Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Slight correction in the above diagram - although the first coil holds the energy under tension and 'wants' to drop the end of the fly line in that spot, a lightly formed first coil combined with a strong d-loop stroke overcomes that tendency easily and the anchor can be pulled into a different location in line from that coil if desired. I was experimenting with this and found that when actually casting (verses dropping the anchor to make a point about how to finish the cast) it's common to defeat that tension and pull the fly closer alongside.
I found that the more energy one puts into the first coil, the more it wants to stay in that point of dissipation on the outer edge. The less one puts into it, the easier it is to place the anchor elsewhere further up the line toward the angler - but the d-loop stroke must improve proportionately.
When an upriver wind arose, the lighter helix was prone to floating out of control whereas the harder coil was stable albeit not dropping the anchor in the ideal location.
With the high-energy first coil method, as long as the anchor was placed outside of the line of fire or close enough so that the loop could pull it into the wedge without hitting itself, the direction of the top half produced a good cast regardless of the lower half's vector. It was easier to load the rod but more prone to alignment problems.
I also recall using the hard snake to lift a tip with a mid-spey length head easily and effectively recently while winter run fishing. The short head allows one to slip the anchor a little before making the hard stroke forward to correct for palcement glitches.
The light snake took a lot more patience and care to form a good d-loop but it required much less energy in the arms and with some practice I think it will lead to development of an "efficient" cast with the snake that also trains the circle single motion to provide greater directional freedom. I am definitely a student of Dana's efficient casting philosophy. Primarily because when I cast hard it doesn't go any better than when I find the finesse that the rod, line and stroke has to offer inherently.
It's also harder to find the narrow 'alley' thru which to load and pass the forward cast because the line is under less tension in the d-loop but once located a surprisingly high-speed tight loop could be thrown despite a relaxed d-loop.
In any case, when the snake was not working well taking a moment to reduce the diameter and energy in the first coil and focusing on a good d-loop (as Tyler suggested) brought me back into a clean motion very quickly.
Watching Tyler's famous snake roll video shows how patiently and well he forms the loop which is probably why he casts the proverbial country mile.
Another interesting variation was to use a light snake to set up a perry poke. The fly can be placed in a good position after which the lowering of the butt to the opposite hip forms a nice fold, then a strong stroke puts fly back out with minimal backcasting room required.
Consequently, this series of experiments made my reverse snake roll consistent and I look forward to refining it going forward. This was my worst cast until now, the left-handed single spey has re-taken it's spot as the one I need to work on the most.
Not sure if this belongs in an instructor thread but I am enjoying being a student of the spey! Special thanks to Tyler and Dana for two principles that really paid off for me.