Tyler Kushnir is a retired high school teacher from Delta BC, where he was also a very successful basketball coach. Tyler has been a fisherman as far back as he can remember. In the spring he can be found fishing chironomids on his favourite Cariboo lakes and for 15 summers he guided for salmon in Haida Gwaii. Tyler’s first steelhead on the fly came at age 18 under the direct instruction of Rod Haig-Brown in front of the Great Man’s house on the Campbell River. He is active in fish conservation and is Vice President of the Steelhead Society of British Columbia. Tyler has also been a moderator at Spey Pages for the past fourteen years.
Tyler first picked up a spey rod in the late 1990’s… it was not a pretty sight, there were no instructional DVDs or even many guys around to get hints from, just a few vague magazine articles. Those early seasons were indeed trying. The first quantum leap came when Dana Sturn brought the great Scottish caster Derek Brown to the Fraser River for a clinic. After this, Tyler and his 18’ Bruce & Walker were a real presence on the Thompson River. The next leap came shortly after Dana started Spey Pages. Through his involvement with Spey Pages, Tyler became friends with Nobuo Nodera and was named North American Pro Staff for CND. During this time Tyler and Dana were directly involved in developing CND’s ground-breaking rod - the Thompson Specialist. As well, he had a hand in the Steelhead Specialist and the first of the purpose designed Skagit rods – the Skagit Specialist and later the North Fork Specialist. While CND is no longer active in North America Tyler remains good friends with Nobuo.
As part of the British traditions prevalent in BC Tyler has always been a devotee of long rods. While he did spend a number of years with Ed Ward perfecting his Skagit casting and while he does use it for winter fishing, his first love remains long rods and long lines. Over the past ten years Tyler has got involved in competitive spey casting and is a regular at Spey-O-Rama in San Francisco. It is due to this involvement that Tyler experienced his latest quantum leap in casting. Being at SOR with the greatest casters in the world has been enlightening – to say the least! During the first eight years of SOR Tyler finished consistently in the top 12-15 casters and one year made the top 10. At the age of 57 Tyler figured that competing with the young fellas was a bit of a stretch so he began to lobby for a 55+ division. Based on the spey caster demographic in North America this seemed a good idea and the Golden Gate Club that hosts SOR decided to add the Senior Division to the competition. The past 2 1/2 years have seen a significant growth in this division and it looks as if it will continue to expand. In 2012 Tyler won the Senior Division title and is eagerly practicing for the next opportunity! Tyler is very excited to be part of the Next Cast Team and the truly great casters he gets to hang out with.
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