Above: a full lot to start off the clave on Saturday morning.
The spey clave provided spey casting enthusiasts the opportunity to check out the latest spey related products from manufacturer's such as Scott Rods, Sage, Winston, Redington, Guide line, Scientific Anglers, and Eumer to name just a few. In addition, there were fly tying demonstrations throughout the day and regularly scheduled spey casting presentations.
Steelhead Alley Outfitters was well represented at the event with both Greg Senyo demonstrating his unorthodoxed fly tying techniques...
and unique tube fly patterns...
and Will Turek demonstrating the Skagit style of spey casting.
Greg, who has recently been added to the Eumer pro-staff, had the opportunity to hang out with the boys from Finland and meet their distributor in the US at the clave. As you can see in the picture below, there was no shortage of Eumer tube fly tying material...
or interest in the newest "thing" in fly tying in the Great Lakes region.
The tying and demos were a huge hit with everyone in attendance, but the biggest crowd pleaser was the opportunity to cast the new product offerings from all the manufacturers. You would be hard pressed to find a better selection of two hand rod models assembled in once place with an equally impressive selection of reels and lines. It provided the perfect opportunity to mix and match rods and lines to find the next perfect set up and/or tweak the performance of a current favorite rod by experimenting with different grain weight and tapered lines.
Although the clave was mainly centered on the use of "long" rods for the larger rivers such as the Muskegon River, Bruce Richards gave an excellent presentation on techniques and advantages of using spey casts with single hand rods. An area of spey casting that is rapidly gaining popularity with trout and warmwater anglers throughout the Great Lakes region.
Another area of spey casting that has been steadily building a following throughout the Great Lakes region, and is the most exciting for me, is the use of "switch" rods. Switch rods fill the gap between single and two hand rods. They can be fished and cast, overhead as well as spey, with one or two hands. Until this point, only a few manufacturers were making production models and they were big bucks $$$.
New for the 2008/2009 steelhead season there are several manufacturers offering switch rod models at or below the $400 dollar mark. Scott, Redington, Echo, Beulah and GLoomis are all making affordable switch rod series that are perfect for steelhead, trout, and warm water fishing in the Great Lakes tributary streams and rivers and off the beaches of the lakes. Unfortunately, line manufacturers are still catching up to the popularity of switch rods and there were no new line introductions specifically designed for the short 10.5 - 11' rods.
On another note, encouraged by the affordability of the new selection in switch rods, I've added an additional class to my Midwest Spey School devoted to casting and fishing techniques specifically for the short rods. For more info and a complete listing of Midwest Spey School spey courses, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Spey ninja says, "Go spey or go home...".
Double Fisted Swinger