RIO and Spey
RIO's association and passion for Spey casting has been around since before the birth of the company.
Jim Vincent, the co-owner and founder of RIO, "discovered" Spey casting while fishing the Dean in BC in the 1980's. There he met anglers from Britain that wielded these long rods and interesting, but difficult-to-learn casting techniques, and he saw how effective this combination was for steelhead.
Jim started on the road to learning and mastering Spey casting and in his travels he met an English fly fishing instructor called Simon Gawesworth. Simon specialized in teaching and demonstrating Spey casting techniques and he and Jim bonded over a bottle of single malt and some Spey casting lessons on the Kispiox river in BC.
When Jim founded RIO in 1990, he was determined to make fly lines that improved Spey casting and make it easier for anglers to learn the casting techniques. He started by designing the WindCutter and Accelerator lines - the first purpose built Spey lines in the world, and later on in the 1990's persuaded Simon to come to the US and work with him at RIO.
Jim and Simon wanted to make more anglers aware of the benefits of Spey casting, and help those that got interested in Spey casting get better. Together they taught Spey schools around the US, wrote articles and an instructional booklet that was included free in every RIO Spey line sold. They made videos and gave demonstrations at various fly fishing shows and events, and designed Spey fly lines that made it even easier to cast.
One of Jim's earliest innovations was to make an interchangeable tip type of Spey line that allowed anglers to change from a floating tip to a sinking tip as conditions dictated. Early Spey anglers used full sinking double taper lines to get depth, and these required a prodigious amount of effort to cast, with several roll casts required to get the line to the surface before making the final Spey cast. This was tiring, but the only way to Spey cast a line that was deeply sunk. Jim's VersiTip design made this a much easier burden to handle, as the floating section ensured anglers needed, at most, a singe roll cast to get the sunken tip to the surface, and then an effortless back sweep to lift the line and place the anchor.
RIO's commitment and passion to advancing and improving Spey casting, and to making the very best Spey lines on the market never wavers; neither does the passion of the numerous fly fishers at RIO for the simple joy of fly fishing.