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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Casting Practice

Is there anything to be gained by practicing spey casting on the grass? What about on still water? Long story, but I find myself far away from my usual fishing locations, trying to learn to spey cast before heading back home to fish for steelhead. The closest river (which would only serve for practice, not much fishing) is 45 minutes away. Can I learn to cast on the grass?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 12:57 AM
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It isn't as good ... but better than nothing.

Make yourself a grass leader.

1) get some 30 # test or so ... don't want it too limp.
2) cut off a 2 - 3 foot chunck. Loop one end so you can attach it to the flyline (assuming you have a loop at the end of your fly line).
3) lengthen that short section it by adding a 12 inch length with a blood knot
LEAVE THE TAG ENDS LONG. So the distance between blood knots is 6 - 8 inches or so.
4) then keep adding section after section till you have a 3 - 6 foot leader with enought mono sticking out at right angles for them to GRAB the grass and provide an anchor.

You can fine tune it by playing with the length of the "tag" ends (which provide the stick) and length of the total leader (which provides some resistance to the cast).

Hope this is clear ... enjoy...

Steve

It works ... but nothing is as good as moving water.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 01:19 AM
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Re: still water..

OC:
As far as stillwater goes, yes it is very helpful in learning your casts. You don't have the moving water to pull slack out of your line before starting your lift, but I compensate by starting my lift after stripping as much slack as possible out of my line and then lift from a very low rod position (with the tip on or just above the water. Where I live, I don't have access to suitable moving water for spey casting unless I catch a plane so I have had to make due by learing/practicing at my local boat harbor. This has helpful for my casting since I am not distracted by the possiblity of hooking into a steelhead.

Grace and Peace,
Todd
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 01:45 PM
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I have found casting on a lake very helpful. You need to go slow and the still water helps. You have more time to think about what path the rods takes compared to moving water. You get the natural feel of water tension which a grass leader could never duplicate. As stated, you need to keep the rod tip lower especially if you practice on a dock like I do.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 02:32 PM
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Actually I think that practicing/learning may be better on still water. In order to do a second cast one must do a spiral roll or double spey to get the line back into position - so you are actually practicing multiple skills while working on one cast.

Tight lines - tyler.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 02:38 PM
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I tried grass ...with a proper leader...years ago, when still learning.I remember one time before a trip to Deschutes when I thought it actually hurt my casting. I ,therefore stopped doing it. But everyones different so it can't hurt too bad if don't have an alternate and you are trying to move up the learning curve.Worth a try.But, if you can find water ,it would be better.

Beau
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 03:40 PM
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Still very much in the learning stages myself, but i've never found grass practice to be much help. It just frustrates me more than it helps. Stillwater is much, much better, at least in my opinion.

Nothing will put you on the right path better than a couple of hours' instruction with a good teacher, though. I had to travel a few hours' distance both ways to get to one, but it made all the difference in the world. Find one anywhere near you that you can, and have at it.

kevin
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 02:52 PM
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Another thought on this is if you have the opportunity to view Derek Brown's spey casting video, he demonstrates practicing on grass by attaching the leader to a peg in the ground. This helps with the elementary steps of forming the underhand d-loop and straight forward (switch) casts.

Todd
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 10:10 PM
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In my learning to spey cast, I worked the majority of the time on still water. Considering that running water suitable of spey casting is two hours away, the lake 15 minutes from my house meant more casting and less driving.

In teaching spey casting, I like to go over the basics on grass, lift, sweep, anchor placement and Al Buhr's "flip the tip" excersise. I also like to work on overhead casting on grass. The it is off to the lake. Still water lets you stop the cast and examine the line posiiton.

A friend spent some considerable amount of time grass casting. We then met up on the water and casts together. Due to grass casting, his anchor placement was non existent. He was blowing the anchor on every cast and did not notice casting on grass.

Also as mentioned above, on still water you can cast on direction and then either cast with the other hand or do an opposite shoulder cast to reposition the line. And their is no waiting for the line to wash down the current and get tight on the dangle.

My casting transitions easily from still water to moving water. I am a much better casting for all the hours spent on my local lake. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't spey cast on still water............

akcaster
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 02:13 PM
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I practice on stillwater because I live on a small lake -- cast in one direction; change direction and do a different cast or different hand up cast in the other direction -- that way your line is always out as if at the end of a drift.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o.c.utah View Post
Is there anything to be gained by practicing spey casting on the grass? What about on still water? Long story, but I find myself far away from my usual fishing locations, trying to learn to spey cast before heading back home to fish for steelhead. The closest river (which would only serve for practice, not much fishing) is 45 minutes away. Can I learn to cast on the grass?
if it were me, (and it was) I'd practice on grass one day and go to the river another day, alternating. Grass day you work on the loop and forward speyout, river day you work on anchor placement and change of direction casts...putting it all together. Grass casting does help and like I've said before, even a Lexus needs to be washed and polished. It's worthwhile drudgery. almost like fun.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-15-2008, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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I have been practicing on the grass, and have been making the trek out to the lake as well. Things are starting to click, but I am still having trouble pulling everything together with any consistency. Some moments of blinding briliance, and some moments of severe frustration. But nothing worth doing is easy, I guess. Luckily I am boarding a plane for home (Utah) in a couple days, on my way to steelhead country, and my good friends at Western Rivers Flyfisher are going to give me a tuneup before I head up to the river. As you have said, there's nothing like some quality instruction. Thanks for everything.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:28 PM
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right on man! welcome to the DH brotherhood
I know what it's like, really really do-
talk yourself through the frustrating moments, take lots of breaks,
and focus on Form Before Distance. the distance will come without a sore shoulder if you work on your form first. Enjoy your trip!
Bob

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-18-2008, 11:04 PM
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, and a report

Thanks for everyone's suggestions on practicing. It paid off, especially spending a couple hours with Steve Schmidt at Western Rivers in Salt Lake (wrflyfisher.com) for a tune up before my trip up to the Salmon.

The trip was a huge success, both for my spey casting and for my steelhead fishing. I finally landed my first steelhead on a fly, with the spy rod, and to top it off it was a beautiful wild fish. Small, but as Dec Hogan wrote "Even the small ones are larger than life."

If anyone is interested, i posted some pics and a trip report on my blog:
desolationdory.blogspot.com

Thanks again!
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