As an invited guest of Farlows of Pall Mall I attended a mornings spey casting lesson held on the foreshore in Putney.
At 10.30am on this sunny March morning twenty or so gentlemen descended on the bank of the River Thames to try out a range of Guideline salmon rods and shooting heads.
Under the watchful eye of Jan Erik Granbo, Guidelines Pro Instructor were entertained to an hours lesson on how to cast a salmon line and shooting head some considerable distance. Using a range of rods and lines he demonstrated how to cast effortlessly using the ‘anchor point’ method. With what seemed to be effortless action and little arm movement, Jan cast most of these lines out with precision and power.
In 18 years Guideline have become a brand to be reckoned with. Today we put the Power Taper, Compact RTG, Power Taper, Scandi and Power Taper, Skagit RTG through their paces. These proven shooting heads in varying tapers and densities developed in Scandinavia offer a diverse and workable system for the fly fisher to use and adapt quickly to changing conditions.
The mornings activity was hosted by Farlows of Pall Mall. With Sean Clarke,Tom Festing, and Richard Kingston on hand along with the Pro Team from Guideline there were plenty of tutors to help you through the task of casting these lines out behind Fulham’s Craven Cottage on the Thames near Putney. At low tide lines were being cast from a range of rods, my favourite was the LXI 13’9″ 9/10. This rod has a sweet action and fast tip but felt right in the hand.
What Jan taught us was that the rod and line do all the work, the only real input from the fisher was to ‘anchor’ the action in towards your belly button with the bottom hand. Your top hand on the Handel is simply resting the rod, the bottom hand pulls aggressively in towards the torso, this punches out the line towards the treetops. By aiming at the treetops my line would punch out a fast and tight loop.
The most versatile line was the Power Taper Compact RTG followed by the Power Taper Skagit RTG. The difference between these lines with pre looped ends. The Compact Line is suited to small to medium rivers, tracking well in the wind and turns over easily. The lines I tried today were the INT/S1/S2 and floating 550grains/35gr. Without question this took Spey Casting to a new level for me.
With thanks to Jan Erik, Richard, Sean and Lawrie for today.