I repeated the three-step mantra whereas untangling myself from a large number of capturing line. Years in the past, certainly one of my fishing buddies instructed me Spey casting was a easy, three-step course of. His description was the mantra I repeated, however I used to be beginning to doubt my reminiscence since I’d but to throw an honest solid.

Earlier, earlier than heading to the river, I’d referred to as my pal Brett to see if he wished to tag alongside.

“I’m making an attempt out that trout Spey stuff,” I mentioned. “It ought to be a superb time.”

“I can’t right now, however let me know the way it goes,” he mentioned.

“I’ll,” I mentioned. “I’m pondering it’ll go effective. It doesn’t look that onerous. It’s mainly only a large roll solid.”

Now these phrases haunted me. For the final hour I’d tried that “large roll solid” to no avail. I used to be starting to suspect I’d been greater than slightly conceited in my authentic assumption. Clearly there was a side of Spey casting I wasn’t conscious of, a foundational aspect I lacked. My finest solid of the day made it about 30 ft earlier than it fell limply to the water’s floor, wanting as defeated as I felt, as if the road itself was upset.

Discouraged and humbled, I reeled in my line and left for residence. I knew I wanted assist, however the place to get it was the query. I reside in Wyoming, which is hardly a hotbed for Spey fishing. This begged the query: why was I making an attempt to Spey solid, anyway? Wouldn’t a 7-weight and a sink-tip be greater than satisfactory for my Western-sized waters?


The seed of trout Spey was planted throughout my first drive to my present residence. The one manner out and in of this specific a part of Wyoming is a street that follows a river because it winds via a canyon. The river tumbles via tight, boulder-strewn stretches, then relaxes into lengthy, sweeping runs that actually maintain trout. However the banks are steep, and the water is just too deep to wade out quite a lot of ft, depriving one of many room for lengthy overhead casts. A Spey rod appeared just like the logical option to cowl that water.

That seed grew throughout my first Wyoming winter. This river is simply an hour from my home, and I used to be going stir-crazy amidst a report chilly snap. One Saturday, the temps projected to be within the low 20s — a giant soar from the week of sub-zero highs we’d had — so I bundled up and went fishing. It was 14 and windy once I received to the river. I used to be working one of many few seams subsequent to the financial institution, drifting a nymph rig via the softer water. My guides froze each solid, and I used to be able to name it when my indicator dipped. I set the hook right into a strong fish, nevertheless it wasn’t till I had the trout in my web that I noticed I’d lucked right into a 23-inch brown.

After catching that fish, nearly by chance, I reckoned the river had extra trophies to surrender. All the perfect water, although, out of attain.


After a couple of failed makes an attempt to coax a couple of Spey-capable mates into exhibiting me the ropes of two-handed casting, I turned to this technology’s philosopher-teacher-sage: YouTube.

It was as if the veil was lifted from my eyes. I noticed the world in an entire new mild — a world of sustained anchors, D-loops, stage suggestions, and light-weight grips. My three-step mantra was woefully incomplete, which defined why I couldn’t Spey solid to save lots of my life. I questioned if maybe it was my fishing buddy, not my reminiscence, that had failed me.

Armed with this new data, I took off to the river at my subsequent alternative. It was a heat night, particularly for late November. Clouds of tricos undulated simply above the floor, and some keen trout confirmed their noses. Beneath some other circumstances I’d have put the Spey rod away and rigged up for dries. However I had one thing to show.

I walked into the water and felt very similar to I did as a youngster rising up in Utah, studying to fly fish on the Provo River. Catching fish in these days was a bonus, not an expectation. As an alternative I spent most of my time simply making an attempt to get my flies the place I wished them.

Set up an anchor. Place my fly line. Swing the rod. Create a well-formed D-loop. Maintain the tip stage. Drive the butt into my hip and maintain the tip excessive. Goal for the other financial institution.

My new mantra was longer, however much more mechanically sound. My first solid rocketed throughout the primary present, plopping my streamer within the mushy seam I’d been eyeing for weeks however had but to float flies via. My rod tip adopted the fly because it swung via the run, and the surprising occurred.

I felt a tug. A pointy jerk, truly, that yanked the slack line from my left hand.

The fish peeled line because it turned and swam downstream. I cranked down my drag, lifted the rod tip, and held on. I wasn’t positive if I wanted to combat fish in a different way with a giant rod. I hadn’t made it that far within the YouTube movies.

The fish gave one good run — as most of them do — earlier than I wrangled it into the web. It was an 18-inch rainbow. Not one other 23-inch brown, however greater than many of the trout in these elements of Wyoming. I let it go, wiped my fingers on my waders, and stared on the river. My first good solid with a two-hand rod put a pleasant trout within the web. I knew all of them wouldn’t be that profitable, nevertheless it was arduous to not really feel pleased with myself, even when I suspected I’d carried out every thing accurately largely via dumb luck.


Photograph: Spencer Durrant

I stepped and swung my manner via the remainder of the night with out one other fish to point out for it (the primary solid curse is all too actual). I felt like I’d completed one thing, which I suppose I had. I additionally felt like I had one other arrow in my quiver for fishing not solely this river, however dozens of others.

I threw the trout Spey rod a couple of extra instances that fall, on different rivers, swinging via runs with out a lot success. Clearly I’ve extra to study, particularly about presentation and fly choices, however I absolutely count on to maintain honing my meager trout Spey expertise. It seems like an underutilized talent, particularly in my circles right here within the Rocky Mountain West. A few of my favourite bigger tailwaters — the Inexperienced comes instantly to thoughts — really feel like they’d be excellent for trout Spey.

I additionally suppose trout Spey has extra endurance in my private arsenal than, say, Euro-nymphing or tenkara. I’ve tried each of these strategies lately, however I didn’t fall in love with them the way in which some anglers have. Euro-nymphing is efficient, however in a tactical, nearly surgical manner. The place Euro eliminates the mysticism of casting fly line, Spey casting facilities it. It shouldn’t be doable to show a large number product of sink suggestions, capturing heads, and working line into swish loops, however a Spey rod and correct mechanics make the magic occur. That alone is sufficient to maintain me coming again.

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