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Jan Sorensen

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Reply with quote  #1 
So the classic rod thread made me realize that that the two handed rod and Spey casting is relatively new to North Amarica. I would like to know more about the pioneers of the sport. Is there any books specifically written on this subject?
AJ Morris

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You might look for "The Art and Science of Speyfishing" by Mike Maxwell. Mike was a British expat and one of the pioneers of the double handed rod here in North America. As far as I know, he was the first to coin the terms "spey rod" and "spey fishing" so as to differentiate them from whatever it was we were doing at the time... No disrespect intended to Mike, but I personally find both terms highly irritating, as do most of the Europeans I have met.

I believe that Jim Vincent founder of Rio fly lines wrote a book titled "Basic Spey Casting with Two Handed Rods" or something like that. More than anyone in North America, I think Jim shaped spey casting into what it is now.

As far as books written specifically about early pioneers of the double handed rod here, I am not aware of any at the moment.

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Jan Sorensen

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Did Mike Maxwell live up on the Kispiox or the Bulkley? If so I think his wife is still guiding up there
AJ Morris

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Mike and Denise owned a lodge on the Bulkley if I remember correctly.
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Brian Colin

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Here in Kelso in Scotland we are starting up a RIVER TWEED MUSEUM.   There is little doubt that the pursuit of Atlantic Salmon as a sporting fish began on our Tweed's waters.   That history is well documented.

However we would like to have a display (on-screen) showing the when and how the sport developed across the world and especially in the USA & Canada.

If anyone can give any information on this development from the late 17th Century to, say, 1900, I will be extremely grateful.  We have a lot of information already on the development in the 20th Century.
Jan Sorensen

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Colin
Here in Kelso in Scotland we are starting up a RIVER TWEED MUSEUM.   There is little doubt that the pursuit of Atlantic Salmon as a sporting fish began on our Tweed's waters.   That history is well documented.

However we would like to have a display (on-screen) showing the when and how the sport developed across the world and especially in the USA & Canada.

If anyone can give any information on this development from the late 17th Century to, say, 1900, I will be extremely grateful.  We have a lot of information already on the development in the 20th Century.


April Vokey did a TV series called Shorelines where she did a bunch of research on the beginning of Salmon and Steelhead fishing in Canada. The intent , I think was to follow up the series with a book but I don’t know if that ever happened.
Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #7 
A little more:

Mike Kinney knows a great deal about spey casting history in the PNW as does George Cook. In the good old days the "Steelhead Site had quite abit of info about using two handers and the associated tackle in the Midwest. Rob Estland and Dana Stern both had early website related to two handers. Rob's faded when he pursued other interest and Dana's "International Spey Casting" later to become the famous "Spey Pages" lives on to this day.

I believe the first US spey clave was held on the Milwaukee River by the "Milwaukee Boys" but I no longer remember the date.

J.D. Jones with a little info from me made the first published spey line chart of which I still have a copy.

Aaron Reimer had I believe the first online fly shop to sell two hand tackle @ "The Virtual Fly Shop" aka "River Run Anglers". His "Day on the River" and Mike Kinney's casting days helped a great many people get started in the two handed game.

Mark Bachmann's Sandy River Spey Clave was the first big two hand gathering in the West. Mark also hand the "Launcher" fly line. An early custom sinktip line.

Ed Ward's "From Spey to Skagit" letter came out (Ithink in 2001) and really got the use of skagit heads popularized.

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Zack Williams

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Reply with quote  #8 
Me thinks Haig-Brown was one of the first to mention a two-hand rod in pursuit of salmon and steelhead in North America.

Art Lingren would be a great resource to talk to for history in Canada. And Trey Combs and Dave McNeese in the US

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Wayne McLemore

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Reply with quote  #9 
Spey fishing/casting is a subculture, like so many other human activities.  Subcultures wax and wane; some are more dynamic than others.  Spey was a minor activity for its first two centuries.  Then a generation ago, it suddenly blossomed.  It took a little while after the introduction of graphite rods for the penny to drop, but thanks to Jim Green, rods that could be fished all day without amounting to cruel and unusual punishment were suddenly in angler's hands.  A small cadre of steelhead guides and anglers began chopping and splicing fly lines that allowed the spey rods to perform to potential.  In the early days of the modern spey renaissance, the founding fathers could have assembled in a small bus, with plenty of empty seats.  Most had homes in the Pacific Northwest, including inland U. S. and Canada.  The internet carried our curiosity from place to place, our numbers increased, and now here we are.

I considered writing a book about it, but decided that I lack the contacts and organizational ability to do it.  But somebody should.  The Spey Renaissance is ripe.
Jan Sorensen

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Reply with quote  #10 
What about Norway and Sweden? Would their usage of two handed rods parallel that of North America?
AJ Morris

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Reply with quote  #11 
This is based purely on personal observation you understand... I think that the widepread use of the double handed rod in Scandinavia pre-dates that of North America by a pretty fair margin.

I also think it's fair to say that the Scandinavians broke with the British tradition pretty early, whereas here in North America it's only been in the last couple decades. Actually, most of the Brits I've met in the last few years have also largely broken with tradition...

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Jan Sorensen

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Reply with quote  #12 
In breaking with British tradition. Would that be the use of shooting heads?
AJ Morris

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Reply with quote  #13 
Shooting heads certainly, but also a different approach to rod design. Not to mention the modern underhand cast...

Compare if you will, those early three piece Sage "Euro" rods designed by Goran Andersson, with their four piece "traditional" rods of the same period. The difference is quite remarkable.

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Brian Colin

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Reply with quote  #14 
Thank you all for helping.   However I have spey rods from 12' to 15' made by Leonard, FE thomas and others which certainly are now over 100 years old.   Reels to use with such bamboo rods were patented by Vom Hofe in the 19th Century!   It is this cary stuff and the scene in which it found itself which is of particular interest.   e.g. When were the first sporting lodges built on the Laurentian Rivers?

Thanks
Ken Campbell

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Reply with quote  #15 
Two handed rods were used often with the overhead cast. See Haig-Brown, Gen. Noel Money on Vancouver Island comes to mind.
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