The Next Big Thing
The next big thing in the fly fishing world? Really? Seems like most of the advances are relatively small; new products are okay but nothing really rocks the boat. However… I just may have found the game changer in the trout world.
I had my first taste of “swinging” flies to wild steelhead in Alaska just last year. I was nothing short of astonished and amazed by the relative ease and productivity of Spey casting a 13-foot rod and throwing line 80 feet across the river. Instantly fascinated, I was determined to increase my skill at this increasingly popular discipline. So with some advanced planning, my Texas-based fishing partner made a swing up through Montana last week. After two days of epic trout fishing on the Missouri River, we took off for the Sandy River Spey Clave (SRSC) at Oxbow Park near Sandy Oregon. I knew I’d be completely out of my element, but was intrigued and excited to try my hand at this technique, under the expert tutelage of many Spey casting maestros. Living up to its reputation, the SRSC was crawling with the best in the business. Humble and friendly, every one of these professionals were eager to impart their wisdom upon anyone willing to ask for help. Bruce Berry, Steve and Tim Rajeff, Simon Gawsworth, Klaus Frimor, Jerry French, Mia and Marty Sheppard, Mike McCune and the extremely funny George Cook were just a few of those on hand at the SRSC.
Beulah representative Bruce Berry was on hand for personalized casting lessons and wowed with three fly tying demonstrations. There are no reps more impressive than Bruce—he is a masterful tactician. I watched as time and again, anglers approached him with seemingly unsolvable technical questions or issues. He’d diagnose the problem in a millisecond, then follow it up with a fitting solution. I also caught Mike McCune’s presentation on “Trout Spey” rods. Mike has fished this new style of rods extensively on numerous western rivers including the Missouri River, my home water. Using 11ft 2 or 3wt rods to delicately present a dry fly down steam is an excellent way to fish spooky trout. Using the same rod, but this time swinging soft hackle flies on a tight line is a sure fire way to get lots of tugs! “Tug is the Drug” as streamer junkies always say! Can’t wait to open my mailbox and see my new trout spey rod waiting there for me…
If you missed the SRSC this year, don’t worry, they have been going strong for 15 years. Its is a totally free event and even most of the meals are donated. But you must get with it early because the casting classes fill up rapidly. Get it on your calendar for next year, its well worth your time!