Spey Tip:  Safe and Smart Anchor Placement and Cast Selection in Windy Weather

Spey Tip: Safe and Smart Anchor Placement and Cast Selection in Windy Weather

A quick check of the West Yellowstone weather report is showing that we are in for some great fall conditions, but also a fair bit of wind over the next few days.  Casting in the wind requires adjustments to technique, and Spey casting is no different.  If you don’t set up your Spey cast correctly in the wind, there is a great change that you are going to hook yourself.  So, this week’s Spey tip is about proper anchor placement and cast selection for Spey fishing on windy days.   

What it all boils down to is this.  Your anchor, and subsequently the D-loop you form to make your Spey cast, MUST BE ON YOUR DOWN WIND SIDE.

There are four situations you will need to be ready for to deal with wind.  Take note that “river right” and “river left” are determined as if you are at midstream and looking downstream.

The four situations, and the safe/appropriate casts are as follows:

  1. Fishing from river right, wind blowing from downstream.
    • Your anchor and D-loop must be on your upstream side
    • Appropriate sustained anchor casts include the Snap-T with left hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Snap-T with right hand on top.
    • Appropriate touch-and-go casts include the Single Spey with left hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Single Spey with right hand on top.
  2. Fishing from river right, wind blowing from upstream.
    • Your anchor and D-loop must be on your downstream side
    • Appropriate sustained anchor casts include the Double Spey with right hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Double Spey with left hand on top.
    • Appropriate touch-and-go casts include the Snake Roll with right hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Snake Roll with left hand on top.
  3. Fishing from river left, wind blowing from downstream.
    • Your anchor and D-loop must be on your upstream side
    • Appropriate sustained anchor casts include the Snap-T with right hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Snap-T with left hand on top.
    • Appropriate touch-and-go casts include the Single Spey with right hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Single Spey with left hand on top.
  4. Fishing from river left, wind blowing from upstream.
    • Your anchor and D-loop must be on your downstream side
    • Appropriate sustained anchor casts include the Double Spey with left hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Double Spey with right hand on top.
    • Appropriate touch-and-go casts include the Snake Roll with left hand on top, or the Back/Cackhanded Snake Roll with right hand on top.

The following videos featuring Mr. Simon Gawesworth from RIO Products go over each of the casts in detail.  Get out there, be safe, and fish on!

Snap T How To Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4thaZs2umo

Double Spey How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGzoB1qVDzM

Snake Roll How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPOjxH3ROko

Single Spey How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXkg7u5ECJ8

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

Finding the Rhythm in the Motherland of Steelhead

Finding the Rhythm in the Motherland of Steelhead

I hadn’t caught a steelhead since 2001. Maybe 2002.  While the memories of the fish are still vivid and clear, what year it was doesn’t really matter anymore.  At the time, I was fishing a two-piece, single hand, Winston IM6 eight weight, swinging flies in Idaho with sink tips in search of migratory fish several hundred miles from the salt.  Black egg-sucking leaches worked just fine, so did a Sparrow nymph. My first and only steelhead was a 26-inch buck from the Salmon River in Idaho.  We all drove beater rigs back then (still do really), crammed with plenty of gear, a few buddies, and a cooler within reaching distance.  This old school, late 80’s, red suburban with tinted windows sticks out in my memory more than the rest.  It belonged to our buddy Brian.  Johnny C, Brian and I camped out for several nights, cooking on a Coleman two burner and by most accounts drinking too many beers.  Spring in the Rockies is cold and inevitably some of those chilly nights would drive us into the local bar searching for warmth and a pool table. There was no need to walk outside for a cigarette back then, one could smoke in the bar while eating a bacon cheeseburger.

Those were also my first years living in West Yellowstone year-round, and we generally made it a practice to get out of town sometime in March and April to get off the volcano. Winter at 6667 feet can be brutal; heading for lower altitude to see some grass for the first time in five months is good for anyone’s state of mind.  I never got into chasing steelhead during October and November. Rather, I’d trade out rods and waders for shot guns and bird dogs.  For me, it was a choice to take a break from the six-month fishing season and walk through the sage brush, wheat stubble and grasslands of the high plains.  I had caught enough fish, rowed countless river miles, stumbled on enough slick Madison cobblestones and by the time early October rolled around, I was ready for change.

On a random day off in late August of ’99, Doug Pope took Brian and I into the Barns Pools for our first Spey lesson.  Pope pulled out this incredibly long Sage flyrod and riffle hitched a #2 Dave’s Hopper to the leader.  He stepped out into the Madison bare footed, stripped off a pile of line and with zero effort shot to the far bank and skated the magnum fly through Number Two. Pope cracked another Old Mil, handed over the rod, found his seat on the picnic table and proceeded to smash a few more beers as we learned the Snap T.  My next Spey lesson was seven or eight years later, with my buddy Kunhert on the Missouri River. Nine-foot rods still suited my needs and I really wasn’t convinced just yet that Spey rods needed to work their way in to my collection of graphite sticks. Matt and Justin taught me a few more things the past few years and as my exposure increased, I’ve slowly gained an understanding of the long rods and confusing fly lines. Presenting the fly is more important than the fly itself, but even then, everyone has a fly they believe in.  That definitely counts for something when you find yourself in the Motherland of Steelhead country, a place they call British Columbia, for the first time, like I did in April of 2019, while hosting a trip for a group of a few of my long-time fishing clients.  I didn’t really have faith in any flies, so I tied on a blue, pink, or red intruder and got to work swinging.

Travel angling is always a bit of a gamble, but that’s really part of the fun of it.  Fishing for only a few days in a distant land means that you must do all you can to take advantage of every single opportunity that comes your way.  Or you must be incredibly lucky.  As we learned, Springtime in BC isn’t for the faint of heart, but the fish are fresh, and some are giants.  You never know how things will fish in the end; you just go with the flow and roll with it. Steelhead themselves are a tough bunch of characters and some anglers will tell you these fish don’t eat flies.  I tend to believe that migratory fish are moody and eat for the love of being picky or ornery; but in the end, all fish eat flies. They also pluck the fly, peck the fly, follow the fly, and sometimes, every so often, they rip the line out of your hand crushing the fly and take off for a 100 plus yard electric stroll back towards the Ocean as your backing screams off the reel. You didn’t even have to set the hook – how wonderful is that?

There is a rhythm that I always try to find whether guiding or fishing on my own. For me, fishing is coveted time, I like to do things a particular way and don’t want to be rushed whatsoever.  Anymore, guiding and fishing are one in the same for me. It’s a process that happens without thinking about it; because thinking about it means that it’s not natural. In the beginning, to find your rhythm, you have to train your mind to relax and create muscle memory.  You must learn to let go.  For me, it starts the night (or weeks before depending on the trip) before a fishing trip or guide trip and begins with preparation of the actual trip. Setting out rods, lines, flies and other essential tackle sets the brain into motion. If you haven’t had the luxury of spending your entire adult life working on the river, this doesn’t come easily, but in due time it will.  Ever notice how guides at the boat ramp have a certain way of doing things to get ready?  Most fishing guides use the exact same process each and every day; disrupting this is a bad idea.  Allow yourself to enjoy this process as you will learn there is a method to the madness. Listening to the river and observing the natural world is the next part, and possibly the most important.  It’s noticing the pair of Kingfishers downstream chattering about and getting lost in the sound of running water. It’s sitting in the gravel next to a river in BC which you’ve never stepped foot in and hoping a 15 pounder is out there waiting to blow your mind. Once I’m in the rhythm, time slows down and I forget about everything else; these days that happens more often during guide trips as I don’t have as much time to fish.  I employed these tactics while in BC and began to decompress from a crazy, busy, stupidly snowy winter in West Yellowstone.

Fortunately, I’ve got a group of fellas who, for some wonderful reason, love to travel with me.  I’ve been guiding one of these guys since 1999.  He’s more of a father figure than a client and he’s introduced me to some of the most loyal anglers a guide can have. On hosted trips it’s not about me, but I do like to influence anglers in a way that has helped make my days on the water more successful. On hosted trips, we fish alongside our anglers and experience the trip as they are.  I find this to be rewarding in so many ways as it builds the bond between myself and anglers whom I’ve guided and never been able to just fish with.  Long time professional fishing guides have a certain amount of fishiness we bring along no matter if we’re rowing the boat or not. It’s a time on the water type of thing that does rub off.  Hosted trips are a combination of guiding, fishing, and taking care of anglers who are traveling with us.  Depending on the group, you must teach them to find their own rhythm; the earlier the better.  This process normally starts off at the airport with a cocktail of some sort to blow off some steam.  Some of these folks might have come off a super stressful month or two of work and letting go just isn’t that easy.  Self-employed business folks never stop working, they…we, can’t turn it off.  One has to learn to turn it off, because, when I do return to the shop after a hiatus, I find that I am much more in tune with everything going on in my business.  Fly fishing, in general, will release the mind. This is so incredibly important, and I must admit that I forget this from time to time.  Steelheading is an even different sort of fly fishing, I believe that you just can’t care about catching one.  You might go all day or even three days without a grab.  Keeping one’s head in the game for when that moment creeps in and something hangs on to your fly long enough for the hook to slip in the corner of it jaws is no easy task. This is where the rhythm of doing things the right way every single time pays off. I found this to be even more important with the Spey rod. On this trip to BC, for the most part, I fished a two handed Burkheimer 8 weight,  lined up with a 600 grain shooting head, twelve feet of T11, and a Hatch 9+ reel. I rarely changed flies and concentrated on presenting the fly with a slow swing across the run. That started out, most of the time anyway, with a smooth but deliberate casting stoke which resulted in the coils of line in my hand shooting across the river and turning the fly over completely. Next, maybe, was a mend to slow things down and drop the fly in the zone and once the line was tight the swing began.  I must say, there is something terribly addictive about this process and the hope one feels when it’s done right is amazing.  Three different days, out of the five, I caught a fish on my last cast. I never once stopped believing that something just might eat my fly. That reminded me of a very serious lesson, one that I have known for years, but forget from time to time – never give up, not once all day long.  Anything can happen at any time in the sporting world.  I am, by no means a steelheader.  However, I am a professional fisherman who observes the natural world and adjusts to the conditions set forth by Mother Nature. Pay attention to these things and you might find yourself on the business end of a giant migratory fish that has never looked an angler in the eyes.

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