Above: Trail’s Bruce Kruk hones his spey-casting skills to a fine point on the Columbia earlier this year in preparation for the world championship Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama in San Francisco next week. Below: His spey-casting skills also yield good results on the Columbia and other B.C. rivers.

Kruk casts his way to world championship

Trail's Bruce Kruk will compete in the world championship of spey casting in San Francisco next weekend.

Most Trail residents have seen him standing thigh deep in the Columbia River with a long, supple spey rod, methodically performing a graceful D-loop, then with a mighty haul, sending the fly line arcing into the stratosphere, before touching down on the rushing river.

Trail resident Bruce Kruk is a competitive fly-angler and spey caster whose passion involves throwing string from his two-handed spey rod just as far as he can.

The 48-year-old Teck employee has taken his passion to a world-class level and will compete in the World championship of spey casting at the 11th annual Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama at the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club in San Francisco next weekend.

The Alberta native has been fly fishing for over 25 years, and took up the spey rod when he moved to Trail in 1997.

“When I moved here, the Columbia was huge compared to what I was use to fishing,” said Kruk. “Spey fishing was just kind of happening at the time, and I moved out west so I could go steelheading, so I just got into it.”

Spey casting is a relatively new development in the world of fly fishing, and it is to fly fishing what a corked-bat is to baseball, except it’s perfectly legal. But just as a corked bat will hit a ball further, so a spey rod will launch a fly across the mighty Columbia.

The typical spey rod is generally a two-handed rod that measures 12 to 16 feet, whereas the average fly rod is about nine feet. The unique  rod is made for big water and big fish, and with its longer reach Kruk has had ample luck hooking massive steelhead on B.C. rivers like the Thompson and Clearwater and the legendary redband rainbows on his home water the Columbia.

“I can fish at 140 to 150 feet all day long,” said Kruk. “And the bigger fish are out there. Over the years I’ve lost so many big fish, so I just keep going up in tackle size and now I use actually heavier tippet (on the Columbia) than I actually use for steelhead.”

After years perfecting his casting technique, Kruk began competing in 2008 at events in Idaho before hitting his first Spey-O-Rama in San Francisco in 2010.

Kruk also recently travelled to Ireland in October where he competed and trained with his GaelForce Team made up of Irish and Scottish spey casters.

“When I went over there, there was a competition that was happening, but it was also like a training camp situation,” he said. “I really feel like I made some big strides during that time.”

With spey casting becoming more and more popular, and the technology rapidly evolving, the talent pool has increased dramatically. And while casting on the Columbia is a great training ground, it pales in comparison to the heat of competition.

“Competition is totally different,” says Kruk. “When fishing you’re totally relaxed, whereas competition that you’ve got in San Francisco, there will be 30 of the best spey casters in the world all watching you do your thing.”

Kruk’s best performance at Spey-O-Rama was a 13th place finish. His expectation going into this year’s event is not necessarily to win but to improve on his past performances.

“When I compete, it’s not like I’m competing against other people. I like to compete against myself. I’ve done better every year that I’ve gone to competition so I’m just pushing myself to see how good I can do.”

With more and more anglers taking up the spey rod, the bar continues to rise at annual competitions.

“It used to be that a 150-foot cast would be a winning cast, but now nobody thought that 600 feet would be broken – for your combined casts – but a fellow on my team last year broke it.”

Indeed, the world-record, a cumulative score of the sum of best of three for each of four different casts (left and right spey cast, and left and right snake roll), was set at last year’s Spey-O-Rama by Ireland’s Gerard Downey at 711 feet, while the world-record for a single cast was set when Norwegian Geir Hansen sent a right-hand single spey cast 191-feet.

Kruk is not far off the mark though, as his longest cast in competition measured 180 feet.

“There’s a little bit of luck involved with the skill. If you get the right wind at the right time anything can happen.”

The event takes place Apr. 11-13 at the venerable Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club which has a series of long pools made for competition. Kruk will compete against the world’s best in the Men’s division, where he will have six minutes to complete 12 casts, with the longest combined four casts winning the championship.


Just Posted

IRM reports small sulphuric acid leak in Trail

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Columbia Basin Trust offering business accelerator program

Trust seeking motivated companies for customized support and mentorship program

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

B.C. tent city residents have three weeks to clear out: Supreme Court

Fire risk, criminal activity in neighbourhood cited as reasons for judgment

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

Most Read