Duranglers Spey Clinic Recap

31 October 2016
Comments: 1
31 October 2016, Comments: 1

Duranglers Spey Clinic Recap

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This past Saturday saw our first ever Beginner’s Spey Clinic take place in Durango on the banks of our local Animas River.  Attendance was better than expected (why not, it was a free event) and we were able to put a good number of spey and switch rods in everyone’s hands.  I had a few takeaways from this event that I wanted to share:

  1. First and foremost, I could feel a sense of anticipation.  Even a slight bit of anxiety with a few folks attending.  It seems spey casting is intimidating to some.  I get that, it is a new skill and no one wants to be a beginner when they already have mastered the single handed rod.  If you are reading this and you feel this way I want to tell you one thing: STOP!  In all aspects of life, if we are not willing to choke down our pride and say “I don’t know, but I want to learn” we will plateau and never progress.  Don’t sell yourself short, there is nothing to it but to do it (a lame saying, but true).
  2. Once we put the long rods in everyone’s hands the demeanor changed.  As everyone got out on the water and started actually working with a two-hander, the tenseness of the atmosphere evaporated.  Folks even became excited about learning spey casting.  The apprehension in the air was replaced by fun and excitement!
  3. I did notice one constant about our clinic as it progressed: the women of the class seemed to pick up the motion of spey casting a little quicker than the men of the class.  My best assumption to this is that women are not as thick skulled as men (sorry guys…but I include myself in this) and therefore were able to process the instructions quicker.  The other possibility is that a lot of times, we as men want to power our casts to really bomb them out there.  Spey casting is far more about technique and timing than it is about strength and power.
  4. The absolute hardest thing to learn (or unlearn) for everyone was to use their top hand as the fulcrum.  The bottom hand is what powers the cast for the casting stroke, not the top hand.  If you are a right handed single handed caster, then you tend to learn to spey cast with your right hand on top (aka the fulcrum).  The intuition then is to push more with the top hand than you pull with the bottom.  I even forget this at times and catch myself pushing more than I should.  It’s hard to defeat muscle memory but once we had people pretend their fulcrum elbow was nailed to the side of their body, casts began to connect.
  5. Skagit and smaller spey rods seemed to click with most folks the quickest.  We had a few 3 weight trout spey rods from Sage and Redington available for people to try out and it really seemed these clicked the quickest.  It may be due to the fact that these are shorter and lighter than their longer and beefier counterparts.  That being said, larger rods and with longer spey lines seemed to be a little better for people who found it hard to be delicate…
  6. Working one on one, it really clicked when everyone learned to slow down.  If you are a beginner spey caster, I cannot stress this enough: slow your cast down, and then slow it down some more.  With each move, pause for even a second before you begin your next move.  This will really help your timing.  Learn everything in steps before you really try to put it all together and GO SLOW!

While many started with a feeling of apprehension, it seemed everyone left with a feeling of excitement.  Spey casting might seem intimidating, but don’t let it be.  When you break it down into a series of simple steps, spey casting becomes a very relaxing and fun way to target fish.  From our local trout on the Animas and San Juan all the way to sea run anadromous fish such as salmon and steelhead, spey casting can be used to target them all.

If you missed out on our free spey clinic, don’t be afraid to stop in the shop to learn more about the pursuit.  We are always happy to help the aspiring spey caster learn all they can.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

One response on “Duranglers Spey Clinic Recap

  1. Paul Gibbs says:

    Thanks for putting this together! The four of us had a blast and are really excited about two-handed casting. I think we were all browsing the internet and reading everything we could find on two-handed trout rods that evening. I think you have at least four converts, I’m excited to get a new stick to start figuring this game out.

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