Much like single-hand fly fishing and fly tying, the world of spey fishing is addicting and often confusing to newcomers. Over the past decade or so, I've seen a massive boom in the popularity of two-handed rods for salmon and steelhead and most recently, a huge number of people picking up spey and switch rods to target trout.
I still consider myself relatively new to spey fishing as there is always something to learn and I can always get better at casting, swinging flies and so on. Swinging flies has become an obsession for me and it is my favorite way to fish when I have time to get out on my own.
I often make it a point to introduce clients to spey and switch rods in the hopes that it sparks the same interest and excitement that catching fish on a swung fly gave to me.
Some of the biggest advantages of spey and switch rods I like to point out, are that these rods simply get the fly back in the water and help you fish more effectively, especially in tight casting situations. Aside from allowing the angler the opportunity to cast big, heavy flies, spey and switch rods eliminate the need to overhead cast and effectively nullify obstructions behind the caster.
So many people get hung up with rods, line setups, sink tips, scandi vs. skagit and so on and so on. The world of spey fishing can be as complicated or as simple as you make it.
I opt for the K.I.S.S. method and am as bare-bones as it gets with swinging flies. The newer you are to the sport, the more this approach will limit your headaches, increase your success rate and keep bringing you back to spey fishing.
The boom in two-handed fishing plays well for the beginner. Many manufacturers are coming out with affordable spey and switch rods and I am also seeing more and more lightly used rods for sale. This offers the new spey angler a great shot at picking up an awesome rod for a super affordable price.
Once you have your new rod, make sure you google your rod and appropriate line set-ups for it, etc... When your rod is all set up, swing away and learn as you go. There's just no better way to do it. I still watch all kinds of videos and read about casting and all that, but you'll notice the most progress the more you get out and fish with a two-hander.
There's always time to practice casting between fish and the more you're out there, the better your casting will get. For now, focus on turning your fly over and work on how your fly is being presented to the fish and the rest will fall into place.
There is no magic fly, there is a magic to your presentations, so get really good at putting your fly in front of fish and the results will astound you!
As always, tight lines and good luck out there!