Spey Days 2003 Report

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Matt Burke, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    What an incredible event that read like a who’s who. Dana Sturn led us off Saturday morning with the basic intro to Spey casting. The most interesting thing Dana showed us was his own transition in style of casting over the years. It was like watching a time machine and with each cast they became tighter and farther.

    Andy Murray was next from England. He was tossing a Hardy with all the tradition and accent thrown in for free. I actually got to try his rod and it was sweet.

    Mike McCune and Scott Odonnell worked as a team. They had a dozen ARC Scott rods strung with various lines. Regular multi-tips, shooting heads, home made shooting. A mix and match of what seemed like every possible combination of multi-tips, no middle sections, middle sections with extensions. They emphasized casting with the different sink tips and how to get them up and in the air.

    Goran Anderson from Sweden, then stepped up with his Loop rods and lines. My first real look at the underhand cast. He had a very light and short casting style. I think he could have tossed a 150 feet, but emphasized that most takes are within 50 anyway. He kept saying, are there any questions, but I don’t think anybody knew what to ask.

    Then Steve Choate and Way Tin stepped up to bat. Steve Choate is a Spey casting champion and won it over there. They were throwing the SA XLT with a 115-foot head. I never saw them strip in any line, in fact, that was their point. To be able to cast with all the line and not have to worry about frozen guides. Also it was amazing to see the distance these guys were getting by keeping their loops tight. They accomplished this by keeping their tip motion parallel with the water.

    Sunday was the same thing with the addition of George Cook. He told the story of how he named the Snap-T. He also showed us the Perry’s Poke. Having just had his class two weeks ago, it was great to get a review.

    I must have cast every single rod on the market, every line that was there and met some of the greatest people on earth. Most importantly was Dennis Worley. He worked very hard running around making sure everyone was taken care of.

    It was an amazing thing to grab a rod from one of these fellows and cast it. Each one would instruct you as you tried their stuff. There were so many styles to learn. So many things to incorporate into my own program. Through that whole dizzying array of information, I now know exactly which way I’m headed into the Northwest Spey Casting Hall of Fame. If I get lucky I might even catch a fish on the way.

    "Everyday that you wake up and decide not to go fishing...is one less day you'll go fishing." Forrest Maxwell
  2. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member


    I helped with the Fall City clave last friday before the Meydenbauer show, and I also went to yesterday's Kaufmann's clave and I had an all day fishing/learning session with Mike Kinney on the Skagit last wednesday. Today, I worked on everything I learned at a park on the Green River. The difference in what I saw is so very different than what I can do. Good to see you yesterday.

  3. JRSly

    JRSly Oncorhynchus clarki clarki

    This is off topic but did you like Kinney. I have never gone out on the river with him, but I know him really well. I think he is a great guy and I was just wondering what you thought about him. I have actualy been thinking about going to the Skagit with him, but I don't really want to pay a guide so I decided not to for now. I think it would be fun, so I was just wondering what you thought.

  4. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    This may not be quite what you're looking for or it may be exactly what you want to know.

    I've known Mike for quite a while but have only had the briefest little bits of conversation with him at Creekside and at fly fishing shows. A couple weekends ago, he was one of the featured casters at the friday speyclave that preceeded the show at Meydenbauer. My friend Juro Mukai, who put the clave on fished the day before with Ed Ward, Marlow Bumpus and Dana Sturn on the Skagit. I drove up the next day and fished with Juro and Mike. Mike wanted to show us how he likes to teach his clients. As you might know, Mike, Marlow, Ed, Dec Hogan and a few others are the proponents, if not the founders, of the "Skagit Style" of steelheading, which utilizes short 15' heads, a bit of floating line and a lot of running line on a two-handed rod. Mike had us shorten our mid-spey lines (the Windcutter's shorter head would be better) and showed us how to cast from under trees and, more importantly, to fish them properly through the holding water. The man knows his river and exactly how to fish and anyone who pays Mike to take him out and doesn't listen, or is unwilling to learn, is a fool parting with money (trust me, Mike has no patience with the latter).

    The photo of Mike Kinney in the Sage catalog says it all.

    We spent a nice sunny day talking both the politics of fish and the politics of Bush. We fished for dollies in the morning, which he loves as much as steelhead, and I followed him through the last run of the day, knowing that I wouldn't be catching anything but not caring either. I was watching Mike fish.

    If you simply want to catch steelhead, hire someone else. If you want to learn how to catch steelhead, go with Mike.

    Hope this helps,
  5. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    Wow, sounds like I need to hire Mike. I had walked up on Mike and Goran Anderson waiting my turn to speak with Goran. I really couldn't hear what they were saying, not that it was my business, but it looked like Mike had one of the lines he had made and was asking Goran about it. I have several shooting heads in my arsenal and plan on going that route with my spey casting. It seems to me that a good system and knowledge of the river would be a deadly combination. Mending with the running line seems to be the only obstacle unless you use the seams to mend it for you. For instance, you could have the tip half of the shooting head in the faster water and the rear half in slow. It would mend itself. Also there are times I have cast to the other side of rivers, but there is fast water in between me and where I want to be. My fly will hang for just a second, then the current will grab that Spey belly and the fly takes off like a bat out of hell. I've seen fish target the fly and start coming closer and BAM, the fly is gone. With the running line being thinner, it will hang in front of them just a little longer. I have also discovered as I switch from Skagit to Sauk and the maybe hit the NF Stilli on the way home, I need to not only change my Spey tips, But also the size of my belly. Anyway, that's what I was thinking, but it looks like Mike beat me to it. Nothing else to do, but learn it.


    "Everyday that you wake up and decide not to go fishing...is one less day you'll go fishing." Forrest Maxwell
  6. JRSly

    JRSly Oncorhynchus clarki clarki

    Yeah I know Mike really well but I have never gone fishing with him. He does know his river really well I know that. I am actually leaning towards the idea of going fishing with him. I know I would learn a lot, and I know I would have a good time, he is a funny guy. I normally see him at least once a week, you guys have actually helped Mike get some work I think. I was just wondering what you guys thought about him.

  7. Rimmy

    Rimmy Member

    i bring this up only to say things have not change to much in the last 6 years still talking about the same thing and going strong today !
  8. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    And I was going to bash Burke for being 6 years late with his report. But no matter.

  9. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Great Thread! But you've got Mr. W's last name wrong.