Beginner....Basic Spey Question - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Beginner....Basic Spey Question

I only tried a Spey rod once at a FFF show in Texas. I don't own one but MAY want on. I have a lot of friends whom are very experienced casters/flyfishers but none are "Spey Caster". I asked them all their opinion on me buying a spey rod and they all discourage me from getting into Spey casting. The reasons vary.... it's too hard to's only for large bodies of water.... don't get one if you intend to use it in Besize for bonefish(maybe not a large enough body of water).... not good for bonefish or tarpon fishing too much wind in those places for a Spey rod.
Can anyone give me the positive equivalent to the above negatives.
Could I use a Spey rod in a high wind situation?

The main reason why I'm atracted to the Spey rod is because one gets more distance with less effort. Also I fish a lot in rivers with no backcast space.

It does look like Sepy rods are mainly for large bodies of water..... Can a Spey rod be used in small Michigan rivers such as the Platte river, the Betsie river, the Au Sable river etc.?
What does one do in a river where there is not overhead room in a tree canopied river? Bring a short 3wt rod?

Can one cast a Spey rod using a back cast just like a regular flyrod?
if so..... How do you do what the line hand does in regular fly casting?
How does one double hawl?
Any help in making my decision would be helpfu
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 11:57 PM
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Yes to Spey casting...


Spey casting is usually associated with double handed rods, butÖ

You CAN Spey cast with a single-handed rod, itís just a matter of leaning new techniques, rather than giving up the single-handed rod.

Traditional Spey casting (single Spey, double Spey, etc.) involves continuous line tension, creation of a D loop with less (about half) back-cast room than for over-head casting. Many other casting strokes (roll cast, snake roll, switch, circle Spey, snap-T, snap-Z, Perry poke, wombat) have been developed to still control the line in preparation for casting in the many & varied situations you may encounter when fly fishing, and some almost completely eliminate the need for back-cast room altogether.

With the development of shorter shooting heads (Scandinavian & Skagit), Spey casting has evolved and diversified to permit generation of even smaller D loops (even less back-cast room needed), yet shooting even more line out for the longer casts. As all fly lines are cast due to the weight of the line (and not the fly), these shorter heads concentrate the loading weight for the rod performance within a shorter length of line, and they are often ideal for punching a cast out into or across a windy river (or lake, or sea shore).

Spey casting is traditionally associated with longer rods than single handed rods, but that is not necessarily the case. I know from personal experience here in the UK that it is very difficult to cast single-handed with any rod longer than 11 feet, and single hander rods may range from as little as 6 feet to as much as 10 feet. However, when you have double handed rods, up to 20 feet (maybe more) is possible, but most would use rods between 13 and 15 feet for most of their double-handed casting (traditional Spey & Scandinavian casting), but Skagit casting seems to be done often with rods less than 14 feet, sometimes down to 11 feet.

Double handed rods are easier to cast longer distances for longer periods of time without the caster tiring so much, and certainly the distances cast on average are more than that usually possible with single-handed rods (even with double-hauling), and casts of 100 feet or more are straight-forward, and with less overall physical effort by the caster.

That being said, you can still cast short lines with Spey casting with the double-handed rods, and many fish are taken within 45 to 60 feet of the caster.

However, it would seem reasonable to use a short, single-handed rod for small brooks & creeks, and where very over-hung with trees & bushes, use Spey casting techniques with that single handed rod.

It is not the case that you should get rid of the single-handed rod and replace it with a double handed rod for Spey casting, but ADD a double hander to your equipment locker, and ADD the Spey casting technical skills to your casting repertoire, and both will serve you better able to deal with more wide ranging fly fishing situations.


If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

Take only photographs, retain only memories, leave only a good impression of yourself, perhaps just footprints.

Your lines, your rivers, your way!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 08:42 AM
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Scouter's 5 H Rule re SH and DH OH and Spey stlye casting


My advise, for what it is worth, is to do what I finally did at the very begining of taking up fishing with flies, fly rods and lines.

"Find a local Spey casting instructor! Find a local Spey club."

You can 'Spey cast' with a double handed rod (DH), single handed rod (SH) and with rods that cast either DH or SH, refered to as 'Switch rods'(SR)

(Lots about SR's on Speypages if you use the 'search' option into threads of Speyday's past.)

So called 'Spey' casting, is really 'direction changing roll casts' developed on the Spey River in Scotland. And, of couse you can overhead(OH) cast with any SH, SR, or DH rod. I hope your paying attention to the language here!(Grin)

What the Scots made easy to learn, that is 'casting', the North Americans made hard to understand with complicated language and the vast lexicon of nomenclature created to descibe the wonderful gear they developed in rods and lines.

Anything you learn from a double handed rod (SH) Spey casting instructor you can apply directly to single handed rods (SH) so you get extra value for your instructional $ from a Spey casting instructor.

(And, of course 'thrift' and 'good value for your money' are considerd 'Scottish' virtues.)

The only reason I can think of to overhead cast is to present dry flies on water so gently that the landing fly doesn't scare the fish. That's what it was invented for.

And, other than that overhead casts are largely redunent in most fishing situations. Plus, any compentant SH Spey caster can match most SH overhead casters for distance and accuracy.

(I can say that here on Speypages as OT SH rodders don't read Spey postings. Which is fortunate in this case as otherwise we would have to have a thread on how to get knots out of knickers!!)

With either SH or DH you can waste a whole pile of time and money on gear, get the wrong stuff, become frustrated, catch no fish, and pack it in. Which is an all too often the story of those who investment in gear first and not in qualified instruction.

I spent one year the water every weekend trying to apply what I read or seen in the many instrucitional books and videos I had purchased and only succeded in thrashing a lot of water and trashing gear. Then I took a few lessons.

Suddenly, my Spey line went flying across the water in a nice tight loop!

And the videos and books I had spent so much time and money on suddenly became really useful and to which I still frequently refer to today.

However, no matter how complicated the nomenclature gets, how many times you forget you can't cast slack, don't every forget the Scouter's 5 H rule!

"First & foremost, fly fising is about fun!"

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 12:00 AM
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In a few words, Spey casting can be used on all known types of fly rods, other than dredging horrors, but there are places for the dedicated Spey rods and there are places where they are not worth the ink to print this post.
In general SWF the dedicated DH overhead casting rods are more likely to be used because of casting distance, ease of operation and their performance on fish.
You wouldn't for example start casting a dedicated Spey rod, and spey casts off an ocean rock after biggish pelagics, while you would use a overhead rod for that purpose.
I'm not going to argue about this but you have to remember that here in Oz there are so few places that suit Spey casting and Spey rods that it wouldn't be worth having the things. But taking SWF all round, the overheads are suitable to everything but boat activities. Which is where the SWF guys take their SH 9 footers because its the only environment where they, the 9 foot rods, are worth more than a tinkers cuss.
But then fly fishing is a fishing tool for everything from 6 foot rods to 20 foot rods in every watery environment you can envisage on the planet and you can use every casting style invented or yet to be invented, vbg,.
There are really no boundaries or limitations or hard and fast rules about flies, tackle or the sport itself. It's just fly fishing, but like George said, "If you really wanted to fish for flies the best place would be an abbatoir". Peace be with you.


"If you really wanted to fish for flies the best place would be an abbatoir"

"Remember flies are insects, you don't fish for them, you spray them with Mortein"

The Late George Brydan, 1969.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:26 AM
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Spey fishing down under

Good to see you've made the transistion from Flylife to Speypages Max. I wonder if I'm following you. I'm not sure what I started when I started the recent thread in Flylife. I'm been seeking information where I can.

At this stage I'm looking at a switch rod. I think it'll better suit me at this time. If you like I'll contact you in the next few months and let you know how I'm progressing. It's really good to hear from other fishers interested in spey/overhead from down here.


dr trout
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:57 PM
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I think a sound investment would be any of the numerous videos reference by this site. They're worth the money and almost all contain sections on single hand Spey casts and their application(s).

Don't let the negative peer pressure get to you, we've all faced it at one time or another. To me you're requirement of fishing in tight situations will drive you to investigate these techniques further.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 05:05 PM
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There are quite a few guys from around the Great Lakes here on the site, some that live or regularly fish Michigan rivers. If you do a search for GL spey using the sites search function, you will find a weatlh of info on 2-hand rods and GL fishing.

The most important thing is after gaining some idea of what is involved and what rods and lines other are using for the area you are interested in using a 2-hander, get some intruction. Even making plans to attend one of the many spey claves that are held around the country would help you immensely.

The problem I've seen with those who have only ever used single-hand rods (or maybe dabbled for a few minutes with a 2-hander) is they have huge misconceptions about how heavy the rods are, how hard they are to cast, how difficult they are to use on stream, lake, or ocean, and how unnecessary they are. Like I said, these are misconceptions born out of a lack of knowledge and experience with 2-hand rods and spey casting.

Some of the folks here on the site have used 2-handers for saltwater fishing too. Hopefully some of them will chime in.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 11:20 PM
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I've been here for quite a while, since I got into DH things which was about 5 years ago.
Because of where I fish, and the lack of Spey water around this place my DH rods are dedicated overhead casters, but it doesn't mean that you do not use Spey casts. You can use Spey casts on any rod, big or little.
I found out in about 20 minutes that Roll casting with a 15 footer is magic in a great range of places. And it solves the LMD problem, or line management problem because you don't need one and it doesn't exist.
To me switch rods are those that you use for fly fishing and spin fishing and I've got a couple of them, and they actually reduce load when carting rods around rocks.
I reckon the ideal switch rod would be 11 feet long with a adjustable winch mount and a DH type grip. You can fish it with a threadline, or a fly reel. The runners would have to be other than snakes.
Cheers MaxG.
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