Casting in the Stream of Consciousness: Small Stream Single Hand Spey

by | Aug 22, 2018 | 0 comments

My good friend Brian Chou visited Montana recently, and we were able to find time to get out on a small stream for a bit of fishing and goofing around.  We took turns working our way up the small stream, one person fishing, the other taking photos, shooting short videos, and heckling (not necessarily in that order).

The video clip below, which now lives on the BSA Vimeo Page, struck me as something that could really show folks the versatility of Spey principles when applied to fishing with single hand rods.

First of all, the situation is far from what most would consider normal Spey fishing.  Clearly absent are the big river, 2-handed rod, salmon or steelhead flies, and down-and-across approach.  Instead, we have a small creek, a 7’10’ single handed rod, two dry flies, and an upstream approach.  Yet, this cast and presentation met the situation perfectly due to the tight quarters and little-to-no backcast space.

If I had to name or describe this presentation, it would be as follows: Upstream directed, cross-body Poke, with a slight aerial mend.

As far as what that means and how this cast actually works, let me try and walk you through it in words.  Next time you are out on the water, fool around a bit with these concepts and see how they might work into your own angling.

At the start of the clip, the flies are drifting downstream in the bubble line towards the bush on the left side of the screen, which is essentially straight across the creek from my position.  I had to get the flies out of there before they snagged in the branches, but if I had simply picked them up into an overhead cast, they would have ended up high in the willows behind me, on the right side of the screen.  I needed a way to make a significant change of direction, from across stream, to back upstream.

So, I basically just dragged them out into the middle of the creek along the surface of the water (0:06 – 0:15).  That move felt analogous to the initial drag and anchor placement move in a Spey cast called the Perry Poke, or just Poke for short. Follow this link for a demonstration of the Poke with a 2-handed rod by Trevor Covich.


I recognized that the Poke would work in this situation, so I just kept it going, and dumped the line forward, in the direction I wanted to make the next cast (0:15 – 0:20).  That simple move achieved the change of direction I needed.  From that point, executing the remainder of the Spey cast required sweeping the line back into a D-loop (0:20 – 0:26), allowing the leader to align in the direction I wanted to cast, and making the forward delivery (0:26 – 0:34).

Subconsciously, perhaps, as the loop was unrolling, I added a very slight aerialized reach mend to the right, to adjust for a current anomaly that I probably noticed during the prior drift.

After all of that, no fish ate my fly in that pool.  So it goes!

Take Care and Fish On,


PS – This fishing was done using a T&T Lotic 7’10” 5wt rod and matching WF-5-F Airflo Streamer Float flyline.  Neither of these pieces of gear are made specifically for Spey Casting, but together they work beautifully to deliver the flies.