Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: west coast steelhead/salmon, BC/Alberta trout
hey Sean! This is a classic "spey tail." Since you are working on your weakest cast you are misapplying the power at some point during your cast, causing the rod tip to drop beneath the straight line path. Since the line does what the rod tip does, the line/leader/fly also drop and you get the skip. Some things that might help:
1. make sure your line is tight before you make your initial lift, and that it stays tight into your backcast. Watch your rod tip--it should start with a bend and bend even more as you move through your backcast. A bent rod is a loaded rod, so keeping it bent keeps slack out of this part of the cast.
2. When you make your rear loop, don't punch the end of the backcast with extra power. Your backcast is an acceleration to a stop, just like a forward cast. Use only enough to accomplish your task.
3. Once your D loop is forming timing is critical with the single spey. Initially, let the leader touch and then come forward. Make sure you don't creep the rod forward early in advance of leader touchdown--if you do you will shorten up your casting stroke. Long line=long stroke, so if you shorten up you will surely cause a tail in your cast. Use a long rear stroke to form your D, then keep the rod back there until you are ready to move into your forward cast. When you do come forward, ease into the stroke, then spped up and stop just before your top arm is at full extension. Later as you get comfy with the cast you can work on drifting the rod and beginning the forward cast before the leader touches down. What you are doing here is loading the rod against the weight of the D loop that is still moving backwards in the air behind you. This advanced technique will make casting that whole XLT head a piece of cake.
We can work on this stuff next month when we go trout fishing if you want .
The single spey is hands down the toughest speycast to master. It took me about a year before I felt ok with it, and 10 years later I'm still learning new things. But it is a cast that will unlock the mysteries of spey casting for anyone who takes the time to master it.