James has previously written about how Spey casting is viewed compared to single handed casting, the difference was clearly demonstrated by the Game fair organisers. They offered £2000 in prize money for the Spey competition and nothing at all for the single handed events. The tackle prizes for the single handed events were all kindly donated by sponsors from the trade, and we’re extremely grateful for their generosity. Bearing in mind that the Spey competition attracted 4 entries whereas the single handed events had around 50 individuals, many of whom had multiple tickets, it again raises some questions. For instance, with just 4 entries, the Spey platform was left unused (unless you count practising) for most of the weekend – why wasn’t that platform used for the demonstrations? Is Spey casting a greater spectacle for the crowd to watch hence the accolades and prize money? (There were similar numbers of people watching both finals). Does single-handed casting have an image problem in the UK?
I suspect one of the issues is the gulf between your ‘average’ salmon fisher and a competition Spey caster. The distances cast are so out of the league of your typical double handed angler that they can’t help sit back and say ‘wow’. Whereas with the single handed events they’re perhaps thinking ‘I’m not too far of that myself’? Certainly it seems that your average single handed caster is more likely to have a go, even if they do inevitably fall short. [I should mention that James entered the amateur daily Spey competition on Saturday and won! The winner collected all the takings for that day’s competition, so James was handed an envelope giving him his £5 entry fee back! He did tell everyone he was the Spey casting champion though ☺].
Anyway, hopefully next time we’ll be able to improve the profile of the single handed casting events with the organisers. Even if this just allows for uninterrupted casting on a dedicated platform. Maybe, rather than looking for prizes from sponsors, they’ll offer up some trophies for the Game fair champions? Many of our winners donated their prizes to other competitors as none of us were really competing to win the prizes. I’m not sure we’ll ever get on an equal footing to the Spey comps, but there’s no harm in trying.
Finally, I should say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped run the competitions over the weekend, without your help it would have been impossible. Hopefully you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. Fly casting is clearly thirsty work – perhaps that’s best left for another FP.
Have a great weekend,