We do a lot of spey casting at our lodges, and in turn a lot of spey casting instruction. When working with anglers on their casting, we tend to see many of the same casting faults while making the transition from single hand fly casting to spey casting. Here are the 3 most common spey casting faults we see on a daily basis, and how to correct them of course!
Don’t Rush It!
In other words, slow down, slow down, slow down. Whether single hand casting or spey casting, many anglers rush the cast creating many casting problems. Remember, a perfect cast is that that unrolls with just enough energy to reach the target, no more, and no less. Like all fly casting, more ‘power’ is often counter productive, resulting in a less efficient cast. Slowing down allows the rod to load deeper which is where the true power comes from.
However, creating the d-loop and coming through with the forward cast are not the only parts of the cast where slowing down is beneficial. According to our lodge manager at B.C. West, Kara Knight, it is important when things aren’t going right with your cast to slow down every part of your cast as well. Slow down your setup, the lift, and the sweep too. If your cast seems to be going downhill, try slowing everything down first, and you may be surprised at the improvement!
Aim For the Tree Tops
A very common problem with those making the switch from their single hand rod is not stopping the rod high enough on the forward cast. Most of us understand when traditional fly casting that a straight line path of the rod tip results in a nice tight loop. However, when using a much longer spey rod, some anglers often don’t realize how high one must stop the rod to achieve the same ‘straight line path of the rod tip.’ A high stop of the rod on the forward cast is also necessary to achieve the trajectory required for your loop to unroll above the surface of the water. Stopping too low directs the loop towards the surface of the water, robbing you of your maximum distance.
When making the forward cast, tell yourself to ‘aim for the tree tops.’ This will help remind you to stop the rod high and correct a number of casting issues. Remembering to aim high will also help to use more bottom hand throughout the stroke as opposed to too much top hand, which is yet another common casting fault! Aim for the tree tops, and you’re bound to eliminate several casting faults.
Proper anchor placement is absolutely key to all good spey casts. One can do everything right throughout the cast, but if the anchor is not positioned correctly, the cast will likely crash and burn. We could write for days on anchor placement, but why not let our buddy Tom Larimer explain anchor placement in video form. Need more? Here’s a video on advanced anchor placement as well!
I am by no means a certified instructor, but any time I have been asked to help someone with their spey casting the most common problem has been anchor placement. It is critical to an efficient cast. Improper placement can also set the angler up to hook himself. The energy of the spey line in motion can result in a pretty deep hook set and a painful removal.
beau purvis says
I disagree on ” aim for tree tops’ or any other part of the tree. I use only bottom hand. My top hand does little.I don’t pull bottom hand into body and stop the top hand. Instead, I pull bottom hand all the way up to my elbow of my top hand as the rod tip goes down.This results in my rod being parallel to water surface at the stop.The running line goes out better. Cast is more downhill. Better in every way…. in the wind,rolls over better,etc.
I also don’t believe in mends,especially the way most folks mend!I have been casting this way all year via a snake roll off both sides right hand up. Love it!
Todd Gerhardt says
Hey Beau thanks for all the casting tips at the Sandy River Spey Clave. The technique you described above is awesome. It results in tight loops, great distance, and effortless casting. I like keeping my loops closer to the water and out of the wind also. Again thanks for taking the time to pass on some knowledge.