And now we try Spey Fishing…

by Rebecca on August 31, 2010

in Spey Fishing

I knew better, I really did, but on Saturday I went to an event so loaded with temptations that I’m still having  visions of standing in a river, cutting a fly Line through the air with finesse and catching a steelie with a touch of Mackdaddy style.

When I received the Spey Clave flier via email from Michael Bantam of Dream Cast Idaho, I wrote back and asked if a non-Spey-ing, simple Fly Fishing gal could come and mingle around. Michael wrote back and said (exact words) “I think you would enjoy it. And you too will become a Spey caster, you just don’t know it yet.” So I added his Spey fishing prophecy to my growing list of ‘your doomed and know it‘ bag and left my credit card at home.

Steve Vance tying me a Spey Fly

When I arrived I was quickly greeted by Michael, so at least I didn’t feel like the ultimate party crasher. I also ran into someone I already knew in the Fly Fishing community, Steve Vance, maker of Scandalous Sticks Fly Rods. Steve was busy at a fly tying table whipping up what I learned was a special breed of fly. The Spey Fly.

I instantly wanted one, or two, or a whole box of fancy (not intended for Bass) fluff. Spey flies are beautiful and I could feel the Steelhead vibe radiating from them.  Lucky for me, Steve noticed my drooling and gave me two Spey Flies. Cha-ching– score one for the Spey prophecy.

Michael Bantam demonstration

Next I wandered down to the Boise River to watch Michael put on a Spey casting demonstration. For the purpose of disclosure, I should mention I had never watched anyone Spey cast before, so I was viewing the process through innocent eyes. And it was mesmerizing.

Following the movement of his Spey casting action was a bit like watching the Rhythmic Ribbon gymnastics in the Olympics, (but replace the leotard with waders) by the same flowing twists and curls, turns and swirls of the line. The more I watched, the more I could picture myself standing on the big Clearwater river doing the same thing. Score two for the Spey prophecy.

Mike Kinney Telling it Like it Is

After Michael was done dangling the Spey carrot over my head, he called in the ultimate secret weapon of sealing my Spey fate in the form of the legendary Fly Fishing Guide Mike Kinney. I knew I was watching and listening to fishing greatness the first time Mike said, “Common sense people!” as he was demonstrating the different techniques and possibilities Spey casting offers. I admire tell it like it is people, very much.

As Mike talked about things that sounded quite foreign to me, D-Loops, Snap-T’s, anchor points and the general physics of Spey casting, years of fishing wisdom mingled into his demonstration and I wholeheartedly sat at attention.

As he talked, I found myself reaching for my little notebook and quickly taking notes from time to time. Not necessarily about how to Spey cast, but the other pieces of wisdom he shared. For example, at one point he said something along the lines of “I don’t want to hear so & so is a bad caster. Instead look at the person and figure out why it works for them. Learn from other people.”

I admit I found comfort in his words because I’ve never been formally, officially or technically shown how to cast in Fly Fishing. I just do it and at times worry I may not be doing things ‘technically right’ however… my casting works for me. I’d like to believe most people share Mikes wisdom about casting, but something tells me that isn’t the case in the Fly Fishing world.

By the time Mike Kinney was done with his demonstration magic I had ate the carrot and was mentally adding up the pennies in my piggy bank and wondering if it really was necessary to buy groceries next month. The way I see it, I have two Spey Flies now. What choice do I have but to buy rod, reel and line to go with them?!! Besides, I’ve always wanted a good way to send a subtle message to fishermen that low hole me. I figure if I can learn to Spey cast, I could bull whip them from 100 feet away. A gentle Snap to the ear that says, “Hello, you’re a little too close for comfort darling.”

Only kidding…

Visit Mike Kinney at his website aptly named: Mike Kinney
Visit Michael Bantam at his website: Dream Cast Idaho

But be warned, interaction with either of them could lead to exciting new experiences
(and penniless bank accounts)


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike KinneyNo Gravatar August 31, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for the kind words Rebecca it was a pleasure meeting and talking with you. MBK


KirkNo Gravatar August 31, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Rebecca, Rebecca, Rebecca…Need I remind you (again) to re-read my warning blog from last year? “If You Don’t Spey, Don’t Start”. Alas I fear it’s too late for you since you’ve already got two flies that must find employment. As I see it you have two choices: Belly up to the bank and get yourself some gear; or send the flies to me. I’ll gladly take them off your hands.


ClifNo Gravatar August 31, 2010 at 8:36 pm

With that kind of range, you’ll be “snapping” me off the Illinois River.


ShoremanNo Gravatar August 31, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Two and a half hours of Spey casting on the Deschutes last fall and it damn near killed me. If you decide to take up Spey casting, I suspect you’ll do better than me as you are a might younger. My friend Rick from the Swinging Flies Blog is a Spey caster and he does it for 12 or 14 hours a day. He also covers a lot more of the American than I can with my 9 footer. Be interesting to see if you eat next month.



RebeccaNo Gravatar August 31, 2010 at 10:35 pm

@ Mike ~ Thank you for inspiring a new branch of my Fly Fishing. Someday I hope to head your direction and join you on the river.

@Kirk ~ I know, I know! But I’ve got the two flies now. What’s a gal to do? I’m off to read your entry after I post this comment. I have a feeling it’s not going to help my bank account.

@Clif ~ LOL. Well I can’t imagine you’d be the sort of fisherman that would try to sneak in below me, so I imagine you would be safe!

@Shoreman ~ Was it your first time? Were you doing it right? I ask because I was told that to Spey cast is half the work of a single hander. The grocery budget next month is going to be sparse….ramen noodles sparse =)


ShoremanNo Gravatar September 1, 2010 at 7:55 am

Hey Rebecca. It was the first time and I would say I was doing it right because I was with a guide and it was his rod. The other guy that was with me in the boat was experienced with his Spey and he didn’t seem to have any trouble. I attribute it to beginning fly fishing, 1/4 again as long as my rod (12ft vs 9ft), 1/3 heavier (6wt vs 9wt ) as my rod, and finally my health which isn’t bad, but not all that good. My problem is that my brain is 35 and my body is 64. One keeps kicking the other and my body usually pays.



MichaelNo Gravatar September 1, 2010 at 7:59 am

Rebecca, we’ll get you started off right. Thanks for attending.


DaveNo Gravatar September 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

If you’ve visited my blog recently, you’ll notice that I have recently made my journey to the “dark side” complete.
Mike Kinney is (at least in my opinion) one of the best at what he does. He has answered numerous questions for me, and always been forthcoming with any info that I’ve requested from him. He’s a great guy and to get a lesson or 10 from Mike is definitely on my top 10 list of things to do.
When I made my entry into spey rod, I decided to start with an Echo Dec Hogan (because I wasn’t willing to sink$1.5k- $2k into a Sage or Winston outfit my first time around). I’m sure any spey outfit would have you gainfully employing those 2 new fluffy spey flies in no time.
Unlike Kirk, I say do it! It’s a whole other world, and lemme tell ya, it doesn’t take a whole lot of “power” to put that fly out across the river 100 + ft. Besides that, it’s fun.
Good luck!


EricNo Gravatar September 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Bec..good on you for attending the clave. It’s scary what those guys can do with a 2 hander. I’ve taken Mikes instruction up on the Sky..3 hours turned into 5, no question for the same price. I now have him coming over the pass to teach a one dayer on the Yakima in cool is that..woohoo. As for gear, contact Poppy at the Red Shed in Idaho’s a great guy and gives you the best advise possible. He also has a lend program that is awesome. As a total newb to this 2 hander thing, keep us all posted on your new addiction. BTW, I picked up a TFO 4wt switch (Kinney design) for fishing the Yakima for bows..that is why I asked Mike to come over and teach a class. Eric


GregNo Gravatar September 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

Rebecca —

You can use spey techniques on your single hand rods, too, although I’m told that the extra length on a 2-hander can help you get into places and make presentations that you otherwise can’t. Good luck! By the way, I find that if you crack an egg over your ramen and sorta scramble it, it makes for better eats!


NickNo Gravatar January 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I had a similar experience with spey not too long ago.

For me my first introduction to Spey casting turned into hours spent at the bench tying great new spey patterns and huge intruder styles steelhead flies that would be impossible to cast with a single hander and working on saving up for a new rod, reel and line. Turns out it’s highly addictive.

Great post.


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