Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Sandy River, Oregon
running line snafus
Much truth in all these posts. Here are a few ideas, none of which are original with me, by the way. Lots of loops lead to lots of problems. I commonly cast about 11 healthy strips. I hold a loop of five strips and one of four with my bottom hand, and let two loops hang between my bottom hand and my top hand. Having the loops in the water of slightly unequal length, and the first one longer than the second, seems to help with fouling.If is also important to LOOK at the loops in the water before you fire up the cast. If they are not twisted and are reasonably separated, that helps a lot. If the loop between your bottom and top hands is too small, that is dangerous, as you are setting the whole deal up too close to the reel. I have not noticed a great deal of difference in fouling as a result of which fingers of the bottom hand I use to hold the loops, but for me the index finger seems as good as any. It at least has the advantage of having no fingers "above" it, right?
Some people would note at this point that if you were casting traditional longer lines you would not be dealing with all this running line. I know nothing about casting those types of lines. My comments are mostly relative to skagit heads and sink tips, etc.
I have a lot more trouble with fouling when it is very cold, or when it is windy. When it is cold, my fingers are slow, and I don't think I release the loops as cleanly as when I can actually FEEL my fingers..... Watching video of good casters, you can see that they release their loops very cleanly, and that there is a very aggressive straightening of the fingers, not just sort of casually letting go. When it is windy there are going to be problems, all of which will be slightly less if you can keep all parts of the cast closer to the water. If you do a big sweep with a big lift at the end in the wind, it puts all that running line in the zone.
I suppose some running lines are more prone to fouling than others, but I am not going to go there, as there are already a lot of opinions on that.
In my own experience, I have experienced a slow but steady decrease in tangling and such as I have continued to practice. Practice makes a big difference in all aspects of spey casting, including this one! Also, I have been through "phases" with each cast. One week one is a mess and another good; the next it can switch. All of that gradually evens out with lots of practice and a few good instructors.
One thing to keep in mind is that spey casting is endlessly variable. Water velocity, how deep you are wading, the length of your head/sink tip/leader, and the size of your fly all contribute to a different equation for literally every cast. It is much more complicated than overhead casting. Practicing and fishing in varying water conditions with varying heads/tips/leaders/flies will gradually help you understand how all these variables work into the mix, and what you need to do in each situation to get the tinsel to the tuna. It is an infuriating but fascinating art. People tell me it is a lot like golf, which makes me grateful I do not play...
Last, if you are stuck, get out on the water with a good caster, paid or otherwise. They may be able to spot some things. Good luck!
If everybody used shoe horns, they'd catch 'em all on shoe horns.