The Echo Micro Practice Rod

The Echo Micro Practice Rod

 

The Echo Micro Practice Rod (MPR) from the good folks at Rajeff Sports is just what you and your fishy friends need this winter to get you ready for the Green Drake hatch on the Henry’s Fork.  This little gem was designed for indoor use so need for Mom to make you go outside! The weighted yarn tapers down much like a fly line and leader therefore allowing one to make perfect loops from your desk chair at the office.  Want to practice rolling casting, you say?  Then sit down on the carpet at the house and get to it.  It comes in two pieces and is four feet in length. For $39.99 is the best casting tool one can buy. Click here to buy the Echo MPR from our online fly shop

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

Welcome to the information page of the Third Annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!

Mark your Calendars:  September 13-14, 2019.  We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our third annual Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone.  Check back in the coming weeks as we fill in details on the event schedule, presenters, and party specifics!  We’ve definitely got a few new ideas on tap for this year.

Are you already into Spey casting and fishing for trout?  Maybe you have heard of it, but have never picked up a Spey rod, and are interested in getting involved in this super fun way to fish for trout?  This event is open to everyone, regardless of skill/experience level, age, fly shop or industry affiliation, etc.  We had a great turnout again last year and have expanded the format this year to add even more opportunities for you to hang out and talk Spey with experienced pros and spend time on the water perfecting your technique.

2019 Event Calendar

Friday, September 13th, 5pm – 9pm ish – At the Shop & the Golden Stone Inn

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop,  39 Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone
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Meet a host of experienced Spey casters,Trout Spey anglers, gear peddlers, and instructors, and get dialed in to enjoy a whole new approach to trout fishing.  Everyone is welcome! Whether you are just beginning your journey with 2-handed rods and Spey casting, or you are a veteran with the long rod, please stop in and say hi, hang out, and talk rods, lines, casting technique, rigging, presentation, and flies used in Trout Spey and beyond.  Migrate with us over to the fire rings at the new Golden Stone Inn to finish off the evening.
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Saturday, September 14th, 9am – 5pm On the Water & 6pm – 9pm At the Shop

On Water Instruction and Demonstrations from 9am – 5pm

Madison River Bridge at Hwy 191, 3.7 miles north of the shop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring waders, snacks, water, and camp chairs, as well as their own Trout Spey gear.  Food will be available on site for purchase.  No gear?  No worries, the reps will have all the goodies from the world of Trout Spey for you to try out.

There will be 3 main areas of the Saturday Outdoor Event.

  • Area 1 will include vendor tents and a food truck. All the tents and gear from vendors will  be set up in the parking lot adjacent to the river for the duration of the event.  Attendees can meet reps, talk gear, and borrow kits for a test cast.
  • Area 2 will be an area of river set aside for folks to demo gear from vendors, get casting lessons from experienced staff and attendees, and generally free form it.
  • Area 3 is the “main stage” – a presentation area on the water. This will be the gravel bar area where the main event was held in 2017 and 2018.  We will be set up for a series of formal presentations, Q&A, and lots of hands on time with Trout Spey gear.

9-10am – Gather, Hang out, Check out the goodies from the Reps, enjoy coffee and watch the resident ospreys soar overhead.

Presentation schedule is as follows (loosely, of course):

  • 10-11 or 11:30am, Brian Chou – Casting Instructor and T&T Pro –  Intro to Spey Fundamentals Presentation, followed by some time for hands on casting.
  • 11:30 – 12:15, Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis – Presenting the Fly and Fishing with Trout Spey Gear
  • 12:15 – 2pm – Lunch break and open casting time
  • 2pm – 3pm – Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Single Hand Spey Casting and Fishing
  • 3-4pm – Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors – Trout Spey, Slow Down & Look Around, and Other Helpful Tips
  • 4-5pm – Open casting, instruction with presenters, etc

6-9pm – After presentations conclude there will be a short break for cleanup and then we will gather back at the fly shop for food, drinks, giveaways, and more fun.

The on water portion of this event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event!


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Vendors

We are excited to have a great group of industry reps and presenters on hand this year from these great vendors.  There is no better place to try out Spey kits before you buy, or to dial in your existing Spey rod with a new line.


Presenter Bios

Brian Chou – Casting Instructor / Thomas & Thomas Pro – Known for his enthusiasm and passion for fly fishing, FFI certified casting instructor Brian Chou comes from a background of guiding and teaching. Through his classes and willingness to share, Brian has inspired countless students to pursue the evolving sport of fly fishing. His technical understanding combined with ability to articulate the relation of rod and fly line design makes him a sought after presenter at events throughout the country. A respected industry consultant and creative fly tier with a functional yet traditional approach, Brian’s patterns are used worldwide. Residing in Portland, OR with his family, he spends the majority of his fishing time swinging flies with his double handers.  Over the years, Brian has made many trips to various parts of Montana to fish and ski with his group of local buddies, but this will be his first time hanging out in West Yellowstone, and we’re looking forward to it!

Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Matt’s journey into Spey casting and fishing began with trout back in 2000, thrashing around with a borrowed 14 ft 9wt rod and an old Rio Windcutter line on the Madison River just outside of West Yellowstone.  His technique and understanding of two-handed casting and fishing have come a long way since then, to say the least, and so has the equipment available for trout Spey.  At one point he left Montana for Oregon, where for 7 years, nearly all of his fishing was done with two-handed rods.  Matt moved back “home” to Montana in 2015 but still enjoys swinging the two-hander.  He has also become keenly interested in incorporating Spey principles into everyday trout angling situations with single-hand flyrods, dry flies, nymphs, wets, and streamers. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s the guy that folks at Big Sky Anglers look to for help with their Spey casting, gear selection, and more.  Whether its Spey for trout, steelhead, or salmon on the two-hander or single-hander, he is happy to teach and share what he’s learned on his own journey.

Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis Fly Rep – Jacob Zirkle was born in Washington, and at the age of 6 his family moved to Alaska where his love for the great outdoors started. At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him the best present ever, an Orvis Clearwater 7wt fly rod. He would rent 3m videos at the local library so he could teach himself the art of fly casting. He spent all his free time casting on local lakes and a neighborhood creek catching trout, steelhead, salmon, and dollies. Traveling to see family and competing in Soccer tournaments he was able to explore many fisheries in WA, OR, ID, and MT.  Throughout his career guiding he always looked for the next thing to bring his customers and push them to become better anglers. Spey casting was one of the crafts he took on, in 2006 he began the journey with a class from friend and Sage Rep George Cook. Over his time with two handed rods, Jacob focused most of his attention casting to monster trout with short speys.  In 2016 he took a job as the NW GLoomis Fly Rep and spends his time traveling his territory showing off new sticks to others who love fly fishing with 2 handed rods. Jake’s favorite GLoomis two handed rod is the new IMX Pro Short Spey Series, paired with today’s short head systems make chasing trout in the West a blast.

Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors, Nautilus Reels and Douglas Fly Rods Rep – Hailing from the wilds of northern Idaho, and now residing in bustling Ovando, MT, Dan Short is simply one of the friendliest people in the fly fishing biz.  He cut his teeth guiding the Flathead system for years before  shifting his focus towards representing some of the coolest brands out there (Nautilus Reels, Stripn’ Fly Wear, Rising Nets, Douglas Rods, and NZ Strike Indicators to name a few).  He recalls his grandfather owning some sort of two-handed rod back in the day, but didn’t truly come to appreciate the way of the Spey until about 9 years ago when a nasty shoulder injury threatened to end his streamer chucking ways.  Two handed rods and Spey casting were the thing that got him back on the water, but like many of us, the pace of the fishing and style of casting grabbed his soul.  His Spey Mantra is “Slow Down and Look Around”, which is great advice in both fishing and every day life!


 

2018

2017

Reach Spey Casts – Aerial Mending with 2 Handed Rods

Reach Spey Casts – Aerial Mending with 2 Handed Rods

Aerialized mending is a common technique used by proficient anglers casting single handed rods.  Reach casts, curve casts, tuck casts, puddle casts, and more all provide solutions to technical dry fly and nymphing presentation dilemmas.  In the end, the reason we use aerialized casts is to avoid the need to manipulate the line once it has landed in the water.  We avoid mends originating from the water’s surface because the water either creates a situation where attempted line control will result in unintended consequences such as sinking a dry fly, or spooking the hell out of the fish.  I think we also use aerial mends to save time and energy.  It’s easier to make one move in the air than it is to make two on the water.

Why don’t more anglers incorporate aerial mends such as reach casts into their casting and fishing while using 2-handed (Spey and Switch) rods?  I don’t know the answer, because I use them all the time.  Here’s my pitch for why you should too.

The energy savings is why I originally gravitated to using aerial mends (particularly upstream reach casts) in my 2-Handed casting and fishing a number of years ago.  Consider your typical swung fly presentation with a sink tip line and 2-handed rod.  It goes something like this:

1 – Cast to 90 degrees, or slightly up or downriver depending on the situation, landing the fly and sink tip well beyond the target zone where you think the fish will be laying.

2 – Execute an upstream, pull back mend, as masterfully described and chronicled by Scott Howell in his Skagit Master 2 DVD to set up a dead drift and allow the fly and tip to sink. Incidentally, if you haven’t seen this video, and you fish sink tips, get it.

3 – Follow the drift down as it sinks, and then work the fly across the run on the swing.

For me, the most exhausting part of this presentation, when repeated 11,529 times over a weekend of winter steelheading, is the pull-back mend.  Lifting and placing the heavy Spey line, big fly, and shooting line over and over was wearing out my shoulder.  My response was to make the pull-back mend in the air, before the fly and line landed on the water, while the loop was turning over.  The result was/is the same as if you made a standard cast and mend, but without having to pull against the water.  As long as your line, sinktip, and fly turn over completely, the presentation is the same, with the added bonus of effort reduction.

While I started making these reach casts with my 2-handers for energy savings, I eventually found them to have at least one other great advantage in presenting the fly.  Above, I described a typical big river situation where the holding water is between mid-river and your bank.  In that situation, you are able to cast well beyond the suspected holding lies and sweep the whole area.  But what about smaller water, or side channel water, where the fish are actually holding tight to the bank?  This is a situation regularly encountered when Spey fishing for trout.  You can’t cast beyond the zone to set up your drift with a pull-back mend unless you like hooking a lot of tree trout, stick steelhead, and rock bass.   And if you cast right to the bank and execute the pull-back mend, your fly is essentially ripped clear of the fishy zone before the swing even starts.  But execute an aerial reach cast, landing the fly right on shore, and you are set up to sink the fly and swing it through all that water you would have missed.  The technique also applies wherever there is a seam, heavy chop, or other obstruction that limits effective mending on the water!

So, in summary – Aerial reach casts with 2-handed rods. Easier. Better. Give it a try!  The first few attempts might be a mess, and getting the hang of precise aim takes some time, but hey, what else are you going to be doing out there on the river between grabs?  If you are already using some of these tactics with 2-handers, I’d love to hear other benefits you’ve found, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Take Care and Fish On,

Matt

The Importance or Unimportance of Good Casting Skills

The Importance or Unimportance of Good Casting Skills

My mates Justin and Matt at Big Sky Anglers have asked me to write an article on how important are good fly casting skills. And it’s certainly an interesting question. Maybe the best way to answer it is to first tell you my story.

I started fly fishing at the age of 10 with a fibreglass rod. Before this point I had fished a spinning rod, drowning maggots and worms, and prior to this I first started fishing with a small net catching (and releasing!) minnows and sticklebacks. I’ve always had a fascination for fish, and trying to catch them is really what my life is all about.

When I took up fly fishing, like most people, I did so without lessons and just generally thrashed the water in a frenzy. My beginnings, like many others from the UK, were on Trout Stillwaters. My local fishery was a “put and take” 110 acre lake called Ardleigh Reservoir. Here, as a boy, I would spend my school holidays, weekends and even some school time when I should have been studying something else!

At the age of 15, I got a job in the fishing lodge as the fishery bailiff, selling permits, flies and giving advice. I was completely obsessed, twice dropping out of University so that I wouldn’t miss any of the trout season. At the age of 21 I started spending half my year backpacking and fly fishing in New Zealand and the other half working on the reservoir back in England. I remember one day when I was about 18, fishing with an angler who I had great respect for, who had invited me to fish Rutland Water (another large English reservoir) – he introduced me to his local Grafham team members as being a “shit hot” fly fisherman. Now I mention this, because when you hear an angler saying that they “can’t cast but can catch fish” or someone telling you that “fly casting skills are unimportant” it can be true – for I had never had a lesson and while I could cast a line a respectable fishing distance, I was certainly not an accomplished fly caster by any means.

When I was 24, with no real qualifications and no interest at all in doing anything that wasn’t fly fishing, I decided that what I would like to do is to teach fly fishing – and being able to teach fly casting was no doubt an important part of this – and so I made some inquiries and took my first instructors’ exam (the Salmon and Trout Association National Instructors Certificate, or STANIC). I saw something while attending that exam, through a window, that I had never seen before; one examiner teaching a cast to another examiner – it was the Snake Roll. This cast had only just appeared in the UK – my now good friend, Simon Gawesworth, had invented it. When I saw this cast, I realized that I had to join this particular group of instructors too, because there was a whole different world waiting for me. 18 months later I passed the entrance exam to the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors.

A few years after this, in 1998, when the Internet was still very new, and long before people started holding fish at arm’s length to make them look bigger, I started a website called Sexyloops. My life at this point was fly fishing in New Zealand for six months of the year and either the UK or Australia for the other six months, living outdoors, sleeping in the back of the truck, or camping on the riverbank. The combination of being first through the door with a website that had lots of fly casting content, along with a life of travelling, expanded my world into pretty much a who’s who of fly fishing and fly casting.

I joined every instructors association going and got heavily involved with what is now the IFF, examining for them and preparing numerous instructors (well not numerous, more like 200!). I’ve been exceptionally fortunate in life, to have gone from Stillwater Trout beginnings, to 18 summers (3000 fishing days) fly fishing in New Zealand, to spending three summers on the shores of Hebgen Lake – where I met both Justin and Matt, three summers in Canada, to where I am now, which is five out of the last seven years living on a 14’ boat in the Tropical Malaysian Rainforest. Hardly a day goes past when I’m not actively fishing somewhere. I do lumps of 3-4000 days and then move on to a different type of fly fishing – I fish other stuff in-between as well; Russia, a hell of lot of time in Australia and have fly fished across most of Europe and so on, but it’s the 3000 day blocks where I put most of my energy.

In 2004 I got involved in competition fly casting; I had been giving a lesson to a competition caster and I got intrigued. I wasn’t really that interested in competing but I wanted to see how far I could learn to throw the 5WT. The “Best of the West” competition inspired me and quite a few others at that time. Indeed this is why we now have a World Championships with one of the disciplines being who can throw the 5WT Mastery Expert Distance fly line the furthest. My best result so far in this competition has been a bronze medal but I really want that gold! Many of my best friends compete in these games. Some are rod designers, there are many fishing guides and a hardcore of very serious angling ability.

The finals in the World Championships in Norway, I think I came fourth here. That’ a 5WT MED disappearing over the hill.

In my life nowadays I’m both a rod designer and a fly fishing guide and instructor. I manufacture fly rods under the Sexyloops brand and teach people how to cast for, and catch, Giant Snakehead and Giant Gourami in the wild.

This is a 6.8KG Giant Snakehead. That’s 15lbs and a very nice fish indeed. They’ll take a popper, but you only have one second to place the shot in an area the size of a dinner plate once they rise to gulp air. And you don’t know when or where they will appear. Talk about “finger on the trigger”! This is the hardest fly casting shot there is.

For fifteen years fly casting clinics and lessons were my main income, but the job I have now is a much better fit for jungle life (and it pays better too!). So let’s get back to the original question, how important are good casting skills?

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Well it is certainly possible to be a seriously good angler with mediocre casting skills. It’s also quite possible to be an excellent caster with poor fishing skills – sitting casting instructor exams will tune up your flycasting and many have done so exactly for this reason, consequently there are examples of excellent casters who have almost zero fly fishing experience!
However being able to cast to a higher level of skill is never going to place you at a disadvantage. Recently I read an article interviewing guides asking them, “what was the one thing that they wish their clients could do better?” That one thing that they all wished for, was that their clients could cast better.

Now it would be interesting to know if the one thing that their clients wished for, was that their guides could teach them better fly casting skills! When I read something like that, I think to myself, “Hey, I think you are trying to tell yourself something!”

Let me tell you, if you are a fly fishing guide, then learning basic fly casting instructor skills is an immense boost to your guiding ones. Your clients catch fish, they learn fly fishing, they have a great experience and they also improve their fly casting! Phew – what a day! And it doesn’t take very long for a fly fishing guide to learn basic fly casting instructor skills and tune up his or her cast so that it looks professional. One month, two months, no more. 

Giant Gourami. Around 9lbs. They eat dry flies and then try to destroy everything. A magnificent fish – quite extraordinary in fact. We’ve had about 80 in the boat now and for fly fishing it’s a new species.

I’m fully aware that these associations are all a bit stuffy; I’ve quit three of them and was thrown out of a fourth! I don’t expect you to stay and start wearing tweed underwear, but the point is, in taking these exams you will get the skills and confidence to teach fly casting to your clients. I don’t even know why fly casting instructors do it if they don’t guide! For me it’s always been about teaching fly fishing – and so guiding and fly casting instruction have always gone hand in hand.

And what about you guys and girls out there who fish for the fun of it, and would like less tangles, more ease and a range of highly fishable casts? You too could go down the instructors’ route but what’s the point? Instead, I’m going to show you something that I’ve recently put together, which is a fly casting skills certification. It’s something we have on Sexyloops. You don’t actually have to become certified; the reason it’s there is simply to set you some achievable goals. I’m sure that Justin can test you, if that’s what you decide you want to do. What I do recommend however, for everyone, is that you use this “exam” as a syllabus of your own, so that by practising each cast, you will train yourself to become a better flycaster.

This is the Sexyloops fly casting challenge. There is currently one level, there are more coming. All of these casts can be learned through watching the flycasting video manual section on Sexyloops. And if you have any inquiries or questions you can email me directly on paul@sexyloops.com
I’m not sure why you fish, I’m not even sure why I fish, but if having fun is an important part of fly fishing for you, then learning to cast better will surely make your fly fishing more fun – that I guarantee. There is no feeling quite like fly casting; shaping a loop of line to deliver our artificial fly to the fish. It’s an incredible thing that we do; it’s a sport, it’s a pastime, it’s a crazy life like no other. Being able to “throw” really elevates your game to a whole new level.

And if the mainstream stuff gets a bit boring, you can always try this:

https://youtu.be/dCbbgugFVOE

And before you ask, no it’s not supposed to be taken seriously. If bat fishing ever ties off however then come to me for a lesson!

Life is an adventure, bring flyrods!

Paul

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

Welcome to the information page of the Third Annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!

Mark your Calendars:  September 13-14, 2019.  We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our third annual Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone.  Check back in the coming weeks as we fill in details on the event schedule, presenters, and party specifics!  We’ve definitely got a few new ideas on tap for this year.

Are you already into Spey casting and fishing for trout?  Maybe you have heard of it, but have never picked up a Spey rod, and are interested in getting involved in this super fun way to fish for trout?  This event is open to everyone, regardless of skill/experience level, age, fly shop or industry affiliation, etc.  We had a great turnout again last year and have expanded the format this year to add even more opportunities for you to hang out and talk Spey with experienced pros and spend time on the water perfecting your technique.

2019 Event Calendar

Friday, September 13th, 5pm – 9pm ish – At the Shop & the Golden Stone Inn

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop,  39 Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone
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Meet a host of experienced Spey casters,Trout Spey anglers, gear peddlers, and instructors, and get dialed in to enjoy a whole new approach to trout fishing.  Everyone is welcome! Whether you are just beginning your journey with 2-handed rods and Spey casting, or you are a veteran with the long rod, please stop in and say hi, hang out, and talk rods, lines, casting technique, rigging, presentation, and flies used in Trout Spey and beyond.  Migrate with us over to the fire rings at the new Golden Stone Inn to finish off the evening.

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Saturday, September 14th, 9am – 5pm On the Water & 6pm – 9pm At the Shop

On Water Instruction and Demonstrations from 9am – 5pm

Madison River Bridge at Hwy 191, 3.7 miles north of the shop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring waders, snacks, water, and camp chairs, as well as their own Trout Spey gear.  Food will be available on site for purchase.  No gear?  No worries, the reps will have all the goodies from the world of Trout Spey for you to try out.

There will be 3 main areas of the Saturday Outdoor Event.

  • Area 1 will include vendor tents and a food truck. All the tents and gear from vendors will  be set up in the parking lot adjacent to the river for the duration of the event.  Attendees can meet reps, talk gear, and borrow kits for a test cast.
  • Area 2 will be an area of river set aside for folks to demo gear from vendors, get casting lessons from experienced staff and attendees, and generally free form it.
  • Area 3 is the “main stage” – a presentation area on the water. This will be the gravel bar area where the main event was held in 2017 and 2018.  We will be set up for a series of formal presentations, Q&A, and lots of hands on time with Trout Spey gear.

9-10am – Gather, Hang out, Check out the goodies from the Reps, enjoy coffee and watch the resident ospreys soar overhead.

Presentation schedule is as follows (loosely, of course):

  • 10-11 or 11:30am, Brian Chou – Casting Instructor and T&T Pro –  Intro to Spey Fundamentals Presentation, followed by some time for hands on casting.
  • 11:30 – 12:15, Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis – Presenting the Fly and Fishing with Trout Spey Gear
  • 12:15 – 2pm – Lunch break and open casting time
  • 2pm – 3pm – Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Single Hand Spey Casting and Fishing
  • 3-4pm – Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors – Trout Spey, Slow Down & Look Around, and Other Helpful Tips
  • 4-5pm – Open casting, instruction with presenters, etc

6-9pm – After presentations conclude there will be a short break for cleanup and then we will gather back at the fly shop for food, drinks, giveaways, and more fun.

The on water portion of this event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event!


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Vendors

We are excited to have a great group of industry reps and presenters on hand this year from these great vendors.  There is no better place to try out Spey kits before you buy, or to dial in your existing Spey rod with a new line.


Presenter Bios

Brian Chou – Casting Instructor / Thomas & Thomas Pro – Known for his enthusiasm and passion for fly fishing, FFI certified casting instructor Brian Chou comes from a background of guiding and teaching. Through his classes and willingness to share, Brian has inspired countless students to pursue the evolving sport of fly fishing. His technical understanding combined with ability to articulate the relation of rod and fly line design makes him a sought after presenter at events throughout the country. A respected industry consultant and creative fly tier with a functional yet traditional approach, Brian’s patterns are used worldwide. Residing in Portland, OR with his family, he spends the majority of his fishing time swinging flies with his double handers.  Over the years, Brian has made many trips to various parts of Montana to fish and ski with his group of local buddies, but this will be his first time hanging out in West Yellowstone, and we’re looking forward to it!

Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Matt’s journey into Spey casting and fishing began with trout back in 2000, thrashing around with a borrowed 14 ft 9wt rod and an old Rio Windcutter line on the Madison River just outside of West Yellowstone.  His technique and understanding of two-handed casting and fishing have come a long way since then, to say the least, and so has the equipment available for trout Spey.  At one point he left Montana for Oregon, where for 7 years, nearly all of his fishing was done with two-handed rods.  Matt moved back “home” to Montana in 2015 but still enjoys swinging the two-hander.  He has also become keenly interested in incorporating Spey principles into everyday trout angling situations with single-hand flyrods, dry flies, nymphs, wets, and streamers. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s the guy that folks at Big Sky Anglers look to for help with their Spey casting, gear selection, and more.  Whether its Spey for trout, steelhead, or salmon on the two-hander or single-hander, he is happy to teach and share what he’s learned on his own journey.

Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis Fly Rep – Jacob Zirkle was born in Washington, and at the age of 6 his family moved to Alaska where his love for the great outdoors started. At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him the best present ever, an Orvis Clearwater 7wt fly rod. He would rent 3m videos at the local library so he could teach himself the art of fly casting. He spent all his free time casting on local lakes and a neighborhood creek catching trout, steelhead, salmon, and dollies. Traveling to see family and competing in Soccer tournaments he was able to explore many fisheries in WA, OR, ID, and MT.  Throughout his career guiding he always looked for the next thing to bring his customers and push them to become better anglers. Spey casting was one of the crafts he took on, in 2006 he began the journey with a class from friend and Sage Rep George Cook. Over his time with two handed rods, Jacob focused most of his attention casting to monster trout with short speys.  In 2016 he took a job as the NW GLoomis Fly Rep and spends his time traveling his territory showing off new sticks to others who love fly fishing with 2 handed rods. Jake’s favorite GLoomis two handed rod is the new IMX Pro Short Spey Series, paired with today’s short head systems make chasing trout in the West a blast.

Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors, Nautilus Reels and Douglas Fly Rods Rep – Hailing from the wilds of northern Idaho, and now residing in bustling Ovando, MT, Dan Short is simply one of the friendliest people in the fly fishing biz.  He cut his teeth guiding the Flathead system for years before  shifting his focus towards representing some of the coolest brands out there (Nautilus Reels, Stripn’ Fly Wear, Rising Nets, Douglas Rods, and NZ Strike Indicators to name a few).  He recalls his grandfather owning some sort of two-handed rod back in the day, but didn’t truly come to appreciate the way of the Spey until about 9 years ago when a nasty shoulder injury threatened to end his streamer chucking ways.  Two handed rods and Spey casting were the thing that got him back on the water, but like many of us, the pace of the fishing and style of casting grabbed his soul.  His Spey Mantra is “Slow Down and Look Around”, which is great advice in both fishing and every day life!


 

2018

2017