Beginning Spey Casting

NWADrew

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Are integrated spey lines easier to learn on than running lines with skagit and scandi heads?

Background - I'm an experienced single hand caster frequently fishing 3, 5 and 7 wt rods on a weekly basis. So making the leap from single hand casting to trout spey with the Sage Trout Spey HD 4wt. I took the advice of a great spey fly shop and went with a traditional running line and Rio 325 Skagit and Scandi heads. But I'm really struggling to nail the anchor point and load the road effectively on my forward stroke. I can single hand cast the rod with a double haul like a dream machine. So considering getting a one piece line for greater versatility that will let me use this rod instead of my 7wt streamer outfit to single hand cast while working on the spey. Any advice will be appreciated. I do plan to seek out an instructor if I can't get this figured out on my own from lots of videos and hours in the water.
 
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ia_trouter

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IMO there is no practical difference for learning a few basic casts (integrated or not). The running line style can make a big difference in your fishing capabilities though. A skagit is probably easiest to learn on as long as the head is not so short you are blowing anchors. BTW what do you consider a "traditional" running line?
 

Bigfly

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This depends on personality, and the water you fish.
I do not believe a Skagit line with running line is the best way to get your cast on.
The thin running line and massive head casts a mile. But, doesn't mend at all. That means longer casts and swinging.
I love to use a Rio Slamo/steel line (uplined either 2-3 times) for teaching the spey. Integrated running line and a long head makes casting and MENDING easy, which is good for catching fish. So, if you are fishing far, then a head is nice.....but fishing closer is not easy. I like being able to fish a dry, a bobber, or swing with a sinking leader, out to about 60ft.
Personally, I do not like bringing the head into the guides....that click, click drives me nuts, and I can't feel the little running line when my fingers are cold.
Decide whether you are fishing close or far then pick a line.
I don't fish a mile away like I did when I started the spey...I fish relatively close and very effectively.
I found over time that the fish are closer than a big cast...........In fact I am fishing my new Skagit line with the head inside the rod and fishing streamers very close, say 30 ft away. Sight fishing. Way fun!

Jim
 

ryc72

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ive fished both integrated and component lines for my trout speys and i dont think the difference is material when it comes to casting. are you sure your problems are anchor placement related? how are your touch and go casts with the scandi? what length and grain are your tips? length of your heads? when first trying two handed casting my biggest of many errors were....
1. too much top hand and not enuff bottom hand. an indication of this would be if the fighting butt doesnt definitively hit your waders around your stomach on the forward stroke and your top arm is almost fully extended. i still have to fight this tendency but i try to remind myself to jam the butt into my gut a little bit on the forward stroke...keeps my bottom hand engaged as well as close to my body and helps me "stay inside the box" which in turn keeps my stroke much tighter. if you watch the expert casters on youtube you will see a lot of arms close to the body and butts hitting waders.
2. having too wide of an arc on my forward stroke. my rod tip was going from 3:00 to 9:00 instead of the normal 10:00 to 2:00. i thought i was stopping around 2:00 after my sweep until someone took a video of me....after my sweep the rod was pretty much horizontal to the water so i had absolutely no load on the rod. and then combine with using too much of my top hand and trying to overcompensate for it by casting my rod to the forward horizontal plane, my cast was a big hot mess.

personally i have found that starting with scandi was easiest...if you have water flowing river right and you are a right handed caster, id start with doing a bunch of snake rolls to just get the stroke and shooting position down. or if the water is river left and you are a right handed caster, just do a bunch of single speys. once i felt comfortble/confident doing those, everything else became much easier and more intuitive. another question would be how fast is the water youre standing in? i still have a lot of trouble with water flowing swiftly river left...cant for the life of me get a decent snap t or circle spey and on more than one occasion hit myself pretty hard with a heavy fly...got a lil better trying to do a double spey left handed or cack handed but still lots of room for improvement

hope those suggestions are helpful. regardless, good luck. stick with it. two handed casting is tons of fun.
 

Ard

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Moved this to our Spey / 2 Hand Rod sub forum where you'll find the members with a focus on the 2 hand casting techniques.

:)
 

NWADrew

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Thanks. I'm streamer fishing mostly from my drift boat, and need to single hand cast and spey cast (when a bank or tree's are close behind), and strip the fly back in close to the boat. If spey casting I'll simply roll cast to feed line out of the road, and false cast with double hauls when single hand casting. After a little more research on switch lines, I ordered the Wulff Ambush Short which seems to be a good line for those multi-purpose applications.
 

NWADrew

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All good points. After a few practice sessions in moving water that was dragging my running line downstream, I'm going to still water to practice now. I also video my casting sessions and my forward stroke looks good. But my road is not loading. I have a difficult time with the .026 running line, so ordered a Wulff Ambush Short integrated line today since I really need to single hand cast and spey cast interchangeably while drifting in a boat and stripping streamers in close to the boat.
 

NWADrew

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Also - I'm not swinging yet. It's all about stripping streamers while drifting with single hand casting and spey casting. Sometimes it's pounding the banks with single hand casts, and then turning around to roll cast / spey cast out to the middle of the river when the channel moves from bank to center of the stream. Fast action floating from a drift boat.
 

ia_trouter

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All good points. After a few practice sessions in moving water that was dragging my running line downstream, I'm going to still water to practice now. I also video my casting sessions and my forward stroke looks good. But my road is not loading. I have a difficult time with the .026 running line, so ordered a Wulff Ambush Short integrated line today since I really need to single hand cast and spey cast interchangeably while drifting in a boat and stripping streamers in close to the boat.
That sounds like a little too much going on at once. Getting comfortable in some still water isn't a bad plan, but you'll learn the current becomes part of your two hand casting. I'd leave the boat in moving water completely out of the equation for now. That's definitely not step one. I very rarely two hand cast out of my boat. You'll understand it's still challenging even after you feel a little more comfortable with two hand spey casts.
 

ryc72

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love the wulff ambush lines. dont have any of the ambush shorts yet but definitely on my list. what grain weight ambush short did you get?
 

Ard

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Trouter got it right I believe, trying to handle long rods in a boat was never fun for me. It would seem at first that longer would be better but it is not necessarily the case. The 2 hand rod was not invented to be used as a shoot and strip tool, it was a big water rod for fishing wet flies I believe. Casting from a boat was never my strong suit, can do it with one hand rod but not well with a 2.
 

ia_trouter

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The only time I ever found it remotely worth doing is on the stable casting deck off the bow of my walleye boat, switch rod, still water, heavy skagit chucking big flies at pike, musky, bass. You can catch fish well enough, however landing anything decent is a circus with a long rod, outboard motors etc. I can't even imagine having to worry where my drift boat was headed to while all this was going on.
 

randyflycaster

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I like to keep my top elbow pointed at the target when I execute a single or double spey; that way I won't swing my upper arm out and dump too much line on the water when I set up my anchor. Also, when then I execute my forward cast I won't lower the rod tip from the target line.

Randy
 

NWADrew

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LOL - you got that right. I did a lot of lawn casting to improve my single hand casting skills like double hauling. So planning on parking the boat on a gravel bar to work on the spey. It will help having it all rigged up and single hand casting from the boat so it's easy to stop and take 20 min to figure out the spey techniques.
 

NWADrew

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Managing a boat and fishing is indeed lots to handle in fast water. I'll be anchored in low water or have someone else on the oars to operate the switch rod. My initial fear was just breaking the longer rod getting it in and out of my rod holders. The tip sticks out a foot past my rod holder tubes at the back of the boat and feels extremely vulnerable.
 

NWADrew

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RYC72 - I got the 325 gr for my Sage Trout HD 4 wt. That's what Ashland Fly Shop recommended for this rod and it feels really nice in the Skagit and Scandi heads. I've also used my Airflo StreamerMax Short 250 gr line that I normally use on my 7 wt and it single hand casts very well. Love those StreamerMax Short's.
 

zonk1085

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Are integrated spey lines easier to learn on than running lines with skagit and scandi heads?

Background - I'm an experienced single hand caster frequently fishing 3, 5 and 7 wt rods on a weekly basis. So making the leap from single hand casting to trout spey with the Sage Trout Spey HD 4wt. I took the advice of a great spey fly shop and went with a traditional running line and Rio 325 Skagit and Scandi heads. But I'm really struggling to nail the anchor point and load the road effectively on my forward stroke. I can single hand cast the rod with a double haul like a dream machine. So considering getting a one piece line for greater versatility that will let me use this rod instead of my 7wt streamer outfit to single hand cast while working on the spey. Any advice will be appreciated. I do plan to seek out an instructor if I can't get this figured out on my own from lots of videos and hours in the water.
An advantage of the shooting line with heads is being able to switch for the types of casts you'd like to practice. It will likely be easier learning the sustained anchor casts (snap T, etc) with a skagit and the touch and go (single spey & snake roll) with a scandi.

I've never spey fished for trout but are your skagit and scandi heads both 325 grains? On the steelhead/salmon rods I own my skagits are typically 50-75 grains heavier than my scandis.
 
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