double handed casting

22 12 2011

Salmon, salmon, salmon! I’d heard some of the guys in my club talk about salmon fishing and catching them and it got me thinking, ‘What’s all that about then?’ Don’t get me wrong, I love my fishing and will go fishing anywhere for anything, but one fish I hadn’t considered fly fishing for was Salmon. Why was that? Was it too expensive? Did I need new gear? Was there something different that I had to do? I’d caught them on a spinner but all I wanted to do now was catch one on a fly. It had to be simple right? Well at last years’ AGM the Secretary announced that one of the Club members, Alun Rees was going to start a casting clinic. It was going to cover both single handed and two handed casting techniques. As I’ve since found out, Alun likes his fishing and does it all but mainly concentrates on Seatrout and Salmon. Just the job really ‘cos that’s what I wanted to do!

It was early February and I spoke to Ken Evans and he told me he was on the River doing a bit of casting with Alun and he invited me down. Seeing the two handed casts for the first time was brilliant. The casts themselves looked so elegant and they got you where you wanted in the most simplest and effortless way. I wanted some of that! Alun gave me a go and got me doing the basic roll cast…….it was so easy. Literally, I was hooked! I was that taken by it that for my birthday I bought a 14ft Salmon outfit ready for when the casting clinics started in earnest in April. Come April, I was ready. I’d spoken to Alun and so had a few others. So from April through the summer of 2011, every Sunday and whenever I could, I was out on the river with my double hander just casting.

Just to give you a bit of background on the casting clinics, every Sunday from about 10 till 2, Alun Rees and Chris Price would turn up and whoever was there, they would provide coaching. Whether it was single handed beginner or advanced double handed techniques, give the boys their due, they know what they’re talking about. They are both members of the Game Angling Instructors Association, qualified at APGAI level and in fact Chris also holds the Federation of Fly Fishing Master Casting Instructor and Two Handed Casting Instructors awards. Alun is also a Pro Guide with G Loomis. So when I say, they know what they’re talking about, you can see where I’m coming from.

What I didn’t know though was how ‘hooked’ I’d get on it! Even after a short time, I could now fish places where I didn’t have room to back cast; I’d just throw a spey cast in and away to go. At first it was pretty alien. Because we were casting from the right hand bank looking downstream, Alun insisted I started with my left hand upper, basically casting left handed! He had me air locked the first day. I told him ‘I can’t Spey cast left handed!’ and he told me I couldn’t Spey cast right handed yet so what difference did it make! Cheeky T**t! Lol!

Anyway, we run through basic techniques, rules and stuff just to get me used to the feel of the rod. It was built up slowly from the roll cast, jump roll, single spey, double spey and snake roll and best of all, when and where to use them. This was rocking! The only thing missing was a fish. Well we all know what Salmon fishing is like in Wales? Salmon, what Salmon? Alun took me and Edd over the Usk one evening in early summer and we had a go but there were no fish about, which seems to be the norm. So back to the casting until the fish run the rivers. We went on to throw shooting heads and other techniques like skagit; all essentially the same but where when and why? I was buzzing. I wanted to get out there and catch a fish. Those of you that know me know what I’m like! I can’t wait!!”!!

Anyway, to cut a long story short….early September, Alun phoned ’ ……..there’s fish running. Do you fancy your chances?’ Before he could hang up, I was on his doorstep! Well, not really but arrangements had been made and nothing was going to come between me and a Salmon. I met up with Alun after he’d finished work and went down to a stretch on a local river. The river was up and a bit coloured but Alun reckoned it would be ok. We met up with another one of his mates, Alun ‘double pounder’. A strange nickname but as he was to prove, he came behind me on my first run down the pool we were fishing and caught a nice fresh run Salmon of about 12lb! Jammy b*&^%$d! It looked as if a few more fish started running so Alun (Rees) changed my fly and as soon as I got into the pool to go again, a fish splashed, then another and another! It was doing my head in! I’d just fished through there and they’d passed me by. I wanted to go back up but Alun told me to just carry on. With that, I threw a perry poke and got my fly near the far bank. It hadn’t swung 5 yards and I was in! I couldn’t believe it! Awesome; a fresh hen Grilse about 5-6lb. I had a couple of photos and put her back.

So that was my introduction to fly fishing for Salmon and the photos to prove it. The only way now is up!



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