Fly-fishing: Spey casting has its advantages

Almost everywhere I fish these days, I do a little Spey casting.

Almost everywhere I fish these days, I do a little Spey casting.

That’s not to say I do it especially well. But I do enjoy it, and it does have certain advantages.

For one thing, it allows me to toss a pretty long cast without having to worry about obstructions behind me, since there’s no back cast — or at least not an aerial back cast, where you fling the whole line to the rear.

Another advantage is that Spey casting allows an angler to take a line that’s dangling straight downstream and snap it into position for another cast across the stream with a few quick movements, in two or three seconds. Repositioning a line with overhead casting usually involves repeated false casts; Spey casting does the job much more efficiently.

For long casts, Spey casting requires less effort, which is more appealing with each passing year. I occasionally suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and the smaller arm movements involved in Spey casting are easier on my joints than flinging my right arm back and forth.

Finally, Spey casting is just plain fun. I have what’s known as a switch rod — a two-handed rod that can be used for Spey casting or overhead casting — which I use when I’m after larger fish like striped bass. But I do most of my Spey casting with my regular single-handed trout rod.

Learning to Spey cast, whether single-handed or two-handed, takes a little practice, but it’s not rocket science and there’s lots of video on YouTube.

And, of course, there’s Spey Nation.

Anyone with even the slightest interest in two-handed fly-fishing will enjoy the annual conclave on the Salmon River, founded by Geoff Schaacke of Ballston Spa. Now in its eighth year, Spey Nation 2015 will take place June 27 at the Pineville access parking lot along the Salmon River in Oswego County. Attendance is free.

Spey Nation is a great place to learn more about Spey casting and swinging flies. Eight experts, including well-known Salmon River guide Walt Geryk, will give presentations.

A Spey enthusiast at Spey Nation is the proverbial kid in a candy store, with the opportunity to try out rods, lines and reels from all the top manufacturers.

As always, the Nation will provide free lunch for all attendees. Also free will be a screening of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival June 26 at 7 p.m. at the Tailwater Lodge in Altmar.

Perhaps the key feature of Spey Nation is its raffles. Rods, reels, nets, fly-tying stuff and even a five-day trip to British Columbia will be raffled off, with the proceeds going to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, the non-profit group working to restore Atlantic salmon to its native waters in the Tug Hill Plateau.

If you buy (or win) some new gear at Spey Nation, shoot some video of yourself using it this fall. The Nation’s organizers are rounding up home videos for a Spey Nation Film Forum at the 2016 event. Details can be found at spey­

Categories: Sports

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