How did you learn . . .


Well-Known Member
to Spey cast?

I putzed around with the long rod for 10 years with no instruction, and it showed. Not that the fish cared, but it was more novelty than function, except for roll casting when fishing along high stream banks.

I attended the Skykomish Spey Clave a couple years ago, and that helped. Then I attended a couple Saturdays at Aaron's in Carnation, and that helped even more. Then last month I took a couple lessons from Buckner, who's a certified instructor, and that helped quite a lot more. I'm getting downright snazzy with the Spey rod now. I had my most satisfying outing yet, Friday while fishing the Cowlitz. Of course, I need a lot more practice to be really stylin'.


Salmo g.
I watched a Simon Gawesworth video...a bunch of times. I also watched a Derek Brown video. I think lessons would definitely be the way to go. Two of my brothers took lessons and it helped considerably.


Active Member
I'm certainly not one to give advice on the subject. However, learn the double and single spey and practice your ass off. People I have spent time with who are proficient- practice, practice, practice. It's probably best to get a lesson before you develop bad habits and down load muscle memory that's hard to reverse.


Oncorhynchus clarki clarki
Mike Kinney gave me a quick demo and some intructions back when he used to work at Creekside. It got me started, but I am not good at it. I miss that guy, I haven't talked to him for a while.



I was lucky - I realized it would shorten the learning curve considerably, so I took a class with John Hazel and John Farrar on the NF Sky many moons ago.

Then I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time fishing with some truely exceptional casters in the following years. It's a lot easier to pick up some of the refinements to the various speycasts when you're able to watch them repeated over and over when you're following a proficient caster thru a run.

Finally, learn to be your own analyst. Taking the time to understand the fundamentals of the speycast will pay dividends when your casting goes south (and it does for everyone, even the best casters) so you can make adjustments for yourself.

And, as SalmoG and Steve Buckner have mentioned . . . Practice!! Many seem adverse to practicing their casting, and I've also been guilty of poking a bit of fun at the wannabe "Spey Gods", but the plain and simple fact is that if you want to enjoy your fishing and not have to fight your casting all day the best way is to put in some dedicated practice time.

My .02,

I went out with Mike Kinney for a day about 10 years ago when he was at Creekside. I also fished alot with friend, who's very good with a double hander. Unfortunately, fishing with my friend screwed me up big time. He used a long belly and I used a WC modified into what are now called skagit heads. Neither of us knew the finer points of long belly, short belly, etc and the rationale for each system. He was by far the better caster and I tried emulating him. In short, I was a mess until more info started coming out about short, medium, long heads and the philosophies around each. I've done 1-day seminars with other notable spey casters, each one of whom can mess you up if you aren't aware that they are probably teaching you THEIR style. I think lessons are the way to go, but like consultants, they need to be managed. Beware too many teachers. Learn one style, understand it very well, then branch out.


Ignored Member
I am fortunate to live on the Skagit and to have started with a spey rod in ‘90 or ‘91. Many of the spey notables of the area were still learning at that time and I got to fish with and learn from many of them. Although to this day I will honestly say that I have not broaden my spey horizons much beyond a few basic workable casts. I don’t have the need for much more then the basics; single spey, double spey, perry poke, I might be able to perform one or two more. Can’t do the circle spey worth beans but really never had much need to.

Will Atlas

I just started earlier this summer, but with a clinic from mike kinney which happens every weekend free, and a few times through the rio video, plus just going fishing, my casting is coming along quite nicely. Its mostly about going fishing...


Active Member
I have been speycasting for steelhead for a little over 6 years and have had the good fortune to fish with some terrific casters that are also my good friends.

I fish mostly with Brian Lencho, "doublespey" on this board, and Ryan "Sparky" Petzold, the manager at Kaufmann's Bellevue, and Michael Mathis, a guide and absolute gonzo steelheader on the Snake and Clearwater rivers. Brian is a really good caster with a very distinctive style, that is very different from anyone else I've seen cast. Brian has most recently been working with TFO on their two-handed rods. Ryan is a left-handed caster which is something I have been trying to learn rather than reversing my casts. When I fish with the two of them, I feel like I'm on a morning radio show with "Ryan and Brian."

I have also spent many days on the river with Juro Mukai, the first US distributor of CND rods and Nobuo Nodera, the designer and owner of CND. I have also fished with Mike Kinney and always make it a point to see him at the claves. John Farrar and I are very good friends and spend a lot of time together in the winter on the Skagit. I'm pretty much self-taught and have learned almost everything I know from these guys. I have never hesitated to ask questions and, most importantly, I don't squander their generosity by not practicing.



Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
Read Mike Maxwell's The Art and Science of Spey Fishing after I bought my 1st loomis two hander over 10 years ago. Rob Endsley helped me take my casting to actually fishing and cathing steelhead on the fly.

I also recieved some tips from Simon Gawesworth who helped me at the fly fishing shows. I became the little kid that could cast the whole pond and hit people hanging out at the end. Kerry Burkheimer was the only person that would let me test out two handed rods. G Loomis, T&T, Sage, and others said I was too young until they saw me cast.

Steve Buckner has helped me the last two years to get rid of my bad habits.
George Cook. After that it was whom ever I met at the spey claves willing to answer a question. Mostly it's been 100 plus days a year fishing for steelhead for the last five years. I'm not a demo guy, but I can swing a fly.


Another Flyfisherman
Steve Buckner -

Most everything I have learned about anadromous fish came from Steve. He took me under his wing shortly after I moved to WA going on 4 years ago. I started the 2-handers 3 years ago. I have spent a bit of time casting with Juro. At a few of the claves, Tyler Kushnir, Dana Sturn from the other board, Russ of Skagit fame gave me a couple additional tips as well as Way Yin. Also, Gene Oswald has been an influence as well. Its fun to watch him cast past the boats on the other side of the Cowlitz (he will deny this, but I have been witness)! Gene also helped me in my schooling path as well. But, 99% has been with Steve as with 99% of all of my fishing over the last few years (excluding guiding in alaska summer 05). I certainly spent a few mornings, afternoons, and evenings out practicing with Steve while he was preparing for the Two-Handed Certification.....Well, he was practicing and I was getting SCHOOLED! Come to think of it, Steve is usually on my case about something or another pretty much all the time! :beer2:

Practice is KEY! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! That goes for single handed casting as well if you ever want to get "good" let alone achieve the levels of the people named in these posts! And, from personal experience if you get a job and go to school and find yourself sucked into the toilet of "responsible adulthood" your casting will leave you much much MUCH faster than it took you to gain, as well as fishing time and subsequent success while fishing.

BOTTOM LINE: Flyfishing, steelheading and non-fishing jobs ARE NOT COMPATABLE! Slightly off subject, but relevant.

Watch your D-Loop!