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  1. #1

    Talking Casting farther - OPST Commando

    Hello. I recently bought a single hand skagit setup for my 9' 5wt Fenwick Aetos. This system seemed to be a good solution for throwing some bigger streamers farther distances, which would be great for where I fish. I've been using fly gear for a long time, but I'm brand new to spey.

    Right now, I have the OPST commando 200gr head, a 10 ft light rio MOW floating tip, mono running line (30Lb Berkley Big Game) and about 5ft of leader for streamers.

    I've spent hours upon hours trying to get my spey casts to actually go somewhere but I cannot seem to throw even a smaller fly a distance beyond the length of my shooting head and tip (30 feet or so).

    Is my line setup to blame or is this more likely an issue with my casting technique? I didn't expect to be a pro spey caster my first time, but with the trial and error I've put in, I would expect to at least shoot SOME running line. Is there something special about single hand spey setups (besides the obvious number of hands in use) that makes casting different that two handed techniques?

    And no, my head and tip are not on backwards.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    You might want to try one of their 5' tips instead with a 905. As for technique , try slowing down and stay compact..imagine your painting your mailbox with one hand standing close to it.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    I've been using the OPST Commando head, 12 ft OPST mid sink tip, 35 lazar line and 5-6 feet of leader fishing for river smallmouth bass for 2 years. I first used the OPST system on a Cabelas 6 wt rod and this summer on a Sage One 6 wt. Getting the anchor point where it needs to be before making your D loop is the trick. I use the Perry Poke cast alot because i seem to get it in position better for direction of my cast. My casts are usually 35-60 ft.
    I also use a 4 wt switch rod at times and its not so fussy where i have my anchor set.
    Hope you find your problem. Good Luck.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    That setup seems fine to me. I prefer a shorter tip myself, but a 90 grain 10 foot floater is not an issue with a 200 grain head and might actually help to keep you from pulling your anchor. Without actually seeing what you're doing, though, it's hard to guess what's going on.

    The first thing I think of is asking how far otside your rod tip is the junction between your running line and the back of your head? It should be maybe a foot or two, if it's too long your rod won't load and your casts will go nowhere.

    Like eastfly said, slow down. Skagit casting is very easy and relaxing, if you use too much power or speed you only end up pulling your anchor and your casts will go nowhere. Beyond that try a perry poke, mike westmt said he does. The poke is an extremely powerful cast and fixes a lot of anchor location problems.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    You probably do this anyway, but it is worth a mention.

    Constant slow motion is what you want. Any stop or even hiccuping in the flow of the cast will unload the rod. Particularly so, for a fast graphite.

    ddb

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    All good points, keeping and maintaining rod load with the proper forward cast with a sudden stop high is the key for launching the rig.

    The motions without the load will get ok casts as the line casts pretty easily. Sounds like you have that, now focus on power.

  11. Likes Ard liked this post
  12. #7
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    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    This is one of those things that is very difficult to explain without actually being on the water together. I've been using what has become known as the single hand Spey cast for a long time, picking 1994 as when I adapted the style is a fair estimate of time.

    Back then I had never heard of a Spey cast and my adaptation to the style was a case of necessity not a conscious choice. Now I know what the way I cast streamers is called and although I can't show you at this instant there is one point I noticed missing from all the replies.

    Just like traditional overhead casting with a fly rod there is significant importance regarding what your 'free hand' is doing. I don't know if you are left or right handed, I am a right hand caster so I'll reference to that.

    When the sweep of the line is made to reposition it upstream my left hand has pulled line until the hand is near my left hip. When I raise the rod (and subsequently my right arm) as I rotate the tip back over my shoulder to form a D loop that left hand has automatically raised all the way up toward the stripping guide.

    This business of the left hand traveling from down by the left hip area up to the stripping guide height does 2 things. Number one it adds another 3 to 4 foot of line free to travel up the rod guides. This additional length of line prevents me from lifting too much line from the water thereby not leaving enough for an adequate water anchor of the floating line or head. Number 2 is that my hand (gripping the line) is now in position to haul down on the line to provide additional 'load' to the rod as I make the forward stroke. I've found that the use of the left hand to add additional load to the rod partially eliminates the need for precise anchor placement because I can recover from even the worst placement by either allowing the line to stay at length (by not hauling or only half a haul) or if I have too much anchor - or if my fly and leader have sunk too deep, the haul done quickly and with authority can salvage most any cast.

    Generally speaking when a Spey cast whether done with a 9 foot single or 14 foot 2 hand rod fails to travel out across the water there are simple reasons for the fail.

    1. Anchor was stuck, this can be caused by a weighted fly or the tip of the line having time to sink. Another cause for stuck anchors can simply be too much line out the tip for you to get it up with the forward stroke. Often when the anchor becomes 'stuck' this is your signal to speed up a little and possibly open up the general posture of the cast. When your line is stuck you end up with an overload of the rod when you try to make the cast. Instinctively when we sense the overload we tend to apply more power and speed to the forward motion and finally rip the line up. By this point the gathered energy load in the rod shaft has been lost and the result is a cats that does not go anywhere.

    Recognize the stuck anchor by an excess of slurping sounds as you try to cast out.

    2. Not a secure anchor. There can be many causes but I'll pick the usual suspects here. The rod tip may be held too high and general casting posture may be too open with the casting arm extended out and above the shoulder. another cause of what is commonly called a blown anchor is the timing. When the whole casting motion is advanced from the sweep through the anchor set and rotating into the D and then forward at too brisk a rate in timing the line never gets properly stuck or at rest on the water. Now when you try to cast forward there is insufficient resistance from the line to accomplish loading the rod. Similar to a stuck anchor these attempts usually go no where or collapse in mid flight failing to turn over the fly & leader.

    Recognize the lack of sufficient line anchor by a poof sound.

    I'm not an expert caster but have been doing the same things long enough to determine that they work while also identifying any issues that inhibit a good cast. Think about that left hand thing. What are you doing with that free hand? Is it just going along for the ride while you are trying to learn this casting style? If so get the free hand involved just as you would if you were attempting an 80 foot overhead cast.


    Coming back to add some more but just about personal preferences. I learned to do this using both standard weight forward and double taper lines. With proper technique a caster can reach distances almost comparable to what you would do using an overhead cast. With standard fly lines there is no specific spot that you must strip in line to before you execute the cast. You learn to strip in to the point that you know will work for you. These days the market is full of specialized "shooting heads" however these are generally quite short thus limiting how you learn to do the single hand Spey cast. I took a look at the OSPT website and am guessing that your head is 13 1/2 foot long. This reduced length of head / floating line will impact the way you cast. Each and every cast will require that you strip in all that 30 pound mono getting the head back to the rod tip before you can make the next cast. The short length also requires that you develop a condensed posture in regard to your casting sequence in order to keep enough of the head down on the water to provide anchor & load. [Edit] I looked again and see you also have a 10 foot floating tip on the head. This makes me think you may be having the stuck anchor syndrome not the blown anchor scenario. In this case I'd be stripping the head half way to the stripper to prevent overloading the rod.

    I'm a line management type, I do a lot of mending and I do little stripping and a lot of swinging. In short I believe that if you learn using traditional weight forward lines you will have learned how to do this to the extent that you will be able to do it with any type line or head length. That's how it worked for me, I can do it with my WF or DT lines and I could do it with your rig because I've learned the mechanics of the whole cast. Another possible headache with the shooting head besides stripping all that mono is that once you do get it dialed in your next task is running line management. If you start hitting 60 to 70 foot casts you will strip in approximately 50 feet of 30 pound mono before the next cast. I've used Skagit sets that have some pretty hi tech running lines and they were not prone to coiling of tangling and with those I was able to shoot that fly and head way out there. Once the head landed though I was reduced to standing there holding the cork and hoping for the best. I'm a fisherman, I like to be involved in every aspect of the fishing from the moment I tie on the fly to that moment when I net a fish. All the mending and controlling of the drift and swing make up what I call my fishing. When I feel those taps followed by the secure pull from a fish I have a deep satisfaction that I did that. Satisfaction that I was directly involved in every aspect of that flies course from when it struck the water up to the feel of the fish getting the hook.

    I don't say what I just wrote to demean anyone or the way they fish. I'm only saying what I get the reward from. Yes when the fish gets hooked I am the guy "holding the cork" but I did a whole lot more before I felt the fish.

    That's what I can say off the cuff, we would have to go casting together for me to see you and for you to see what I do.
    Last edited by Ard; 08-12-2018 at 01:20 PM.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  13. Likes rsagebrush, MichaelCPA, mcnerney liked this post
  14. #8

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    This is one of those things that is very difficult to explain without actually being on the water together. I've been using what has become known as the single hand Spey cast for a long time, picking 1994 as when I adapted the style is a fair estimate of time.

    Back then I had never heard of a Spey cast and my adaptation to the style was a case of necessity not a conscious choice. Now I know what the way I cast streamers is called and although I can't show you at this instant there is one point I noticed missing from all the replies.

    Just like traditional overhead casting with a fly rod there is significant importance regarding what your 'free hand' is doing. I don't know if you are left or right handed, I am a right hand caster so I'll reference to that.

    When the sweep of the line is made to reposition it upstream my left hand has pulled line until the hand is near my left hip. When I raise the rod (and subsequently my right arm) as I rotate the tip back over my shoulder to form a D loop that left hand has automatically raised all the way up toward the stripping guide.

    This business of the left hand traveling from down by the left hip area up to the stripping guide height does 2 things. Number one it adds another 3 to 4 foot of line free to travel up the rod guides. This additional length of line prevents me from lifting too much line from the water thereby not leaving enough for an adequate water anchor of the floating line or head. Number 2 is that my hand (gripping the line) is now in position to haul down on the line to provide additional 'load' to the rod as I make the forward stroke. I've found that the use of the left hand to add additional load to the rod partially eliminates the need for precise anchor placement because I can recover from even the worst placement by either allowing the line to stay at length (by not hauling or only half a haul) or if I have too much anchor - or if my fly and leader have sunk too deep, the haul done quickly and with authority can salvage most any cast.

    Generally speaking when a Spey cast whether done with a 9 foot single or 14 foot 2 hand rod fails to travel out across the water there are simple reasons for the fail.

    1. Anchor was stuck, this can be caused by a weighted fly or the tip of the line having time to sink. Another cause for stuck anchors can simply be too much line out the tip for you to get it up with the forward stroke. Often when the anchor becomes 'stuck' this is your signal to speed up a little and possibly open up the general posture of the cast. When your line is stuck you end up with an overload of the rod when you try to make the cast. Instinctively when we sense the overload we tend to apply more power and speed to the forward motion and finally rip the line up. By this point the gathered energy load in the rod shaft has been lost and the result is a cats that does not go anywhere.

    Recognize the stuck anchor by an excess of slurping sounds as you try to cast out.

    2. Not a secure anchor. There can be many causes but I'll pick the usual suspects here. The rod tip may be held too high and general casting posture may be too open with the casting arm extended out and above the shoulder. another cause of what is commonly called a blown anchor is the timing. When the whole casting motion is advanced from the sweep through the anchor set and rotating into the D and then forward at too brisk a rate in timing the line never gets properly stuck or at rest on the water. Now when you try to cast forward there is insufficient resistance from the line to accomplish loading the rod. Similar to a stuck anchor these attempts usually go no where or collapse in mid flight failing to turn over the fly & leader.

    Recognize the lack of sufficient line anchor by a poof sound.

    I'm not an expert caster but have been doing the same things long enough to determine that they work while also identifying any issues that inhibit a good cast. Think about that left hand thing. What are you doing with that free hand? Is it just going along for the ride while you are trying to learn this casting style? If so get the free hand involved just as you would if you were attempting an 80 foot overhead cast.


    Coming back to add some more but just about personal preferences. I learned to do this using both standard weight forward and double taper lines. With proper technique a caster can reach distances almost comparable to what you would do using an overhead cast. With standard fly lines there is no specific spot that you must strip in line to before you execute the cast. You learn to strip in to the point that you know will work for you. These days the market is full of specialized "shooting heads" however these are generally quite short thus limiting how you learn to do the single hand Spey cast. I took a look at the OSPT website and am guessing that your head is 13 1/2 foot long. This reduced length of head / floating line will impact the way you cast. Each and every cast will require that you strip in all that 30 pound mono getting the head back to the rod tip before you can make the next cast. The short length also requires that you develop a condensed posture in regard to your casting sequence in order to keep enough of the head down on the water to provide anchor & load. [Edit] I looked again and see you also have a 10 foot floating tip on the head. This makes me think you may be having the stuck anchor syndrome not the blown anchor scenario. In this case I'd be stripping the head half way to the stripper to prevent overloading the rod.

    I'm a line management type, I do a lot of mending and I do little stripping and a lot of swinging. In short I believe that if you learn using traditional weight forward lines you will have learned how to do this to the extent that you will be able to do it with any type line or head length. That's how it worked for me, I can do it with my WF or DT lines and I could do it with your rig because I've learned the mechanics of the whole cast. Another possible headache with the shooting head besides stripping all that mono is that once you do get it dialed in your next task is running line management. If you start hitting 60 to 70 foot casts you will strip in approximately 50 feet of 30 pound mono before the next cast. I've used Skagit sets that have some pretty hi tech running lines and they were not prone to coiling of tangling and with those I was able to shoot that fly and head way out there. Once the head landed though I was reduced to standing there holding the cork and hoping for the best. I'm a fisherman, I like to be involved in every aspect of the fishing from the moment I tie on the fly to that moment when I net a fish. All the mending and controlling of the drift and swing make up what I call my fishing. When I feel those taps followed by the secure pull from a fish I have a deep satisfaction that I did that. Satisfaction that I was directly involved in every aspect of that flies course from when it struck the water up to the feel of the fish getting the hook.

    I don't say what I just wrote to demean anyone or the way they fish. I'm only saying what I get the reward from. Yes when the fish gets hooked I am the guy "holding the cork" but I did a whole lot more before I felt the fish.

    That's what I can say off the cuff, we would have to go casting together for me to see you and for you to see what I do.
    Excellent post. I recently learned how to roll cast with an indicator and double nymph and a 5 weight 9 foot single hand rod. I had to figure out how to bring back all of that tackle from downstream in front of me so that the next roll cast can happen without crossing the line or sending the fly into my face.

    Perry poke, snap T, single/circle spey.... It all comes from the need to solve the problem at hand, whether River left or right. Glad to have this community as a resource.

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  16. #9
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    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    I'm happy to know it made sense Michael.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  17. #10

    Default Re: Casting farther - OPST Commando

    Skagit Master vol 1 w/ Ed Ward was very helpful for me. I believe it's all two handed stuff but the same principals apply. Lot's of Youtube vids too.

    One thing that really killed my casts with single hand set ups was taking the rod tip way too high on the sweep. I started low, but as I swept to form the D loop, the angle was very steep and the rod was fairly upright when it was time to transition to the forward motion. Keeping the rod low (more parallel to the water) really improved my casting.

    When all else fails, shoot a video of yourself casting and post it up for folks to take a look at.

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