The following is a two part article titled ‘The Advantages of Speycasting and Speyfishing’. Part 1 will cover two topics: The Advantages and the question: What is ‘True Speycasting & Speyfishing?’ Part 2 will cover two additional topics: Choosing the Right Speyrod and Effective Fishing Range

Part I

THE ADVANTAGES

There has to be a Better Way – How many times have you been using all your present speycasting and  skills only to find that you can’t interest or hook fish that you just know are there.

When confronted with this annoying situation, impatient anglers will often accept defeat and move on to an easier fishing station. Others will assume that their inadequate speyfishing is a fact of life and make no effort to improve and return to their previous methods of fishing. It has been said that as of this date, there are as many anglers giving up speyfishing as there are taking up the sport. There are, of course, many successful and elegant advanced methods of speyfishing, available to anyone willing to invest the time and effort to learn.

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Advanced Speyfishing

Advanced speyfishing is the art of catching fish with a speyrod, by using your speycasting skills, together with the knowledge of fish behavior and ability to select and perform the correct line and fly presentation, then land and release your fish quickly and humanely, regardless of difficult water or weather conditions or difficult fish.

Speyfishing – Not Just Speycasting

It seems natural that less experienced speyfishers will be more concerned with their speycasting than they are with line control. The almost hypnotic effect of accomplished speycasting is difficult to overcome and can have you just speycasting, not speyfishing.

Fly Control – Not Just Line Control

It should be obvious that the secret of flyfishing, is in presenting a fly to a lethargic fish, so that it mistakes it for its natural food and eats it. The artificial fly should represent the natural food item, in size, shape, color and most importantly – its behavior. It follows that the emphasis of advanced speyfishing is in fly control not just line control.

Hooking Fish

Allowing a motivated fish to take your modern surgically sharp, hard wire hook on a slack line and hook itself on its return run to its hold will prevent the eye-crossing strike and lost fish scenario.

Controlling – Landing Fish

When fish are required to be released, it should be landed and released quickly and humanely. A powerful, limber shock-absorbing speyrod together with the effective lateral force method of controlling fish will allow landing and releasing fish in the shortest time with the least trauma.

Knowledge of the Fish

Not all fish react the same way to a correctly presented artificial fly. The species, its life cycle and the timing of its spawning cycle must be carefully studied and understood.

    For example:

  • Atlantic salmon are a completely different species to Pacific steelhead.
  • Winter fish do not react like a summer fish.

Adjusting for Water Conditions

The wonderful thing about speyfishing is that you can fish from almost impossible situations and present the fly in just about every type and condition of water. However the water must be carefully analyzed before selecting the appropriate advanced presentation.

Water conditions can vary as follows:

  • High to low.
  • Fast to slow
  • Shallow to deep.
  • Clear or ‘dirty’.
  • Warm or cold.

Wind Conditions – Although accomplished speyfishers can fish in windy conditions, it often prevents some advanced presentations, as follows:

  • Upstream presentations in downstream wind.
  • Downstream presentations in upstream wind.
  • High rod, line controls are often difficult or impossible.

Weather Conditions – There are many hardy speyfishers who take a masochistic pleasure in fishing in wet, freezing or dark overcast conditions. If you are one of this happy band of die- hards, remember the following:

  • Watch out for barometer changes.
  • Keep the ice out of your guides.
  • Check for rod joint security.
  • Use dark flies on dark days.
  • Use bright flies on bright days.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing.

Importance of Rod Design

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It should be thoroughly understood that double-hand rods for advanced speycasting and advanced speyfishing must be specifically designed for many vitally important procedures other than just speycasting.

As follows:

  • Powerful limber and extremely sensitive.
  • Make any speycast to any angle on each side of the river.
  • Control the line and the fly in any water conditions.
  • Hook – control and land fish quickly and humanely.
  • Easy for beginners to learn.
  • For experienced speyfishers to convert to advanced speyfishing.
  • To make speyfishing more interesting and enjoyable.

Beware – It is sad to relate that there are many disappointed would-be speyfishers who have been sold or have selected the popular stiff action double-handers and are attempting to speycast and fish with them as if a speyrod is only a longer single-hander and will allow them to make ‘out of sight’ long casts, without reference to the rods (or their own) line control or fish control capability.

The Rod Design Dictates – It follows that the method or style of your double-hand rod fishing will be dictated by the basic design of your rod. Remember not all double-handed flyrods are intended for speycasting or speyfishing.

Importance of Line Design and Weight

Although the longer front tapers required are somewhat similar with each line maker, there is (to date) no industry standard for calibrating the weight of spey lines. This has produced the ridiculous situation of one company’s line weight being a totally different weight to their competitors. The problem is, what line did the rod company use when designing their speyrods?

Beware:

  • Use long belly, long taper spey lines.
  • Do not use short belly spey lines.
  • Do not buy your line just for distance casting.
  • Do not use standard double taper spey lines.
  • Do not underline your spey rod.
  • Overweight line – better than underweight.
  • Do not let the wrong line dictate your speyfishing method.
  • ake all unqualified advice with a ‘pinch of salt’.
  • Try before you buy.

Where do we go from here? – If you take the time to reflect on how much effort you have made to get to your present level of speycasting and speyfishing, you should not be discouraged in tackling more advanced speyfishing methods and techniques.

Don’t be discouraged by the seemingly unending lessons and details – the more you try to describe something – the more complicated it appears to be.

Remember:

  • No speycaster makes a perfect cast every time.
  • No speyfisher makes the correct fly presentation every time.
  • No speyfisher lands every fish hooked.

WHAT IS “TRUE SPEYCASTING & SPEYFISHING”?

Speycasting – Not Overhead Casting

It must be remembered that we are always discussing speycasting with rods, specifically designed for this purpose, and definitely not the overhead and rollcast method of casting with stiff double-hand fly rods designed and used for long distance casting (often wrongly called speyrods). During a recent telephone conversation, an affluent and fortunate angler revealed that he had just returned from a successful Atlantic salmon trip, having used his limber and powerful speyrod and was on his way to fish striped bass in a wide open saltwater estuary using his stiff overhead casting double-hander. This is a perfect example of using the right tool for each different job.

Speycasting – Not Modified Rollcasting

Until recently there were very few graphite double-handers capable of being cast and fished in the relaxed and elegant style possible with a well-designed flexible true speyrod. There were however many stiff double-handers designed with the same action as long stiff single hand fly rods and misleadingly called speyrods. This type of rod often dictated a wrist jarring shoulder jolting push – pull stroke intended to rotate the rod tip throughout a casting arc similar to a single hand rod. Unqualified casting instructors often advise students to snap the butt of the rod back into their chest and to try and break the rod. (Poorly assembled rods often do!)Unqualified salesmen frequently emphasized casting long distances with heavy flies with little reference to the extremely important subject of line and fly control or landing large fish with stiff rods.

To make matters worse a crude method of speycasting developed based on a contrived rollcast. The object was to get the line out there without regard for what the fly was doing, or the water disturbance created and little chance of making any kind of aerial mending. Before you consider fishing with the modified rollcasting technique, ask yourself if you would enjoy rollcasting all day when trout fishing on your favorite stream with a single hand rod.

Speycasting – With True Speyrods

Fishing with a well-designed speyrod must be the answer to a flyfishers prayers. To be able to cast in any direction – without excessive wading regardless of wind or water conditions without the fly coming near or going behind the caster opens up a whole new river. The ability to control the line and make the fly behave exactly as required is a major factor in hooking fish. Controlling, landing and releasing fish quickly and humanely is the icing on the cake, when fishing with a long limber, powerful well-designed speyrod.

Speycasting – Learning to Cast

Casters favoring the stiffer distance casting double-handers are fond of saying that flexible speyrods are difficult to cast with – this is complete nonsense. Once you realize that you are casting the line – not the rod – and learn to generate, aim and direct line energy, you are on the right track. The physical movements of classic speycasting are extremely easy to learn, require very little strength and allow effortless casting all day long. Always remember that we are considering true speyrods. Attempting to speycast with a stiff overhead style rod is as awkward as flycasting with a spinning rod.

 

Overhead VS Spey Casting

 

The Speyfisher – What’s Your Style?

The wonderful thing about speyfishing is that you can fish virtually anywhere as long as its legal. Styles of fishing vary from a simple and often successful no brainer, to a sophisticated and technically advanced procedure. In many cases, the angler is capable of making all advanced presentations, however chooses to fish with the simplest method.

My good friend and writing mentor, Peter (keep it simple) has an inexhaustible fund of steelhead fishing knowledge and angling techniques, often chooses to fish with a simple down and swing in presentation with minimum line control. According to Peter, he often goes to the river for its relaxing and recuperative powers and likes to fish, not think and can’t be bothered with mind-bending advanced presentations.

There are legitimate reasons why speyfishers fish with a simple down and swing in presentation, however many are dissatisfied with their performance and want to know more. The following is a simplified list of the need to know more.

Speycasting – Skills Inadequate

  • Most likely poor instruction.
  • Often the wrong rod or line design.
  • Can’t perform all double and single speycasts on each side of the river.
  • Can’t make effective aerial or water line controls.
  • Obsessed with excessive distance casting.
  • Casting beyond their ability to control the fly.
  • Or not satisfied with their speycasting performance.
  • Wants to find a better way.

Speyfishing – Skills Inadequate

  • Can’t read the river as a speyfisher.
  • Does not know how to set up a game plan.
  • No idea of how to search for fish.
  • Does not analyze the river characteristics.
  • Unaware of some advanced speyfishing styles.
  • Does not know which style is appropriate for each different water condition.
  • Or good speycaster – not satisfied with their fishing success.
  • Knows that there must be a better way.
  • Wants to learn how.

Chuck It Out – Swing It In

When observing others fishing with double-hand rods or discussing speyfishing with beginners obviously suffering from the results of inadequate or unqualified instruction, it seems that the most prevalent method of making this cruder and often ineffective presentation is as follows:

  • Using a stiff overhead style double-hand rod.
  • Make a 45º downstream cast or rollcast.
  • Don’t attempt to make an aerial line mend.
  • Let the line and fly swing to shore.
  • Hardly ever use dry flies.
  • Use gravel hooking sink tips.
  • Make little or no attempt at fly or line control.
  • Work your way downstream.
  • Make the same length cast every time.
  • Hope for a suicidal fish.

It is interesting to speculate how this crude and mostly ineffective method of using a double-hand fly rod developed. Could it be copying the up and downstream false cast and swing out presentation often necessary on brushy streams when fishing with a short single hand rod? The most probable reason is, no instruction or worse still , unqualified casting instructors who are more concerned with getting lots of line out there regardless of the method used.

One overriding reason for the crude downstream and swing in presentation is the problem that fishing guides and ghillie’s face when attempting to instruct a client who insists on fishing with a recently acquired double-hander without any previous instruction. In many cases they could have been sold the wrong rod and line by an inexperienced or unscrupulous salesperson, and are absolutely certain that speycasting is going to be easy – because the salesman said it will be. The usual scenario has the guide demonstrating the required speycast and line control procedure and the client attempting to imitate the presentation. More often than not, the result is a fish disturbing, gut wrenching disaster with the guide taking cover from lethal flies. The final scene has the well intentioned guide admitting defeat and advising the client to make the easiest presentation possible which is of course a 45° downstream rollcast with crude line controls.

Uncooperative Fish – There are times on some rivers when fish seem to be lining up to jump on any chuck it and chance it presentation. This happy state of affairs could be due to an abundance of fish activated by a juvenile acquired competitive feeding response or a record run of overactive fresh fish.

There are other times when there are very few fish around and only the skilled angler can catch fish consistently or know the reason when unsuccessful. The ability to analyse the river, select the right fly and method of presentation, however complicated and motivate a lethargic, uncooperative fish is the essence of the sport of speyfishing.

Line and Fly Control – How Important?

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Feeding the right fly to the fish so that it imitates the behavior of the natural food item it represents during its juvenile freshwater or saltwater life is the secret of successful flyfishing for anadromous fish. All previous speycasting and speyfishing procedures lead up to this fundamental occurrence. Your wonderful speycasting will be entirely wasted if you can’t control your line and your fly.

Once again when observing other reasonably proficient speycasters or talking to students it is obvious that there is often a total lack of, or just crude attempts at line and fly control. One prevalent reason for inadequate line control is due to over-stiff rods and wrong line taper, making aerial line controls almost impossible and water line controls ineffective and tiring. On the other hand there cannot be a more effective line and fly controller than a long limber well-designed speyrod and the right line taper.

Advanced Presentations – Not Often Used

The next time you go out to a salmon or steelhead river, ask yourself why many speyfishers fish with the same presentation regardless of the characteristics of the water being fished. They may change flies or attach sink tip lines however their presentation and line control methods are unchanged.

  • Could it be the lack of qualified instruction?
  • Perhaps it is the higher standard of speycasting required.
  • Do they have the right rod and line?

The curious thing about many neophyte speyfishers is that they are often accomplished single hand trout anglers, able to make any presentation and line control required however they seem to forget this when speyfishing.

The ability and skill to cover all water conditions from upstream nymphing, to downstream dry fly, is the trademark of an accomplished speyfisher.

Conclusion

In this article, we introduced the following important subjects:

  • What advanced speyfishing is.
  • The importance of advanced speyrod design.
  • The advantages of advanced speyfishing.
  • Uncooperative fish.
  • Line and fly controls.
  • Hooking and landing fish.
  • Adjusting for difficult casting conditions.
  • Remember that speyfishing is not just speycasting or just trading your short single hander for a long speyrod and fishing the way you did with your single hander.
  • Advanced speyfishing will open up an entirely new river for an intelligent skilled speyfisher.

Part II

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPEYROD

Things to take into consideration

Speyfishing Tackle – Just as in any other kind of fishing, the correct tackle is the key to successful and enjoyable speyfishing. If you are having problems with your casting, line and fly control or landing fish, ask yourself if it is you or your equipment that is at fault.

Speyfishing tackle includes:
Rods, Reels, Lines, Leaders & Flies

Lets discuss speyrods in detail.

Speyrods – Assuming that we are examining modern graphite speyrods, there are four important characteristics to be considered.

    They are:

  • Action – (How it bends)
  • Power – (What line weight)
  • Length (How long)
  • Sensitivity (is it dead or alive?)

Speyrod Action – A well-designed speyrod has three requirements:

  • Casting
  • Line and fly control
  • Fish control

Casting Action – Speyrods must be limber enough to make all speycasts from very short, to its maximum controllable line length. As a general rule, this requires casting two rod lengths in front of the caster on the shortest cast, to five rod lengths ahead on the longest cast. For example, a 15 foot rod allows placing the line from approximately 20 feet in front of the caster, to 75 feet in front, which is an enormous area of river to cover if fished systematically and intelligently.

Casts are measured from the reel to the end of the line – not including the leader.

Beware – Not all double-hand rods are designed for, or are capable of very short speycasts. The ability to make delicate short presentations, allows covering fish holding out of the fast current close to shore, the wrong rod will deny you this very productive water.

Rod Power – (What Weight of Line?)

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Rod power or strength depends on the weight of the line it is to cast. Don’t confuse rod power with rod action. A light line, low power rod can have the same shape of bend as a heavy line powerful rod.

Always select the power of your speyrod by the weight of fish you are going after. If you are not sure how to do this with a speyrod, just imagine that it is a single hander and choose accordingly. Don’t go after forty pound fish with a seven weight speyrod, or five pound fish with an eleven weight speyrod.

Many speycasters are reluctant to use heavier line size speyrods, even though the size of fish requires them to do so. The usual excuse is that heavy line speyrods are tiring to cast and fish with, not realizing that the weight will be shared with both hands.

If you are having a problem with your heavy line rod, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your rod a true flexible speyrod, specifically designed for speycasting and controlling line? – Not all double-handers are.
  • Does your speycasting technique need improving? Those who are still casting with the arms only and a modified rollcast delivery would do well to consider the controlled energy method of speycasting described in my previous book (The Art & Science of Speyfishing) and my many video tapes on this subject. This relatively easy to learn method relies on using the body more than the arms and allows casting and controlling heavy line speyrods with very little strain on the arms and shoulders and minimum power required. My students are overly impressed to see me demonstrating long above water delivery speycasts, when holding the rod with just two fingers and a thumb of each hand. This is not trick casting, you will be able to repeat this technique when you use body movement power, not just the arms and wrists.

Rod Length – (Related to Rod Power) – Always use the longest rod you are comfortable with, bearing in mind that rod lengths are usually related to rod power. Shorter rods are usually designed for light lines and longer rods for heavier lines.

Keep in mind that the longer the rod the easier it will be to keep line off the water during the preliminary strokes of speycasting, when deeper wading is unavoidable. Another important advantage of a longer speyrod is the ability to control the line and the fly, keeping in mind that a speycast only takes about five seconds and the following line control procedure about fifty seconds.

As a general rule longer rods allow slower and more controlled casting strokes than shorter rods. If you are having problems timing the movements of your speycasting, try a longer rod.

One last important and often overlooked advantage of longer rods is keeping the fly away from you on windy days. Remember the original Scottish speycasters were wearing kilts.

Line and Fly Control – Many skilled speyfishers quite rightly believe that a speyrod’s ability to control line is just as, or more important than its ability to cast line.

A golden rule of successful speyfishing is to present the fly to the fish in its forward binocular field of view and trigger its juvenile acquired instincts to feed or defend itself.

Make doubly sure that your speyrod allows you to make all necessary advanced line controls. Not all double-handers do.

Hooking Fish with Advanced Speyrods

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Modern hard wire dangerously sharp hooks are much thinner and sharper than the frequently used old fashioned dull thick wire hooks and do not require a hammer blow strike to set the hook.

If you let the fish take your fly and hook itself on the considerable drag of a thick spey line as it returns to its hold you will land more fish than not. Keeping your instinctive reactions to strike under control is extremely difficult when you have been fishless for a while.

It should also be realized that anadromous non-feeding fish often come to a fly motivated by its juvenile period feeding instincts. This can produce a pull on the line by sucking in water and the fly close to or into a wide open mouth and reject it again in a fraction of a second. Unless it makes a mistake and turns and hooks itself before rejection the fly.

Remember the following rules:

  • If you feel a pull on the line the fish is either on or gone.
  • Use sharp hooks.
  • And dull reactions.

Catch and Release Fishing – Without getting into the controversial subject of killing fish, it is assumed that we are going to hook, control, land and release fish quickly and humanely.

Out of Control Fish – Many of the fish control and landing procedures developed in the past seem to have been based on waiting for a hooked fish to exhaust itself or in the case of a kill fishery to be near death or dead before landing it. Many fish are ‘lost’ with this procedure.

Getting Spooled – Probably the most inhumane procedure is finding out how far the fish will run without any attempt to prevent it. This ridiculous situation can lose a fish and the line if carried to extremes. This often repeated performance goes by the macho name of ‘getting spooled’.

Over Stiff Rods – There is one overriding subject in controlling and landing fish that must be clearly understood and that is the flexibility or shock-absorbing characteristics of your speyrod. If you have stepped into the trap of selecting your rod for its extreme distance casting capabilities, you could have trouble making all the required line controls and the delicate self-hooking procedure. Over stiff rods are probably the biggest single cause of losing a hooked fish due to their inability to absorb the shock of a sudden escape run or an acrobatic high jump or tail walk.

Credits: Mike Maxwell

Misleading Terminology – Many archaic terms left over from the blood sport concept of flyfishing should be avoided. We no longer need to ‘play’ a fish to exhaustion, we ‘control’ it.

The term ‘fighting a fish’ is another term that should be dumped. How can it be described as a fair fight when the angler is ten or fifteen times the weight of the fish. On the humourous side perhaps it would be a fair fight if the angler cut the line then tied on another hook, hooked himself then jumped in the river to land the fish.

Final Check List

Make a mental check list if you want to hook, control and land fish effectively, quickly and humanely.

  • Use a powerful flexible shock-absorbing speyrod.
  • Use sharp modern hooks.
  • Use the self-hooking method.
  • Use the effective force method of controlling fish.
  • Don’t bow or lower the rod to a jumping fish.
  • Don’t pump and reel your fish to regain line.
  • Land and release your fish in less than one minute per pound of fish.
  • Don’t overreact after losing a fish.

The Requirements of a Speyrod – (Summary)

To sum up the previous examination of the design and selection of speyrods, it should be obvious that there are three main speyfishing requirements:

  • To make all standard and advanced speycasts with ease and accuracy. From very short to your longest controllable cast.
  • To make all aerial line controls before the line falls to the water and all line and fly controls after the line falls to the water. As your advanced techniques develop you will begin to realize that success in speyfishing is largely a matter of line and fly control. Make sure your rod is designed for this important function.
  • To control and land fish quickly and humanely without worrying about breaking your rod or tiring yourself out. Many fish have been lost with poorly designed over stiff speyrods.

Sensitivity

There are many speyrods that feel asleep or dead when casting, controlling line or when hooking or controlling fish. This could be due to poor design or low grade material or both. There are also innovative advanced design speyrods using high grade materials that provide an uncanny sensitive feel of what is happening during all stages of speyfishing such as:

  • Simple or advanced speycasting.
  • Controlling the line and the fly.
  • Feeling the slightest touch of an interested fish.
  • Hooking – controlling and landing fish.

Although advanced speyrods can be cast and fished by popular contemporary methods, the prime advantages is the ability to perform all stages of advanced speycasting and advanced speyfishing.

Enjoy Your Speyfishing

The final and extremely important function of a speyrod is whether or not you enjoy fishing with it. Many anglers are unduly influenced by others, even though their concepts of speyfishing are different. If you enjoy delicate accurate speycasting within your effective range, don’t use the same rod as the misguided speycaster who is convinced that the fish are all on the other side of the river and that the fish or onlookers will be impressed with their ego-boosting distance casting.

Relative Importance of Casting and Line Control

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The thrill of excessive distance casting is so hypnotic that beginners and sadly some experienced speyfishers fall into the trap of selecting a rod for its distance casting capabilities with little or no thought of its line control characteristics.

When discussing the relative importance of distance casting and good line control with a speyfishing student whose other obsession was golfing, his final remark seemed to sum up the subject perfectly.

His advice was that a professional golfer:

  • Drives for the ‘show’ (casting).
  • And putts for the ‘dough’ (line control).

Excessive Distance Casting – Many accomplished speycasters are so proud of their extreme distance casting that they invent reasons for doing so. To add to the problem is the strange belief that most of the fish are on the other side of the river.

When the guide was informed that his guest was distance casting to catch fish on the other side of the his terse reply was: This is also the other side of the river.

EFFECTIVE FISHING RANGE

Effective Fishing Range – Throughout this book there will be constant reference to the effective range of your speycasting and speyfishing. Let us examine this in detail.

  • Your effective speyfishing range is from your shortest to your longest speycast over which you can easily control your line and your fly.

Beware – Many double-hand fly rods allow casting well beyond any possibility of controlling the fly. This is good for the ego but seldom impresses fish. More fish are caught on shorter, line controlled casts than casting to the other side of the river.

There Are Numerous Factors Influencing Your Effective Range

  • Every foot of extra wading depth may reduce your optimum cast by five feet. Wading out to reach a distant target is often counter-productive, due to the difficulty of keeping the line live and above the water during the preliminary strokes of a speycast.
  • Every extra mile per hour increase in current speed will increase your effective cast by about two feet, due to the line tensioning and rod loading effect of the faster current.
  • Even though the slightest head wind will reduce your longest effective range, shorten your line when this happens, don’t just try and bash it into a head wind.
  • Any object to the rear, or to the side, that restricts the movement of the rod or line when making a standard speycast, will require the restricted back cast technique and will shorten your effective range.

Find Your Effective Range

With so many factors influencing your effective range, it is necessary to establish your shortest and longest controllable cast, at every change of casting station. Don’t worry if your speycasts are a little rough to start with. Check all the influencing factors and adjust the length of line accordingly. The most likely reason for inadequate speycasting, is trying to cast too much line for the local conditions. Check the length marks on your line at each station.

Credits: Mike Maxwell

Reading the River – As a Speyfisher – Don’t forget that speyfishers can cast virtually to anywhere – from anywhere, do not require the backcasting clearance of the overhead caster and can read the river as a speyfisher. It follows that you can be fishing sections of a river, where very little is known about fish holding locations. The temptation to wade out, disturbing fish holding close in, to cover that interesting slick or rock, is the most common error of the inexperienced speyfisher.

It should also be remembered that fish are not always playing fair and are not usually where we would like them to be. A logical and systematic method of searching the river, will find more fish than a haphazard guessing procedure.

Analyzing the geological nature of the river and establishing natural boundaries such as waterfalls, canyon walls or length of beat will usually set the boundaries of your search area.

The Game Plan – Searching for Fish

Following a logical game plan requires considerable personal discipline, however you will soon be following the routine naturally to search for fish.

Setting the Boundaries – Determine the length of river to be fished by natural boundaries, or by the length of time required to fish it.

Divide the River into Strips – Starting as close to shore as possible, determine your shortest, medium and longest controllable cast for the prevailing casting conditions. Make two or three casts at each length, watching or feeling for an interested fish, on each presentation. If no takers, it is time to move down the pool.

Divide the River into Casting Stations – It is not necessary to step cast when moving down river. Fishing the strips at three different lengths covers an enormous area of water, allowing you to move down the pool at about two rod lengths to the next casting station, without holding up another angler following you.

Conclusion

Don’t be overly concerned with your speycasting. Remember that you are speyfishing not just speycasting. The final test of your speyfishing skill is in reading the water, making the correct presentation, hooking, controlling and landing your fish quickly and humanely to assist in its survival on release.

Your beautiful speycasting, line control and fish hooking procedures will be wasted if your rod makes controlling and landing fish difficult. Many double-handers do!

Flexible and powerful speyrods that are easy to cast and control line are generally good fish controllers, providing the correct technique is used. A well-designed fish controller should be sensitive enough to feel the slightest touch of an interested fish and the power to prevent a hooked fish from swimming away out of control. Without doubt the most important asset of a well-designed speyrod is its shock-absorbing effect when controlling an acrobatic jumping fish. There is no need to drop the rod tip or bow to the fish when a fish jumps. It cannot fall on to a tight line and unhook itself, or take off on another unnecessary escape run.

A powerful shock-absorbing speyrod will allow you to tire a fish quickly so that it can be landed revived and released with the least trauma for the fish and the angler.

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