Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 67

Mike was feeling like he was getting set up for a little payback for calling this guy a cheesy gear fisherman. "Sounds like there is some sort of catch."

"Certainly." Cam laughed. "If you accept, then you, me and the ghillies here will settle into your taste test of the Macallan, the Caol Isla and the Pre-fire Taliskar. But if you don't have salmon back here by midnight when the pub closes, you pay the bar tab for the whole lot. If you do catch one, and bring it back in time, I will square the bill.


Mike looked at the drinks menu and the going rates for single malts. God knows how many shots or drams, Cam and the ghillies had already put away…and then there would be the additional Lagers, Specials, Exports and chip buttys to chase them with…he was looking at a potential bar tab of 200 pounds.

The ghillies went silent waiting for the answer.

"Ok. Cam, you’re on."

A cheer went up and the last thing he remembered was a toast to Faeries Piss and a ghillie slapping him on the back saying, “Americans, I love the whole lot of you."


7am Beat #3 - the Lesson

Cam handed over a well-worn 15ft Bruce and Walker with a Hardy Cascapedia reel to Mike.

"Aright, let's take a look at yeh.”


"The first cast was ugly, not because he was hung over, which he was but because it really was a lot harder making the switch from a single to a two hand cast than he figured. He had no timing, his hands didn't feel right and in the end, he tried too hard to muscle a roll cast into the river.


"What was wrong with that?" Mike asked eagerly, trying to hide the fact that he knew it sucked.


"Any number of things." said Cam. "Lookit, it's not a battle son." And Cam stepped onto the pier to show him how it was done.

"The single and double Spey and all its variations are a dance, economy of motion, touch over strength, it’s a dance with the river, just dance with it."

Cam lifted the perfectly balanced custom Meiser rod and his coveted SE Bogdan reel. Right hand up at the top of the cork and left cradling the butt and in one graceful fluid motion, he swept it up, pulled the line into a D by his side and sent it out in a tight unfurling wave over the water.

"That wasn't too cheesy was it? asked Cam. Mike shook his head, in awe of the grace and ease in which the old man had managed 120ft of line out across the river. He knew that he had just been schooled. Time to pay attention.


“Oh I'm just takin' the piss out of you… Aright, stand here, I'm gonna show you first, the single Spey. You are goin' teh let the rod do the work. Plant yourself here. See the bank, stay parallel to that. Good. Now let me see yer hands. Your right hand is fine, but yer grippin' the butt too hard, let it rest in yer hand. You know how to do that? I thought so…" Cam stepped aside to gather some space. "Next, what you want to do is lift the rod like this to get the tension in the line, then sweep back. Ok. See that? That is a D loop, the energy in the cast comes from that D loop. Once the D loop is set, you follow through like this."


"Ok, I got it." Mike said confidently. He stood up on the pier, Cam standing like a shadow behind him. He coached Mike to lift up his hands. "Now sweep back, bring the tension into the line, good, that's yer D… now go." The line unfurled as it should have. Not too tight but not a disaster like the first. "Wahoo!" Mike whooped, (causing the Scot to wince again.)

"Ok try swinging for yourself now and I'll watch you.." In between draws of his cigarette, Cam corrected and joked with the novice who

was increasingly determined to get this dance down.. "Slow and easy, it's not a contest." "Keep yer hands up and the rod tip away from from yer head.. " "If you cross the line, you'll hook your face!" And

The start of another great day. Photo by Steve Turner