Mark Bachmann and Patty Barnes are owners of The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon and have hosted the Sandy River Spey Clave for 12 consecutive years. My first experience attending was just that... an experience. Most impressive: the river, the people attending, just like myself, across the board skill-wise, but all eager to learn, and all the people who make the Spey Clave a reality - bravo.
Telling friends about our trip, 2 themes seem to recur. First, why 2-handed rods? Second, 3 days of over 2 dozen workshops, meals and all the gear you've the stamina to cast, plus expert advice, for how much, free?
First, regarding 2-handers, I want to do what Mark Backmann calls "Big girl, Big boy stuff", fish for steelhead and salmon in the northwest. In for a penny, in for a pound, I want to embrace every kind of fly fishing under the sun with both hands. It's fun; cast far, swing long. I've a lot to learn, so I'm wasting no time.
Second, well, yes. We were well cared for.
Snapshots from the Clave are skimpy, meaning they're hardly all inclusive. Missed shooting some phenomenal workshops by phenomenal presenters, missed mingling shots of folks dining, enjoying Patty's good eats, (how did she bake all those cookies?) casting, hanging out - probably because I was doing just that. Alrighty, I've a good excuse to go back next year.
What I missed, or just plain wanted more of... I'd like to see Mia Shepherd cast. Josh Linn regularly guides a few fellow Phoenicians, it'd be nice to regularly benefit from his advice. If you're patient, you can catch Klaus Frimor here. Leif Stavmo, the product manager for GUIDELINE, well it would have been a pleasure to see Leif cast. Mark Bachmann is a great teacher and can condense practical fishing techniques into a manageable nutshell. Not sure I could ever get enough of Mark....
That wraps up a wee glimpse of my Spey Clave experience. I encourage you to have your own in 2013. It was fun and exciting; few things in life are better than being in good company, on a beautiful river, with a fly rod in your hand.
© Marian Tallon May, 2012