The Same Old Questions

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

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

Winter has gripped my house and surround area, leaving me to do fun stuff like dig out boats and paper work. I have also been doing a fair amount of reading. I love golf another esoteric invention of Scottish origin, imagine that. I will also say more has been written about golf than will ever be written about Spey casting or even fly fishing for that matter. I have read a few really helpful things and a few things that were unfitting for the problems I have, and a few that I was not ready to learn. The best part is that no matter how old the books I am reading, the books cover the same problems for the average golfer….That’s me for sure but seems odd that with all the people that golf and how  much time that is spent analyzing the golf swing that new problems have not be brought forth by the presentation of different ideas.

Good casts cover the water better!!

Good casts cover the water better!!

There seems to be the same parallel in the world of spey casting. The same problems exist and the same answers are given for the fix. I also love Spey casting, and I am a  bit better than average. I can also tell you that the question I ask about spey casting have changed and are not longer the same as the rest of the casting world. I will also so the the answers that I need to give have changed. The thing I see is that Spey casting is a 3D movement having height, width, and depth. The Spey cast also is alive, well it should be, it has feel and tempo giving it a beat and power its breath. If you casts it pieces stopping at all the point of the cast it is kinda like watching Frankenstein walk, cumbersome and rigid. At the same time watching a runner move can be amazing, never a wasted movement each motion having a reason and purpose, fluid with the flow and never contradicting the other motions. The questions we ask in a single dimensional fashion, and as it has been we receive a single dimensional answer. Is it that the questions are the wrong ones, or are the answers bad???? Well to be honest neither… just like the questions and answers it is more complicated than that. So what needs to happen is that in depth answers and better how to, will in turn bring a progression of the questions that should be asked.

This type of thinking again is not new. This seems to have gotten us to the point we are at now. I think we can go further.  I believe any person can Spey cast. I also believe that for the majority of us that spey cast, beginner to master we all strive to be a little better than we are, not really ever satisfied with what we can done and have done but imagine that more is attainable.  For that small pushing in the bulk of our small but growing spey community we are ready for more info, better answers that will bring about new questions and push together the knowledge base we all desire to know.

Now I am not blaming any person or group of people for where we are now, they all help get us here. That’s right you and I, I personally know that more is too come, and if I still have questions and a desire to know more, I am sure you do too. Now let’s talk about one of these so called “Single Dimensional” questions and answers, shall we.

Crisp cast is picked up easily and clean from the water, correct stroke length not wasted movement or power.

Crisp cast is picked up easily and clean from the water, correct stroke length not wasted movement or power.

 

The first one that comes to mind is long line, long stroke… so does this mean short line short stroke? Seems simple but this is the problem, it is not that simple. I am all for simplicity but a generic statement is not meant to bread inspiration, it just provides a temporary band aid for the knowledge that should be given at that time and place.  I never hear people complain about getting to much information, I do hear them complain about hard to understand and over pontificated explanations. I once excepted the “Long line, Long stroke” answer. Until I went out and really spent some time casting, like 3 to 8 hours a day. This simple question became more complicated when line styles were changed, sink tips were applied, and anchors were being watched. Just like a spey cast as being a series of simple motions creating a “Oscillation Motion”, no movement is difficult by it self but when each motion relies on the one before it the entire picture looks different. To simplify the more anchor one has the longer the stroke need to remove it from the water to perform the cast. At the same time if one has a sink tip, the heavier or longer the sink tip the more energy and motion it will take move this heavier mass. For the last angle the deeper the water gets around the angler the the different timing one gets to make a cast and then the anchor placement, amount of stick and tempo of the cast change. So the simple statement of “long line, line stroke” is not wrong, but not the answer as complex as the question.

Aero Heads loads like a Skagit and is easy like a Scandi

Aero Heads loads like a Skagit and is easy like a Scandi

So the line between information given and information needed becomes grey not black and white. Better teaching ideas and principles will educated and bring about new questions from those willing to learn. For the one example I presented the same critical angles need be looked, for understanding, for teaching, for growth in our sport, for line design, for the future of caster yet to come. I hope the readers enjoy this and start thinking about what they want to know because, your questions are different then mine. Shoot me over a couple questions and lets start being better.

Looking Forward to 2017!!!!

That was the right way to finish a tough season!! Looking forward to a big 2017!!

That was the right way to finish a tough season!! Looking forward to a big 2017!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to an exciting fishing filled 2017!! After being away from life for the past 17 days I am ready to get back at it!!! There are still some openings in all the up coming months but space is getting tight, if you are thinking about booking a trip now is the time! I feel this will be one of AWA’s best years and we here would like nothing more than to get you out on the water!!!

 

Kicking ass in 2017!!!

Kicking ass in 2017!!!

I also want to thank each and every person that climbed in an AWA boat or a casting pond/class with us as well. Your drive to fish with the best and become better anglers in the process is why I do what I do. So with that I promise to work harder and to teach better in the up coming year! Cant wait for whats to come!!!!! Talk to you all soon!!! Thank you all

 

Travis Johnson

The Sound of Silence….. or really quiet any way

A crisp cast coming cleanly off the water with as little noise as possible.

A crisp cast coming cleanly off the water with as little noise as possible.

I sometimes teach a bit of Spey casting technique, sometimes. I watch a lot of Spey casting. I also hear a lot of spey casting. The sounds produced by spey casts can and often tell me what the problem or casting situation might be. On the other hand a well performed cast makes the sweetest sounds of all.

The truth is most Spey casters are visual learners. I said MOST casters. I can say throughout my progressive and continued journey and education in the art of casting, that as I became more attuned with my other senses I learned more about the process of Spey casting. Simply by the sounds produced or not produced, can give insight into speed, tempo, power application, dips, and stops. Seems like a lot, well it is. Josh Lynn a friend of mine described the sounds of  casting in a way that the noises produced by casting should not effect the harmony of nature. Meaning if you can hear your casts over the sounds of the river (John Day excluded), the birds or the wind on some occasions, something’s not right.

Now I am going to do my best at to give a list of the noises made during casting and the reasons for the produced sounds…again doing my best, lol

One of my favorite photos showing the even removal of the skagit line from the water.

One of my favorite photos showing the even removal of the skagit line from the water.

In the lift and set up sound of a nice kiss a “mwah” as the line breaks the water in the setup of any cast is the sound we are looking for. a loud “GUP” is what i often hear when the line and fly are not under control or excessive power is used to early in the lift.

A loud “Whistle” in any aerialized  part of the cast means….,you have no fly. Better take a peek at the end of the line.

The samurai sound of “WHHHHIITHHH WHHHHITHH”The rod slicing through the air in a rhythmic but quick fashion, but never letting the line touch the water to anchor. The rod never really loads well, at the sametime I hot have seen some interesting casts performed in the manner, and every now and again a good one, lol

A slapping sound of “WHAck” the running line smacking the rod and coming tight to the reel with so much force that the line tends to recoil back toward the caster.

A slurping sound like “QUUUUUUUCKKKK”! is the unmistakable sound of way too much anchor.

The unmistakeable whipping of the line, due to to much accelerated speed will result in a thunderous “CRACK” and possibly the removal of your fly.

A weak crashing or puddling of the fly line in the forward cast can have a few meaning the sound ends up the same with a series of “Plop..plop..plop.plop.plop.pppppllllop”. This sounds is affiliated with the fact there was no based for the cast to load off of. Either you blew your anchor and the forward timing was WAY off or your anchor was so long it effected the trajectory of the line so that all the power was used getting the line off the water and  none left over to propel the line anywhere.

An over loud whisper “Wheech” is the soft but ever present sound made by a cast performed in the manner of proper power application and timing. The best sound a caster can hope to hear,….well maybe an old Hardy reel screaming against the pull of a good fish!

A loaded rod with smooth but deliberate power applied makes for quiet and powerful casts!!

A loaded rod with smooth but deliberate power applied makes for quiet and powerful casts!!

These are a few of the more common noises I get to hear in a day at work. I know some of you will relate to some of them. The great historian Herodotus quoted that “Men trust their ears less than their eyes”. In today’s world this was never more true. If the same sounds is made the same technique is being applied. A gregarious Scotsman once told me “Son a Spey cast should sound like the barely whispered sigh of a satisfied woman, if it makes more noise then that you used too much FN power!” As inappropriate as it sounds he in an odd way is correct. The whisper is what we are all after. Hope this helps some of you.

Classic Winter Steelhead!!! Are you ready??

Classic Winter Steelhead!!! Are you ready??

On another note winter trips are filling fast, so shot me those dates boys and girls so we can get you on the water this up coming Winter Steelhead season.