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Thread: Spey cast....

  1. #1

    Default Spey cast....

    Being a beginning Spey caster when we went for Steelhead last month, my friend and instructor for the weekend got me going with the 'Double Spey cast'. After learning the basics of the cast it was easy for several cast and then went to poo the next. Let's not even mention trying to adjust when going to the other side of the river. lol. Fatigue was a contributing factor as I'm sure my mechanics were not even close to where they should have been.

    What was the first cast you learned? And what cast did you move onto next?

    My friend wants to teach me the 'Snake Roll' next, but I want to hold off until I can be consistent with the DSC.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    I would agree that mastering the spey and double spey before tackling the snake roll is wise. I actually think the snake roll is a bit more for fun and flash, and the Snap-T and Perry Poke are a bit more practical.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Northern California
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    First of all, I consider myself an intermediate caster at best. I still "poo poo" many casts from time to time. We're all entitled to bad days.

    For reference, I am right handed.

    For this discussion, I am going to assume that you are a right handed caster.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
    Being a beginning Spey caster when we went for Steelhead last month, my friend and instructor for the weekend got me going with the 'Double Spey cast'. After learning the basics of the cast it was easy for several cast and then went to poo the next. Let's not even mention trying to adjust when going to the other side of the river. lol. Fatigue was a contributing factor as I'm sure my mechanics were not even close to where they should have been.
    The first days are always the hardest. Like anything else, repetition will help. You need to gain the muscle memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
    What was the first cast you learned? And what cast did you move onto next?
    The first cast that I learned was the Single Spey. It is the foundation for everything else. My next cast was a Double Spey Cast.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
    My friend wants to teach me the 'Snake Roll' next, but I want to hold off until I can be consistent with the DSC.
    I would hold off on the Snake Roll. You probably won't use it much although it is a pretty cool cast to watch. Instead, you should learn the Snap T. This will set you up for fishing river left situations. You should have a basic river right and a basic river left cast down before venturing off onto other casts.

    Instead of learning the Snake Roll for a secondary river right cast, I learned how to cast a Snap T left handed. It's easier than most people make it out to be. What makes it easy is that my right hand is now my power hand. Guess what? I'm right handed!

    A left handed Snap T comes in handy when an upstream breeze blows because the setup of the cast is now upstream. When doing a Double Spey or Snake Roll, the setup is downstream. There might be a chance of hooking yourself if that breeze blows your cast into you. I have had an upstream breeze set my anchor point within a rod length of my shoulder. I flinched when I heard my line, leader, and fly buzz right by my ear.

    In my opinion, you should really have three casts down before you venture off into a bunch of other casts.

    1. Single Spey - It's the foundation for all casts.
    2. Double Spey - This will be your basic river right cast.
    3. Snap T - This will be your basic river left cast.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    I have been messing around with the spey rod for a while now and I am not sure what cast I use each time I cast and I have given up on keeping all the different cast in my arsenal straight. Between the Single Spey, Double Spey, Snap T, Snap V, Circle C, Snake Roll, Perry Poke and all the others I have system overload. For me there are a couple of things I concentrate on and the particular cast I use to get there is of little importance. I usually use some variation of the Circle C or Single spey to get my anchor point established. If I don't like the anchor I roll cast the line back below me and start over.

    First and foremost is controlling my urge to muscle the rod. The rod length and knowing that it has the power to make a huge cast gets in my way all the time. My best cast come from using the least amount of effort. Along with this I find that I am usually rushing myself. I have to slow myself down all the time and my flask of Pendelton usually helps the most. Being deliberate and not feeling rushed in my cast makes a world of difference. There is a reason the great casters make it look so effortless, they are slow and deliberate with every movement of the rod. When I rush I usually set a poor anchor and the cast goes nowhere. My friend that I spent 12 days with in BC really pounded home the idea of watching where you anchor the line, the correct anchor will make a great cast while a poor one will go know where.

    My other mistakes are usually trying to use too much line. A shorter line cast further for me than a longer one. I see single hand casters make this mistake all the time as well. A long cast isn't made by carrying a lot of line in the air or on the water, it's made by shooting the line. When my cast go bad it is usually because I have all of the belly of the line as well as some of the running line out of the rod tip or in the water. Once I shorten up the length of line and get some of the belly of the spey line back in my rod guides my cast usually works out. I took a sharpie and put a mark on my line so that I am certain that I don't have too much out. The mark on my line has helped me more than anything else I have worked on.

    Another great tip I have gotten from several casters is to push the rod tip up rather than out. With the long rod it is very easy to want to over power the tip and force it towards the water and the middle of the river. When I concentrate on a short stroke and pushing the tip of the rod up I find that I let the rod do more of the work rather than me trying to throw the rod. No matter what type of fly rod you are using, they never respond well to too much power at the wrong time. I have to tell my folks all summer to "Let the rod do the work" don't try and do it yourself.

    I hope these help you out, Get out and practice it will help you more than anything. Good luck and wear your hood on your wading jacket, it helps keep the flies out of the back of your head.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    We use some one-handed spey techniques for adaptive casting work, and...frankly...I use them for some really tough casting scenarios, myself. And the only diff is how you're holding the rod. The casts are the same.

    I agree with Cliff. Except I would say that the double spey is what I have found to be the one I actually use 90% of the time when a spey technique is beneficial/necessary.

    I can see how in two-handed spey the snap-t has a real-life usefulness. But the snake roll is for show, not go. It's just another way to do the same over substance. So I wouldn't even worry about it. And I'd also view with a certain amount of conservativism (polite for cynicism) the instruction I was getting from my buddy. Perhaps he's a bit more interested in showing off than in subtance and results? Just an indicator that would make me question, not saying it's true. I have no idea!

    But I do see this quite a bit: somebody teaching someone to cast who really steps all over the real goal of teaching someone to be an effective caster so they can have more fun fishing because they're too busy having more fun proving what a great caster THEY least in their minds. I have a saying I picked up from one of my best college professors about that:

    "There is no such thing as a great teacher with an ego problem."

    Enjoy yourself! Spey techniques can really make you a much more versatile caster...being able to brave winds and currents that casters unequipped with spey techniques just can't cast in, and being able to effect long casts and mends without backcast room. But I will say this: if you don't have a medical condition fatigue you properly identified...a definitive indicator of improper fundamental technique! And with a big ole spey rod, heavy line way on out there, etc. you can actually hurt yourself pretty quickly doing it the wrong way repeatedly. Pay attention to your body. It'll tell you when you're messing up. A good fly cast is one of the lowest impact activities you can engage in. It shouldn't hurt or wear you out. Fly rods are tremendously powerful lever/spring tools. They require very little physiological kinetic energy applied to do amazing amounts of work. But they have to be used properly. This is even more true of a spey rig than a typical one-handed rod/reel/line.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    The first cast I learned was the single spey. The second was the perry poke, which drastically improved my distance with the single spey. I live on the 'river left' side of the river, so the next cast I worked on was the snap T. However, If I have a bad wind coming down the river, and the snap T being an upsteam anchor cast I needed a cast that I wouldn't whack myself with the fly. I learned to do the double spey left handed. I also do the snake rool left handed, because it works for river left and is a down stream anchor, so it keeps me from whacking myself with the fly with a stiff downstream wind. In fact, I practice with both hands everytime I go fishing. The hardest cast I learned was the Jelly Roll. It looks really cool and works for river left. I've learned the snake roll, and if I let the fly sink really well, can do a triple snake roll. I use the cackhanded snake roll quite a bit also. I've also learned the 'S' spey and the wombat. I don't really think the wombat really deserves it's own name. It's just a snap T with a perry poke tossed in.

    I started spey casting just this summer. I don't have any other spey casters anywhere near me, and for sure no instructors. I learned all of this from You Tube. There is a guy named Kevin Paterson(sp?) from the river Tweed in Scotland that does a circle spey on one of his videos. Most people I think, use snap T and Circle spey as interchangeble names for the same cast. However, if you watch most people, there is a defined snap in the snap T. Kevin does a more flowing constant motion cast. I do it both ways and it works differently for me. If I do it the "snappy" snap T way with a downstream wind I get close to my self with the fly. The Kevin P circle spey style keeps it away from me. The pause at the end of the snap allows the wind to blow my D loop in close to me. I consider them two different casts. For me they are. I use them each for different reasons.

    The most useful thing I figured out lately was not even a cast. When I cast with a single hand rod I use my right hand and put my left foot forward. I was doing the same thing spey casting. Then I noticed there were many of the really good casters Like Eoin Fairgrieve putting the right foot forward. I tried it and have not blown an anchor since. It keeps me from sweeping to far back when going into the start position, and from trunking my cast. Trunking may be a Scottish term, because it was a Scottish guy looking at video of me casting, accused me of it. Dropping the rod low in back. Stopping that helped a bunch. Trunking is a cast killer.

    I have to disagree with flyguy66 about the snake roll being for show and not for go. This may be more true for single hand casting, but not for spey rods. When I was fishing the rapids at the Rapid River, I used a snake roll more than any other cast. It gets the line up in the air, allowing me to place my anchor where I can get a greater change of direction and loads the rod well giving me the line speed to keep the influence of the wind to a minimum. It is a very useful cast. It can be pretty "showy" as well.

    I think the thing that defines most what cast should be used, is whether you want an upstream or downsteam anchor. Wind being the biggest contributing factor in where that anchor should be. On a final note, once you get the spey casting figured out you will find it is much less fatigueing than single hand casting. You may just be trying to hard. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was "slow down"
    Last edited by Guest1; 11-04-2009 at 03:01 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    Well I've been working with the two-hander now for a couple weeks and I must say what a freaking hoot!!

    I have the RIO' spey casting DVd's and also picked up 'Skagit Master' with Ed Ward.
    Skagit Master worked better for me, as the two angles of the camera within the same screen gave me a clearer idea of how the mechanics of the cast work, and well honestly Ed Ward's teaching style just "clicks" and makes sense to me.

    I twisted up a grass casting leader of about 10', put on the floating head and went to work in the backyard. It took a while to bond with the new rod and once I slowed my casting stroke way down my loop started to form.
    I spent a couple hours only throwing an underhand spey cast over and over just "feeling" the rod load and forming tight loops.

    Next, I moved onto establishing my 'anchor point' consistantly. On the grass it was tougher, but as with my casting stroke all I needed to do was slow way down, once I had that figured out, changing directions for the cast fell into place too.

    So far I have become comfortable throwing the Single and Double Spey, The Snap T, The Perry Poke, The Snake Roll, and the C Spey, and feel good about throwing the same cast with my off-hand or cross body. Last night I was throwing the entire head and running line over the fence and into my neighbors backyard.

    One thing Ed Ward mentions in Skagit Master is that using a grass leader will cause premature wear on your line, but the knowledge you gain from doing it will be more than worth it. I absolutely agree with him, I am so much further along than last year when I first tried this.

    It will be another 5-6 weeks before we head North to Salmon, not sure but I think I may have left earlier this week (mentally). lol!

    I love this game!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Northern California
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    Hi Fysh,
    That is one of the better videos available. His instructions are clear. They make sense for anyone who is just getting started or for those who need a refresher. In a perfect world, we all would be practicing on water. I'm lucky to have moving water that is wide enough about 15 minutes from my house. Practicing on the grass makes sense if you don't have that luxury.

    If you think that the grass gives you plenty of resistance, wait until you hit the water. That resistance will help you load up your rod more to throw those long bombs further.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Spey cast....

    I figure going to water will throw a bit of a curve ball at me, but at this point I think it's manageable.
    I may need to order another 550gr skagit body and floating 15' head (maybe a couple more sinking too) from you before long if I keep grass casting.

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