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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Casting Technique Spotlight: The White Mouse

Unleashing the two-hander on the upper Skykomish River.

Casting nerd alert!
This post gets a little technical so bear with us.

Spey casts fall into two main families: touch-and-go and water-loaded casts. Touch-and-go (aka splash and go, aka airborne anchor) casts land your anchor on the water like a plane landing on a tarmac, and they demand precise timing to form a D-loop and load the rod. When we're thinking about these casts such as the single spey, reverse single, and snake roll, it's important to note that these are primarily summer and fall techniques with floating lines, light tips and smaller flies.

However, when prepping for upcoming winter and spring steelhead trips, you can bet we're practicing our water-loaded casts! They use the pull of the line on the water to load up your rod and launch your fly, a technique very well suited to the cooler months of the year. Skagit-style shooting heads are designed to excel at this type of casting, and they’re the main family of techniques that you’ll use to present flies to sea-run fish in the high, cold flows of winter and spring.

The best tip we give when our clients and customers are running into trouble with their spey casts is common prescription: “SLOW DOWN”.  Skagit-style casts, when properly executed, are very slow compared to your single-handed stroke and even the touch-and-go casts of summertime. But how fast are you supposed to go when you “slow down”?

Instructor and guide Ben Waldschmidt demonstrates the White Mouse.

With Skagit style casting. one of the best indicators you’re executing a proper sweep and set-up of your D-loop is the aforementioned White Mouse. It’s the little rooster-tail of spray that appears at the point where your line is peeling off the water. Once you have the basics down, it’s a good thing to start paying attention to because it makes you conscious of how fast you are executing the rod-loading stages of a circle spey, snap-T or double spey. Sweep too fast and the line blasts off the water and no “Mouse” is formed. Too slowly and the little spray of water doesn’t form. What you’re looking for is what’s in the picture, just a little spray that follows the point where your line peels off the water.

For more information on the “White Mouse”, water-loaded casts (aka sustained anchor aka waterborne anchors) and getting the most out of your spey casting technique, come hang with us on the Skykomish river for our monthly free spey casting clinics. More info on how to sign up, here. Spey on!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Articulated Shanks for Steelhead and Salmon Flies

Just in time for chasing winter steel, we have a full assortment of Senyo Articulated Shanks for Steelhead and Salmon Flies in multiple colors and multiple sizes. What makes them so great? For starters, they fit easily into your vice. Gone are the days of putting on a Waddington shank and turning your vise sideways to orient the fly upright. The Waddingtons are also getting harder and harder to find! 
Two sizes, 25 mm and 40 mm, are available at the shop.

The rear portion of the Senyo shanks fit into jaws vertically and the eye is properly oriented to tie the entire fly. Secondly, they come in a variety of colors, from traditional black to a very fishy Western Washington green to steelhead candy pink, blue, and copper orange. They come in 25mm and 40mm, and they're stainless so you can tie some up for the salt as well. We also have an assortment of Senyo's Intruder Wire.  The wire comes in a few colors and in two sizes.

Custom tied intruder by our guide, Joel Oerter, on the Senyo shank.

One of the cooler features is that they fit the Fish-Skulls and Streamer Helmets, as they were developed by the same company.  If you haven't had a chance to tie with the helmets, they create some really fun patterns that jig and dive and create a perfect sculpin silhouette. There will definitely be some Sculpin Helmets on 25mm shanks for spring Yakima streamers in our future ...

What are you going to tie up with these vice friendly new shanks?