Great time at the Sandy Spey Clave 2004

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
The 4th annual Sandy River Spey Clave was another huge success. This event has continued to grow and this year was no exception. It was a great opportunity to meet folks, improve skills, and test new rods/reels/lines. Many thanks to Mark Bachmann for putting this together again.

For those of you who did not get to attend, you should make it a priority to attend next year. The best casters and steelhead fisherman on the planet attend this yearly event and the benefits cannot be overstated. If you're looking to improve your casting (that should include everyone on this board) and bringing more steelhead to the beach, be sure to attend next year. Only 364 more days 'til then...can't wait!

Steve Buckner
I'm new to this site and can definitely stand to improve my casting. If you guys don't kick me off by this time next year then I will be in attendance this time next year. Does anyone have any recommendations as far as casting classes goes? I need to improve.
William, my hard work still leads to piss poor casting. Some I'm sure cast beautifully with little effort, I catch trout, but have much room for improvement. I have taught myself to flyfish and have done a poor job. Any advice is appreciated. I tend to catch my line on the delivery stroke and distance is a problem for me. I catch trout because I make sure I am at the right places at the right times, not because I'm necessarily a good flyfisherman.

Matt Burke

Active Member
Steve-Thanks for the Sandy update. Had every intention of being there this year until I blew a hole in my transfer case. The Claves are an invaluable asset to our community.

Angler77-Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you may be talking about the use of a single hand rod for fly fishing. Not that it matters, but the Sandy Clave focused on the use of a two hand rod. Something you have to see to believe. However, the true measure of a man can be summed up by his courage to ask for help. There are many on the site who enjoy the social aspect of fly fishing because without it, none of us could have learned anything from the masters that pioneered our sport. It is our duty to pass on what was freely given to us. There are a lot of times where we will meet, some private and some as a group and share our fly fishing. Getting help or taking lessons will speed up the learning process ten fold. Just keep an eyeball on the discussions and jump in or start your own thread.

William-Your limited perspective on the “supposed cream o’ the crop” and the social aspect of fly fishing, almost surely guarantees you a lonely and frustrating experience. But as you say, that’s your problem.

Matt Burke


Another Flyfisherman
whats with all the sharp shooting about the Clave?

For the man who asked the question about casting.....there is link in Skinny's post to his website. He offers classes and the man can throw a sweet line, single or spey.

I was in your boat not too long ago...I could catch trout but needed improvement, I knew I could improve, and the only thing that holds anyone back from taking some instruction from someone that is better than they are is pride.

There is always room for improvement. The best casters in the world are still learning and improving. Thats one of the joys of fly fishing no one will Ever know all this to know.

The disadvantage to being self taught is that you engrain the bad habits or small mistakes. sure in time you work out the bugs.....but the minor problems are still there, you just learn to work around them. That was the hardest thing for me when I finally broke down and started to listen (to skinny). Once steve beat me within an inch of my casting life and I finally started to listen. I am certainly glad I did.

Just my pennies. Good Luck!

Thanks for the clave report Steve! Wish I could have been there.

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
I'm not sure where the animosity toward the event comes from but the Spey Clave is a free event sponsored by Mark Bachmann. There is no requirement to pay homage. Most of the major and many of the minor rod manufacturers are there and it is a great opportunity to try out lines/rods/reels. Many of the rods are prototypes of what may come down the pipe.

Besides having an opportunity to discuss techniques, to find out about new rivers and fishing conditions, its also nice to meet people enthusiastic to this sport. It's probably the same reason that you've decided to participate on this forum.

Simon Gawesworth, Steve Choate, Way Yin, Steve Rajeff, Tim Rajeff, Scott O'Donnel, Andy Murray, Al Buhr, George Cook (probably forgot some) were there to show anyone interested in how to improve their casting and their fishing. Classes from these same people are often hard and/or expensive to get into.

I'm guessing that you're unfamiliar with the people listed above, otherwise you probably would'nt be so callous with your post. Steve Rajeff holds many world casting titles and Steve Choate was the 2002 was the world champion of the Musto spey casting competition. Each of these individuals, while at the top of their game, continue to practice and improve their casting. Steve Choate can throw 150' of spey line, Steve Rajeff threw shooting head nearly 300 feet.

Being a good caster will bring more fish to the beach, its a skill that any serious fly fisherman would continue to want to improve upon. If it's not your cup of tea, that's fine but I'm not sure what the reason is to bash those that are the best of this sport that we call fly fishing. The best casters in the world are not "lurking behind the scenes", they were at the Spey Clave, willing to help anybody.

Steve Buckner

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Why should anyone "give you a break", just because you "puked" on yourself here?

These events bring out the best in people, not their egos. It is not about commerciality; it is about sharing the game, giving and generosity, and companionship. Many of the pros don't stand to make anything by going there, it costs them out of pocket. (Well, except for Skinny...he made a small fortune down there last weekend. ) Sure, indirectly, and over time, they may, eventually, benefit from being at public events like this. That would be true of manufacturers as well. But what would you like them to do?: Stand behind a counter in a fly shop somewhere, dressed in black and wearing dark mirrored sunglasses, their arms folded across their chest with an intimidating stare? Perhaps those of us who want to improve or excell at our casting would be better off learning it in the dark?

Friendships are forged and renewed over these weekends. And many participants are also very active in regional fisheries and environmental conservation issues- and a lot of these people really do know their fishing too- so anytime they get together I try to listen to what is being said. Most of the so called "Pros" whom I know, including myself, could be making a lot more money doing something else. But we love the flyfishing life and try to stay in it, and we try to make a worthwhile contribution.

"The best steelhead fishermen, and casters for that fact, lurk behind the scenes and stay out of the limelight. It's not a job for them."

Well the world just isnt that big anymore, and this game is too small for someone that good to be able to hide within it and remain unknown. In my experience the "best fishermen and casters" are also amongst the best citizens of the fly fishing community. And like it or not, if you are a fly fisherman of any ilk; you are a part of that community too. It is inescapeable. That does not mean that you have to compare yourself to others, or compete with anyone. And you don't "have to" go to these types of events either. Yet every choice you make as an individual will have a lasting effect on the whole of us.

So the question is: What kind of citizen will you be? What will you bring to the community? How will you make a difference to the life and health of the fish and the rivers and world? What will you contribute to the art and literature and grace of the game? And when you go, what will you have left behind?

"Into the hands of the giver the gift is given".

And If it's"not your cup of tea", why not just let it be.
I went to the spey clave hoping to learn a tip or two. What I found blew my mind! I always figured the Sandy River was too urban, too crowed, too everything - I've lived near the Sandy all my life and always found a reason to avoid floating it. But the Sandy is beautiful. After a while, my partner and I bagged the clave in favor of fishing and he christened his new spey rod. We'll be back next year for both days! :)
Got to agree. No one in this sport can know everthing. Every time I am on the water I learn new things. I myself want to get out to a single hand clave or an intermediate class at some point to work on my casting skills. I still have never gotten down a double hall for one thing and its something I really need to learn to be able to fish the salt with more skill.


Active Member
Way back in the late sixties/early seventies, there were single-handed casting "claves" held throughout Southern California. They were called "Flyfishing Seminars" back then. The admission was free and many well known flycasters and manufacturers showed up to demo their wares and teach anybody who wanted to learn about flyfishing and flycasting.

I'm sure there were also a few who poo-pooed them. I know I didn't.



Creating memories one cast at a time
Will there be a video produced of the event like last year? I learned a lot from the video and like the idea the proceeds went to the Native Fish Society.