Fishing: What casts? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Fishing: What casts?

I'm very new to fishing with a two-handed rod. I'm curious to know what casts you use the most when fishing? My knowledge is limited. I'm guessing that things like belly length and line type matter. I've been told (and read, and taught) that factors like the side of the river you are on and the direction of the wind make a difference.

Thanks!

-- Brent
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 01:35 AM
 
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Hello Brent:

I'd suggest learning the Circle cast as a dependable upriver anchor cast (use when the wind is blowing upstream), and the Snake Roll as a downstream anchor cast (when the wind is blowing down river). I'd actually recommend you start with a mid-length belly line (65-75 feet), as you won't groove into any difficult to break casting habits which frequently occur if all you cast is a short belly line.

With these two casts, you will be able to reliably fish just about anywhere, with just about any gear, floating line, sink tip, anything...

Dana has some great video and instructional stuff on his Spey Pages. There is a wealth of knowledge "on tap" from members of this Board as well, who will be happy to give as much advice as you can handle!
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 12:52 PM
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I would second Way's top two. The only one I would add is a passable ability to double spey off either side although the two he mentioned will cover 90% of your needs.

Hardy-Davidson

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 02:42 PM
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Just chiming in to say I agree with Way and Sinktip. I use the circle and snake for over 90% of my fishing. I had an easier time learning the snake instead of the double but they are fairly interchangeable. I like the snake better when fishing sink tips.

-sean
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Way, Sean, Sinktip: Thank you for the helpful information.

I'm trying to learn to cast right hand up and left hand up. Also, I've been reviewing Dana's videos quite often. So far, for me, watching the video and then visualizing what the line needs to do during the cast has helped me. Also, I've found that experimenting has lead me to several breakthroughs.

Also, I wouldn't have made it this far without a heck of a lot of help from River Run Anglers crew.

-- Brent
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 03:25 PM
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A quick explanation on why I threw in the double. First, I simply prefer the double with short lengths of line out. Also, until the snake becomes second nature, it is helpful to be able to see the D-loop form and this becomes difficult when fishing first/last light. Finally, every once in a while, you fish a run where you are tight to a high bank and have branches or trees overhanging. One particular run I fish regularly requires the Snap, the Snake and the Perry Poke (or some similar bastardized double) be used at least once throughout its length.

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 04:29 PM
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I agree with Sink tip if using short lines such as the WC, Delta or even shorter skagit lines I think the double is easier and more forgiving than the Snake. Once you go to long bellies I prefer the snake for most river right/downstream wind casts.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 05:02 PM
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I like to teach the circle and double spey to newer casters because they are very similar casts. Both involve moving the line upriver in some way; both involve laying that line back down on the water again; both involve pulling the line off the water and into a D loop, and then a cast, and the timing once you begin to lift the line off the water for the D loop and cast is similar for both casts. For these reasons I've found these casts to be easier for new casters to learn together.

HOWEVER...the casts I use the most when fishing are the single spey and the snake roll with floating line; circle and snake with sink tips.



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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 12:04 AM
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I agree with Dana, the easiest casts to learn are the double and circle. The only difference between these two casts is the way you set the anchor. The D-loop stroke and the forward stroke is identical. Sticking to these two casts will bring consistency to your practice enabling you to minimize the time it takes to become proficient. They're easier to learn because you're setting the anchor with one stroke and developing your D-loop with another stroke, rather than doing both things simultaneously as with the single and the snake roll. I also recommend that you use your eyes to watch your anchor and D-loop. Watch the anchor to see that it's placed properly and that it comes out of the water and travels in a forward direction rather than slip backwards toward the bushes. Watch the D-loop for size and shape and to make sure that it is in line with your target area. It's very important that when you turn your head to watch the D-loop that you avoid turning your body and shoulders.

I wouldn't get carried away with what casting style to emulate (ie; skagit, underhand, or traditional), they all use anchors, D-loops, forward strokes and all the basic fundamentals of fly line casting apply. The difference between these styles is nothing more than the little things that the individual instructor emphasizes during his/her lessons.

My recommendation for a beginning line would definitely be a Skagit head. These lines are a lot heavier than any others and so it's very easy to feel the loading process and thus works to acquire a sense of rythm and timing that is so critical. The difference between casting a Skagit head and a mid-spey line is truly the difference between throwing a baseball and a wiffle ball. As a steelhead guide / spey casting instructor I can't emphasize enough how these lines have drastically reduced the time it takes me to get new casters casting well enough to catch fish.

These two casts, with this line, will meet any fishing situation.

I am very curious about the bad habits that occur when someone does most of their casting with a short head. Way?

Wade deep, Cast far,
Scott O'Donnell
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott O'Donnell
I am very curious about the bad habits that occur when someone does most of their casting with a short head.
i posted this not too long ago

Quote:
On a side note, there was a period of time where short heads, and Windcutters in particular, recieved a bad rap because many people labeled them as a 'bad habit creator' for beginers. Over time, I have found that label to be a little harsh and believe that it takes plenty of skill to cast a Windcutter/Short Head/etc. 90' when you consider all that is involved such as rod stop, managing coils of running line etc. If someone who has never picked up a longer belly line can effectively cast a shorter head far enough, with an adjustment in timing and lift and such, that caster will have the skills to cast a longer belly or long belly line just as far as well.

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 09:33 AM
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IMHO, "bad" habits wouldn't be my choice of words, but "less particular" might fit. If your intent is to eventually learn a casting style that supports 65, 75, 85 or even 105ft heads in your fishing applications then working with short head lines (54ft or less) can build muscle memory that will not necessarily be ideal for the transition upward in length.

For instance, the shorter the line the less particular the lift technique; the easier the sweep, the smaller the d-loop, the less important the shape of the D-loop and timing of the stroke, the easier the anchor is to set and slip with less critical anticipation timing, and the more abrupt and forward oriented the casting force can be applied. There is nothing "wrong" with this, in fact for these very reasons it is a great beginner's approach.

If the caster wishes (or you suspect he/she will based on where they fish) to become proficient with long belly lines I would agree with the camp that suggests recommending a mid-length line for initial instruction. The transition to extended belly line casting can be harder if the arms and mind are grooved into short belly casting.

The caster may have no interest in learning long belly casting technique. They might live in an area where long belly lines have no application, and with deep winter steelhead fishing only (e.g. some GL areas). 54ft head length ranges certainly are practical, functional and catch a lot of fish. Shorter Skagit heads might be even better.

Yet in some fisheries, and for the traveling spey angler there is a need for long belly casting not to mention a certain unmistakable joy in casting long belly lines that for some, myself included, is at the core of Spey casting and has it's place along with Scandinavian, Skagit, and overhead casting with two-handed rods. It has a deadly application in certain fisheries just as the others do in other applications and is part of the well-rounded caster's arsenal.

Bottom line is that if you plan to learn long / extended belly casting then it's easier to learn if you start with mid-length lines not because it's bad or good but because it's less different.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 02:47 PM
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Sorry about this Brent, but the worst possible advice a new caster could get would be to start with a mid-length line. I was afraid my post would ignite the old short belly vs. long belly feud. It won't be long before this thread will have to be moved from SPEY BASICS, perhaps to a new category called CONTROVERSY. Now you're put in the unenviable position to sort out the information from both camps and decide who makes the most sense. Best of luck and hopefully you'll pick up a few fish along the way.

I believe your question was to what line to use and with what casts. It's obvious that, given your location, you'll be doing a lot of winter fishing which means sink tips. With the exception of Kaufmann's spey schools all my teaching is done while guiding, which means I need to get the angler casting well enough to actually catch a fish, not next week or month but today. I can't think of a more difficult task than to try and teach a new caster a double spey and circle spey with a mid-length belly and sink tips. If I understand Juro's reasoning then it would make sense to teach a new single handed caster to start with 60' of line and a double haul.

Quote:
"If your intent is to eventually learn a casting style that supports 65, 75, 85 or even 105ft heads in your fishing applications then working with short head lines (54ft or less) can build muscle memory that will not necessarily be ideal for the transition upward in length."

Hopefully your intent is to catch fish, but if your intent is to cast long belly lines, then the muscle memory you'll develope, and understanding of the basic fundamentals you'll learn with a short belly line will make the transition quite nicely.

Quote:
"For instance, the shorter the line the less particular the lift technique; the easier the sweep, the smaller the d-loop, the less important the shape of the D-loop and timing of the stroke, the easier the anchor is to set and slip with less critical anticipation timing, and the more abrupt and forward oriented the casting force can be applied. There is nothing "wrong" with this, in fact for these very reasons it is a great beginner's approach."

When using sink tips and large flies the lift technique is monumentally important. The heavier the tip the more "particular" it becomes. The rest of this paragraph is accurate.

Quote:
"If the caster wishes (or you suspect he/she will based on where they fish) to become proficient with long belly lines I would agree with the camp that suggests recommending a mid-length line for initial instruction. The transition to extended belly line casting can be harder if the arms and mind are grooved into short belly casting."

Again, "if you wish to become proficient at casting long belly lines". Making a transition in any direction is going to take some practice, I don't see where making a transition in any particular direction would be more difficult than another.

Quote:
"The caster may have no interest in learning long belly casting technique. They might live in an area where long belly lines have no application, and with deep winter steelhead fishing only (e.g. some GL areas). 54ft head length ranges certainly are practical, functional and catch a lot of fish. Shorter Skagit heads might be even better."

Well put.

Quote:
"Yet in some fisheries, and for the traveling spey angler there is a need for long belly casting not to mention a certain unmistakable joy in casting long belly lines that for some, myself included, is at the core of Spey casting and arsenal."has it's place along with Scandinavian, Skagit, and overhead casting with two-handed rods. It has a deadly application in certain fisheries just as the others do in other applications and is part of the well-rounded caster's arsenal."

There is simply no fishing situation in the world that can't be met with a short bellied line, but can be with a long belly, the opposite, however, can be said. There is certainly no arguing with an individuals joy or the satisfaction of eventually becoming proficient at all the availlable techniques.

Quote:
"Bottom line is that if you plan to learn long / extended belly casting then it's easier to learn if you start with mid-length lines not because it's bad or good but because it's less different."

The bottom line is that regardless of your future intentions, it is easier to learn with short bellied lines.

Juro, I sincerely hope that you don't hate me now. We are, after all, homeboys. I'm originally from Brockton and would absolutely love to fish the Cape with you some day. I'll even bring my XLT. BTW, beautiful web site.

Scott O'Donnell
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 04:32 PM
 
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Here We Go

Well I think Scott has put it best. If you want to learn how to cast well enough to fish ASAP then you will probably want a short head line to start with. This I am sure will invite a huge arguement over short vs mid vs long belly lines. If you want to learn how to cast solely for the puprose of casting and doing so over the course of time. Then you may want to look at all the options available? I firmly believe that the quickest way to learn how to cast in order to fish is with shorter heads such as the RIO WC or even the new SKagit lines. Especially if you are fishing in areas that require the use of sink tips. As for what type of casts to learn first. I personally think the double spey and the snap T are the two that I would look at learning first. Nothing against the snake roll or the circle or the single spey but I think the snap T and the double are the easiest to learn and will allow you to cast in 99% of all situations that you are likely to run into on the water. This is strictly my personal .02 on the situation.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 05:14 PM
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I can only speak to my own experiences. I am way too new at this to tell others how to go about it.

I started with a MS with tips and was muddling through but couldn't quite get my casting where I wanted it. I had the long term goal of fishing GS and XLT simply because I enjoyed the idea (I still hope to do this). Last year I was on the Deschutes and spent some time at the Fly Fishing Shop in Wellches and did casting lessons with Amy Hazel. Both sources steered me towards WC and Delta lines. My casting has improved considerably. Now, I realize it may have more to do with having some good instruction than changing lines, but I certainly find the WC easier to cast. I have gone back and played with my MS lines that I still have and I cast those better now also. This summer I am hoping to work on refining my cast once there aren't many fish to chase.

The short of it is I found it easier to learn on and get to a competent level of fishing on th WC. I'll let you know how I do once I try to move up to the GS and XLT.

Gillie

By the way, as far as casts are concerned, I do most of my fishing with the DS, Circle, Reverse Circle, and Reverse Double. In my humble opinion if you can double spey and circle spey and then do them off the opposite shoulder you can fish anywhere. However, I am really trying to master my single spey.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 05:23 PM
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Not to change the subject but since Dana, Juro and Scott are present I'd like to point out to Brent that he is talking to some of the top casters on the planet (Way too for sure) albeit from 2 different camps. I had the pleasure to watch all three at Spey Days last Sunday. IMO, throwing the mid length lines is a joy both from an artsy standpoint and it reduces stripping to a minimum. Most pleasurable (almost addictive) and pretty versatile. Juro, I was particularly smitten with your casting, very sweeeet. Would like to know what line that was. I have the CND Skagit also, minus the talent.
That said, I've been interested in the Skagit buzz and picked up the new Rio line last Friday at Kaufmanns. Around here (NW) sink tips are almost mandatory for 2 or 3 seasons of the year. I've been playing with this each day and am now quite certain nothing throws tips as well (or easy) as a Skagit line. A hot knife in butter. I would guess that getting from zero to catching fish would be quickest too since the timing is not as crucial as when throwing long bellies.
I love casting mid length (65'ish) and double taper lines (Summer, Fall and when conditions allow) but for Winter/Spring around here I'd vote Skagit as the more useful tool.

rgds, David
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