Master Class Spey Camp

Fishing a Mid Belly line on a fine summer day on the Deschutes.

Well I have finally put together a steelhead fishing and deep instructional Spey Camp. I call it a camp only because your not at home but will be based in more a lodge style setting. Day floats on the lower Deschutes river will be a solid mix of steelhead Angling and intermediate/advances instruction. The dates are July 26-28.

A group of anglers getting one on one instruction to become better anglers and casters

The day will begin with a quick but large breakfast spread that should even provide something for the most difficult breakfast goers. The hop in the truck for a short drive to the ramp and off chasing steelhead. Fishing will be the focus until the lunch break.

Fresh July fish are awesome!!!!

After lunch we will focus on building new casting techniques to match each caster in the group. Where it is gaining anchor control of distance, tighter loops, or fishing more types of water. It will be covered in the 3 days on the water.

My box is full and ready.

After the fishing and instruction we will head back to the lodge for some appetizers and drinks with a guest speaker/tier then dinner and rest. So we can be up and ready again to get after it again in the morning.

Kicking ass in 2018!!!

5 spots is all I am going to allow in the class. So that everyone can get what they want out of the class for Angling and Casting. If anyone has interest shoot me an email about signing up for this class. Thanks and let’s get you on the water!!

Making friends with your Spey line steering system.

Notice the top hand position and height in the top of this key position.

As a group, the contemporary ideals of spey casting have their ups and downs. Some of them I can get behind and others i just don’t have time for.  The main thing is our group tends not to look at thing objectively, we go with the flow. I think this is for a couple reasons, number one we don’t get to casts enough to have a few of our own truths and keys, and number 2 is just seems easy to go with the instruction and points that are out there. What ever the real reason for the difficult of the changing of fundamentals and ideas in the Spey casting microcosm one point seems to stick out further then the others. The facts of disproof hanging all around but still most casters fall back to the old belief and never get to make sense of the fundamentals of the casts.

The ugly and over emphasized idea of a bottom hand centric wold in spey casting just does not fit as the upper hand typically more dominate has some of the most important jobs as well. I have witnessed  first hand over the past 15 years the clumsy and narrow in view of  what a bottom hand dominated casting world can become. I am not sure what most of us our thinking placing our top hand only on the rod as a convenience of looking like the guy next to us but not really understanding to true picture of the uses of the most coordinated hand we have. enough of the ranting. let us speak easier and fuller to broadcast an new/old idea that even if it only helps on or two caster was worth typing this out.

Now mid way through the forward stroke the top hand is headed in a straight path toward the target. It has dropped very little in height if at all.

From the moment the hand reaches out to pick a spey rod up the upper cork is grasped. I often watch what hand casters pick their rod up with as a clue to what their dominate hand is. Once again as an instructor I watch as to how a caster handle the rod even doing the smallest of things. when we look at a properly gripped spey rod or even better once we pick up the rod and properly place in our hands we can start to notice a few things. If you have one handy grab the handle section of a double handed rod and lets see what happens. Now with the rod placed in both hand move one hand and the the other. Note the reactions of the terminal end of the rod. Lets make the note that the terminal end of the rod mirrors the top hand, (this is very important). On the other hand the terminal end of the rod does exactly the opposite of what the bottom hand does. With a bit of time spent with rod in hand, not even casting an angler can gain a high level of proprioception about how he can handle the rod in a variety of manners. Again this type of feel and information can be very useful on the water taking the guess work out of your positions and let your mind worry more about the two steps down stream during the steelhead migration.

So we have covered the differences in  how the rod reacts in both and and in some respect how it moves in retro spect to each hand. As it is with a single handed rod the top hand or only hand is our engine, guide, plane, and delivery system. With a doubled handed rod the jobs can be split between the hands. Especially the job of steering or guiding the rod, this job is best performed by the top hand with a nice lose grip. The ability to maintain a straight line with the top hand is undeniable, even more so off dominate side casts. Where the top hand can be watched in eye line go toward the target. The reason that the bottom hand is so overstated is that at first new caster to spey casting tend to push but worse they tend to drop the top hand down as the top hand arm becomes extended. This action not only opens the loop up dramatically but does not allow for the rod path to stay going toward the target line nor does it give a sufficient stop to transfer the energy stored in the D-loop to be directed properly.

The forward stroke complete in this photo, we see that from frame to frame the top hand helped the line and rod path stay on plane throughout the forward stroke. It is also noted that the deviation in top hand height is nominal from frame to frame. clue to straighter flying spey casts.

We also need to remember that the art of Spey casting is 3 dimensional, It has height, depth and length. As single handed casting can be easily diagramed 2 dimensionally, Spey casting can not. The best analogy I can give for a nice top hand path is like tossing a piece of smashed up paper into a near by trash can. Not really a basket ball style shot, but not a baseball thrown either. To do this the hand almost never goes behind the head but stays in front of the tosser to ensure accuracy and look better in front of the co-workers. The paper is lightly tossed and with most of us the hand goes in a straight line toward the trash can with minimal effort. No crazy force is applied at any given point but a gentle follow through of the hand as the paper is made air born. The power used here is almost same same amount used at the highest levels of distance spey casting. Timing and tempo becoming more the secret of power and line speed not how hard and fast either of the hands can move. So next time your out fishing give the top hand a bit more credit and awareness, be surprised how straight those casts can get going, with how little effort.

Big April for AWA!!!!


Not all winter fish are giants, but you work for everyone you get.

Bright Winter fish that showed up late but still made a great showing!!!

Well April has been a great month!! The end of last Month and into this one the Winter Steelhead decided to make their annual appearance. The end of the season saw some great battles both won and lost and a lot of big smiles and renewed appreciation for the reward of chasing these wonderful Winter Steelhead. With mother natures cooperation next year we will be ready to do it all again.

Great Redside taken on a dry Stonefly pattern!!!

Trout fishing is getting better by the day and dry fly action is not far away.

Speaking of Mother nature, she seems to have eased up a bit…. and just in time for the kick off of trout season. With the promise of warmer weather not drier but we can all hope. Just around the corner is the big bug hatch we have waited all damn winter to attend. If you have not booked your dates, wait no longer because you just might not get one. This high water will slowly come dawn and the Redsides will be hungry, no doubt about it.


All things in this photo are perfect!!

Lastly, I must say that this year the Spey O Rama World Championships of Spey casting event was one of the best I have ever been to. I will first thank the club for the presentation of the ponds and how efficiently everything was run. I will thank the clubs volunteers for giving their time and energy to make sure that nothing went unnoticed or covered. Next I tip my hat to every man and woman who stepped foot in that pond on Saturday, the courage needed now a days to even get in those ponds is indescribable. To those who qualified and place it is nothing short of amazing!!!! Never in my casting career have I seen so much casting talent in one place and so many pushing themselves for it. To all the caster now and in the years to come, don’t live in fear come be a part of SOR. Lastly too all my good friends that spey casting was the catalyst of our friendships, thank you. We all push each other and in return push the sport, lets keep pushing!! I hope too see you all and more next year!! This year was a great victory for myself, I wont soon forget it. Here is too World championship number 3!!!

Sharing the stand with a couple amazing people!!!!

lets get you on the water!!!!!