Ten Commandments for Novice Spey Fishers

Ten Commandments for the Novice Spey Fisher …

One.  Do not, under any circumstances, let anyone see you make that little “drop-the-rod-on-your-shoulder, wrap-the-line-around-you” Double Spey cast that Ed Ward features in Skagit Master.  No one else casts like this.  Except geeks like me who have seen the DVD a hundred times and are pretending that we are cool like Ed.  It is OK to make this cast, just don’t get seen doing it between now and 2012.

Two.  Don’t try to push a cast with your top hand.  This pegs you as a single-hander. If your hands are more than four feet in front of your chest you are probably working too hard at it.

Three.  Do apply power with your bottom hand.

Four.  Always – always – shove your line-handling fist into the pocket of your waders or coat while your fly is swinging.  Failure to do so also pegs you as a newbie.

Five.  Let your rod hand hang loosely at your side and parallel to the water’s surface during the swing.  This in contrast to the arm-extended, rod-up-at an-angle pose typical of a Spey novice.  Might as well relax, dude.  It could well be another fifty days on the water before you get a grab.

Six.  Talk to yourself while casting and fishing.  Say things like – slow down; don’t drop my D loop;  maintain steady acceleration;  upstream wind; I love casting so much that it doesn’t matter how many days I have been swinging flies without a pull.  All this is fair and reflective self-coaching.

Seven.  Fish barbless.  (Note: the spell checker suggests using the word braless here.  I declined to do so, but the reader may chose for him or herself on this matter.)

Eight.  Always, always, know where the wind is coming from.  Always.

Nine.  Do not ever blame a rod for your casting bloopers.  A fly line cannot do anything the rod doesn’t make it do, and a rod cannot do anything other than what your hand, power, and timing tell it to do.

Ten. Please remember:  the harder you work, the wronger you will cast.


PS: I talk to myself all the time, and regularly fail to heed these Commandments.

11 thoughts on “Ten Commandments for Novice Spey Fishers

  1. Tablets from the mountain top! Having quietly developed an addiction for the long rod 16 years ago, I now have the written word to share with the teaming masses of non-believers and new converts. I enjoy reading your reflections and ponderings…keep up the good work. Cheers

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement. I do not have 16 years with the two hander. I have, however, watched 4 DVD’s and evolved to the point where I only occasionally impale a nose or ear with an errant cast. I’ve met Gorge, received 30 minutes of personal coaching from Simon (he found me a hopeless mess), and get to hang out with cool Spey Dudes. This practically makes me an expert, yes? No.

      “I feel your power, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet.”

      Life is short. All too short. Happy to share the light-side of this adventure.


  2. All great commandments…but lets get to the bottom line ; how do you fit the cowboy hat under the hoddie for that EW look ?

    1. Guy, you just pointed out the Eleventh Commandment. Do wear a hoodie. And, sad to admit it, i do not own one yet. recognizing this deficiency, I ordered a Simms Hoodie from the Caddis Fly yesterday (honestly) and it should be here by week’s end. In the meanwhile, i will slink around in the bushes lest i get seen without authentic Spey Gear. The cowboy hat i gots already. Now, the combo; dunno.

    1. Rob. Nice try. And that fish you lost was at least twice as big as you thought. I saw it dude. Better vantage point. You are just modest.

  3. This is soooo right on. Eveytime I try to make the rod move faster and work harder I hit myself in the back-of-the-head. And it is true about waiting fifty days between pulls. I have been out 15 times this year and still no pulls! My casting is getting better though.

    Thanks for info

    1. Zach: welcome. Keep on swinging, the pull will come eventually. If you are like me, it will likely be when you are working your sink tip out of the guides and you will be totally unprepared for it and you will either throw slack in the line or jerk too hard and break the leader or fall down or scream or —- But it will happen – and soon I think. JN

  4. I can honestly say that I learn something new each year fishing the two-hander. No matter how much I think I know, I see ways to improve and alter my casting and presentations. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Mike: thanks for your encouragement. I am having so much fun with the two-hander that I almost forget about not catching any fish. The dreaded thingmabobber keeps trying to lure me to the dark side, but i continue, pretty much, to resist. I learn a lot from watching my friends and their occasional hints and coaching. Usually, they are too busy catching fish behind me to bother coaching me. Thank you also for your most excellent internet work. Hope to see you thigh deep in the river someday. JN

  5. Great stuff.

    If I might suggest a sub-commandment to #8:

    8a. Thou shalt always place a proper anchor point to avoid piercing thy sac with a size 2 saltwater hook when powering forward.

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