A while back we ran a post on creep, a common fly casting error, most often the culprit of tailing loops. However, creep isn’t only a single hand casting error, it wreaks havoc while spey casting as well! Alaska West guide, Jason Whiting reminded us of this fact while critiquing his own cast. Although if you’ve seen him cast, you might not agree there was much to fix..
Thanks to Jason for a great write up!
Don’t Be a Creeper
It seems we all have those times on the river when we must have rolled out on the wrong side of the bed and completely forgot how to cast.. This type of morning occurred for me only a few days ago while swinging a favorite river for some early winter steelhead. Every cast seemed to have some sort of error in it. My loops were either collapsing on themselves in a big clump on the water, or I’d blast a huge tailing loop into the center of my line causing the ever feared wind knot.
After a few hours of blown casts and far to many words muttered under my breath, I finally sat back and wondered “why?” My loops were collapsing on themselves, so I must not have been loading the rod enough to send my loop extending across the river. I was also getting hard tailing loops, which could only mean I was putting a quick burst of energy into my cast, instead of smoothly accelerating through the release.
I began to think about the many times I’ve tried to identify problems in my cast as some unique dynamic to spey casting alone, rather than focusing on the primary fly casting fundamentals instead. And that is when it hit me.. I was creeping! In other words, starting the forward cast before allowing the D-loop to form (aka creep).
But now it was time to fix the problem! While skagit style spey casting, a slight pause in hand movement occurs as your D-loop develops and is directed in the direction of the forward cast (similar to the pause between the back and forward cast with a single hand rod). If I were creeping forward before allowing the D-loop to form, it would lessen the amount of load in the rod causing the cast to collapse on itself.
In order to compensate for the creep, I was also subconsciously throwing an extra surge of effort into my forward cast causing tailing loops. Once I figured this out, I was able to focus on what was needed to adjust. Each cast became a step by step process in my head. Lift and set my anchor, sweep line out and around, keep hands back and elbow tight as the D-loop develops, and finally drive out with bottom hand and hold on as the line gets cannoned to the other side of the river. Finally, the cast I was searching for all day.