Thursday May 10th, 2007
This weeks' topic is Women in Flyfishing. Great topic. I'm all for fishing females. As I mentioned last week, my mom is a fly fisher. She started at it back sometime in the early 1970s, back before I was born, and way before anyone thought fly fishing would ever be considered cool, or loops sexy. I'm convinced that my passion for fly fishing is genetic. Fortunately, my girlfriend Kim thinks so too, and though she doesn't join me on the water as much as I'd like, she supports me and understands my passion for rivers, fish, fishing. I couldn't ask for anything more.
So, when I find out that the Sandy River Spey Clave is happening in two days, and my buddy Brian asks if I can help out at the Sci Anglers demo line booth, I know that it won't be a big deal.
The annual Sandy River Spey Clave happened here in NW Oregon last weekend. This event has been dubbed "Woodstock for Spey Casters" thanks to the enthusiastic crowds it draws and its super laid back atmosphere. The Clave is held at Oxbow Park, 1200 acres of beautiful, public forest land on the banks of the wild and scenic Sandy River. It was my first time attending the event, and I could not have been more impressed. People gathered from locations across the US, Canada, and even Europe to meet, cast, tell lies, renew old friendships, and make new ones.
The two day event featured on the water presentations by a host of well known personalities including Henrik Mortensen, Al Buhr, George Cook, Andy Murray, Steve Choate, Steve Rajeff, Mike Kinney, Mariusz Wroblewski, Scott O'Donnell, Mike McCune, Andre Scholz, Dec Hogan, and a talented group of local guides that included Brian Silvey, Tom Larimer, Josh Linn, Ron Lauzon, and Leroy Teeple. Presentations covered the range of contemporary two handed casting techniques and explored some of the intricacies of presenting flies using two handers. The big names drew big crowds and shared their years of knowledge with folks ranging from complete beginners to tournament casting champions. Pacific NW favorite Dec Hogan did over an hour of open question and answer session, touching on a wide range of topics. All of the local guides focused their presentations on specific applications and techniques for using two handed rods for steelhead.
Companies including Sage, Loomis, Echo, Sci Anglers, Rio, CF Burkheimer, and many more had booths set up to showcase their products. Everyone was encouraged to try out as many rods, reels, and lines as they could handle. Sometimes it was tough to find a spot to cast down at the river, but someone was always willing to move over a bit or share their spot on the bank with a fellow caster. I saw more than a few impromptu lessons being given to new casters by presenters and experienced attendees. I gave a few brief lessons myself, and showed a few folks the ropes of Skagit casting. I also managed to break a nice gentleman's Sage rod showing him the "proper" stroke. Oops, warranty to the rescue. It was exciting to see so many folks really working hard to improve their technique. Everyone was relaxed and happy to just listen and learn or willing to share their hard won knowledge with others. There were also some really terrific casters, both male and female, that were silent inspirations to many of us looking on.
There was a free lunch on both days sponsored by the Fly Fishing Shop, in Welches, OR, and a terrific Barbeque on Saturday evening that was sponsored by G Loomis. Everyone gathered and the fun just kept rolling on. How cool was this event? Well, where else can you go and have dinner served to you by Steve Rajeff?! Scientific Anglers sales rep and life long fishing bum Brain O'Keefe showed some great videos in a makeshift theatre for those who camped out at Oxbow Park on Friday and Saturday night.
What really made the event great for me was the spirit of it all. Everyone was so happy to be there, learn, and share all they know about casting and fishing with two handed rods. I left on Sunday evening sunburned, exhausted, boiling over with excitement, and inspired to improve my casting.
PS - If you missed it, on Monday we launched a new conservation/activism forum called The Daily Planet. I'm no Superman, or even Clark Kent, but I am the moderator. Check it out!
pps. Lars is off digging up old rocks or napping, depending when you happen to see him. ~Eric
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