Veteran Spey Instructors at The Sandy River Spey Clave
Sign up for the $10 casting class here.
Day One (Friday, May 18) is Beginners Day, which features programs for beginning Spey caster/anglers. All presentations on Friday are designed to give the learning angler a foundation of good basics. Day Two (Saturday, May 19) expands on what Day One has taught you.
Any championship class athlete will tell you that the reason that they excelled in their sport was because of a solid understanding of the basic principles involve. Then lots of hard work was applied to perfect the understanding of those basic principles.
After 37-years of guiding anglers for steelhead, I have come to the conclusion that the main ingredient that separates anglers who do, from those that don't catch steelhead are casting skills. It was that way when everyone fish single-hand rods and is still the same now that two-handers are more popular. Distance isn't the only way to measure good casters from bad. Casting accuracy plays a part, but too does down time. Anglers who spend a lot of time untangling their line, or dealing with wind knots spend a lot of time with their fly out of the water, and we all know that it is hard to catch fish when the fly is out of the water. Anglers who can reach far have advantages, but anglers who can maintain a steady rhythm of presentations might have even more advantage. Solid basic casting skills burn less energy, and keep the fly in the water more, and make cleaner presentations. Steelhead are hard to catch. You can never know too much. You can never have too good of understanding of basics.
You were introduced to the first six female presenters last week. Two of the ladies featured on Beginners Day are multi time World Champion distance Spey casters, yet they are humble enough to teach basics to beginners.
Here are the first six male presenters in order of presentations for 2018. The instructors involved represent more than a hundred of year of high level teaching experience.
A casting demonstration by Mark Bachmann during an Echo Instructor's Rod YouTube commercial:
Oregon Fly Fishing Outfitter/Guide and Fly fishing Instructor since 1981. "Wild steelhead and wild steelhead rivers are my obsession. I have
been catching steelhead with flies since 1963. There is no substitute
for the experience. Nothing teaches more about fishing than catching
fish. My goal as a fly fishing guide, and fly fishing instructor is to
impart my experience to you, so that you too can be successful as an
angler. Hopefully we will become good buddies while we are together."
9:00-9:30 a.m. Program by Mark Bachmann
The most basic information: How does a single-hand or two-hand fly rod
work for you? The best athletes in any sport have the best fundamentals.
This program is about essential casting fundamentals.
name is Phil Hawkins, though almost everyone knows me as Hawkeye. I
love to fish. But I really love to guide, especially for steelhead.
Taking people down the river and helping them with their casting and
fishing skills – or just watching them have a good time – is what it's
I'm a low-key guy. The only thing I get excited about is watching
someone get a grab—or better yet, hearing the cry "Fish On!" As we come
into the take-out, I want you to feel like you've had a great day, and
have gotten your value…and I work hard to make that happen.
I'm a native Oregonian, born in Klamath Falls, raised in Eugene, and
based on Mt. Hood for many years. I've done a lot of different things in
my life, but fishing has always been at the center of my being. It
started when I was a kid, fishing in some ponds in back of my dad's gas
station and it just kept on going from there. Rivers, lakes, ponds,
sloughs, creeks, you name it, I would fish it. With spinners, spoons,
worms, snakes, grasshoppers, mice, eggs or flies, it didn't matter. I
loved it all. After a stint in the Army, I rode rodeo (until I came to
my senses after a few surgeries and multiple casts), and then played the
tournament bass fishing game (too expensive). I returned to Mt. Hood in
1991 and decided to try to catch steelhead with a fly rod instead of
drift gear or spinners. I got an 8-weight rod and some purple wooly
buggers and went at them with reckless abandon. And I haven't looked
worked for Walsh Construction during the week (a total of 28 years),
but fished during my free time. After several 5 fish days on the Zig
Zag, I knew I'd found my calling.
After years of fishing for fun on my own, The Fly Fishing Shop in
Welches gave me the opportunity to start guiding the Sandy River in
2003. Now that I've retired from my construction career, I'm guiding
I hope I'll have the chance to share my enthusiasm for fly fishing and steelhead with you!"
10:00-10:30 a.m. Program by Hawkeye Hawkins
Examining the "Big Five" Skagit casts, how and why they are used while
fishing. This class will utilize drills so that these casts are
ingrained to the point that they become natural while fishing.
An instructors's instructor.
Al Buhr has been an avid steelhead fisherman since his youth and was introduced to Spey casting by the late Jim Green in 1982. Al has since been on the leading edge of rod and line development for many years with Sage in developing two-handed rods and with Scientific Angler in designing several Spey fly lines. In 2004, Al chaired a committee of line and rod manufacturers that established a manufacturing line-weight designation standard ratified by the Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers of America. Al is also a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers' Casting Board of Governors' and is chairman of the Two-Handed Casting Instructor program. He is a FFF-certified Master Casting Instructor and Two-Handed Casting Instructor. Al has given workshops on fly casting and steelhead fly fishing throughout the United States and at many Federation of Fly Fishers' Conclaves.
Al wanted to put on a presentation on Saturday, but relented when I related that he is the best instructor to explain the relationships between rods and lines in the presentation below.
11:00-11:30 a.m. Program by Al Buhr
Lesson #5: How fly rod actions and fly line tapers affect your casting.
Born and raised in Oregon, Marty grew up on the banks of the Sandy
River. With his dad as tutor and angling mentor, Marty landed his first
steelhead at the age of five. During the 70s his dad continued to hone
and shape Marty’s future by taking him fishing nearly every day,
instilling in him the instincts and techniques for pursuing steelhead.
Much of his fly-fishing inspiration came from devouring books,
especially those written by such notable and insightful naturalists as
Roderick Haig-Brown and Bill McMillan. While still a young strapling in
the 1990s, Steve Kruse took Marty underwing and taught him the art of
Spey casting. Mark Bachmann inspired his winter steelhead addiction.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that all these elements now
manifest themselves as Marty’s unbounded enthusiasm for guiding — backed
up by over a decade of professional experience in the field — and an
almost missionary zeal for teaching others and sharing in the pure joy
9:00-9:30 a.m. Program
by Marty Sheppard
Lesson #7: Using Your Body to Spey Cast
The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of Spey casting innovation. George
has been researching these developments and will help us put the
"Northwest Style" into perspective.
George Cook is the guy in the Sage "Tight Loops" poster of the
1990's. He taught the Sage Fly Fishing Schools in the 1980's and has
great casting and communication skills. He is a manufacturers'
representative for Sage, Redington, RIO, Solitude and Tibor.
George reps Sage and RIO, which is a potent combination when it
comes to understanding Spey fishing for steelhead, Atlantic salmon,
Pacific salmon, and all the sea run fish of southern South America. Each
year George travels the whole length of the Western Hemisphere (from
northern Alaska to Tierra del Fuego) in search of giant anadromous fish.
George is always a big draw at the Sandy River Spey Clave. Get to
the beach early to get a good seat for his presentation. He is pictured
above with a fine fly-caught Alaskan king salmon.
George is a company
representative for Farbank, owners of Sage, RIO and Redington. That puts
Geo at the top of the food chain in the fly fishing industry in the
Pacific Northwest, and gives him a network of connections throughout the
fly fishing fraternity. His amazing "intel" keeps him abreast of all
trends and developments. Geo has been my friend and confidant for over
twenty years. Geo's presentation has had the same title for a number of
years but is being updated all the time. I suggest you don't miss this
presentation on the water.
10:00-10:30 a.m. Program by George Cook
Lesson #9: Trout Spey Setups for Success
Simon Gawesworth is head fly line designer at Rio and one of the most sought after Spey casting instructors in the world. Simon's father taught him to fish at the age of 6. Now 45, he has been teaching fly casting professionally since he was 16. He has both cast and fished for England in British, European and World Championships and was elected Captain of the England team for the 2003 world Fly Fishing Championships.
Simon is A.P.G.A.I and S.T.A.N.IC. certified in the UK and C.I., Master and T.H.C.I. certified in the U.S. He also sits on the F.F.F. board of Governors and T.H.S.I committee.
Simon's books: Spey Casting & Single-Handed Spey Casting, are regarded as the authoritative works on the subject. The prestigious Summer Steelhead PhD School hosted by The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon was designed around Simon Gawesworth. Now in its sixth year, it is sold out and has a waiting list.
11:00-11:30 a.m. Program by Simon Gawesworth
Lesson #11: The evolution of Spey Casting