Our patio at Andros South may not be fancy, but it’s certainly the most enjoyable rigging station on the planet.
Archives for April 2014
Alaska West‘s own Whitney Gould is once again the world champion of spey casting!
Earlier this month at the Spey-O-Rama in San Francisco, Whitney won the women’s division with casts of 129, 135, 132 and 138 feet. Wow.
Congratulations, Whitney! We’re super proud of you.
More on Spey Casting
We do a lot of spey casting at our lodges, and in turn a lot of spey casting instruction. When working with anglers on their casting, we tend to see many of the same casting faults while making the transition from single hand fly casting to spey casting. Here are the 3 most common spey casting faults we see on a daily basis, and how to correct them of course!
Don’t Rush It!
In other words, slow down, slow down, slow down. Whether single hand casting or spey casting, many anglers rush the cast creating many casting problems. Remember, a perfect cast is that that unrolls with just enough energy to reach the target, no more, and no less. Like all fly casting, more ‘power’ is often counter productive, resulting in a less efficient cast. Slowing down allows the rod to load deeper which is where the true power comes from.
However, creating the d-loop and coming through with the forward cast are not the only parts of the cast where slowing down is beneficial. According to our lodge manager at B.C. West, Kara Knight, it is important when things aren’t going right with your cast to slow down every part of your cast as well. Slow down your setup, the lift, and the sweep too. If your cast seems to be going downhill, try slowing everything down first, and you may be surprised at the improvement!
Aim For the Tree Tops
A very common problem with those making the switch from their single hand rod is not stopping the rod high enough on the forward cast. Most of us understand when traditional fly casting that a straight line path of the rod tip results in a nice tight loop. However, when using a much longer spey rod, some anglers often don’t realize how high one must stop the rod to achieve the same ‘straight line path of the rod tip.’ A high stop of the rod on the forward cast is also necessary to achieve the trajectory required for your loop to unroll above the surface of the water. Stopping too low directs the loop towards the surface of the water, robbing you of your maximum distance.
When making the forward cast, tell yourself to ‘aim for the tree tops.’ This will help remind you to stop the rod high and correct a number of casting issues. Remembering to aim high will also help to use more bottom hand throughout the stroke as opposed to too much top hand, which is yet another common casting fault! Aim for the tree tops, and you’re bound to eliminate several casting faults.
Proper anchor placement is absolutely key to all good spey casts. One can do everything right throughout the cast, but if the anchor is not positioned correctly, the cast will likely crash and burn. We could write for days on anchor placement, but why not let our buddy Tom Larimer explain anchor placement in video form. Need more? Here’s a video on advanced anchor placement as well!
More Spey Casting Tips
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – one of the things we like best about our buddy Louis Cahill’s photography is that he has a knack for giving us new perspectives on things that we see all the time on the water.
Today’s shot is a perfect example. Louis strikes again!
More Bonefish Pictures
No one can deny that jigs catch fish. When tied in the appropriate size and color, jigs have the potential to hook fish most everywhere, and at some point, probably have! Jig hooks have been finding their way in the hands many fly tyers looking for more action from large saltwater flies to discreet freshwater flies. Jig hooks have even been incorporated into tiny nymph patterns for trout! The advantage is undeniable (just ask our own J.E.B Hall), but why are they so effective?
It’s simple, the basic construction of a jig places the eye of the hook ‘off center’ from the ‘keel’ of the hook. This has two huge advantages. First, this allows the hook point to ride up, which has several clear advantages. Second, and this is where the magic is, any movement of the fly whether with the rod tip or fly line, causes the fly to move significantly in two directions – the obvious lateral direction through the water column, AND in a vertical ‘jigging’ motion (pun intended). Struggling prey, whether an injured baitfish or free drifting nymph, rarely moves in a straight line alone. Thus, jigs represent this motion extremely well.
Well, our friends over at HMH have come up with an exciting new method of tying jig flies, on tubes! We love the benefits of tube flies, and would never argue against the effectiveness of jigs. In other words, we think this is brilliant! In the coming weeks, we will be tying our share of jig tubes for the coming Alaska season, and we think you should too. For full tying instructions on how to tie jig-style tube flies, hit the link to check out HMH’s Fly Tyers Blog.
More on Fly Tying
Over the last 6 months we’ve added a couple of authors – Kyle Shea and Adam Jackson – to the Deneki blogging team. They’ve been doing a great job adding their perspective around here, so we thought that for today’s roundup we’d focus on the last 6 months.
Please enjoy our…
Top Posts of the Last 6 Months
- Nail Knots Without a Tool. A very handy skill to have.
- Monofilament vs. Fluorocarbon. Which leader material you should use, and why.
- 12 Ways to Make the Most of the Off-Season. You might not be fishing, but you can do this stuff.
- 12 Ways to Tie Better Flies Faster. Crank ’em out!
- It’s How Your Fly Swims That Matters. You’re not presenting your sinktip.
- Cheap and Easy Sunglass Retainers. Don’t drop ’em in the drink.
- 5 Reasons to Swing for Trout This Winter. You should do it.
- 19 Reasons to Fish a Mouse Fly. Crazy picture from Alaska.
- Easy Furled Leaders. Make them yourself.
- Hair Ties as Rod Straps. For 6-year-old girls, and you.
More Top Lists
Sometimes it seems like salmon in Western Alaska like the air just as much as the water.
More on Salmon
When it comes to tube flies, we’re big fans. Tube flies are fun to tie and offer many advantages over traditional shank-style flies. However, unlike traditional flies, storing tube flies can be a bit of a hassle.
For the most part, a simple Plano box does the trick. That is, until a gust of wind comes along while you have the top open, blowing your flies all over the river. Fly wallets work great at times as well, although wet hands can become a problem when trying to remove only one fly at a time. We’re constantly searching for the best way to house our tubes while out on the water, and while there are more options out there today than ever, we still find this old school trick to work extremely well. Enter, drinking straws.
Yep, those drinking straws. Simple plastic drinking straws found at your local grocery or drug store work wonders for storing tube flies. At only a couple bucks for hundreds of straws, it is an extremely cheap solution. Simply cut to length and slide each tube fly into the straw so that the head of the fly sticks out the end. This way, each fly is far less vulnerable to being blown out of your box when searching for the right pattern, and removing flies from your box with cold wet hands is a breeze. Best of all, housing your tubes in drinking straws compresses even the bulkiest patterns down allowing you to fit more flies in your box! With that said, some flies that incorporate large dumbbell eyes or coneheads may not slide easily into some straws. However, the extra weight on these flies usually keeps them in the box anyhow.
Want to get really organized? They come in a bunch of different colors to help color code your patterns for quick identification. Or better yet, look for clear straws so that you can see your fly through the straw.