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Simon Gawesworth Spey Casting Classes – September 26 & 27, 2021

by | Jul 26, 2021 | 0 comments

Among those familiar with the history and development of modern Spey casting, the name of Simon Gawesworth speaks for itself.  Simon began to fish at the age of 6 and took up fly fishing when aged 8, being trained by his father – well known fly fishing instructor and author, John Gawesworth. By the time he left school at 16 to teach fly fishing, Simon had become the British Junior casting champion, repeating the feat the next year. In the following years Simon broke seven British casting records and won the adult casting championships three times in succession.  Fast forward to today, and with over 35 years of teaching experience, Simon is among the most sought-after Spey casting instructors anywhere.  He has written three books on Spey casting, and has both cast and fished for England in British, European, and World Championships and was elected Captain of the England team for the 2003 World Fly Fishing Championship.  Simon is A.P.G.A.I. and S.T.A.N.I.C. certified in the U.K. and C.I., Master and T.H.C.I. certified in the U.S.  Simon currently lives in South West Washington with his family and a water-loving dog.  He has worked for RIO Products since 2001, where he has influenced the development of not only modern Spey lines, but rods, and casts as well.  He is currently Farbank Enterprises (Sage/RIO/Redington/Flywater Travel) Education & Engagement Manager having recently stepped down from his long held position as Brand Manager for RIO.  As great a caster as Simon is, he is an equally great teacher, and a fantastic, and humble person.  We are fortunate to consider him a friend and are excited to welcome him back to West Yellowstone this fall.

Each year, Simon makes time to offer his incredible Spey Casting Classes through a very select few fly shops and angling clubs, and in 2021, Big Sky Anglers is thrilled to be able to offer not one, but two full day classes with Simon.  The first class, on Sunday, September 26th, is Simon’s Introduction to Spey Casting.  The second class, on Monday, September 27th, is Simon’s Advanced Spey Casting class.  See below for a full description of each class itinerary.  Despite the names of each class, there will not be a caster out there who cannot learn something from each of these courses.  As Spey instructors ourselves, we always take away something new from one of Simon’s presentations about better ways to explain, teach, or demonstrate the principles of Spey casting.

Space is limited in each class to 8 students.  Each class costs $400 per person, which includes lunch and full day instruction.  If you sign up for both the Introduction and Advanced classes, the cost is $800, and you will receive a free, $100 gift card to use at Big Sky Anglers.

To sign up, please call or email Justin Spence at 406-640-0420 or jspence@bigskyanglers.com

Course Descriptions

9/26/2021 – Introduction to Spey Casting

Meet at Big Sky Anglers a bit before 8:30 AM to enjoy coffee, pastries, and fish stories. The class will start at 8:30 AM with an introductory talk on the basic theory of Spey casting, including the types of casts covered in the course, the three principles of Spey casting, and when to use which cast. There is also a brief outline of the different types of Spey casting tackle. After the talk the class moves out to the water to work on getting a solid foundation for the spey casts. This includes the Roll cast and forward stroke, with both right hand and left hand up. Later in the morning the class learns the Snap T cast. A break for lunch will be taken around 12.30 and, after lunch, the class will head back to the river to work on the Double Spey. The afternoon is spent developing a feel for these two essential casts.

The primary object of this class is to give ‘students’ the ability to cast with a downstream wind and an upstream wind from either bank. After that, the goals are to ensure that casters have an understanding of the mechanics of Spey casting, as well as the ability to perform some of the basic casts in a given situation. Knowledge of tackle is also an integral part of the class and, to this extent; students will be given the chance to use a number of different Spey rods and lines to find out what is the best tackle set up for them.

Finally, if any client has access to a video recorder (camera phone, etc) it may well be worth bringing it along – if time permits, the instructor will film a comparison between the students style and the instructor’s.

9/27/2021 – Advanced Spey Casting

Meet at Big Sky Anglers a bit before 8:30 AM to enjoy coffee, pastries, and fish stories. The class will start at 8:30 AM with a brief overview and demonstration of key terminology and principles as well as the different styles of spey casting (Skagit, Traditional and Scandinavian). After the initial talk the class begins with a check on the basic casts and their foundation that each angler/caster has. The basic casts are the forward stroke, Roll cast, Snap T and Double Spey cast (with both right hand and left hand up). A break for lunch will be taken around 12.30 and, after lunch, the class will continue and work any of the following options (depending on requirements, time available and ability):

  • Consolidate the basic casts
  • Learn alternative casts (Single Spey, Switch cast Snake Roll, Perry Poke, Wombat, etc.)
  • Work with sinking tips and heads
  • Work with long belly lines to really hone the technique
  • Work with single handed rods
  • Casting Games
  • Honing in the perfect line/rod combination for given situations and skills

The object of this class is to ensure that the ‘students’ have a complete understanding of the mechanics of spey casting, as well as the ability to perform a range of spey casts to a competent level for any situation.

Finally, if any client has access to a video recorder (camera phone, etc) it may well be worth bringing it along – if time permits, the instructor will film a comparison between the students style and the instructor’s.

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