Sandy River Spey Clave, 10th Anniversary, May 2010

By: Heather Strassel @ 12:02 PM

Check out the photo gallery below.–>

I do love fishing. Dad would take us kids fishing throughout the summer in the “drift boat” along our Rogue River. Of course back then, we gear fished and baited our massive barbed hooks with Power Bait. The excitement as I patiently waited for “bites” while my weight bounced along the rocky riverbed made my heart pound. My body flinched at each tug caused by the dragging weight; I was ready and very much over eager to feel the real thing. Finally, there was a slight lull; I could feel nothing. My hands gripped the rod, experience telling me that this was it. And then a little nibble vibrated through the line as a charge shot through my body. It took every ounce of patience to wait for the second round of nibbling; sure enough, it came and I immediately jerked up my line to set the hook.

Things now have changed some: barbed hooks can’t be used in all areas on the Rogue, Power Bait isn’t my first choice, and I fish with my husband more than with my dad; but that excitement waiting for the thrill of the “hit” still flows heavy through my veins. How many millions of people throughout generation after generation have experienced that same thrill! The anticipation of what could be gives excitement its meaning. We all love to hope and win.

This was my first time attending the Sandy River Spey Clave hosted by The Fly Fishing Shop of Welches, Oregon. I thought it was just simply great: well organized, ideal location, friendly people, abundant food, and experienced instructors! I heard more about spey casting than I could possibly retain; but with the professional brochure Welches Fly Shop printed, I could review much I learned. The teaching right on the banks of the Sandy River was definitely tops! With world class teachers to choose instruction from like Al Buhr, Mark Bachman, George Cook, Brian Silvey and Hawkeye Hawkins among others, I wondered how this event could be offered without admission! Upshore were all the tackle booths, offering colorful displays of many quality products for trial. Touch, try, and feel; what fun!

For me though, the best part of the event was observing people casting. As I watched men, women, and children work on their form, modify their rod grasp, perfect their D-loop, and cast their flys (however imperfectly executed) into the river beyond, I knew they had felt what I will never forget: the excitement of the bite!

The art form of “spey casting” was apparent in all of them, as rough or masterful as it appeared.  As a technical art form alone, spey casting in my opinion is lacking, even as impressive the perfect cast may be. It is the love of fishing that perfects the art of spey casting, making it so intriguing. We all envy the instructor’s cast because his fly might be able to reach the spot ours can’t which catches him fish while we helplessly wait.  So the people at the 2010 Sandy River Spey Clave all practiced and practiced. The repeated attempts to master the spey cast sent line after line flying through the air, but the unseen energy in each cast was what enlivened me. It was the unanimous love of fishing expressed in each spey cast that made the day on the Sandy River very good!

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