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.

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

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

A B.C. police officer shows an approved roadside screening device. Photo: Saanich News file
Woman caught passed out behind the wheel in Trail

Police located the 38-year old in her parked but still running car, and had to rouse her awake.

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read