The Other Hand in Spey Casting

A well loaded rod is achieved through the use of both the top and bottom hand in a well executed two handed cast!

Frozen, snowed in and off my first Trade show of the season in Boise. I settle back into the chair in front of my computer, getting ready to talk more about the wonderful journey of Spey casting. So much is in a name, as from the words of Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”. I agree with the smell, but the mind’s image is what would change with a different name. Here in the big egocentric US of A. we call casting that uses two hands Spey casting, even if it is with a single handed or switch rod. 95% of the rest of the world gives this motion the name double handed casting. Double handed casting, Two handed casting, and Spey casting…Some of these names help to give a clue the need number of hands/arms it takes to produce a…Spey cast.

The stopping of the rod in the forward stroke being demonstrated nicely here is what transfers the power used to make the cast into the speed and propulsion of the line.

He in the PNW and almost everywhere in our wonderful country I have heard the same nomenclature for the descriptions of the power produced by the “bottom hand of the cast”. I have listen to this and even bought into this for a while…until I really looked at the forces needed to produce a double handed cast. What came to light was that, no matter the length of rod or line system put on the rods, I still need the help of both hands to produce the EASIEST most REPEATABLE cast I could. In fact part of my two handed casting presentation deal with the fact that the decent cast can be made with only a hand on the top grip, and were again produced by placing both and on the bottom grip. This showed me that either hand can be used to make two handed cast but when both hands had a fluid cohesion, the rod followed a better path and was easier to move and stop the rod in the appropriate positions, and was easier to make changes to the cast without over working both mentally and physically to try these new ideas out.

 

A good example of the hand position at the completion of a two handed cast when a good stop is made. The top hand would not be that far out if the bottom hand had not come in and vica versa.

Now I am not saying the the bottom hand is not needed, or the top hand is the answer to all problem that deal with the forward stroke or key position of the cast. I am saying that either hand can produce good cast but both need to work together to make it better for the caster. I have notice that the stop needed in the forward stroke of the double handed cast, has more bearing on loop shape and power transfer from the D-loop into the forward stroke. The casts made with just the top hand were possible because the stopping of the rod made the power applied in the forward cast applicable to make the cast successful, same phenomenon happened  with just the use of the bottom hand. Stopping the rod…Just like a single handed cast made the cast possible. When both hands we used to make the cast and stop, less physical energy was need and a better feel was received back from the rod at the completion for the cast. Similar to those felt went hitting a baseball or golf ball solid, the feedback was instant and rewarding.

This man uses both hands in his casts!!! Mastering this has help make Gerard Downey the finest double handed caster to even walk on the planet.

Now I know about a million other things can go wrong during the cast, but I believe if you go out and just concentrate on making a clean stop in the forward stroke and worry less about what hand you used during the cast, you made find it becomes easier. Even a little easier is an improvement in my book. Lastly remember that the stop of the forward cast should as in single handed casting happen at 10 or 2 based on side of the river you are on. Don’t be afraid to get back to me with questions or experiences with your casting!!! Thanks and enjoy.

The Binary Language of Steelhead Fly Fishing

The long but anticipated connection.

The long but anticipated connection.

Steelhead, oh Steelhead….What a crazy fish. Might drive a person crazy, I know I already am. For the past two years thing is the Steelhead world have been a bit tough. Sometimes it has seemed luck was the only real way to find any success. Of course having fewer fish does not help, but there is more to it then that. The pursuit of a completely reactionary anadromas rainbow trout, who is turn off and or put down by any and seemingly everything. The water is too hot, the water is too cold, the sun is in there eyes, the water is off color, the water is too clear, the barometer is changing, full moon phase is in effect, too much angling pressure, you pick the one or common ones you hear or have used. To think any of us are deserving might be another pipe dream.

Even hatchery fish have their days where the stars align.

Even hatchery fish have their days where the stars align.

On the list of fish species that are difficult to catch on a fly, steelhead might not make the top ten. I would wager that Permit would be the top of most lists. Permit are even more crazy is that those fish are actually actively feeding. Now for the reality of the Steelhead picture to take hold, Steelhead are not really returning to the rivers to feed. The animal may not even have a clue other than hormonally or chemically they feel the call of ancestral past to push them to swim up river. Now  from the anglers view, The Steelhead needs to be in the taking mood the day I am going to be there, and be in the runs I fish, and find my fly and eat it because I drove here. Not be mean or break some peoples pride, but it seems like to fish are responsible for doing a lot of the needed work. As a guide my job is to facilitate the amount of variables and help to connect the angler to the fish, again I rely on the Steelheads reactive presents.

One of my favorite so called reasons for Steelhead not to eat flies.

One of my favorite so called reasons for Steelhead not to eat flies.

So with all this positive information I am writing down I have more to say. The only reason some of us know the past couple years have been off is because we have seen and fished in good years. We learn good from bad based on experience and after a couple days with the wonderful Peter Hayes. A fellow guide and great caster who told asked me if I knew what an experience was? Telling him maybe not his definition, he then told me “An experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”. After Steelhead fishing for the better part of my lifetime, I can tell you I have had a lot of experience.

A Steelhead hardened angler chooses a new from of ammunition.

A Steelhead hardened angler chooses a new from of ammunition.

Better years will come and great days to follow, but remember your only in control of a couple of things and the Steelhead no matter how many or few might take control of their end of the bargain some day. Until then we are left with days of 1’s and 0’s the binary language of these amazing and highly addictive fish.

As crazy as these creatures can drive us, their beauty and mystery will always bring us back for more.

As crazy as these creatures can drive us, their beauty and mystery will always bring us back for more.

The coolest fly tier I know

Click to close

Click to close

Now I think it is about time to do some blog posts on some of the folks in this wild world of steelheading I find interesting. Now I am not sure how many of you have ever heard of David Nelson, so listen up. He and his strikingly elegant flies are some of the most beautiful and original patterns in have seen in a long time. Fusing classic materials with modern appeal, Dave’s flies move and look like no others!!! Having seen his stuff work first hand and having spent some time with Dave himself, one gets to understand the person and the angler!!!

Click to close

Click to close

Dave started his commercial tying as a custom tier of Striper flies. His saltwater patterns are still some of the best flies going. Has his passions have changed Dave shifted towards the pursuit if Steelhead!!! It happens to all of us! The best part was when his addiction to steelhead happened he brought with him his unsurpassed creativity in fly design. This is good for the rest of us, and for Dave too I guess, lol. If Dave’s flies were paintings they would encompass a time frame from Da Vinci to Warhol. The secret is getting a hold of his patterns… Dave keeps to himself and buying does take a bit of time, but well worth it. So you can check out his website http://www.squimpishflies.com/mainpage.htm If for nothing else but some fresh ideas as to what modern steelhead flies can be!! enjoy

Click to close

Click to close

The last thing I can tell you about Dave is he is just a great person!! his love of speyfishing rivals my own! Cant wait to fish with you again brother!!