The Virtues of the Single Spey

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The Single Spey is one of the most efficient, and most overlooked, casts for the two-hand fly rod.

Like a lot of anglers who picked up the spey rod to target steelhead, much of my early fishing focused on Skagit techniques. I spent my time perfecting the Snap T and Double Spey in the standard and off shoulder forms and pretty much got by with that. Later I added a Snake Roll for when things are tight but for years the only time I used the Single Spey was when working out my head. As I spent more time fishing Scandi style lines and traditional flies, I realized I was missing out by not using the Single Spey. I also realized I had never really mastered it.


First, it’s just more efficient. There are fewer steps and less wasted motion than in Skagit casting. Skagit casting is great when you need to lift a heavy sink tip, but when you are fishing a floating line you don’t need all of that power. A Single Spey is requires less effort and saves you energy, so it’s less fatiguing.

It’s also much quicker. Not that we are out swinging flies because we are in a hurry, but it does get you through the run faster, which can be a good thing. If for instance you are trying to squeeze in one last run before dark, you’ll spend half the time casting with the Single Spey.

The Single Spey can also be a big help when the wind picks up. With a waterborne cast like a Double Spey, it’s hard to generate line speed without blowing your anchor. The slower pace of the cast allows the wind to carry your line, often making it hard to form a good D-loop and killing your cast before it’s even launched.

Since the Single Spey is a touch-and-go cast, it’s easy to step up the tempo while still making a good D-loop. It also allows you more line speed on the forward cast, which helps you land the line and leader straight. Even in the wind.

The more I use the Single Spey, the more applications I find for it. It may be one of the oldest two-hand casts but it has not outlived it’s usefulness. It’s worth taking the time to learn to do it well.

The real key to this cast is

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Restore an Old Bamboo Fly Rod #3: Video Series

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Matt Draft is back for part three of our video series on how to restore an old bamboo fly rod.

Today Matt goes over removing old components like guides, wraps and reel seats. He takes on a worst case reel seat removal before stripping the old varnish and prepping the rod for new parts and finish.


Check out

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Adjusting your rig

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By Dan Fraiser


The currents are right and the undercut bank is textbook. I know there are fish in there like I know putting my head under water would make breathing hard. It’s just obvious. I know that I don’t have enough weight on, that my dropper needs a tandem fly, that my hopper needs to go and be replaced with a strike indicator and that I need to dig the shot out of my pack. I know it, but that seems like so much work and the fish are right there. So I spend 10 minutes working the run without a strike. Casting and mending and trying to work the margins where I might be deep enough. Eventually, I give up and tear down my rig, put on all the right stuff and immediately start catching.

This unwillingness to change set-ups is a real problem for me. I’ll try to make do with what’s on, only to eventually cave and do it right. It feels like re-rigging would take up so much of my fishing time. Forget that mistake. I timed it tonight. To go from a bare tippet to a two fly rig, complete with shot and an indicator took me 2 minutes and 22 seconds… and I’m slow. I waste more time fishing a rig that isn’t right, just because it’s on, than it would cost me to just get it right and start catching. And who knows how many fish I spooked or made shy before I made the change.

Ignoring the time wasted fishing wrong, let’s just think about this. If you

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Regarding The River

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The one with whom I have left my heart. Dark and lovely. Moody and sullen, she gives little away. Sometimes capricious, never predictable, she keeps me in wonder, in awe. She keeps me for herself. She heeds no man. Selfish, she takes what she wants and wastes not the time to covet. She seeks out the low places, the dark and shady places. She keeps their secrets. I look into her face and I see only the sky.

She knows me. She washes over me, runs through me. She thrills me, frightens me. She gives me peace, makes me whole. She asked nothing from me and she receives it. I have given her my life and she has returned it. I enter her and she remains inside me when I go. She owns me and of her, I know almost nothing. She carves the earth in her image. She carves my soul.

I see her, sometimes when I least expect her. She takes

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Don’t Get Bold Feet!

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By Justin Pickett

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the back of my jeep, getting ready to hit the water.

Just like any other day, I grabbed my rods and rigged them up first and laid them across the roof. I tossed my fly boxes in my chest pack and made sure I had all the tools and tippet that I needed. I jumped into my waders and buckled myself in for the day. Grabbed my left wading boot and slipped it on and tightened it up. Reached down for the right one and began to slide my foot into the boot. Before I could get my foot settled into the boot I felt quite the bulge in the toe of my boot. Not knowing exactly what it was, and knowing what it could be, I quickly kicked the boot from my foot. My wading boot landed on the grass, just a few feet in front of me. I waited a few seconds to see if anything crawled, hopped, or slithered out from it.


Cautiously, I picked up the boot and held it upside down, and, immediately, something fell from the boot

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7 Easy Steps To Successful Saltwater Fly-Fishing: Video Round-up

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Let’s review some basic skills you need to get started catching fish on the fly in saltwater.

Success in saltwater fly fishing is all about the fundamentals. If you understand and practice the fundamental skills you will catch fish. There is a lifetime of learning but once you have the basic skills it’s a blast learning the rest.

Saltwater fly fishing doesn’t have to be daunting. Any angler can learn and today we’re going to review the skills you need for some great days on the water. Skills simple enough for any angler to understand and put into practice.


Let’s start with the most basic and likely most important aspect of saltwater fly fishing, communicating with your guide. Understanding the

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Handling Trout in Cold Weather

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Handling trout in cold weather requires special care.

When temperatures drop below freezing good catch-and-release practices become critical. We think of trout as needing special handling care when water temperatures are high, but fish are just as vulnerable when air temperatures are low. Mishandling fish in cold weather can easily be fatal.

Fish are, of course, cold blooded. They’re bodies do not produce heat like ours do and this leaves them especially vulnerable to frostbite. The fragile tissues of their gils can freeze in an instant when air temps are below freezing. Again, they have no body temperature to stabilize their cells, so it happens quickly.

We adapt very well to cold temperatures. We have evolved to survive wide temperature swings. Fish on the other hand have evolved in a world which never drops below freezing, so taking them out in the cold air is as alien to them as dropping us on the surface of Mars.

The solution is simple.

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Stealth For Trout- Stand Still

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By Jason Tucker

I used to spinner fish for trout a lot.

Much of it was done as a scouting tool in preparation to come back and fly fish, and at times I even clipped the hook off and simply took note where the fish were. It was a great scouting tool, one I have long since abandoned.

In several years of this kind of fishing I began to notice a trend. In my haste to cover water, I often kept wading as I cast. At times I was puzzled as to why a particularly good spot did not yield a fish. I would stop and cast some more, and very often come up with a fish.

Over time a pattern emerged. If I was in motion, I came up blank; if I stopped moving, a fish would strike. I even began to experiment and count the fish I caught while moving and standing still. There was no comparison. Oftentimes fish would follow and not strike if I was in motion, and then strike once I stood still.

I later tested this while fly fishing, using a skunk pattern. I often fish up a stretch of river with dries, and then fish skunks back downstream. Skunks work best with a down and across presentation. Again the pattern emerged– if I was in motion I caught nada, if I stood still, even in a pool I had already disturbed, then I at least had a chance at fish.

Sound moves faster and more efficiently through water than air–it’s science.

We as angler’s also tend to

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Strike Indicators, What Matters to Me

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Do Strike Indicators spook fish?

There is a lot of debate over whether strike indicators spook fish. I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one folks. I truly believe that most of the time they don’t. Especially if you rule out calm and slow moving shallow water. Only when I’m dealing with really spooky fish, do I downsize and dull down the color of my strike indicators. The other 80% of the time I think the fish pretty much just find them interesting, possibly a tasty morsel, or just another piece of trash floating over their heads.

What I really think we should be doing is looking at the other side of the coin. In my opinion, we should worry less about spooking fish with our indicators, and worry more about matching the correct size strike indicator to the type of water and rig we’re fishing. That makes much more sense to me, anyway. Now I know there’s lots of you probably saying this is obvious rookie stuff, Kent. I hear you all loud and clear, but bare with me a minute, because I still find myself having to explain to anglers why it’s a good idea to carry different sizes and colors of strike indicators on the water. And as long as I’m doing that, there’s a need for this information to be out there for people to read.


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Cicada Fly Patterns – 4 Gink & Gasoline Favorites

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I get asked the question all of the time what’s my favorite place to fly fish?

Some may find it weird but I always have a hard time answering that question. I’ve had the opportunity to fly fish so many unique and beautiful places in my life that there’s no way I could settle on one place as my sole favorite. If you’re wanting a quick answer, a much better question to ask me would what’s my favorite hatch to fly fish. I’d have no problem giving you a straight answer on this question. If I could spend all my time traveling around and planning out my fly fishing for one specific hatch it would be with 100% certainty, the periodic cicada hatches that occur along the Eastern United States.

In 2000, I got to experience fly fishing the periodic cicada hatch for the first time in my life. The hatch happened to occur around my home waters and for one and a half months straight, I got to experience the heavenliness of strictly fishing giant foam cicada patterns on the surface. I’d never seen a hatch have so much effect on my resident fish and I’d never witnessed such epic dry fly fishing. Day after day, I landed multiple trophy trout. The amount of food that a periodic cicada hatch provides an ecosystem is insane. Some scholars claim that the food value of a periodic cicada hatch is equivalent to an Alaskan salmon run. Have no doubts, the cicada has the power to convince the smartest and biggest fish to drop their guard and come out and feed for several weeks with total recklessness 24 hours a day.

You don’t have to be an expert fly fisherman to find success fishing a cicada hatch. It’s probably the least technical hatch I’ve ever fished. All you need to do is get yourself a good cicada fly pattern and fish it on waters where the hatch is occurring. The only thing you really need to know is go big with your tippet (2X-3X) and don’t be too quick on your hook sets. Below are some of my favorite cicada patterns.

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