Fly Fishing Traditions

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spey Fishing in Northern California - What's the Deal?

For those of us who live and fish in the Central Valley or in Northern California, what's the big deal with Spey Rods?

Well, for one thing we have steelhead in our systems. Steelhead often mean swinging flies, either steelhead softhackles, traditional steelhead patterns, streamers and such. They best way to do so is with a spey rod. A new buzz is "Trout Spey", using smaller and lighter spey rods when fishing for trout. I do it and it's fun. It may not be the most effective method, but the pull of a fish when it takes a fly on the swing sure beats staring at an indicator all day long. I find myself drawn to swinging flies. If you like to swing soft hackles, you'd like to learn how to fish with a Spey Rod.

A spey rod is meant for swinging flies in the downstream quadrant. Across, across and down, quartering down. It allows an angler to easily boom out long casts with moderate effort. The only problem is that to do so you find yourself entering in a different fly fishing world. A world of new lines, shooting heads, weighted tips, different flies and probably the biggest a new challenge to learn how to cast the darn things.

Its a new vocabulary to learn and understand.

An Airflo Spedicator Integrated Line
  • Skagit Heads
  • Scandi Heads
  • Polyleaders
  • Versileaders
  • Running lines
  • MOW tips
  • Hang Down
  • Switch Rod
  • River Right
  • River Left
  • T-8, T-11, T-14
  • Cheaters
Then there's the actual casts;

  • Double Spey
  • Single Spey
  • Snap T
  • Snap Z
  • Circle Cast
  • Snake Roll
  • Perry Poke
April Vokey

There's different Styles of Spey Casting. They all have a place and they have applications for different sizes or lengths of rods and the different fishing conditions you may find yourself facing. Big, Broad, wide rivers with lots of room to backcast, tight slotted rivers with brush at your back, you need different tools and techniques in your tool box.

Double Spey Skagit Style

  • Underhand
  • Modern
  • Skagit
  • Traditional
Ready to run away yet? Spey Fishing is indeed a new world, but it is fun and very rewarding once you commit to the journey. There is something about the pace of working your way down a run, casting repeatedly and teasing your flies across the current. Is there anyone home? It's strangely meditative. Although the best fly fishers are constantly changing the way there flies work the current, slower, faster deeper. You need to be mindful of where your flies are working, not just mindlessly repeating the same cast and presentation all day long. It's a contemplative game. It's a challenge and I believe it is worth the time and effort spent.

I'll explore these topics in future posts and introduce you into this new and fascinating world of Spey Fishing. Stay tuned.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.