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.