The Glaring Hole in Fly Casting

I’m really stepping in it with this position but I can’t help it, fly fishing in the U.S. is missing out on the single best single hander’s innovation since the double haul. I have been watching for the last couple of years for this glaring hole to be filled here in the U.S. but no, it does not appear anyone is trying to fill the void.

I am talking about the Tongariro cast and even the Perry Poke too. I’m not necessarily talking about the full five steps of the Tongariro but anyone that masters the cast from setting the anchor on would only have to learn a good re-positioning cast to put the whole thing in the can.

I’ve written posts on my blog, but of course I’m not a Kardashian. I have talked about the cast with casting instructors and watched for U.S. casters to talk about the cast but I just haven’t seen it.

Before I go any further let me go back a little and explain how I differentiate between the Perry Poke and the Tongariro. The only difference between the Perry Poke is that the Tongariro includes two additional moves, one to throw additional slack on the water and a second move which is a haul. Those two movements shouldn’t be taken lightly though, they can be tricky to learn, due to timing. They are the hardest parts of the Tongariro, but those two things make the difference between 60 feet in a Perry Poke cast that can become 85 feet in a Tongariro, just by adding additional slack and hauling.

The Perry Poke is the Rodney Dangerfield of spey casting. It just doesn’t get any respect. Spey casters use it to correct a crashed anchor. They don’t include the cast in spey competitions. For example, in the 2019 Spey-O-Rama the regulations state “Casters can use whatever cast they choose (except the Perry Poke)” . They do allow it in the Skagit category, but Skagit is almost its own thing too. Since the Perry Poke is used to correct an improperly formed spey cast, casters think of it as a recovery cast only and they don’t see the need to break it out into its own category. That’s my take anyway. In the 2012 Spey-O-Rama the rules mentioned that allowing the Perry Poke with longer heads might “steer the interest from spey rods to switch rods”.

Well I say, if the spey casters don’t want the Perry Poke for anything but recovery, then let the single handers have it. If we need a roll cast that is more than 40 but less than 70 we’ll use a Perry Poke and if we need more distance we’ll just add a couple of moves and turn it into a Tongariro. That’s what I do.

Now you single-handers may be turned off by talk of spey casting but the Tongariro is a single-hander’s cast. Double handed spey casters only do Perry Pokes, mainly because they already get the distance they need but they do need to recover from crashed anchors, occasionally. But if they did want to do a Tongariro they can’t, because they can’t haul with both hands holding the rod. The same goes for throwing additional slack on the water which is best done with one hand holding the rod and the other doing line management. If you find a two-handed spey caster that’s hauling, let me know.

Now the FFI doesn’t include the Tongariro in their curriculum and the CI’s I have demonstrated it to had never seen it. You won’t find any mention of either cast on the FFI page.

So here’s my offer. If any southern clubs want a demonstration or clinic on the Tongariro, I’m available, just post a comment.


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