Contemporary Thoughts on Modern Spey Casting

Here we go!!

***Now available to purchase online! Order your copy here ⇒

Well today is the day!! But unfortunately the tangible book won’t be here until tomorrow. I am ready to take orders via email.  If you’re a fly shop interested in carrying the book email me as well.

The book focuses on good fundamentals and how when done correctly Spey casting can be easy and fun. When simple problems occur they can compound. I am sure we can all relate.  I hope you all enjoy the book and learn something from it! Can’t wait to hear your feed back. Thanks

Travis Johnson

A Tip on Tips, and a Line on Lines

A fresh chrome winter steelhead taken on a full floating Skagit and light tip, directly behind someone fishing a multi-density Skagit line

Well my winter steelhead season is not done but we are well past the half way mark. I watched a lot of fishing for winter steelhead over the past 4 months. Saw some thing and made notes about the things I saw. On top of that I always keep a running tally of the fish and some stats the surround that’s the fish hooked. I would like to share my finding with you.

Meaty buck taken in shallow water on a light tip and floating skagit

Let start with what I see as a full time steelhead guide. I see that most anglers try to show up with and be the most prepared they can, this is very appreciated. Most of them have rods less than 2 years old and the news years model of lines, I would say 80% of them almost make it a point. I also see a wider selection in most anglers sink tip wallets. A range of T-11 to T-17 and sprinkle in a T-8 or old type 3. All good things to have.

Now here is where I see people either uneducated or not fully understanding what they are trying to accomplish. The new wave of Skagit lines seems to be multi-density lines where the front portion of the actual Skagit head sinks and then gets progressively lighter and at some point as you go back down the line reverts into a floating line. The sinking portion of these lines is anywhere from 8-15’. Now I have zero problems with these lines, I have more problems with how they are applied.

Knowing more about the rivers you fish in regards to flow and fishable pieces of water.

Now this is where I want to help you as anglers. I want to help you to understand the need and use of these types of lines. The thought process in using and purchasing theses types of lines is to either get deeper or slow the fly down by getting more sinking material below the quick surface current. Now on the river I guide deep is a relatively term. But if you want depth on the urban rivers of the greater PDX area then in my opinion you need be very selective of the runs you fish with very heavy tips and flies. On the other hand if your goal is to get the fly speed as slow as possible. Here is where is have seen the anglers gone a bit off. If your a guy who is after a slower fly then you can’t fish the same tip as if you are trying to get the fly deep. So if you want deep have a tip for that, if you want slow have a tip for that. It you want deep and slow…. have a piece of water for that!! With a line that sinks the tip below the surface current if you use the same tip you would on your floating Skagit line your most likely going to be too deep. For the sake of your next line purchase… have a plan for what your trying to accomplish with the equipment your buy.

Now the stats… 7 steelhead landed on floating Skagit lines behind their fishing partner using multi-density lines. On average the heavier setup lots 3 more flies a day… and I believe these lines can be an effective part of an anglers arsenal. But use them with a purpose!! Have fun and get on the water!!!

The importance of the first time

A wonderful time for a first time steelhead angler on his first steelhead trip

Well the title says it all. The first time at anything can and is often times the most valued experience that can make or break a view or passion from an activity.

Looking back at a handful of my own firsts in life, I can say some have been amazing, Others very trying, Some regrettable, while a very few have been absolutely amazing.

My brother with a Redfish on his first saltwater trip!!

I think fly fishing in general and even more so Spey casting for steelhead. The act of steelhead fishing alone is never a 100% thing. Coupled with most first timers fear of a new rod with a casting motions that seem to have more moves than a hip hop dancer. Positive affirmations is this game are so hard to come by. Needless to say Spey casting can look and seem overwhelming.

A group of angler taking their first steps into Spey casting

This is why I give so much attention to the beginnings of a new Spey caster. They need the positives reinforcement that they are making steps in the right direction. Even if they are small and seem unimportant. Affirmation is the key to building good techniques and toughening the skin of steelhead for the work to come. The road in out beloved sport is met with as many hardships and loses as it is meant with victories. The casting is one of the only parts about this wonderful event known as angling.

Now as we all take our second and third attempts and new things we learn more about how these things can fit in our lives and how we can grow into them. But getting through that first go, is a crucial part of any new activity.

Even the first steelhead of the year is an amazing event and I have caught a fair amount of steelhead!!!

I have recently been told, “Learning is SOOO hard!”. Never have these words been more true than on the brow of a great teacher. Find the instructor that compliments you and than stay open minded, you never know what you can learn or even teach in the end.

This season has been the best down year I can remember. I won’t soon forget some of the small and large victories as well and the wonderful people I have guided along the way. It is not quite done but I can say I am already looking forward to the next step in my journey as a guide and outfitter. Hope everyone is getting out fishing and kicking lots of fish ass!!