Ask any trout angler on the water about “Spey casting” and they will demonstrate the, oh so familiar, two handed figure eight. Right? Then it’s usually followed up with, “but I don’t steelhead fish”. Then there’s the ardent veteran steelheader who’s only solace is swinging a fly with his two hander employing his fine-tuned skill. When you ask this angler about trout, he’ll exclaim, “I love Spey casting to big fish”. Fair enough. What neither angler realizes is that the Spey rod and its quiver of casts can be effectively used to pursue a huge variety of swimmers. Once exclusively used for searching large waterways for large anadromous species, the conventional Spey rod just got a new lease on life.
You don’t have to wait until the summer brings fresh chrome to your local water way, there’s a whole season of Spey casting out there just waiting for you. You might already be a trout fisher, steelheader…maybe both. You do, however, enjoy the hell out of Spey casting because it’s smooth, effortless, effective, and lots of fun. Remember those moments when you were swinging your leech through a juicy fall tail out and… WHACK!! You enthusiastically declare FISH ON!! Line peels off… then it jumps and just like your ice cream scoop plopping to the pavement... trout. Your buddies let out a roar as you halfheartedly wind ‘em in on your thirteen footer, un pin the leech, think to yourself…”damn, if I would have caught this bad ass during the trout season on my five weight I would have been squealing like a little girl”.
Guess what? Turns out, you can confidently let out that squeal while catching that giant trout on a spey rod. If you are using the right tool for the job. That tool is coined, “Micro Spey”. These two through five weight rods have lengths stretching from ten to eleven feet or so. Don’t think of this new category of rods as a re-named switch rod category. Switch rods they are not. The most notable difference between the two designs is the taper or flex pattern. Switch designs are fast (firm) through the mid sections with a loose (soft) tip to accommodate the tension casting of giant strike indicators and to mend great lengths of line in order to achieve massive dead drifts. The “Micro Spey” category’s principal taper design is that of a conventional Spey rod. These rods feature full flexing tapers able to precisely place dry flies and soft hackles in precarious lies, like in the middle of the damn river, or send a sculpin on a section of T8 to a cavernous cut bank in search of a meat eating predator. That mid river hawg rolling up on salmon flies has been out of range. Until now! You just opened up a fresh can of whoop ass.
Now that you’re all jacked up on Spey casting lets discover some awesome tackle options for you to explore. Most of the major players in the two handed category are providing a small offering of appropriate line weights and lengths for this new endeavor. The most notable in this category would be the RL Winston Rod Company and the Anderson Custom Rod Company. Both rod manufacturers have had a steady stream of top producers in the conventional Spey and switch rod categories. Termed “Micro Spey” Winston has set the bar pretty high with this series. Light swing weights and smooth tapers greet the angler with effortless casting and control. Winston’s BIII TH Micro Spey series consists of a 10’6” 3 weight, 11’ 4 weight, and an 11’6” 5 weight, an ample selection for the budding enthusiast. Expect to see more “Micro Speys” from RL Winston in the future. Gary Anderson’s “JHC” series has a little more depth. This series includes an 11’7” two and three weight, 11’9” four and five weight, and a 12’1 and 12’5” five weight (double duty summer steelhead). Gary has designed these rods with “Spey casting” in mind. These are not your typical chuck-n-duckers. These sticks are built with hyper sensitive graphite for ultra-light tippet protection and delicate presentations to selective trout anywhere in the river. The casting accuracy of these rods for their length is akin to a single hander. These new rods are equipped to handle the largest trout without compromising the fun factor.
Another caveat to these rod sizes is that your current fly reels will feel right at home on a “micro”. Without the need of capacity for large diameter Spey lines, your conventional six weight reel will be typically adequate for most, if not all, of these rods. The line designs are scaled down versions of conventional Spey tapers, so, finding a match is not complicated at all. Lines are currently being designed to handle a great diversity of application without the complication of changing heads for various conditions.
Okay, so there’s the scoop on the “micros”. Now…the how, when, and the where. For our neck of the woods, spring time is a complicated transition time for trout anglers. The hatches are sparse, the river is big, and the trout are, it appears to be, hibernating. You ply the typical waters where you have been finding fish in the past with minimum success. You know the fish are hanging out in their living room waiting for something more than just a BWO to drift by. These fish are hungry. Don’t give them a hand full of peanuts when you can serve them a prime rib on a hook, figuratively speaking of course. That could be construed as bait fishing. Contrary to popular opinion, these oversized rainbow trout do eat fry, smolt, crawfish, sculpin, various leeches, and assorted “off the menu” items. These are the trout that you don’t see milling about the back eddy looking for spent caddis. This adds another element to “matching the hatch”. Rope up a rusty orange bugger or a woolhead sculpin and sink it into the abyss on a chunk of T8, give it a twitch, and hang-on. You already know how to do the steelhead two-step, so covering the water is automatic for you. Now that you’ve warmed up to subsurface presentations… what about the behemoth Redside gobbling up salmon flies mid river? You know the fish that can’t be caught? Grab a Chubby Chernobyl, don’t be shy. Strip a pile of line off the reel. Set up a sweet anchor, rip a 70 foot “snake roll” to the mid river and watch this beast get lit up when you surprise the fins off of em’. I just got goose bumps!
So, whether you are the trout angler day dreaming about the “un catchable” or the vet scratching his head and thinking…trout? In April, May, and June Deschutes Angler Fly Shop will be conducting one day workshops on trout fishing with “Micro Speys”. We are here to introduce either of you to your new “micro” friend. The class will focus on adapting casts to conditions, an introduction to the tackle, rigging for the right presentation, and most of all applicable fishing techniques. Contact the shop today to register or enquire about a purchase.
SCHOOL PRICE: $195.00 per angler
SCHOOL PRICE: $195.00 per angler