Bruce Kruk is on the podcast to share some tips for spey casting with a focus on long belly spey lines and long 14, 15 and 16 foot rods.  We bring it to the bank of the Clearwater River and the Upper Columbia with a focus on steelhead fishing.

We find out why longer spey rods in the 14 or 15 foot length are actually great tools for the beginner to cast a lot of line.  We also here the D Loop pet peeve for Bruce in relation to placement of the D Loop.  Listen at 30:44 to hear how to complete the entire cast. 

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Click here –>>> Bruce Kruk Podcast Transcript for the full transcript or scroll down to the bottom to read the transcript.


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Show Notes with the Bruce Kruk

5:00 – The Thompson River decline and some of the reasons behind the decline.

08:30 – John McMillan was on the podcast in episode 117 here to talk about the history of the steelhead decline and recovery.

13:30 – Derek Brown was a big influence on getting Bruce into the traditional long belly lines and rods.

15:20 – Fine and Far Off by Jock Scott was a huge book because it showed the angle he fished with the long rods.

16:40 – The 16’ Gale Force Spey Rod is the goto spey setup for Bruce.

18:10 – I noted OPST.  I had James Millard on from OPST here.

18:20 – Bruce and Walker, Boss Fly Lines, Nexcast are other goto companies that Bruce loves.

22:05 – Jerry French was on the podcast in episode 139 here.   Jerry told the OPST story and the new company he has going.


24:25 – Here’s one of Bruce’s videos with Tim Rawlins the Line Speed Jedi.  

25:05 – George Cook was the first school that Bruce attended.  George was on the podcast in episode 131 here.

28:00 – Klaus Frimor was on the podcast in episode 127 here and talked about underhand spey cast and fishing scandi lines.

42:30 – Peter Charles was on the podcast way back in episode 15 and covered the Grand River.

51:00 – We talk about Poppy and the Red Shed Spey Clave.

55:10 – Scott Baker McGarva was on the podcast here and noted the problem with closing the rivers for an extended period of time.

1:06:40 – Travis Johnson’s book:  Contemporary Thoughts on Modern Spey Casting is the only resource you need.

1:13:00 – Rugged Point Lodge is the group that Bruce is guiding with this year after a little break.


You can find Bruce on Instagram @bkruk 

Long Belly Spey Casting Tips

  • Make yourself like a machine to get consistent
  • watch your lift as the line comes off the water
  • Slow Down on your cast
  • Try not to overpower the rod especially with top hand

Resources Noted in the Show

Fine and Far Off by Jock Scott

fine and far off

Contemporary Thoughts on Modern Spey Casting by Travis Johnson

travis johnson


Videos and/or podcasts Noted in the Show

Bruce Kruk Anatomy of a Single Spey Cast


The Red Shed Fly Shop and Poppy

Read the Full Transcript with Bruce Kruk:

Click here: Bruce Kruk Podcast Transcript to get the Full PDF Transcript

or continue reading below……..

(Apologies for any transcription errors – this was generated automatically by

Bruce 0:01
I can cast a huge fly off the end of a long belly line that has applied for a taper. If I can keep tension in the line all the way through the cast, and one of the best demos I ever saw about this was Albert, where he was showing he had a piece of line between his hands, and it’s loose and he’s just kind of shaking it around. And he’s like, you know, how will this go through the wind?

Dave S 0:26
That was Bruce Kruk talking about the importance of tension in your space cast. This is the wet fly swing fly fishing show.

Unknown Speaker 0:35

Welcome to the wet fly swing fly fishing show where you discover tips, tricks and tools from the leading names in fly fishing. today.

Unknown Speaker 0:42
We’ll help you on your fly fishing journey with classic stories covering steelhead fishing, fly tying and much more. Hey, how’s it going, everyone thanks for stopping by the fly fishing show today. Bruce Kruk is on the podcast to share some of his best tips on casting long Billy lines and even longer. rods. We find out which book Bruce believes is hands down the best for spay. Hint the author has not yet been on this podcast we hear about the red shed spay clave and why it’s so impactful and find out about underhand casting scheduled style and what longer spey rods all have in common. There’s something you can do with all those and be a successful speed caster. Please share this episode if you find value today with one other person. Before we get started, let’s hear from our sponsors. Since 1977, the fly fishing and tying journal has long been considered the anglers magazine with original how tos and technical articles written by the best trout and steelhead anglers in the West. They are committed to sharing exceptionally written essays, fiction, poetry and in depth guides to fly tying and fly fishing. FDJ is one of my go to magazines and if you haven’t checked it out recently, you can get started today by calling one 800 541 19498 or heading over to the web at Ft. J Got fishing comm is your trusted source of information with access to the world’s best fishing trips. You’ll never pay a dime extra for the trip you book and in many cases less than advertised. Find out where got fishing could take you by heading over to gut fishing calm today. That’s g o t fishing calm or reach them by phone at 208-630-3373 got fishing COMM The easiest place to start your next fishing adventure. So without further ado, here is Bruce Kruk.

Dave S 2:38
How’s it going, Bruce?

Bruce 2:39
I’m good. How are you doing?

Dave S 2:40
Good. Thanks for coming on and chatting here. We’re gonna we’re gonna dig back into a little bit on a topic that we’ve talked a lot about od spay because you know that’s a struggle for a lot of people out there and also we’re going to get back into the upper Columbia River. So before we get there, can you just talk about how you first got into fly fishing and how you brought that into a spray in the spirit. Spare RAM and everything else. Ah,


Bruce 3:02
wow, how far back do you want me to go?

Dave S 3:04
You know, go go as far back as you think or you know before before fly fishing and when you started Yeah,

Bruce 3:10
well of course. I love fishing as a kid. My dad worked for a railroad company up here in Canada and we moved around a lot. And one of the last places we ended up as a young adult was Kodak. And, you know, I fished a ton as a kid, but then later on as I got older, I got interested in motorcycles and girls and stuff like that. So I kind of left that for a while. And I got married and bought a house and it was on the end of an island. And one time we were stuck in traffic driving home and saw a bunch of smallmouth bass jumping in this little park in the river there. And I was like, you know, I should get back into fishing. So I I got back in hard and To with gear. And then I always wanted to fly fish as a kid, but I just couldn’t afford it. And so I got into that hard also. And the job that I had at the time I was just managing a company where I had a lot of free time. So basically, I was fishing every minute I could.

Dave S 4:20
That was for bass mostly.

Bruce 4:22
Yeah, that was for bass. And then I started doing some Atlantic salmon stuff, but then I found out about the steelhead in the Great Lakes. And I started hitting that really hard in the winter at least a couple days a week. And yeah, I was doing that for about four or five years and then an opportunity came up for me to move to BC. And, you know, I was ready for change the political climate and all that in Quebec wasn’t great at the time. And I ended up in BC and the rest is kind of history.

Dave S 4:59
Okay. We’re in BC.

Bruce 5:02
I live in trail BC, which is about two and a half hours straight north of Spokane. Yeah. So if you if you’re looking at a map, like where the Columbia dumps right into Washington State, that’s where I live right there. right on the border. Oh, cool.

Dave S 5:18
Yeah, you’re right there. Okay. And what was the so your dad? What was the the railroad company? What was that company called?

Bruce 5:24
Oh, that was a Canadian National the CME.

Dave S 5:27
Okay. Well, what was that? Like? What would you learn on that? Anything from being a kid of a railroad guy working for the railroad?

Bruce 5:35
Wow. He was like, my dad worked in an office. Of course, I wasn’t on the train.

Dave S 5:41
He wasn’t he wasn’t throwing down.

Bruce 5:43
No, but we did know. But we did move around a lot until we kind of set root and correct there. So, you know, I’ve lived across Canada basically, which is kind of neat. Yeah. But now BC is the place that I’ve lived the longest now. I’ve been here for 2324 years. Wow. Yeah.

Dave S 6:03
How is how is bc different or you know from Quebec or as far as the natural resources and all that stuff?

Bruce 6:11
Well in cabac if I wanted to go fish trout, I’d have to drive an hour to two hours just to find little 12 inch stock trout, you know? Yep. And then here I can just, yeah, literally, it’s a five minute drive and I can be into some monster trout, wild fish, you know,

Dave S 6:28
that’s it. So there’s no comparison.

Bruce 6:31
No, no, it’s really different.

Dave S 6:34
That’s cool.

Bruce 6:34
I do miss I do miss the Great Lakes. steelhead, though it was quite an interesting experience. Like I mean, with what’s happening with steelhead, the great lakes are kind of the future. Oh, I’m still heading. I hate to say that but you know, like, I mean, if you’re if you’re looking for fast track way to learn steelheading that’s a good way to go rather than a one. Right.

Dave S 7:01
Yeah, things are we’re in a down. We’re on the downhill side right now. Hopefully.

Bruce 7:08
Hopefully, hopefully it changes I’ve seen, you know, I saw the Thompson die. And now once like I had moved from the Thompson over to Clearwater and then, you know, the clear waters closed last year. Yeah, the numbers are a little better this year, but who knows what’s gonna happen?

Dave S 7:26
we you know, I don’t talk about this occasionally. We don’t get into a ton of conversation, but I’m just curious your take on, you know, up in Canada, the Thompson, do you have any take on what’s going on there?

Bruce 7:41
Wow. I don’t know. There’s a lot of different theories. I was talking to some guys that I’m taking note today and they’re there. They had an interesting take, like they were saying that the fish instead of going down to the ocean, or just In the river.

Dave S 8:03
That’s because ocean conditions are so poor,

Bruce 8:06
like, like, it could be. And also, there’s a lot of cow farming around the area. So you know, a lot of nutrients in the river and there’s more feed than there normally would be because of that. I don’t know. I think there’s, yeah, there’s Yeah, ocean conditions in that thing. And

Dave S 8:25
I had john mcmillon on a while back and we talked okay. And he compared to, you know, he compared to, you probably remember this, or I think you started in 97. Somewhere in there, at least you’re right. Is that when you’re Yes. Yeah. So, so 97, at least the 90s. That’s when we the ESA list and everything hit and that’s when the numbers are real low. And that’s kind of the last time it was low like this, right? Yeah. And it took, you know, basically, mid 90s, you know, it took 20 years, 1520 years to pull out and then in the mid 20s, right in the mid 2000s. We had these amazing run. So it’s looking like hopefully we can pull back Lisa word, another word in the bottom of a trough and then yeah, but that’s a long time.

Bruce 9:04
That’s, that’s definitely another take like I mean, I remember reading and Trey combs book, I believe it was both when they were exploring the West Coast, they were starving bands of Indians because the salmon runs were so bad. So hopefully everything just cycles, right. Yeah. And maybe we’re just more aware of ocean conditions or you know, different things like that. That can help explain what we weren’t able to explain. honored years ago. Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Dave S 9:33
I always stay with the the optimistic, you know, definitely. Otherwise, it’s quite depressing. Exactly. It’s like the diver down with all this stuff that’s going on, man, you could get pretty depressed if you didn’t stay positive because it’s appalling. Definitely. Yeah, crazy world. By the way, how are things going? We’re in the COVID we’re still in the COVID Well, at least down here, how are things COVID wise up in your neck?

Bruce 9:55
Uh, you know, we were doing really good MBC and then we It seems that when they loosen up a little bit, people start traveling a bit. And we’ve we’re seeing a few more cases than we have in the past. But you know where I live is pretty rural. And we haven’t really been hit hard by it by him. Yeah. Yeah,

Dave S 10:21
you guys are good. Okay, well, so so let’s take that back to the Great Lakes. So what year was that? When you start steelhead fishing the Great Lakes?

Bruce 10:28
I 90.

Dave S 10:29
Oh, yeah. 90 Wow. So you were right there at the start. And that’s kind of when space

Bruce 10:32
it was. It was stupid back then. Because they they stopped like, unreal numbers of steelhead. And I remember the first time I went, it was on a two day trip. And I hooked 52 steelhead before I landed one Chase. Because I was using like, you know, four pound test Tippit in them since.

Dave S 10:54
Yeah. 52 steelhead, that is crazy.

Bruce 10:58

Dave S 11:00
So so that’s early 90 so you’re getting into it and then the pay game for you started and it was at 97

Bruce 11:06
Why was the fall of 96 was the first time I picked up a spear right I was actually down on the Wenatchee and I had a trip with Bill Maher to how to fly shop down there the blue done and I wanted to fish with Bill because he was such a great simple hand caster but he was trying to force the spirit into my hands all day. And I finally picked it up and I made you know, I flipped the line out and I hooked a fish right away and I was like, Oh, that’s nice. Let’s get back to the single habit. But then, the following fall, I picked up my first stay rod or no it was springtime sorry. The following spring in 97 I picked up my first spay rod from Bill. It was a sage 7136 and Yeah, I went to this gadget that spring and the sock And where else I went to skykomish. And I, you know, I was with a young friend of mine and he had my single adder and he was casting further than I could cast with the spear. It was driving me crazy. But I stuck with it because it was just so beautiful to watch the guys who were doing it. Well. You know, it was just amazing to watch. So yeah, and then and then of course, you know, even with the single hand rod I was always obsessed with distance. So it’s just one of those things.

Dave S 12:40
That explains Yeah, the the the spare RAM and everything you have going now.

Bruce 12:45
Yeah, yeah.

Dave S 12:46
What was the so Who were some of those people that you were watching back then that were that casting beautifully with the spray?

Bruce 12:52
Well, Harry Lumiere, for sure. You know, he was probably one of the first people I saw first, you know, Guys that really knew what they were doing. And

Dave S 13:03
so I know Harry lover, he’s, you know, you’re seeing this guy out there and this is in the, you know, the 90s, the late 90s I mean, how do you take it from you know that 13 the 13 foot six rod into now you’re kind of known for this long belly the longer stuff, right? Well, how did you get into that? Ah,

Bruce 13:24
I guess it would be Derrick Brown was a big influence on me. He was, you know, coming over from Scotland and instructing way back when. And I took a class with him and then you know, he was the more traditional 15 foot rod with a with a longer line, he was making a line at the time called the spade driver that was based on Alexander Gratz designs from 100 years ago, or something like that. And you know, the longer lines, just give Be more distance it’s like that even was single headline So yeah, that’s that’s how that happened.

Dave S 14:07
So that’s it the distance thing is in and here’s the biggest question of the episode for it does does a longer cast help you catch more fish?

Bruce 14:15
where I am? It does it does well you know a lot of guys say oh you don’t need Caspar to catch fish well it’s true but when you’re fishing waters that get covered quite quite a bit especially for summer run fish all the best casters that I know are the guys catching the most fish just because you’re covering water. They you know, a good caster is flies turning over pretty much every time. See your fly is fishing that much more than then a lot of people were just kind of lobbying and cathode and the plies kind of loose and just swinging around on a dead drift rather than Swimming. So that’s that’s my take on it anyway.

Dave S 15:05
Yeah, that’s a great take for sure. Yeah, you’re actually more in control of your fly as opposed to just it’s kind of doing whatever.

Bruce 15:12
Yeah. And actually a really big step for me was reading fine for off by john Scott. And in it, there’s illustrations of blogs undergrad, he used to fish, long lines and just pick up and cast without shooting line, right. And it was really interesting in that book because it showed the angles that he fished with the long lines. And it’s, you’re casting more downstream than you would with a shorter line to keep control because you’re casting so far and there’s so many conflicting currents. So the theory is, the faster the water the further downstream you cast to keep that tight, tight line to your to fly. So that that was a real game changer for me I started hooking up a lot of fish once I moved over to that technique for sure huh

Dave S 16:07
nice nice and then and so the rods you’re using now the longer rods in the lines are they have similar similar are they to the old historic you know lines or the stuff they’re using back in you know kind of in Europe and stuff

Bruce 16:22
well basically their long shooting heads is what they are like I my go to rod on the river here is a 16 foot nine Lake kill force and then the line is the 83 equalizer cut into a head and then I run model behind it I’m not aware of anybody making the long lines like they used to like I mean Alexander Graham apparently picked up and cast 180 feet and those those lines were a braided silk so it’s very, very you know, like the plastics aren’t conducive to me. Something like that because the mass that can be held in silk compared to plastic and the diameters are so different. But, but they were all based on a continuous taper, which is what all the best spray lines are nowadays.

Dave S 17:19
Sorry. So there’s sort of the stuff you’re using now, this long, the long Valley stuff isn’t really comparable to the say, go back to, you know, whatever, whatever time hundred years ago. Yeah,

Bruce 17:30
yeah, well, we’re definitely shooting line rather than just picking up and casting those long distances. But we are also easily attaining the distances that they used to. That’s right. You know, so, you know, what was, what was once you know, the domain of just a few people in the world, or, it’s, you know, there’s, like, say 100 people that are capable of it now, rather than Just two or three people. Oh, wow. Yeah.

Dave S 18:03
Okay. And, and who are the other so galeforce? I’ve heard a lot about them. Who are the other companies making similar lines and rods in that range? It seems like I mean, yeah, you hear a lot about the, the short, you know, the O p s t is right. The other end things going that way.

Bruce 18:18
Yeah. Well, uh, you know, the European companies are the ones really like galeforce and lucem. Walker. And as far as lines, longer lines, I know that some friends of mine have bought supply lines. And I guess that’s mainly done by Jean Oswald, who is the North American rep for Bruce and Walker. And then there’s next cast lines. Yeah, there’s, you know, they’re out there. Yeah. You know, like, way back when, you know, I met You’ve chosen weigh in, and they were the guys behind the XL t, which was the first commercially available really long belly line that was on that continuous taper idea. And those, those were really long lines. And quite, they were a little harder to work with. But, you know, overall, the the longer lines, you have to be a better caster. You know, the short lines, a lot of people can just kind of lob them out there. Yeah, the longer lines you have to, like, you know, technically, things have to be right or otherwise the line isn’t going anywhere.

Dave S 19:41
That’s right. That’s right.

Bruce 19:42
Yeah. And it’s it’s interesting, like, I mean, somebody who’s really good with a short line, but never cast a long line will struggle. But somebody who’s good with long line could pick up a short line caster. That’s right.

Dave S 19:58
What percentage I mean, it seems like the Maybe there’s a little bit of a movement towards the longer stuff but what percentage of people do you see you know long long bellies versus the shorter stuff these days?

Bruce 20:09
wow you know it all depends on the the fish you’re fishing for like I mean summer runs are conducive to longer lines

Dave S 20:19
Let’s save summers up on the the your river the Clearwater something like that.

Bruce 20:23
Yeah, well it’s well on the Clearwater there’s a lot of people with the long bellies. Yeah. Yeah. But you know if you were to go to the Opie you know, I wouldn’t be fishing along Belene on the LP No. Just because you know, you are fishing tips and those rivers are smaller and you know it. It really depends on a lot of different factors. But you know, good casting is good casting. That’s what I always say. Yeah, like with my with my clients, you know, like The original idea behind schedule lines from what I understand was to make it easy for clients to fish sink tips and get into, you know, get into a casting, right because it’s a short, heavy piece of line and you can really feel the rock band and whatnot. But for my clients, I use a longer rod in the 14 or 15 foot length. And I have them just when they haven’t Steakhouse before, I just have them doing double space off of each side. And within a half hour, I can get them where they’re fishing in the 80 to 90 foot range. Whereas if you were using short lines, having to deal with all that running line, like they’re not shooting line at this point. So with the short lines, you know, you’d have to be able to manage lots of running line to cast that bar consistently.

Dave S 21:56
So yeah, I know this is a great conversation because I’ve had a lot of you know, it Just had Jerry French on and we talked about the history, you know, and how that all came to be. And you’re right. That’s how that’s how it happened. It was easier but it’s interesting to hear you talking that sounds like you know, you could take somebody who’s fairly new to spay and with a longer belly line you can actually have efficient pretty easy just just like they talk like you can get a you know, person with the Oh, PST stuff going.

Bruce 22:20
Yeah, but again, like I mean, my river is huge. Yeah, you know, so it’s solid. It all depends on where you are.

Dave S 22:28
Exactly. You’re not you have plenty of room behind you for your

Bruce 22:33
Wow, that’s, that’s another thing. You know, like for a long time a lot of people thought the bigger the de loop you could make behind you the more distance you can get, but that’s kind of not true. Yeah, like though the whole idea behind stay rods is so that you can fish in tight to the bank, right? Yeah. So that’s kind of a pet peeve of mine where people say oh, you can’t use a long belly on tight to the bank, but you definitely Can Yeah, well explain that? Well it’s an adjustment of angles right? Like Like I said, we’re casting further downstream now I can mean how I view it and how some of the better casters that I know view it is that the the energy trapped between the point of the rod tip and the line touching down on the water so if your anchor is far in front of you, you can have a de loop that’s like a couple feet behind you and you’ll still get the same distance or better and you definitely get better turnover when your anchor as far in front of you. So that’s kind of my take on it.

Dave S 23:43
Gotcha. So it just depends again where you’re Yeah, gotcha where we start that okay and and then you know again I’m so maybe you could just take us through it because i i’d like to dig in a little bit. So you know, first thing is somebody who’s, you know, been doing a lot of the the short, the shorter stuff and they’ve never they’ve never cashed it. A 1516 foot rod. Yeah, what if they go out and they pick up one, you know, one of these rods and it’s all ready to go, you know, obviously a lesson would be the best thing. But if they were out there, how would you explain that they might get up and get going? What what do they need to know to get to get started?

Bruce 24:14
Ah, is that is that too much? Good, they just watch it. Could they just watch a couple videos of you casting? I know, you know, people do that. I know, that’s not the best thing. But if they watched some of your videos, well, you know, would they be able to learn enough to get going? Uh, it would help definitely, you know, because there are certain rules to casting that that apply. You know, like, for myself, like I said, I live in a rural area, but I always sought out people to take lessons from I’ve always been that way in my fly fishing, career, flattening and stuff like that. So yeah.

Dave S 25:00
Who’s your first lesson?

Bruce 25:02
So George cook was the first school I went to that was put on on the one Archie It was a one day school. And it was really interesting because back then we were fishing with cutters. And like I said, I had that 7136 which is just a total noodle. And George handed me his rod at the end of the day, which was 50 foot 10 weight with a wind cutter. And I made one cast with it and I was across the river like nothing so that that kind of opened my eyes a little bit to what what the difference could be like on the one he didn’t really need that it wasn’t a huge river, but the potential for distances is much greater with a heavier rod. You know, like a lot of people come here with trout space and they’re, you know, the trucks pay is limited just because the length of the line and the weights and and the, you know the rod is softer compared to something that’s got a little more to it. And, you know, they’ll catch fish. Definitely. But you will not hit those seams that are 100 to 150 feet out there. Yeah. So that that’s the difference. But it fishing like I mean, you know, like with short rods like with single hand rods, I, I’m totally the opposite I prefer rods under seven feet long. And I used to fish a lot of like five foot six and six foot fiberglass rods way back in the day. Just because it was fun. Yeah. So I don’t know. You know, every everybody’s got their own take on what’s fun, so, have at it.

Dave S 26:40
That’s right. That’s right. There’s a lot. There’s a lot of options. And there’s a lot of more options these days than when you started in the mid 90s. Right.

Bruce 26:47
Oh, man, it’s amazing how far we’ve come it’s, you know, like you can’t you can’t get a bad spay rod nowadays. For is back in the day, you know, there was a lot of rods that were like huh Not good. Yeah, either either too stiff or too soft or, you know, but the UK rods have always had that action you know where the tip is stiffer and the bend deep into the butt. So and that’s another thing with the long rods like a lot of people are like oh man a 16 foot nine. Wait, that’s crazy for trout. Are you nuts? The thing is, though, is the longer the lever. The bigger advantage of fish has on you like those longer rods they’ve been really deep. So, you know, there that’s that’s another take on it also.

Dave S 27:36
Yeah, so that’s a good that’s another bonus. Yeah. What about the I had class for you are on from, you know, from loop and everything. Yeah. He talks about underhand casting you. Can you talk about the differences between what you do and what he does?

Bruce 27:52
Uh, you know, what I do and what he does, it’s not that far off.

Dave S 27:56
Yeah. Okay.

Bruce 27:58
Yeah, like I said before, Good casting is good casting. Yeah, you know, we’re, we’re trying to use the top hand as a fulcrum point and the bottom hand to move the rod, which is the whole basis of underhand casting. Mm hmm. And there, there’s an exercise that I do with newer people were I, I get them to hold the rod firmly in front of their face and just get the line to move back with the bottom hand by pushing forward, and then get the line to go forward by pulling in with the bottom hand. And once people get an understanding that the bottom hand makes you like us the whole rod with the bottom hand compared to, you know, the upper third of the rod with the top hand that that idea kind of sticks with people because it’s just easier, right? My whole theory is the rod does the work for me, with minimal movements from my hands and I use a lot of body For my casting and locking my arms and turning and stuff like that, so that’s, that’s my take. It’s good casting is good casting.

Dave S 29:10
Yeah. So it’s all so none of it’s really that much. I mean, even compared to say, obviously the scheduled stuff is a different types of, you know, where you’re putting your anchors and things, but the cast itself is similar. Would you say overall?

Bruce 29:24
Uh, well, yeah, there’s always a basic principle where the line, the back part of the line is in the air. You have an anchor and you have the line attached to the rod tip. Yeah. So it’s, you know, if, to me, the most important part of the spey cast is really going into your back cast, your are your de loop. It’s kind of like a single hand rod. If you make a great back cast, the front cast is just basically you’re just turning over the rod. And it’s kind of the same idea. The hardest On on spirit especially with a long belly line is learning to relax and let the rod do the work for you. Most people try and overpower everything especially going into the back half and then you’re blowing anchors or you’re getting too much line on the water. You know like your top hand if it goes behind your head, then your rod tip goes down in line follows rod tip and, you know, so yeah, basic principles just just like you know what, Edward or any of those sketchy guys you know, he says book staying inside the box. It’s the it’s kind of the same thing with Yeah, and you know, all the best guys will tell you it doesn’t matter what line system slowed down. Do not overpower the rod. Like a lot of people think that for distance casting, let’s say. Especially with the competition stuff that the harder you can hit it initially the farther it’s going to go. That’s not true. If, if you hit it as hard as you can, right from the get go, you’re you’re overloading the rod. And the rod never has a chance to line never has a chance to catch up with the rod. But if you do a smooth application of power from the bottom hand to affirms crisp stop on the podcast, then you’re releasing the energy from the rod. The rod will be bent as as deep as you want it to be. And then it just lets go it’s kind of like a bow and arrow. The arrow doesn’t go anywhere until the the bull has stopped. When you release that energy, so So yeah, that’s kind of you know, these are all things that I use a gold teaching these Yeah, exactly. Another thing I talk about in a, you know, in a demo type scenario, is if you’ve ever seen one of those machines that holds a golf club, and it makes the exact same swing Every time and it hits the ball and the ball goes the exact same place every time. Well, that’s how I feel about the bat cast. So I, I’ll do my lift to target, and I lock my arms and I just turned my body. So I’m making myself like that machine and then my anchor lands consistently the same place every time. That’s, you know, that’s my take on it.

Dave S 32:22
That’s it. So So from the pickup if you just paint that picture you know audio it’s always hard to do but you do your you do your your shotgun lift. I guess it’s a similar thing you do. You’re like, No, no, I don’t really do a shotgun lift. Yeah, describe the whole process from we’re sitting there on the river, we’re looking say, let’s say we’re on the river left, the river is going from right to left and you’re, you’re gonna pick up a bay. And yeah, just describe the whole thing.

Bruce 32:49
Yeah, so basically, my hips will be facing, like, I’ll be squared to my target where I’m cast into and then I turned to the Pick up. And with the rod tip I’ll lift up but at an angle lifting towards my target. Now once the rod tip gets to my target, that’s when I just turned my body with my arms locked. And it’s it’s simple to explain. It’s simple to demonstrate. But it’s deceptively hard to do. Like this, this was all described to me, you know, 10 years ago and it’s taken me 10 years and I’m sure it’ll take me a lot longer to like, I feel like I’m comfortable with it now. But the whole idea of getting away from that top hand where you’re like, dipping the rod or whatever, like all these things are introducing slack. And then you have to compensate by pulling with the top pen. But if you use the rod you know, as a lever with a fulcrum. That bottom hand is so key to making making magic happen. Yeah. And and it it it applies to like i mean you know I don’t fish just long belly lines I you know i’m i’m able to fish the schedule lines and the scan the lines and all that much shorter lines and the exact same principles work.

Dave S 34:25
Yep. Gotcha yeah same, the same and then taking it back to the water. So if you like you said you start you know with your hips pointed at the target where you’re going to cast you do your lifts up and then you turn

Bruce 34:40
well I lift to the target.

Dave S 34:42
Yeah, lift Yeah, right. You lift towards the target diagonal. Yeah.

Bruce 34:46
Yeah. So I never lift straight up. Gotcha. I’m always lifting at an angle to the target.

Dave S 34:52
And is it not? Is it not a shotgun like angled lift? Oh, how’s it different?

Bruce 34:58
Well, you know, lifts will vary because of different water currents. And you know, if you’re in gruffly water or smooth water, that’s the thing with a long line is that you have to be able to

Dave S 35:11
sure change your watch.

Bruce 35:13
Yeah, yeah, you know, there’s a lot of variables there. So, like the biggest thing, right from the get go is watching, you’re watching what happens when, as the lion comes off the water. Like I’m into, other than this, I’m really into motorcycle racing and not on tracks. And I’ve been to a lot of courses and everything is visual on a motorcycle like you go where you look. So when I teach, I’ll teach you to watch the lift, make sure you’re lifting the line off the water. And then at a certain point, you’re kind of watching your top hand into your back cast to keep it from moving back. And then you’re watching your bottom hand and then out of To the corner of the eye, you’re watching your anchor land, that’s when you know it’s time to go forward. So then I’m watching my hands and then I’m watching the rod tip, release the energy and then I’m watching my line go up. And it gives you a more continuous flow that way rather than just concentrating on one thing over and over. Now that’s in actual casting, but you know, there’s a lot of benefit also to just doing one movement over and over and over also, like when I when I was really working on this this fulcrum casting style casting I, I got some advice about just doing your anchors and nothing else. So I would just go down and do a couple hours of just placing my anchor the exact same place every time I pop the line back at an angle and then I do the anchor back anchor back anchor and you know that that stuff really pays off in the long run. I like that A lot of people just want to go fishing. But how much? How much money do you spend on a trip?

Dave S 37:05
I know.

Bruce 37:06
And then you get there, you’re like, Oh, I don’t know how to cash. So that’s your job as the guide, you know.

Whereas, you know, you look at golfers or, you know, they’re out there practicing the best golfers all the time. So that’s, that’s a comparison I can make. And like, I mean, it’s, it’s worth your while to figure out how to cast.

Dave S 37:32
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Bruce 40:56
Okay, so once you cross the border there River widens and shallows. So we have huge huge runs like I mean you could take three or four runs and fish those and like it’ll take a day to fish them. That’s how big they are. And yeah, that’s that’s the big difference between okay you know Stephen Stephens water and my water so the like, I mean, the the optimal time for me is September through into the springtime because the water is much lower than it is right now right now it’s it’s raging basically so so the runs that I would normally fish are all underwater, and the water is moving so fast he can’t wait it. So it’s, it’s a unique situation like I mean, it’s all said by dams above us also. So the water temperature stay very consistent and the fish you know, like I was talking to one biologist, one time And they were doing a lot of radio tagging for a while there and the fish that they would catch within like a year they would have two or three growth rates on their scales. Whereas a normal fish somewhere else would have one growth rate. So, you know, the, the the feed and the water conditions and everything just just lend it lends itself to these fish getting bigger plus the steelhead genes that are in them. There’s five strains rainbows up here that I know of, and one of them is like, I mean, it’s we call them red sides, but they are definitely a landmark steelhead. Yeah.

Dave S 42:45
Yeah. And how big How big do those get?

Bruce 42:51
while. The biggest I’ve ever landed was around 20 pounds. Oh, wow. Yeah, there was one line While I’ve seen quite a few landed on gear that are in the 2324 pound range, and then there was talk of a fish that was caught up caught in a net pen at the mouth of a creek that was around 33 pounds. Now, you have to take it into consideration there is a reservoir above us. And there is a lock on one dam and there are gerards in there. And you know, they’re in that they can get into that 20 pound range. So those fears could be coming down through the lock from the reservoir, but whatever, they’re still in the river so

Dave S 43:40
can you explain gerards

Bruce 43:43
gerards are a a it’s a strain rainbows that we have up here. They get really big and they were also a landlocked steelhead and that they’re kind of an interesting fish. Because the the head and the body are are huge. But yet the tail is really small. Whereas the read sides, the the body is slender. Like they’re really well proportioned but their tails are huge. So that’s cool. I don’t Yeah, I don’t know I think Yeah, I don’t really want to go into that now I’m by no means a biologist or anything like that. I would know them to see them.

Dave S 44:31
Exactly what I’m thinking is interesting though. So the lake I mean typically a steelhead we go the ocean so they’re they’re not going down to a lake and coming back, they’re going up to a lake and

Bruce 44:41
well, that’s the thing, like the ones that I’m going for, which are really the red side. So those are the ones that I try and catch. They do go down into the big reservoir down below us.

Dave S 44:53
Oh, there is a big reservoir down below.

Bruce 44:54
Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s just it’s like Roosevelt. So this big Yeah. It’s huge. So that’s basically the ocean. Right?

Dave S 45:02
That’s it. Yeah. Yeah. So they are doing the same life history issues. And oh, yeah, like Yeah.

Bruce 45:08
Okay, so they move around a lot.

Dave S 45:10
Yeah, gotcha. Gotcha. Okay, cool. So, so that’s the deal. And this is similar. It’s funny because I had, you know, we obviously have been all around the North America and talked about steelhead. But, you know, gosh, Peter, Charles was on he was talking about out in Ontario fish in the Grand River. And, you know, and he was saying how, again, that one was a real challenging river, really, like you’re saying long and big and flat. Yeah, I mean, are the fish up there in your area? pretty hard to catch. I mean, are they more challenging than your typical steelhead?

Bruce 45:45
typical Steelhead?

Dave S 45:46
That’s a good That’s a tough question. Let’s say, Well, yeah, exactly. Let me let me rephrase that. What’s uh, you know, if you go out there fishing in a typical average day, what’s it like? I mean, how much action that sort of thing are you getting

Bruce 45:59
a while tart targeting the bigger fish. So like if you want to catch small fish you can float around in the back end with a bobber you know there’s a lot of different ways to do this river. Like the whole evolution of the the space thing with the trode here is kind of weird because basically what I was doing was I was going to this one run in particular, and practicing my spey casting. And I would put on a little nip with the appropriate size tippet but I kept getting my ass handed to me. So there was one day I was like out whatever, I’ll just put on a big leech with a heavy tippet and then I landed this fish that was, you know, eight or nine pounds, something like that. And it’s an I think the the, what what I believed was heavy tippet at the time was like six or eight pound test. Yep. And like Now, typically When I go steelheading I’ll use 10 pound test. But here I use 12 pound test. Oh, yeah. And it’s, they they. So here’s the deal, right like these fish haven’t run up from the ocean. They’re fresh as can be. And they’re actively feeding and they, they don’t fight like a typical steelhead, like a typical steelhead will kind of stay out in the current. And like you prepare these guys, they’ll run downstream in the current and then if there’s any kind of a back, Eddy, they’ll come straight back at you. And, you know, like when I’m guiding I like strip one of the first things I tell guys, if you hook a fish, get to shore and be ready to run upstream, I tell you, so, you know, it’s it’s it’s a different deal. But it’s it’s not I don’t know like I mean, I fish traditional spay flies and little man all stacked wing Atlantic salmon classic type patterns and you know it like I mean it is what you make it. I don’t I wouldn’t say that I catch more fish than anybody else. But I do catch larger fish just because of the you know, I’m targeting them with bigger flies and and heavier tippet yeah

Dave S 48:27
so that’s the biggest that’s the biggest thing you’re saying when you target bigger fish you’re just using bigger flies heavier tip but also covering in the deeper further out one Yes,

Bruce 48:37

Dave S 48:38
Yeah, that’s it. That’s where the bigger fish there’s the bigger fish are out in that heavier water.

Bruce 48:42
Yeah, but like, I mean, it all depends if like at this time of year, I’ll get up at four o’clock in the morning and fish drop offs and those big fish will be, you know, within 40 5060 feet. So, but that’s this time a year later when the water drops And it just turns into a big open run. Like there’s seams on top of seams on top of seams. So there’s, there’s lots of times I wish I could cast further than I can. Yeah.

Dave S 49:11
Gotcha. Okay. So it sounds like again, I know it’s Stephen bird. He described the process of catching fish down there, you know, just downstream of you, is it other than the larger rivers? Is that process fairly similar on how you swing flies? I think he uses more. So a lot of soft tackle stuff and things. Yeah,

Bruce 49:30
Steve, Steve uses more than on trout that would typically recommend represent trope food, but he does fish bigger. And actually, you know, like, I’ve known Steven for a while, but last year was the first time that we actually met in fish together. And the similarities were there, you know? Yeah. Like how we fish so that’s cool. Obviously, we’re both doing something right. Yeah. Or Totally wrong. That’s right.

Dave S 50:02
What about that? I had a question in the Facebook group it was on a water temperature I know a steelhead that can be pretty well just any fish obviously it can be pretty important but do you see I know you guys are out there kind of right in the desert and that sort of thing. Do you see differences in morning versus evening and water temps and

Bruce 50:17
I’m not really you know, I used to really pay attention to that stuff coming from back east and now I it’s not even a consideration like

Dave S 50:30

Bruce 50:31
I don’t know. Don’t worry because the water stays very consistent. Alright.

Dave S 50:35
tell tell water essentially. Yeah,

Bruce 50:36
basically. Yeah. One thing I do here in the wintertime is I I just face dry lines. I have experimented with some tips and that it didn’t really make any difference. So it’s just much pleasant, much more pleasant to fish a full line or dry line. And that is fish. You know, the big ones. They’re actively feeding, like I said, so if you get a fly near them, they’re gonna grab it just like a steelhead. Like I mean that that was that was something that was interesting the difference between the Great Lakes, steelhead and the West Coast steelhead was, you know, the way that you fish them. Just to go back to the Great Lakes stuff I remember, you know, I tried all kinds of different things and like, strike indicators and, you know, yeah, chuck it, you know, like Chris slinkys, stuff like that. Yeah, shocking. But then, one day I saw a guy, he was casting a single head rod with a sinking shooting head is casting out an angle downstream angle with a big muddler. And I saw the rod just bend like that the take right? And that that was like my last year of living back east. So as soon as I saw that, I ran to town and Got a sink tip from the local flower shop and I was right back at it right away. And sure enough, I got my ass handed to me. Because the only the only modelers I had were trope modelers and the hook just wasn’t strong enough right so I still have that mud with with the hook totally straightened out. Which is kind of interesting, but that that was kind of a game changer for me too. That that really convinced me to move out west. All right, help. It helped influence my move out west. My ex wife will say different Yeah.

Dave S 52:32
That’s That’s amazing. So you moved out west for the fishing. That was your number one reason.

Bruce 52:37
Wow. On a personal level, yes. Yeah. work was part of it, you know, but I had an opportunity to have a good job out here. So I, I took it but the steel had was definitely a deciding factor. And then finding the trode in the Columbia like I figure is just like, you know, but to find what was really here like pubis.

Dave S 53:00
Yeah, you had no idea you had no idea.

Bruce 53:02
I had no idea. None whatsoever. Yep. Yeah,

Dave S 53:08
it still seems like it’s a little little secret spot out there. You know, you hear a lot of these you hear a lot about steelhead. You hear a lot about Montana and everything else. But yeah, that little section where you’re at seems like you don’t hear as much about is that

Bruce 53:21
Well, we are kind of in the middle of nowhere. Oh, yeah. Well, we’re like seven or eight hour drive from Vancouver. We’re a seven hour drive from Calgary. Yeah, the closest city is is Spokane Spokane right? Yeah, which is two and a half. Oh, it’s only two. Okay, so a few hours. Yeah.

Dave S 53:40
Yeah. Gotcha. Okay. I wanted to just dig into a little bit just a few other tips and things but I was curious. I’ve heard a lot about the the red shed the spay clave and things like that. Can you describe you know, I guess it’s Poppy. And that whole thing can you describe that the spay clave that you guys have going Is it is it similar to other spay? claves and what what’s that field? What’s that all about?

Bruce 54:00
It’s definitely similar to other spake plays the instruction is top notch like I mean, you know, Simon Cosworth, Mike Kenny, you know, Alber Zach Williams. Travis Johnson Whitney gold, like I mean, all the Yeah, you know all the good people and definitely the red shed is like my second family. So I might be a little biased. Now I feel about them but if you ask anybody that knows on they’ll say the same thing. They are Yeah, our family.

Dave S 54:41
It is Poppy. Is he the guy that’s been there kind of the longest been running that that thing out there kind of the Ben Yeah.

Bruce 54:49
You know, like the red shed is, is his baby. And the first time I met him, I couldn’t believe you know, I drove Around the river looking for this big fly shop and it ended up being this little, little barn at the end of the driveway. So it was basically a horse table at one time and yeah, I walked into this little shop and I just couldn’t believe the amount of space stuff that was in there because that’s all he carried all the time he and the fly time materials and everything. And so it’s kind of an interesting story. When I first met Papi. I, I was in the middle of divorce and I had one spay rod with sores is huge 18 foot die. Wow. And I was gonna buy puppy had what he calls experienced rods for sale. I was going to buy one of his rods and he and at that time, I’ve just started in association with G Loomis, and we were waiting for the grease liners to come out. And he was like, Well don’t buy that here. I’ll just lend you this rod. for the weekend type of deal, I didn’t know he didn’t take a credit card number or anything, right. So that’s very typical of taco like me. Yeah. Like I’ve seen him give, give rods to kids and you know, stuff like that or waiters or just, you know. Yeah. So that’s amazing. Yeah, yeah, he’s, they’re quite quite the amazing people. And, and it all extends into the speedway, too, you know, like, it’s a labor of love. Really. You know, they put on a nice big launch, and they don’t ask for anything. And so it’s, yeah, it’s pretty cool. Where’s that one app? It’s on Clearwater. It’s, it’s out of state park, which is about maybe seven miles downriver from where the red shade is.

Dave S 56:56

Bruce 56:57
Something like that. So it’s it’s in bits. It’s in between or Lewis turn and orofino.

Dave S 57:03
Okay, and what time is Lewiston?

Bruce 57:06
It’s the last weekend in September. Gotcha.

Yeah, but I don’t know what’s happening this year with the slide runs because last year the store was closed, right? We still had the clave and it was kind of fun like a bunch of us went down there early just to kind of hang out we didn’t fish. Yeah. And but we did get together and cast and stuff like that. So, you know, it’s kind of like I I’m not a hardcore fisherman, like I used to be like, I I like just hanging with my friends or having a nap on my boat while either other people face. Yeah. Climb in behind them. Type a deal. And yeah,

Dave S 57:46
so Was there any talk? I mean, I hope I hope things you know, recover obviously, and maybe this year’s a better year and you know, things like that. But, you know, I’m trying to think of I had a guest way, way back a couple years ago. ago that was well, I guess we were talking about the Thompson and some of that stuff too. I think it was spot Scott Baker McGarvey and yeah and and he said it was really a great chat but he said that you know what I always talking about the kind of the the stuff around North northern Washington and the fact that you know, they those rivers were close to right and mm hmm and he said a really important thing to remember is that you know, what if you close the rivers too long people forget about him. Yeah, and he said like, that’s what happened up there people after five or so years, they you know, or whatever, they just forgot about them and you lose the conservation people that are backing up. I mean, do you think the Clearwater you know, first of all, do you think that could be an issue there? And then secondly, do you think opening up or maybe people are just fishing with hair with no hook and you know what I mean, something like that would be worthwhile. Well, the

Bruce 58:48
the thing down on the Clearwater it’s a lot different than the Thompson you know, like there’s a hatchery on the Clearwater right? Oh, right. So the system is is kind of geared towards putting take gotcha mentality and there’s a lot of gear guiding that goes on down there. Like you know there’ll be a party bowl where everybody’s oh wow bought bottom bouncing egg sacks and stuff like that and that the I forget who it is but they’re really pushing for a shinnok opening in the fall that coincides with what used to be the cat release season for steelhead. Now the cats release season used to be artificials only now it’s this whole thing with the this salmon opens up like you could theoretically be fishing and all troubles with with fate at that time here, but Yeah. So that that’s kind of the You know, there’s a lot of political battles going on there also. And I like I mean, it’s it’s just sad to see something happened to another river you know? Yeah. But it’s it’s also like I mean everybody pushes for removal of the dams and yeah and wild fish but that that river this might be a little controversial what I’m about to say but that river kind of is what it is at this point like i mean you know it needs a little help from the hatchery. Like I’ve had hatchery fish there kick my ass just as much as I’ve had wild fish kick my ass. Yeah. So,

Dave S 1:00:46
so you don’t think you don’t think closing shutting the river down and removing the for lower snake? river de la that would be the optimal thing to do. But is that gonna happen in our lifetime? I don’t know. No, I think I think Well, I think the potential that those four dams come out you know, I think yeah,

Bruce 1:01:07
if they did that, it would be a no brainer that the you know, any river where the downs have been removed Of course they they the fish come back they just do that like even here where I am like they’re they’re starting to you know there’s a whole treaty going on between the Canada and us in the native bands boat getting salmon back up here. Yep. So how they do that, I don’t know. The fish will come back. Ah, you know, that’s just what they do. But as far as the smokes getting down from to the ocean from here, that’s a whole other matter. It’s kind of like the Clearwater if the fish are there, they’ll come back. But whether it’s a small make it down to the ocean is a whole other story because of all the everything you know, the dead water and the downs. In the predators, yeah, there’s an increase on the predators now. I don’t know.

Dave S 1:02:04
Yeah, there’s a lot going on there’s, there’s I don’t want to get too much for this, but I always have arrested the guy remember the, you know, the Hanford nuclear plant, right. How, how far is that? That’s downstream, you guys, right? Yeah. So that’s a little waves, but there’s actually I think, you know, a radioactive reservoir area adjacent to the Columbia.

Bruce 1:02:26
Yeah. So so there’s, you know, like, overall, still had survival in the ocean. Like there’s talk about the radiation that’s leaking out of Japan. In the steelhead runs so mad, you know, and then the blob and the seals and everything. Dead water for the fish to have to get through. You name it. Yeah, you name it.

Dave S 1:02:47
Yeah. Okay, well, let’s, let’s not go down that road. No, please don’t keep this on the positive on the positive. Yeah, but so yeah, we’re gonna get out here pretty quick. I did want to touch on a few more tips just because you know Like I said, the long belly the long rods you know it sounds like you know if you had just learned to become a good spell caster it’ll probably go a long ways to casting those longer lines and things like that rods

Bruce 1:03:11
like I said, it’ll, you’ll be able to cast anything better.

Dave S 1:03:14
Yep, there you go. So what would you give somebody just you know, if you talk about some tips if you had to throw out there a few just you know, you got a new client out there picking up the rod, what do you tell him when he gets on the water to start to think about?

Bruce 1:03:26
Slow down?

Dave S 1:03:27
Okay, so that’s, that’s one.

Bruce 1:03:30
Yeah. Watch your lift. Watch the line coming off of the water every time. Okay. And try not to overpower the rod, especially with the top hand.

Dave S 1:03:45
Yep. Don’t overpower.

Yeah. So those, those three, there’s three of those pretty much the top three things you would say. Yeah,

Bruce 1:03:54
those are the three things when I’m working with a client that Yeah, always come up.

Dave S 1:03:59
So now watch your lift and don’t overpower when you watch that lift. How do you know? When do you make the end, again, you said depends on the water conditions and things. But typically when do you make that transition to set up your anchor?

Bruce 1:04:12
Well, you know, with a longer line, the weight is in the back and then the front is mostly taper. So, you’ll lift and pull back. You know, you can just kind of play with it for a little bit like this is where a little bit of practice goes a long way. With just, you know, the, the least amount of lift that will allow you to pull the line back to where you want to get to, will be the optimal because you’re, the less you lift, like the the higher you lift the rod tip, the more chance there is for the line to drop at a certain point. And that’s when you create slack. Yeah. You know, tension is everything like if you can keep tension and water Like, I can cast a huge fly off the end of a long belly line that has fine front taper. If I can keep tension in the line all the way through the cast. And one of the best demos I ever saw about this was Albert, where he was showing he had a piece of line between his hands, and it’s loose, and he’s just kind of shaking it around. And he’s like, you know, how will this go through the wind? versus and then he pulled it pulled it tight. And the line was tight, you know? And like, I mean, you know, if you have that tension, then it will cut through the the wind or throw a bigger fly or no tension is is a big deal. Okay. Yeah, if that makes sense.

Dave S 1:05:49
Yeah. No, it does it. It makes it all like you said it really depends on the conditions because if you have faster water or slower like the difference between casting out of a pool versus casting out Faster riffle.

Bruce 1:06:01
Oh definitely. Yeah.

Dave S 1:06:02
And that’s the struggle or, or when the waters up to your chest versus at your ankles. Right

Bruce 1:06:07
exactly. Yeah and that’s why watching the list is very key right you

Dave S 1:06:13
will know where you are what about when you make you know from a beginner you know when you make that you know your swing and you set up your deal with them and you’re coming for you know, with your hands a lot of times you see this where it seems like along the lines you guys are your hands are going higher up. Can you can you talk about where your hands are placed above your head? Or it seems like you know, rods they’re not that you can be more compact.

Bruce 1:06:35
Yeah, well, it is compact because it’s tight to the body.

Dave S 1:06:39
Right? So in that box,

Bruce 1:06:40
yeah. Really all you’re doing is compensating for the longer line. Okay, said it. As you go up, you keep that D loop up in the air. Now I I try and I try and get away from telling the people to rise up and because they have a tendency to raise just the top hand, and then the bottom hand stays in close to the body. So I tell them, what I want them to do is just push out the bottom hand versus rising up. Gotcha. And typically, my top hand will never go above my head. But my bottom hand will be kind of flat. Oh, you know, like the rod will be flat, because my longtime is so far out. Now, the whole idea is that it’s the bottom bottom hand is away from your body, you will use that. But if it’s tight against your body, you can’t use that. So even just like a couple inches of bottom hand, being away from your body will force like you. It’s just natural that you pull in first before you push with the top app. And that’s where you get that full, nice bend down. Down through the hole right right through the cork. That’s it. Yeah,

Dave S 1:07:54
that’s great. And how are you holding on the grip? What is your grip look like with your top.

Bruce 1:08:01
So thumbs on top. Yeah, yeah. Okay, if you’re holding it without the thumbs on top like everything lines up perfectly right like so if you’re not holding it with the thumbs up the rod can get into weird kind of contortions with your hands right? But if you have your thumbs on the rod the the it’s just a natural movement that things stay in line

Dave S 1:08:29
perfectly so you’re not making a you know, instead of holding with your thumb making like a your index finger and thumb a loop around the cork like actually not what I’ve heard some people describe that to keep you from using the top and you know, yeah,

Bruce 1:08:43
well yeah, there’s there’s different techniques, but overall for myself personally, yeah, that’s that’s how I do it. Yeah, gotcha. And that’s only for when I’m working on specific things like to get people to stop using their top hat and use their bottom hand more. I’ll tell them to squeeze the crap out of the box. And have the super super light or just two fingers on the top or actually move your top hand down the cork about halfway down the cork and then you have more propensity to use the the bottom hand rather than the top.

Dave S 1:09:17
Perfect. What? What about a resource? I know would you have like a book that maybe somebody can learn a little bit more about space or any other resource that

Bruce 1:09:28
Travis Johnson Travis’s book? Yeah. His book on on spey casting is amazing. Perfect. Yeah, everything you need is in that book. And like I mean, every time I read that book, I pick out something new that helps me. And you know, I’ve been added a long time and it’s to find something new like that all the time is pretty amazing. Nice. And then lessons of course, yeah.

Yeah, Yeah. Having a second set of eyes makes a big difference. Like I mean, a lot of guys still go out and practice. But if you’re practicing the same mistake over and over and over, you’re just making yourself worse overall.

Dave S 1:10:12
How well could you not that this is the way you should do it? But how well could you if you video, you know, took a video of yourself casting and you and you are watching somebody’s video, how accurately could you analyze that cast?

Bruce 1:10:24
A pretty good now? It used to be that I would video myself and I had no idea what was going on. But now I’ve got a different understanding. Definitely. And I have helped people just by them sending me videos, you know, through Facebook or Instagram, stuff like that. Yeah. So yeah. But, you know, it really is what you put into it. Like I’ve given lessons to people that by the end of the lesson, it made a big difference. But they didn’t go out and practice what I taught them and he like I would write out you know what they need to work on. And then never do it. And so then we’re back again the next day. Which is, is good that way. But, yeah, I’d rather that people get something out of it. You know what I mean?

Dave S 1:11:11
That’s right. That’s right. Cool. What about on? You know, as far as you know, they’re learning to say what would what do you recommend somebody comes to you, they fished with you that you teach them how to cast when they go back home and say, they’re not gonna fish again with you until you’re later? How often do you tell them, they need to work on that snake has to make sure they keep improving?

Bruce 1:11:30
Well, the more you put into it, the more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it. I’ve been working with a fellow for a year and a half now who, when I met him, he he couldn’t, he couldn’t speak AST basically. And he listened to me. You know, as far as year wise and blind length and stuff like that, and I, you know, I would, he would come where I would be practicing And he cast and I’d give them some some tips on that. And long story short, within a year and a half. He’s like, you know, in the area, I would say he’s the second best caster. Oh, yeah, he’s retired. And he goes out every morning faithfully, and cast. And, you know, like, I mean, he’s, he’s my buddy Lyle now, and he’s, I mean, he’s, you know, had ups and downs the whole way through, but he’s definitely on the upward swing. So it just goes to show like, I mean, he’s he’s app. What, you know where he is in a year and a half is what took me 10 years to get to, to even have a comprehension of it. Now, another thing when I’m teaching is I, I’m always questioning people so that they understand why something happens that they can do a lot of self analyzing. And I think that’s Really important in teaching casting so that when, you know you don’t have an instructor available, you can understand you can fix your own casting. So that that’s a big part of what I do also. Yeah,

Dave S 1:13:15
perfect. Perfect. Before I let you get out of here, I just want to check flies if you’re heading out this, you know, September October to start fishing up there what or do you have a go to pattern or to

Bruce 1:13:29
you know, personally I fish you know, traditional stuff. Like I said, You know, I fished with Steven last fall and he was fishing board trophy type flies, but bigger Yeah, like bigger stone flies and stuff like that. We both caught fish like I mean, it’s it’s really more a matter of covering the water than typical pattern. I’m not a big believer like even right now where it’s like dry fly time. I’m not a big believer in magic. The hatch here you know there’s a gazillion cats on the water I’m not gonna throw the exact same cat as I throw a big stimulator and I find presentation is far more important than actual imitation. Yeah, so that’s that’s kind of my take care if you have a favorite fly fishing you have a competence fly fishing.

Dave S 1:14:21
Gotcha. are using tubes tubes up there.

Bruce 1:14:24
I do in the winter I use metal tubes. Small ones. It’s just a real simple rabbit for with the hackle type fly. I call it the guide fly because I can tie it in under a minute. There you go. And and yeah, that’s what I use in the winter in the

Dave S 1:14:39
metal and the metal tubes just to get you down just a little bit. Yeah,

Bruce 1:14:42
just a little bit, you know, because there’s a couple of deeper pools that all pull those out, but I’ve I’ve caught fish just with regular flies too. Yeah, same thing. Gotcha. Yeah. Okay.

Dave S 1:14:53
All right. Perfect. Well, I think you know, as always, we touched on a little bit of everything, but You know, we were all over the place. It’s hard to you know, it’s such a big topic obviously, you know, oh yeah, there’s a lot of confusion I think just you know letting people know that they have a you know where to get started which I think like you said is that always the best advice is find a local guide your local shop absolutely local lesson and I think that’s always the take home so yeah, Bruce, I appreciate you sharing today any you know if in the next six to 12 months, anything new coming for you? It sounds like you’ve got some Well, I guess the obviously COVID still going but are you looking at doing some guidance this fall if it works out? I yeah.

Bruce 1:15:36
So I hadn’t been in guiding for a while, but I was starting to really miss the teaching aspect of it. So I got back up. I got back into it this year with a fellow that I met. So we’re rugged point logs or Columbia River fly fishing right now the website is kind of combined, but it’s going to be splitting. Step one is fly fishing and one is up you’re fishing for salmon in the ocean. And it’s been a really great collaboration. I really appreciate Matt and Christy. You know, it’s it’s nice to meet people that have the same kind of ethics and morals that you have towards the fishery. And yeah, like we had a bunch of trips lined up, you know, with some really great, great clients that I was really disappointed that it didn’t pan out because I wanted to meet some of these people, some, some authors and some rod makers and stuff like that. But hopefully this fall, things open up a little bit more. And yeah, I’m really looking forward to it again. Especially from a teaching aspect that I really you know, I love when people get aha moments, you know, the light bulb going up above their head type of deal. Yeah, it’s It’s really fun. Like, I mean, a, you know, I’m quite spoiled in that I can go out and fish this anytime I want, but sometimes I don’t. So when I when I get on with people, I get to fish through them, you know? So I, I like, I like to think of it as well I remember when I first started guiding here, a friend of mine, he’s like, Well, you know, not everybody can do what you do. So you got to figure out how to get these people into fish without doing what you do

Dave S 1:17:36
without being a spear ama casting, right.

Bruce 1:17:39
Yeah. So you know, it’s been interesting over the years. Back when I first started, I had a lot of people from Europe, and they have a lot different view of what a guide is then then, you know, North American people. So yeah, it’s just been an interest Evolution I’m real happy to be back into it again. And in particular for the teaching aspect.Yeah, I really miss that.

Dave S 1:18:08
Well if anybody wants to track you know, I guess be Kruk on Instagram is a good place to go.

Bruce 1:18:13
Yeah, yeah. All right

Dave S 1:18:15
well yeah.

Bruce 1:18:16
Your best bet

Dave S 1:18:18
I’ll direct people that way and yeah Bruce just want to thank you for coming on and sharing everything your knowledge today and it’s been fun I’ve been hearing your names have been popping around out there as I’ve been interviewing some some you know, recent guests. So it’s been fun to connect with you and all I’ll keep in touch hopefully make it up to your neck of the woods subtype to it. Yeah.

Bruce 1:18:34
Any time Yeah, I’d love to show you around.

Dave S 1:18:37
Be Awesome. I’d love to love to get up there. So okay, I will talk to you soon.

Bruce 1:18:41
All right, thanks, Dave.

Dave S 1:18:43
So there you go. If you want to find all the show notes, all links we’ve covered just go to wet fly slash 152. I created this show for you. I love hearing how I’m doing getting feedback if you can be great if you can head over to wet fly swing comm slash members that mem ve RS and join the group and let me know how I’m doing. I would love to hear some comments in there if you get a chance. You can ask questions for upcoming guests and just connect with the community.

unknown speaker…. 1:19:11
Thanks again for stopping by today to check out the show. I’m looking forward to maybe seeing you soon and catching you on the river or online. Thanks for listening to the wet fly swing fly fishing show. For notes and links from this episode, visit wet fly swing .com and if you found this episode helpful, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes.

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bruce kruk

Conclusion with Bruce Kruk

Bruce Kruk, one of the great Long Rod Spey casters and teacher is on to share some tips and how to fish the Clearwater River for Steelhead.  Tons of amazing tips on casting long rods, short rods and everything in between.  We bring it all together on this one for spey so hope you love it.

We also dig back into the upper Columbia and the steelhead trout that are up in that part of the world. Lot’s of tangents with a focus on spey and the people that have influenced Bruce’s fly fishing.



  1. Awesome ! I’m a big fan of Bruce. Thanks Dave for having him on. I was hoping he would have talked about Tim Rawlins as the seem to have a great friendship.

    • Thanks for checking in Robert! Yeahs, you just reminded me that we didn’t talk about Tim. But Tim is my main man and we will have him back on the pod soon. It’s a cool group of spey maniacs so really happy you had a chance to connect and check in. Thanks for all of your support for the podcast!!