I have known a great many people, who have not just learned to Spey cast, but who have absolutely mastered it over the past several years. It's not something I was terribly interested in..until recently. Thankfully, I discovered that, renowned fly shop Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig, Montana, is holding Spey clinics this winter. I signed up for the first one!
The first part of the day was spent in the classroom where, co-owner of Headhunters, John Arnold, explained the origin of Spey casting and tried to demystify the two-handed rod and all things Scandi and Skagit. I absolutely walked out of the room with a better understanding of it all. Don't get me wrong though, I'm still really confused by most of it!
After class we hit the water. There were a myriad of rods that were brought down from the shop to the bank of the Missouri River. The Glorious Missouri! Also, joining the fun, was shop co-owner Mark Raisler, along with some of the shop guides and regulars, to help teach the pretty substantial group of anglers how to throw the Spey rod. John grabbed a rod and got into the water to demonstrate different casts and how these rods work. If anyone else was like me, they were anxious and excited to hit the water!!
I had spoken earlier to both John and Mark about the kind of fishing I may do with a Spey rod and they suggested a rod weight and length that would best serve me. I went over to the well stocked rack and chose my first rod, the Orvis Clearwater 13' #7 Spey. Even though I really had no idea what I was doing and how to cast it, I liked it immediately. By my side was Dewey, a very patient Dewey, telling and showing me how to cast this rod. The Double Spey Cast was the cast of choice for the day. This due to the fact we wish fishing river right and the wind coming from our right. It took me a while (and a great deal of encouragement from Dewey), but I did kind of get the hang of it. Bonus... I even caught a Mo Rainbow. No one was more surprised than me!
It was now time time to try another rod. I have seen many posts on Facebook about Echo fiberglass rods so grabbed their Echo Glass 12'9 #7. It felt just a scoatch heavier than the Orvis rod, but not enough to give me pause. What freaked me out a bit was how wiggly the rod was. Regardless, I soldiered on! I know..such hard work. It took me a few casts to get used it, but what I did notice was, that regardless of how badly I cast, the rod made up for it and the line shot out where it needed to go. It was almost intuitive and I was smitten..again. The only observation I made about this rod is that if I were to get it, I may have to sand down the grip ever so slightly. This is one sweet rod. John first saw this rod at the ICAST/FTD show and then gave it a road test. You can read his full review here. It's a Really Cool Rod and one I'm considering very seriously.
I did throw a couple of others, but none that I felt comfortable with..that is until I decided to try just one more. I knew I shouldn't do it. I knew in my gut. That if I picked up and cast that one rod..that one magical rod in the rack.. that I would be toast. I'm not one who believes that you have to pay top top dollar to have the best of anything. Whether it be wine or fly rods, but I had a feeling this would be a different story. So, against my better judgement, I picked up the Thomas and Thomas DNA 1267-4XF and headed towards the river. The guys were ooooooing and aaaahhhing knowingly.
Cast one..I was in love. LOVE..L-O-V-E! The best way to describe the way it felt...it was like butter. The way the rod felt in my hand. The way I was able to maneuver it. The way the line shot from the rod. It was like this rod was made just for me. Of course, it was the most costly rod in the rack, but that doesn't stop a girl from dreaming. Of course, the cherry on top was catch a fish on this beauty of a rod! #DearSanta
If you can't tell, it was a fun day for me. A day in which a new obsession was born. Days later I'm still giddy about it all. It's the same feeling when you start dating a new guy..one you REALLY like. That is how I feel about Spey fishing. I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together, visiting new locations, catching fish and living happily every after!
Headhunters will be hosting Spey Clincs all winter long. If you live in Montana, or even the general vicinity, I suggest you sign up. You can read more about the clinic I attended and upcoming dates, in this Headhunters blog entry.
This was all around a great day. Great instruction, with fun and knowledgeable people. I couldn't recommend it or Headhunters more.
Recommendations from this post
Orvis Clearwater Spey Rod
Echo Glass Spey Rod (See write up from Echo as attachment below)
Thomas & Thomas DNA XF 12’6” #7
All rods available at Headhunters Fly Shop