A guest post by John Gummer.
Fly Fishing with Spey rods has always caught my eye in overseas magazines, and photos of huge salmon and steelhead from the likes of Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia. I have always considered this art form of fly-fishing to not be possible in the trout streams of New Zealand that anglers pursue with tiny flies, and delicate presentation.
When Loop Tackle NZ had a Spey casting weekend with FFF certified casting instructor Juan Del Carmen, I couldn’t wait to see what Spey fishing really had to offer. Well blow me down, what ecstasy I had discovered! Juan taught us the basics of Spey casting in the classroom, the first physics lesson that I actually found interesting! Although it wasn’t complicated I was able to think about fly-casting in more detail and how it really works. We had a couple of river sessions on the Tongariro trying a huge range of Loop double handers. I couldn’t wait to try my new addiction on the Manawatu and Rangatikei.
Over the last few weeks I have been using the Loop Xact 13’0” #7 and a Loop Multi #9-12. Loaded on the Multi reel is a #7 scandi line, which has a less bulky head than a skagit. This combo performs like a champ, throwing #4 streamers to #14 nymphs, handling all with total ease. The Loop Xact has a great build quality and isn’t too far behind the top end rods like the Cross S1 and Goran Anderson Signature Series. At a $599 price point you just can’t match it.
The ‘Snap T’ cast - an extremely efficient way of getting your fly serious distance with no back cast. Spey casting is not necessarily only for double handed rods. You can apply these casting techniques to your single-handed fly casting (provided that you haven’t totally converted). For example I have recently improved my roll casting because I now understand the dynamics behind it. Not unlike a chef really. If he knows how different flavours work with each other, he will create more precise and tastier food, just like a Spey cast.
Creating the D-Loop, then casting out my streamers.
Ben Febery firing out a skagit line on his Loop Goran Anderson Signature Series 11’ 6’ #8
The ‘Master’ Greig Cousins demonstrating how to handle Skagit lines and heavy tips.
A small fish, but a fish. My first on a Spey rod!
Swinging at sunset
So, get out there and give spey a go. As they say, any day for a spot of spey!
In early July we offered a 2-day academy for those who wanted to learn about double-hand or spey casting in Turangi, New Zealand on the famous Tongariro River. Juan Del Carmen of the Advanced Fly Fishing School in Sydney, an FFF Certified Casting Instructor was our tutor. We couldn't have done it without the support of Creel Tackle House & Cafe and Parkland's Motor Lodge.
Here is a quick report on the weekend - we hope you can join us next time.
We started off with a classroom session on Saturday morning at Parkland's Motor Lodge to go through the theory and physics of double-hand casting without the distraction of being on the river bank holding these unfamiliar rods.
The progression to double-hand casting was broken down into small steps throughout the day. The group would come together to go through one of the steps, then spread out along the river to practice the step before moving onto the next step.
Juan would move along the line of anglers for each step offering individual coaching and suggesting changes to the cast to correct any faults.
We also filmed each participant, and on the first night spent we all spent time looking at the clips - a very valuable step to clearly identify the positive aspects and areas for focus of each participant.
We started each day with real coffee and the lunches at the Creel Tackle House & Cafe were top-notch. They are right beside the river and waders are welcome!
We had a wide range of double-hand rods available so that participants could try out different weights, lengths, materials and lines. We had switch and double-hand, most were in the #6-8 range, but some also tried a #10, 15 foot rod too.
By the end of the first day the casting steps where coming together nicely.
Day two started with a re-cap of the steps from day one and then further instruction on additional casts and fishing approaches and techniques in the morning. After another very nice lunch at Creel Tackle House our focus turned to fishing.
We had a great bunch of people on the course and we enjoyed meeting and spending time with all.
A very special thank you to Juan - he is a skilled, patient and dedicated teacher - only picking up the rod to fish himself at the end of day until it was dark.
Thanks to Paul Gummer for most of the photos used here.