Are lessons really necessary for beginners?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Wadecalvin, May 3, 2012.

  1. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,114
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +467 / 1
    Nailed it! Couldn't have possibly said it better.
  2. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,130
    Olympia
    Ratings: +180 / 1
    Aaron up north is a great instructor.

    Steve Buckner is not only a great casting instructor but a great fishing instructor.

    Brian Chao in the Portland area can at times help but........;) No all kidding aside, he has helped me a ton in my two handed game.

    The caveot to this is that Steve Buckner is a top hand guy. Brian is a bottom hand guy. Simon VS mort thing. Its funny as my own style develops Steve and Brian are always trying to help me in their own ways, and I can see the difference in their styles.
  3. I learned alot from just fishing with quite a few people and watching people cast on the water. The internet has some good videos also, but I agree that some have to have the "hands on" instruction with someone pointing out their mistakes.
    When the casting does come together, it sure makes casting all day ALOT easier. Especially on those multi-day trips when you are swinging from sun up to sundown.

    Number one tip: ALWAYS debarb your hooks and wear eye protection when learning to cast!!
    I sold a spey to a first timer and told him to wear glasses and debarb his flies. Well, a few weekends later, he impailed himself with a size 2 (not debarbed) fly in the calf while fishing in shorts....Ouch!
  4. Thomas Mitchell Active Member

    Posts: 834
    Western, WA
    Ratings: +188 / 2
    I think Kerry is right.

    If your goal is to be a good fisherman and you have limited resources (TIME, and $$), you should allocate those resources primarily in learning how to catch fish - meaning things like learning how to read water, etc. As we've heard over and over, most steelhead are caught within modest casting distances. It's pretty easy for someone to teach themselves to cast 60-75' with a 13' speyrod given a little time and motivation. Won't be pretty but it'll be fishable.

    If your goals is to be a great caster who can fish, then the reverse is true. Invest the $$ up front in the casting technique.

    I'm a perfect example of the former: self-taught crappy caster but I can still get it out farther than I can effectively fish on my normal rivers. My water reading and tactical fishing skills, however, basically suck. Thus, I spend my very limited time and non-gas/gear money for fishing on the occasional 'learning trip' with a guide that'll teach me how to fish better. I really need to spend less on gear and push that into gas & guides but I haven't been able to take control of my reel fetish quite yet.

    YMMV...
  5. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,130
    Olympia
    Ratings: +180 / 1
    I have to backtrack a bit. I had said that Steve Buckner was a top hand proponent. Well I was incorrect in saying so. Just got this message from him:

    "Hey,
    Saw your post this morning on WFF about Spey Lesson, thanks for your support. One quick item to clarify though, I am not a top-handed proponent, I'm not sure where you got that. At least 70% of the power should come from using the bottom hand. The top hand is used primarily as a guide. Lots of casting errors result when too much top hand is used. Anyway, just wanted to clarify my position on that.

    Hope everything is going well. We'll have to get out on the water once it drops and the early fish come in.
    Best Regards,
    Steve
    Steve Buckner
    FFF Certified Casting Instructor
    FFF Two-Handed Certified Instructor"

    So I stand corrected. But yes if you want a great casting/fishing lesson, Steve is def an amazing resource.
    James Mello likes this.
  6. Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

    don't be stupid the answer is yes. be happy
  7. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    Coming into this thread 'late in the day' but if you're new to two-handers get a lesson (from someone whose a reasonable caster - doesn't have to be a paid up thing) ASAP. I, as well as Jim Jones, have taught a lot of folks down here on the Rogue how to cast a two-hander and the hardest to 'teach' was someone who was 'self-taught' to begin with.

    You have to 'break the bad habits' to instill 'good habits.' Can be frustrating for all concerned.
  8. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,946
    basement
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Thank God for Sundays on the river w/ Mike K, I am forever indebted to that Jedi for paying it forward!! Anyone who attended would agree im sure!! Our crew grew very proficient, to the point we could spot each other on the river by our cast. Many industry peeps would stop by, got to try many, many rods, and lines. Thanks AATF and Mike K !!!!!!!
  9. Ian Broadie Flyfishing is so "Metal"

    Posts: 670
    Kirkland, Washington
    Ratings: +57 / 0
    2nd on that.. I would probably still be flailing around and trying to blow my shoulder out whenever I go fishing if it wasn't for those Sunday sessions... a second thanks to AATF and Mike! It is true I know for a fact that I can spot Bhudda by his cast from a hundred yards away or more.

    Lessons from a good instructor will only save you agony on the river and in my opinion trying to power through bad habits by fishing through them will only reinforce the bad habits.
  10. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,057
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    Brings to mind a period when I was really into bluegrass banjo. Playing in a band, jam sessions with other musicians, sharing licks, technique, always picking up little nuggets whenever I could. Same applies here. Whether it be casting, fishing, indeed life itself. A teacher teaches. But it is up to the student to absorb and apply the lessons learned and, sometimes leading to new discoveries along the way. Always keep an open mind towards learning.
  11. Chedster New Member

    Posts: 28
    Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    99% of my casts are complete crap. I have never taken a casting lessons and never will. I completely enjoy the challenges of spey casting and trying to improve on my casting each time out. The physics of spey casting are really not that complicated...Load the rod and unload the rod. If you can accomplish this you are fishing, I accept the fact that my my loops are not lazer tight yet. I look for improved casting at the end of each trip and mental notes on how to improve casting next time out.
  12. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    With a two-hander this can work out. As most of your cast is actually in sight as you're doing same, something doesn't Hunt it's pretty easy to figure out the 'why.' A cast crash is usually only caused by one thing (that may vary depending upon the heap out on the water). If you know 'what causes that' corrective action can be pretty straight forward. Bye the bye, the odds on answer was poor anchor placement or forcing the cast. (Or both) :>(
  13. golfman44 Coho Queen

    Posts: 1,649
    Kirkland
    Ratings: +998 / 0
    I'm im my low 20s and just picked up fly fishing. I'm not saying my casts are perfect nor great but I do think I have found it easier than most make it sound. Maybe its my golf background (scratch player) so I understand tempo concepts and rythm... but after 20-30min on youtube I learned to double haul to a decent degree (video of some instructor from reds fly shop. just put the video on repeat and sat infront of my computer going DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP and boom!). Again I realize 80% of fly fisherman out there can probably double haul better than me due to time on water alone -- but still, I feel like youtube can substitute for instructers in a lot of ways. Granted most of these videos are done by professional instructors but still...I guess it all comes down to how an individual learns.

    That being said, reading water is hands down the hardest part for me. Gotta get me a lesson on that :p
  14. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    Roger that on the "was very hard to break the bad habits I had developed over time." I've 'taught' a lot of folks how to cast a 2-hander and the hardest is the Guy/Gal who was 'self taught.' Some general 'rules of the road' I follow is no rod over an 8wt, no rod over 14 foot, no sink tips (all dry lines of one sort or another, leader 10 - 12 foot max., etc.

    In the main, I'll use 6 and 7wt rods 12 to just short of 14 foot as this is enough to get a good feel for the equipment without beating the poor fellow to bits. If I know I'm going to be giving a beach lesson I'll bring at least 4 rods and several different configuration of lines from Scandi (NO SKAGIT's! heads are too short) to mid-length head floaters.

    Usually start with a 6wt and an appropriate Scandi head and go over the basic's of what makes up a 'Spey Cast.' There's really only three, but each has its own little bits and pieces that take a bit of coordination. The good part is if you 'fluff one' recovery via the other two is usually 'do-able.' About the only thing you can't unwind is a very poor anchor placement.

    Which cast (single or double spey) will be a function of he's a right hander/leftie or river right or river left. The next (to me anyway) to 'teach' is the Perry Poke. Reason? There isn't a screwed up 'first cast' that (you must react ASAP!!) that can't be 'saved' by rolling right into that sweet heart. When I finally do hook on a sink tip, this is the cast that gets pulled out of the box first.

    The hardest part to 'teach' would seem to be the easiest ..... the 'rod tip lift' at the beginning of each cast. Folks want to lift and 'pull' a the same time. A no-no! All the lift is meant to do is get as much line out of the water as you can so you can set up your anchor placement.

    Etc
  15. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,057
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    Fred & I fish together a lot. And we have both been coached together by some of best. In spite of all of that, we each have our own style of casting as well as teaching preferences. That is not to say either is right or wrong, just different. My preference, for teaching a beginner, leans toward sustained anchor casts as they are more easily broken down into step one, step two, step three casts, allowing time to think about the next step as it comes up. Also, since a good majority of river access in our area is river right, I'll start the newbie off with a double spey cast. The last of my preferences, and perhaps the least understood is the sink tip. And I'll go to great lengths explaining sink tips and how to cast them.
  16. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Damn Yuhina...your coach must suck then...LOL...sorry couldn't resist..

    Every guy I've met who thought he was a good caster wasn't...and bad casters working water in front of you SUCKS large balls!!!!

    Learning to make a good cast doesn't mean distance..It means turning over your fly so it fishes from when it hits the water and doesn't spook the hell out of all the fish that can be right in front of you but that for some reasons guys with spey rods in their hands wade out over and scare the anal fin back up by ripping the shit out of the water multiple times trying to get their lines out...

    If everyone approached fishing with a spey rod on any river the way they would with a single hander on a small creek they would catch more fish IMHO....

    Lessons are invaluable to everyone...new and old...
  17. Spencer Woods Member

    Posts: 196
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    Absolutely, unequivocally……………yes.
  18. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    Excellent description by Jimmie (above) about our individual styles of casting and 'teaching.' Jim fishes with a sink tip system (Skagit if memory serves) almost 100 percent of the time. I use a tip or sinking poly leader only when conditions (or on the North Umpqua where regulations - no weighted flies) require. With Rogue Flows at the moment, there are darned few places where you don't need both a sink tip and a weighted fly. Without one or the other (both) you're just getting casting practice.

    Me and a 'Newbie?' Until he gets 'dry line' work under control he'll never see a sink tip of any kind. Once that's 'under control' (reasonable level of casting) then on to Skandi's and sinking polies and Skagit's with full on sink tips. Two different worlds when it comes to 'casting' in my small mind.
    ;>)
  19. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,057
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    I should re phrase that. Casting sink tips is not so much the problem. It's when the sink tip does not match up with the head to which it is attached. Same with the fly. Fred's Scandi lines and poly leaders are great, until the fly becomes too much for them to handle.
    Ian Broadie likes this.
  20. yuhina Tropical member

    Posts: 2,320
    Boston-Idaho
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    Good point! SF...
    "bottom up" approach as it is called... determine fly size first, then select a sinktip (short heavy, or long light), then the line/head to carry them in the air... One of the exciting part of spey fishing (to me) is that you pretty much has endless combinations to get the fly out and having fun...

    Mark
    Ian Broadie and speyfisher like this.