He “penned” what has become one of my all time favorite posts. My favorite because of the writing style and the content, both of which are entertaining, hilarious, and true. Superb, as we truck drivers say. It should be required reading for anyone stuck in the quagmire of information about fly fishing and Spey casting/ fishing in particular. This is not proper “blogging” technique but I copied and pasted the post below because, like I said, its required reading…
I dunno… Perhaps I have been in the two-hand or ‘spey’ casting thing too long or perhaps long enough to know that a line closely approximate to correct should be able to be cast fine by any given rod. This pseudo-science and new thirst for the magic bean through calculations, measurements, Euclidian geometry, etc. Has me puzzled at best. More and more I believe that this little corner of the sport is being over-complicated by people giving advice based on little experience, dogma relating to strong personal preferences, and for a disregard for the joy of just going out there and casting. We used to get by with windcutters just fine, then better lines came along. Good. Then came the pseudo-science of running-lines and matching heads which at first was fine, but has now evolved. or devolved into such a miasma of obfuscation that it is a wonder that people are even not more confused. Long ago I simplified my approach and fishing gear, and it paid off. I spend less or no time fussing and futzing, and just cast and swing. Perhaps there is a lesson here in simplification, time put in on the great rivers, learning by having your a$$ handed to you, and a bit less attention paid to marketing hype and the new ‘magic bean’ rod, line, vortex technique, etc.
Then, somewhere in the mix of learning and time, things simplify themselves, and we may pay less attention to the noise, and more time just enjoying the cast and swing, regardless of the line, rod, matching hip pack, running line para-physics, etc. – Erick Helm
The only thing he forgot to say, and I’ll say if for him, was BAM! Because Erik appears on every front to be a gentleman, which isn’t true about everybody on the internet, and he most likely does not say such things.
I ran across the above photograph of Erik casting a really long line and had to have it for this site. It could easily be titled “Effortless casting”. When I see someone casting a very long line with ease I know that they have put in their time and know what they are talking about. I’d studied his posts on Speypages, surfed around and landed on his blog too, and read a few posts of his on social media, but he keeps a pretty low profile, so you have to hunt around a bit to discover the genius behind the man. I was willing to do a little bit of digging after seeing the photo above. Yes, he is a FRSCA certified two handed casting instructor. What does that mean? In short, to me, it means he can make the above cast left handed too. He knows what he’s talking about. So I explored The Classic Angler to find out more.
His writing is excellent. He gives writers like John Gierach, and McMannus, a serious run for their money and, speaking entirely from a hunt and peck point of view, his name is easier to spell. His oeuvre proves intelligent, insightful, funny, real, and true. In fact its so true that in this day and age it might occasionally be overlooked because people on the internet sometimes think they need to know stuff that they absolutely do not want to know! Google search: Which sink tip should I buy? Answer? Blah, Blah centric balance 55% to 45% ratio, blah, blah RHW to FHW ratio of 60% to 40%. Huh? You lost me at the first Blah! So if your suffering from internet paralysis by analysis you will feel much better if you read anything by Erik Helm at The Classic Angler such as….
~Look for water between 2 and 6 feet deep moving at a walking pace, and have confidence in your fly. Put it in the water and fish.” If somebody had told me this 20 years ago, it might have saved me a lot of trouble and fussing. ~ Erik Helm, Tales from a Fly Shop-Part Two.
~He showed me the fly he had caught the fish on, and I was amazed and appalled all in the same glance. Here was some grievous sin against all those aforementioned great authors and fishermen whose writings and detailed studies of trout-stream entomology and fly-tying had haunted my slumbers these past weeks and months. It seemed to be tied on some old bait or worm hook. For a body it used an old brown rag, and the wing and hackle were twisted out of some giant brown chicken feather. ~ Erik Helm, Matching the Hatch… Sort of…
Erik also features Classic Angler Products on his site.