Spey casting is an act of angling often mastered through solitary frustration.
Many a soul has experienced the extreme up’s and down’s of the process, at moments feeling like an unstoppable pendulum of Zen . . . and then, the record scratches. A seemingly perfect cast falls to pieces in a hopeless, collapsing belly flop of broken dreams. Tom Larimer, a Spey casting instructor and fishing guide with 19 years of experience instructing two-handed casting and fishing, offers anglers the opportunity to consistently find the flow with his new instructional film series, Skagit Revolution.
Based on his own stumbling journey toward the perfect two-handed cast, Tom has developed a program that will transform anglers of all abilities. Skagit Revolution represents the first major Spey casting instructional video to release in several years and its vanguard technique is aptly compared to the transition from straight to parabolic skis, taking advantage of the laws of physics rather than fighting them. While it respects the tenets of traditional Spey casting, the approach addresses advancements in the latest technology.
Tom’s casting education began 20 years ago in the Spey Dark Ages. Archaic books, cryptic tutorials and the occasional knowledgeable mentor served as his gurus on the ways and means to properly cast and present a fly using a two-handed cast. Although he was new to the sport, he was eager to share his hard-earned knowledge with clients. During these early years of his guiding career, he worked on some of the greatest steelhead, salmon and trout rivers in both the Great Lakes and Alaska. In 2001, Tom’s passion for teaching Spey fishing led him to Oregon’s Deschutes River. Since that time, he has quietly carved his niche as one of the top two-handed casting instructors in the country. Tom has also been a driving force in the world of two-handed product design. His casting and teaching style revolves around the family of Skagit-style lines that he developed for Airflo Fly Lines. Recently, he released a series of Microspey rods with the Winston Rod Company, which have been a game changer in the two-handed trout fishing theater. Skagit Revolution is the brainchild from these years of guiding, teaching and product design.
His tutorial, offered as a double-layered DVD (two DVDs in one), presents a rich and engaging ballast to fill knowledge gaps within the canon of Spey casting instruction. Both disks seek to break myths and reinforce good habits.
"It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say that all you need to do is slow down. It’s not always about slowing down,” explains Tom. "Most of the time it’s about understanding the reasons why you are going too fast.”
Skagit casting, as a method, has distinct differences from traditional Spey casts utilized when casting longer belly lines. The Skagit cast is comparably compressed, and the lines are significantly shorter and heavier, enabling a large mass to easily carry heavy flies and sink-tips across a large expanse of water. This can be achieved with little to no room behind the caster. The techniques for Skagit casting are applicable to Spey casting as a genre, but in essence, to emphasize the ski analogy, Skagit is to Spey as shaped skis are to old-school straight skis, which require a longer turning radius. The basic principles apply, but the subtle changes in techniques complement the advancements in gear design. The core message of each episode is very focused.
Disk 1 establishes a strong foundation from which students will progress in their casting journey. Covering roll casting, the Snap-T and Double Spey Cast from both sides of the river, this tutorial will pull beginners from the sidelines directly into casting action. While Disk 1 is truly about the basics, intermediate and advanced casters will walk away with new perspective on the finer elements that enforce strong, consistent casting.
"Casting is half the equation,” says Tom. "People get so geeked out over the casting that they forget about the fishing.” Disk 2 focuses on adaptation, building upon the fundamentals outlined in Disk 1 and propelling students to an entirely new level of Spey casting mastery. In addition to learning Perry Pokes and poke variations from both riverbanks, anglers will refine their ability to adjust to subtleties such as shifting fishing conditions and tackle requirements.
Viewers will note several standout features in this series. First, Tom’s teaching style and methodology is focused around key concepts that are reinforced in each casting lesson. For example, every time a cast is demonstrated, he walks through the basics, leading up to the newest challenge. Every time, he will remind students to focus on stance and grip and work into the nuances of the cast from there. The repetition imprints rock-solid foundational habits. Furthermore, the lessons are filmed using different camera angles, a departure from the stationary views that characterize past instructional materials. These diverse vantage points reveal the mechanics of every lesson. Finally, slow motion segments give viewers a chance to study a perfect cast to the nanosecond.
"Ultimately,” Tom recounts, "viewers walk away with full comprehension of how their cast directly relates to fishing success.”