Spey Casting Tips with Andrew Toft - MacKenzie Double Handed Spey Rods

Last month we teamed with Andrew Toft, World Champion Spey Caster, AAPGAI Master instructor and part of the MacKenzie product development team to offer Spey Casting tips, instruction and information

The goal of the series is to help you recognise the symptoms and common faults associated with Spey Casting and to present a range of techniques for you to implement and subsequently become a more efficient caster. The series also aims to make you more aware of your equipment, materials used and how this affects performance.
Spey Casting with Andrew Toft
In the second article of this series Andrew talks about MacKenzie Fly Rods, thought processes that underpin the rods, why they are so good and how to care for and maintain a MacKenzie Rod.

MacKenzie Double Handed Spey Rods

Before I venture into Spey casting tips and techniques I think it is important to talk about the Mackenzie products and explain why we make our rods and lines the way we do. As mentioned in a previous post I became involved with the development and design of Mackenzie products a few years back but I had used the equipment prior to this. I remember the first time I used one of Scott’s DTX Classic Rods. There was an immediate familiarity with the excellent balance and action of the rod. It reminded me of my thought process and the frustrations I experienced when trying many different rod actions while competing. Over time, I had learned that not only the rod action, but also the balance and weight were of equal importance. It was easily recognisable that all the other successful competitors seemed to be using rods with similar characteristics. The rods were not stiff, they flexed progressively and deep into the blank with fast recovery. These rods were naturally more efficient as more of the rod was working at its optimum level. Similarly in Scott’s range of DTX Spey Rods I had again noticed these familiar characteristics. The rods were excellently balanced with a smooth, progressive, powerful action and very fast recovery, which generated excellent tip speed.

Importance of Rod Tip Speed in Spey Casting

Rod tip speed is one of the most critical things in efficient Spey casting but tip speed is only efficient when mainly generated from the action and balance of the rod. Tip speed is vital, but how it is achieved is equally important. When we make our casting movements and decelerate the rod in an attempt to stop it in the final stages of the cast, the energy we have created continues to thrust up from the bottom of the rod progressively throughout, finally resulting in tip speed. This is achieved as the weight and balance of the rod naturally contributes to it’s action. It is also no coincidence that we have chosen not to overly reduce the weight of the rod as this would also affect part of the rods own balance and performance. The Mackenzie range of Spey rods is carefully manufactured to our own specification with fibre type, tapering etc. all being controlled carefully by us. Making quality products is very rewarding and our samples and prototypes are tested rigorously in the most challenging conditions over the course of many months with fine tuning and cosmetic detailing taking place before the completion of the product range.

Care & Maintenance of your MacKenzie Fly Rod 

A good Salmon Rod is an investment and taking care of it will not only keep it in tip top shape but extend it’s life and cosmetic appearance. Mackenzie rods are supplied with their own cloth bag and protective tube. It makes sense to replace your rod correctly within the tube at the end of your day, many people put their partially made up rod it the car while traveling to save time. This is sure to end in damage and even possible breakages. The rod blank will naturally pick up dirt and debris throughout it’s use. It is recommended to wipe over the blank with wax based polish using a soft cloth to remove this and restore the surface of the rod. Your rod will inevitably get wet during use. It is very important to not to store the rod if the handle has not been allowed to dry naturally as this will cause damage. Over time the cork handle may slightly darken with use, this can be easily restored back to the natural light colour by hand using mild soapy water only; do not use chemicals or solvent based products as these can cause damage.

Andrew Toft is an AAPGAI and FFF Master certified instructor providing Spey Casting Instruction from beginner to advanced levels.  Contact Andrew here for more information.

The full range of MacKenize Fly Fishing Products are also available instore or online from Glasgow Angling Centre.