5 Things We Loved about the Alaska Spey Clave

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Over 80 rods to demo at the 2017 Alaska Fly Fishing Fair and Spey Clave. Photo: Ben Rowell

We could go on and on about how knowing two-hand fly casting techniques helps the Susitna River drainage angler access more fishable water but let’s cut to the chase. Here are 5 things we loved about the Alaska Fly Fishing Fair and Spey Clave:

  1. The Rods, duh
    The industry reps made over 80 rods, matched with the perfect line, available for Clave goers to cast. For a guy who primarily fishes mid-level rods, it was a real treat to cast high end ($$$) and high performance sticks. Winston, Sage, G. Loomis – the were all fantastic. There were also plenty of mid-level rods lined and ready to fire from these same companies, along with Redington and Echo.
  2. The SWAG
    Anglers stopping by the Simms tent walked away with a free hat, stickers, posters, and a chance to win a pair of Simms waders. Technically not SWAG (Stuff We All Get) but one lucky angler left the Clave with a free 2-hour casting lesson with certified casting instructor and R. L. Winston Pro Staff member Mark Huber.
  3. The Presentations
    Top casters and instructors from Alaska and the PNW put on a great show aimed at teaching newbies the art of two-hand casting. From first time presenter David Lisi (Copper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC) to the “God Father of Spey” in Alaska George Cook (Sage, Rio, Redington), the presentations were professional and simplified the somewhat complex language and techniques that come along with two-hand casting. There was also a single-hand casting demo from Jolynne Howard (Alaska Fly Fishers) for those looking to get into the sport or needing a refresher.
  4. The One-on-One Instruction
    Low water at the Russian River Ferry Crossing exposed a gravel bar several hundred yards long, creating plenty of space for casting long two-hand rods. Jake Zirkel (G. Loomis) and Lee Kuepper (Double Haul Fly Fishing, Loop Tackle) spent a good three hours moving up and down the gravel bar working one-on-one with anglers looking to improve their casting stroke or needing help getting a specific rod/line combo dialed in.
  5. The People
    The people are what makes this event what it is. The attendees were a fun bunch that were really into two-hand casting— asking questions and getting their hands on a lot of rods. The industry reps and casting pros, a few who traveled hundreds of miles, were professional, engaging, and approachable. Last but not least, the sponsors and volunteers that continue to make this event happen year after are a passionate group of anglers that don’t mind putting in the work to bring together fly anglers in celebration of the addiction that is Spey casting.

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