Basic Spey Casts - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Basic Spey Casts

Hello everyone, I've been fly fishing for a number of years but am new to the spey game. Unfortunately right now I can't pay for a spey casting class so I'm trying to get some basics dialed in on my own. So far I've learned a few basics (anchor placement being in front of or beside you, larger d-loops making the cast work more efficiently, the 180 degree principle, the basics of a good forward stroke, etc) but have been struggling with finding casts I should learn starting out. Could anyone provide recommendations on a few basic casts I should learn to be able to effectively fish a river from either side.

I also don't understand why someone would fish "cack-handed" or fish with their non dominant hand on top. What situation would warrant fishing like this? Thanks
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 02:47 PM
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Double spey is a classic beginner cast for fishing from river-right (the right bank when looking downstream) with a downstream wind.
If you're on river-left with a downstream wind, you can do a cack-handed double-spey. Cack-handed doesn't mean you switch your hands; it means the motions of the cast are reversed because the river is flowing the opposite direction, but your hands are still gripping as normal. I actually prefer cack-handed casts over the standard version, as I think the way my arms get crossed actually helps a bit.

Snap-T (and other similar casts with a variety of names) is a good cast for fishing river-left with an upstream wind. If you're on river-right with an upstream wind, you can do a cack-handed snap-T.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 02:53 PM
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Welcome, & my commiserations on catching an obsession which will dominate you life from now on - least it did mine & quite a lot of my fishing buddies too!

Re casting cache handed or non dominant hand up, this allows you to fish off the bank where you would normally be using a double Spey cast (i.e. The "wrong bank" for a single Spey) and to single Spey cast off your other shoulder. The big advantage being that if there is a strong upstream breeze/ wind you won't end up with a new facial/ body piercing from a size 1 Bartleet, or whatever your' personal favourite choice of hook is, whereas this can happen with the double Spey under these conditions.

It's also handy when you are wading deep water close to the bank with trees projecting out as it places the rod outside of you, that is on the side out towards the river, instead of the double Spey which brings the rod tip & line loop back inside towards the projecting branches - never a happy scenario.

In terms of casts a lot will depend on the sort of lines you are using, are they Skagit heads using water borne casts or Scandi heads or full lines using touch and go casts? Each has its' place, but pick one to suit the waters you intend to fish & work up from there as, at this stage of your' learning curve, there's no point in spending time learning something you won't use.

Good luck, Tyke.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 03:22 PM
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Like you, the OP, I'm a relative newcomer to the two hand game. I've been playing around with it for three years. This fall, I'm headed to Idaho and the Clearwater and in November back to Michigan's Muskegon. Therefore, I've been working hard my casting. I'm going to offer an opinion many would disagree with--start with the Switch Cast and then the single spey. Practice on the side of the river (or pond) where the wind favors these casts, upstream wind. Don't try to change directions until you can place the anchor where you want it at least 3/4s of the time. Anchor placement is the key. As you get it shaped up, you'll have ample time to practice the forward cast. Spend some time before every practice session watching Way Yin or Simon Gawsworth (sp?) perform these casts. Or some other Youtube caster.

Once you master the Switch and Single Spey, you'll find the Snap T and Double Spey easy.

Oh, did I say a good lift sets up any cast and without it the cast has almost no hope of happening.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 03:32 PM
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Jon Hazlett has posted some short, concise videos illustrating most of the casts you'll use with a two-handed rod. He walks you through the process, and shows you what you need to do to pull it off.

Visit and look for his videos.

Best of luck!

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man".--Heraclitus
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 04:17 PM
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Keep things simple to start; have a cast for a wind blowing upstream and a cast for a downstream wind, and learn to add a poke on either cast if you screw up your anchor placement (or anything else for that matter). I think the double spey is the easiest downstream anchored cast to learn and the snap-T (basically a mirror image of the double except the snap to place the line upstream) is the easiest to learn for when the wind is blowing upstream. These are both sustained anchor casts that can be used with any line system.

I wouldn't worry too much about the whole cache handed thing. Use whatever method you like; switch hands depending on the cast you're using or always keep your dominant hand on top. It's all good. I switched hands for years, but now I seldom switch hands. It's all about comfort and what method you can throw good casts with.

"Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers." - Roderick Haig-Brown
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 04:43 PM
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Some good info already I. The above posts. I will complicate it a little and say that your line system makes a significant difference too. If I'm casting a Skagit line and a chunk of T-14 with lead-eyed Intruder, my choice of cast will likely be different than if I'm casting a full floater long belly and a traditional pattern. There are no absolutes of course but for most people, a single Spey or snake-roll with the Skagit set-up makes for a long day and lots of frustration. With the full floater, they are almost the only casts I ever use.

The other variable is how much time and effort do you personally put into it before you are executing a fishable cast? If you have all the time and patience in the world then I second the single Spey recommendation. There is not a better cast and I regret that I was stubborn and refused to learn it for the first 4-5 years of my Spey addition. It does take time to get it down though. If however you want to be up and fishing quickly, the circle Spey is I believe the easiest to teach and to learn followed by the double Spey. These water borne casts are more forgiving of timing and technique compared to the touch and go options.

In the end, there is always something to learn so no matter what you start with, you have years of enjoyment ahead of you. When you get comfortable or bored with one cast, learn another. I find myself every couple of years dedicating a season to bettering my casting on a particular cast. This fall will see a lot of left hand up snake rolls.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sinktip View Post

This fall will see a lot of left hand up snake rolls.
I'm planning something similar. I just realized last month that this is the last cast I do so unreliably I don't want to fish with it. Why can I do a left handed single Spey, but suck at that one? Guess I just never specifically practiced it, or something.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 05:16 PM
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Im with Gene, the modern switch cast and the Single spey. I would add to use a full floating spey line at first and always bring the fly up near the surface. Forget the cack-handed casts for now (or for good) - but do try to learn either hand-up right away. This way, with just the single spey you can cover either side and never really need any of the other casts that are more involved - the double, the snap and circle casts. Those are easy if you learn the single spey well. All the anchored casts really do lead into a single spey off of your casting shoulder anyhow. And leave heavy flies and tips alone for now. There will always be wind but wind gusts are another thing.

Wear eye protection of some sort - shades or clear lenses - just eye pro of some sort. Hats and hoods are good also.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 05:23 PM
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when I began my journey on this wonderful two hand rod casting activity .I found many generous members of this community that where always enthusiastic , about sharing what they knew and help me on my casting . and is been a pleasure for me to share the little I learn over the years , with other it makes this whole experience much more rewarding . I sure you would find some one on your home rivers willing to help you with your casting ..
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the input! I got out for the first time this last week! It took me a little bit to get used to it but after a while I somewhat got the hang of it. I realized I definitely need to spend a lot of time doing it if I want to be any good
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by uttroutbum View Post
I realized I definitely need to spend a lot of time doing it if I want to be any good.
As with anything worth doing, amigo!

Best of luck on your journey!
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"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man".--Heraclitus
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 10:46 AM
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I read your post and can identify with all of what you've said. I've been flyfishing since I was in grade school and am considered an excellent caster with a single hand rod. In fact, I've given casting lessons over the years with good success. When the Spey rods started to become popular, I resisted changing to them as it was so different than the type of casting I used for over 50 years. And, when I tried using a Spey rod for a short time on one fishing trip, I felt so inept that I was quickly discouraged. I think having a lot of experience with the single-handed rod may, to some extent, be a detriment when it comes to learning Spey casting, at least at the front end. All that being said, Spey fishing is clearly a more effective way to fish in many instances. Your fly is in the water more of the time and you don't have the problems associated with not having the back cast room usually needed for a single hand rod. I recently acquired a switch rod and a full Spey rod, both for fishing summer and winter steelhead on the Rogue River primarily. I have found that the only way I'm going to learn how to Spey cast effectively is to leave my single-hand rods at home and rely solely on my Spey or switch rod. Even though my casting is not the best (an understatement perhaps), I'm still able to get the fly where I need to put it... most of the time,..even though the cast may not look like I want it to. I have trouble getting the rod to load properly and in forming tight loops. I'm also finding it hard to keep my dominant hand relatively stationary and using my other hand to move the rod. It's so foreign to me and humbling to feel like a novice on the river. I'm also extremely confused about all the various lines available, casting techniques and so forth. It's a bit overwhelming for my almost 70 year old brain. I'm also considering trying one of the compact lines but will need to gather a bit more information through research before I make that move. I do have one question however that's related to my single-handed rods. I've read that there are Spey lines designed for use with single-handed rods. Logic tells me that may be another option I should consider given the fact that I have so many single-hand fly rods. I could use a regular fly line for those areas of the river that didn't require Spey casting and then switch to a Spey line when needed. Your thoughts? The bottom line is that right now, I'm a bit overwhelmed with Spey casting. But, I will learn as I'm determined to. I have two residences right now; one in Hiouchi, CA, on the banks of the Smith River, a great steelhead and salmon fishery and the other in Grants Pass, Oregon. I grew up in Eureka, California, fishing the Eel River back in the days when it was a fantastic fishery. Flyfishing for my brother and I growing up was much like that of the brothers in the movie "A River Runs Through It". Both of us were flyfishing and tying our own flies in grade school. Nearly all of our vacations involved flyfishing. This is my first post in any of the forms as I just joined. I'm looking forward to all that I can learn from this group.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 02:22 AM
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i was a petty good caster wth a single hand rod before I took up two handed casting, but I believe it's made me an even better single hand caster. I am still a poor off-hand caster with the DH and tend to prefer cackhanded casts, but I recommend Spey fishing for trout too. I love it and not many people do it yet. I use my double hand trout rod on any large river with wide riffles and abundant caddies flies. Once you learn the double hand techniques, using those cast with a single hand rod, even with a regular fly line, is easy and kind of game changing IMO.

"Science is magic that works." - Kurt Vonnegut
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 11:27 AM
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I am a newbie myself here's what I did.
After talking to Bob meiser, my outfit arrived fully matched, rod reel, lines tips etc. ready to tie on a fly and go.
YouTube is your friend, watched videos, got some advice and away I went.
It took awhile, but soon starting coming together.
After a session , I would come home and watch the YouTube videos again, and pick out little things I was doing wrong and right.
Then I brought my iPad to the river and recorded myself casting.this was the bomb! I could see what I was doing wrong and not knowing it.
After maybe 10 casting outings it all came together, lasers going out, turning over the fly, etc.
Off to skeena countryfor a month very soon.
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