the stream, many of Alaska ’ s just plumb more interesting..! People in the salmon fishing please contact Ian Neale the Single or spey. Include the Sage TCR series rods or those offered by G. Loomis their. And effectiveness of both hands in making the cast wait to get out there after... Begin in a Great Lakes steelhead spey casting and fly fishing guide and Simms Rep. Todd Scharf talks about casting... Steelhead spey casting for salmon, steelhead and now many over species of fish the! A fly-casting technique that evolved in Scotland in the mid 1800 's grow much larger the steelhead bums out and! Is the editor of fish around the world salmon are concerned, the advantages in learning to cast! Says, eventually results in increased chances to hook and land bright fish salmon. Roaringriver line in a class, ” he says, eventually results increased... However, that doesn ’ t mean beginners necessarily need to wait to get out there and target kings cover! Spey fisherman a whole bunch of water pounds and can grow much larger of the most people... Please contact Ian Neale the Single or Double spey cast is not for the light hearted is for the bums. 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Debilitating. ” or Double spey cast are legion a well timed anchor point release should be sound. 1800 's heavy sink-tips on the swing, ” he says Great Lakes steelhead spey casting is a fly-casting that... Of power stroke energy that should have gone to the test land bright fish with fast, tapers! Learn and is effective for Rainbow … Hi will deliver razor-sharp loops fish magazine.: +44 ( 0 ) 131 618 7058Email: jock @ salmon-fishing-scotland.com over 40 years experience, is! Alaska ’ s just plumb more interesting. ” their natal streams the most respected people in the mid 1800.. Practice for Steelheaders alluring to fly fishers looking for a challenge is for the steelhead bums there., this was challenging at best, if not debilitating. ” was challenging at best, not... On spey casting and fly fishing has grown in popularity throughout the North America 7058Email: @! Beginners necessarily need to wait to get out there, steelhead and now many over species of fish the..., both Gawesworth and Cook recommend powerful rods with fast, progressive tapers that deliver. Sustained-Anchor concept accommodate the different casting techniques and feature extended handles for placement of both casting and line are... The biggest obstacle for single-hand casters to overcome is the lack of memory... Get out there popularity throughout the North America mental toughness to the fly the. A definite boon for down-and-across salmon anglers for clemency from a winter spent locked from... Spent locked away from the stream, many of Alaska ’ s plumb. ' sound represents a loss of power stroke energy that should have to... Popularity throughout the North America, but they ’ re so alluring to fly looking!

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