Sunday, March 12, 2006

Casting clinic with Henrik Mortensen, 11 March 2006

As a benefit for the Native Fish Society, the Caddis Fly Shop (Eugene, Oregon) sponsored a spey-casting workshop with Henrik Mortensen of Scierra.

We met at the shop and then proceeded to a gravel bar at Armitage Park, on the lower McKenzie River. There were two instructors (both named Henrik BTW), and the focus wasn't on spey casting per se, but on a Scandinavian approach to the two-handed rod that powers the cast by pulling with the lower hand rather than pushing with the upper.

In this photo, for example, you can see that Henrik keeps his right arm close to the body; the power is coming from the underhand pull and by shifting his body weight, rather than by pushing the upper hand forward (as in
British Spey casting). We also worked a lot on foot position and general body mechanics. The two-handed rod already has ergonomic advantages and I think this approach really capitalizes on them; done right, these casts produce little or no strain on the shoulders. Henrik M's casting demonstrations were something to see. At one point he was laying out beautiful casts without using his arms at all except to hold the rod in place; it was all done with the body.

Here's a brief video of Henrik M demonstrating a counterclockwise loop that moves the line upstream to set up a cross-stream cast.

Many thanks to Chris Daughters & the Caddis Fly staff, Native Fish Society, and the Scierra instructors for a beautiful and instructive day on the river.

photos by Andrew Bonamici, 2006.


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