To Buy a Spey Rod Means Actually Having to Spey (Cast) One

Farbank Spey Day

The latest newsletter from the Gorge Fly Shop has a blog post on a recent Farbank (Sage, Rio, Reddington) Spey Day held in Bend, Oregon on March 22nd, 2015. John Garrett, one of their Product Specialists, noted that it’s much easier talking with customers who’ve actually cast a rod than someone is mired in YouTube videos and online reviews – and having no actual experience with the rod(s) they ask about. He tells of his experience with a customer who had called fly shops all over the country and was frustrated by all the conflicting opinions; said customer had actually never gone into any local fly shops and tested any rods.

I confess – I’ve been guilty of that too (too many times in my life). Given life working in a corporate cube, it’s often easier to surf the web and get absorbed in product reviews and videos than going down to the fly shop after work or on weekends and putting cork in one’s hands.

And it’s not just Spey Casting or fly fishing. I was in a bike shop once (actually testing and buying a bike). The owner said he had these kids continually coming in with the latest issue of some bicycle-related magazine. They’d spend hours discussing and asking him about gear ratios, frame geometry and the like. He said to me, “I always tell them…why don’t you just go out riding.”

You can read the blog post here.

George Cook on Your First Spey Rod

spey casting

Blake Merwin, owner of Gig Harbor Fly Shop, had a conversation with George Cook – the outstanding Pacific Northwest representative for Sage – about Spey rods.

Any discussion about Spey rods and Spey casting can soon sound like a foreign language for single-handed fly casters thinking about picking up two-handed casting. Blake ignored the complexities of head lengths, grain weights, and T14 and asked George three simple questions: would a switch rod be a good rod for learning to Spey cast (the short answer is no); what should someone new to Spey look for in a first rod; and what’s the best rod for local anglers looking for a do-it-all Spey rod for Washington waters (13′ 6″ – 7 or 8 weight).

You can read the interview here.

“Radical” Anglers Needed Now

Hatch Magazine posted an open letter to America’s anglers and hunters earlier this month. You can read it here.

This is a call to arms, or at least awareness, of the increasing attacks on anglers and hunters by the extraction industries who take exception to any efforts to preserve lands and water. Groups such as Trout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Isaak Walton League, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers have all been labeled as fronts for extremist leftist groups – by naming so-called radical sponsors, while failing to note that these same groups also receive monies from radical organizations such as Orvis, Conn-Edison, and the J.R. Simplot Company.

Consider the grass-roots work to stop the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay Alaska has been met with lobbying and legislative action by some in Congress and the State of Alaska (both with their deep-pocketed owners) who have questioned the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its use of the Clean Water Act to stop the mine from moving forward.

Call me cynical but I fear in the end the mine will move forward and the salmon be damned. Profits – and executive bonuses – trump everything else.

The politics in this country of divide and conquer has been polished to a fine art. Climate change, resource preservation, and a number of other exploitable issues have been added to the pastiche of God, guns, and gays. The National Rifle Association, once an organization for hunters, is now a lobbying group for arms manufacturers and approved Republican candidates. One can only hope that Ducks Unlimited maintains its integrity in its focus on duck habitat.

The national organizations have a leading role in preserving natural areas and resources. But in the end it comes down to the individual anglers and hunters who can look past wedge issues and realize that in the end the waters and lands they value are looked upon by the extraction industries as potential commodities to be exploited.

It’s time for us to pay attention and get angry.