Spey casting originated in the heart of Scotland during the mid 1800’s. It was deemed “spey casting” because the cast was most likely developed by anglers who fished the river Spey for Atlantic Salmon. Around 30 years ago this style of casting made its way into North America via the Pacific Northwest when certain anglers found its advantages to be useful on many steelhead rivers. Many great anglers like John Hazel and Al Buhr come to mind when I start to think of the early days of North American two handed rods. In the last three decades these pioneers have pushed the art of spey casting into what it is today.
Since its introduction into the U.S. using a two handed rod and spey casting has gained quite a large following. It was only a matter of time before anglers in Montana would start to use two handed rods for streamer fishing in the larger rivers of the Northern Rockies. With the development of shorter and lighter two handed rods, a.k.a. switch rods, it only makes sense that spey casting would become a tool for trout anglers. Using these rods on rivers like The Yellowstone or The Missouri is a great way to help wade anglers cover water more effectively with a streamer. Much like a steelheader is attempting to present a fly to as many fish as possible, the two handed rod makes covering water much more efficient on a trout stream. Not to mention the rhythm of the spey cast and the stepping down through a run can be a very pleasurable way to fish.
With streamer fishing picking up on The Missouri a few of us have started to bring the two handers back out. It is nice to see a few different people using them out on the river and enjoying the rhythm of a swung fly. You might even see one of us CrossCurrents guys out on the river after work dangling a streamer from a switch rod.
I have been able to catch Steelhead in Oregon, Smallmouth Bass in Wisconsin, and now Trout in Montana with a two hander. Although my understanding of spey casting is still relatively new and I have many things to learn, I still enjoy being out on the river with a two hander working my way through some good looking water.