Being from the South, I had a rather auspicious start to my fishing career. Like most other children in the area, I started out with a cane pole and bobber. These poles were just solid columns of bamboo around 12 feet plus with a bit of string on the end. Bait of choice; worms. My dad had an extensive garden which gave me an endless supply.
While attending college in New England, I finally made the much anticipated transition to fly fishing. I spent my weekends fishing famed rivers that I grew up reading about: The Clear Creek, Beaver Kill, and White River. Nothing seemed further away from what I had grown up doing.
My favorite fly rod would always accompany me on trips home to strip buggers and other streamer type flies in an effort to get those large mouth bass that I grew up fishing. This allowed for a connection to my new found love of fly fishing while still being true to my roots.
More college in the Pacific Northwest gave me the opportunity to spey fish for steelhead. I found what I think is one of the most artistic and beautiful forms of casting out there. I’ve found myself on the river completely mesmerized simply by the cast. This made those early days of getting skunked a little easier to bear.
I love fly fishing but I am by no means a traditionalist. I’m not going to look down on another style of fishing, seeing them as inferior or less evolved. As long as you are respectful of the river, the fish, and others, get out there and enjoy yourself!
A couple months ago, I was back in the South visiting my parents and as is tradition, went to the local fly shop. After talking to the manager about swinging flies for steelhead, he leaned in, as if telling me about his secret fishing spot, and confessed that he enjoys using his switch rod for large mouth bass.
I was so glad to hear this! This guy was on to something. By spey casting, he was able to fish bass ponds more effectively. Bass ponds generally have overhanging oak trees filled with spanish moss. This makes casting with anything other than spinning gear very difficult. A water born cast allows you to cast without getting tangled.
One of the main benefits to a spey cast is that you can forgo the traditional false cast that is used with a single handed rod. While a roll cast could be implemented, large heavy bass bugs would make this difficult. With a spey cast, you also have the benefit of covering more water without relocating and the extra length of a switch rod will give you a leverage advantage when fighting those feisty guys.
But I see the main advantage of spey casting for bass is that it is going to ruffle feathers in the fly fishing community as well as the good ole boys. Both are crowds that I take a lot of pleasure in antagonizing.
by Richard Templeton