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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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I'm ready to give up on learning how to spey cast. I've had sixteen hours of one-on-one lessons with a certified FFF TH instuctor; I've been to the AATF Sunday clinics numerous times; untold hours practicing, and I can barely flop out the head of my skagit line and I'm tired of either hearing my line crack behind me or getting whacked on the back of my head with the line.

I'd think it would be so cool to pilot a F-22, but some things in life are not meant to be. Is spey casting one of them? Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 12:30 PM
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Any thing that is challenging also gives great rewards. I was a good single hand caster, but it took me over a year of working on it every week for my Spey casts to come together. I am now starting year 3 and there are days that I am horriable and days it seems so simple. All that said laying out a good cast feels great. Don't give up. Make sure that your line, rod and you are all compatible. After being with an instructor go home and write notes on things you need to remember.

Last edited by Phil Fravel; 09-22-2009 at 12:37 PM. Reason: re wording
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 02:16 PM
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I agree with Phil, I could jack a nice single hand line and found the learning curve steep.

One thing to ask yourself, are you feeling the line and power building in the rod as you form your D? As you know from single handed casting your timing comes from feeling the line and rod, same principle applies.

One thing to consider is a heavier line like a 600-650 gr Airflo or Rio skagit. What I found is that once you feel the line and power developing in the rod your timing will click and away you go. When I started all my lines (mid & grand speys) were matched at the fly shop to my rod, end result a freaking mess and joke, then I discovered practicing short casts that I didn't feel the line building power in the rod and figured what I needed was to feel the power develop so when Skagits hit the market I over loaded the rod with a big skagit and gave it another shot. Then I took some lessons from a Jedi.

The transition is tough especially if you are a competent double hauler with shooting heads. I think the longer you single hand the harder the transition.

In closing watch you D form and try to let the rod cast vs muscling it.

Keep with it once you develop the muscle memory it will come and once you jack one out you won't look back.

"it's all about the hunt"
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 02:40 PM
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Don't give up because the prize of finally being able to feel the grace and power of a 2 handed spey cast is worth the effort. I started out discouraged by the steep learning curve after being a very accomplished single hand caster for many years. I finally began with using my spey rod for overhead 2 handed casting. I concentrated on feeling the load and especially developing the stop for the forward and back casts by using the bottom hand. I tried to equate the bottom hand to the line hand in the double haul. It finally started to come together and I was able to convert the back cast to the D loop and progress from there.
You will reach a point where you can control the anchor point placement and then the D loop and from there it's much easier to feel the loading and stop. I would suggest learning the switch cast and then single spey first since this skill translates to all other casts.
I think that most single hand casters go through the frustration which you have experienced, especially the unlearning of the top hand dominance and the adaptation of a different rhythm and power application.
Keep it will come.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 03:04 PM
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I agree with everyone out there as well.

I have only been at this for a year and it is starting to come in focus for me now. I have really bad days on the river and really good days.

What works for me is to slow everything down and feel what is happening in your cast. Once you make it happen the battle is half over.

Keep trying and don't give up, it's worth the wait trust me!

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 04:11 PM
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Balanced Outfit

As many others will confirm, you need to learn on a properly balanced outfit. It is hard enough to learn on a balanced outfit, with all the intracies of spey casting, without fighting a mis-matched outfit. Like trying to cast an 8 wt with 3 wt line. A certified instructor is also important. Having had some of the best (Andy Murray- Hardy, Andre Scholtz-Winston, and Juro - then CND) made my learning curve easier. But I just don't get the chance here in MD to practice or use the knowledge, except on my annual trip to Salmon River, NY, now October 8-10.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 05:44 PM
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Not to bad mouth the program, but those guys are all taught to cast the same way. And that just does not always work for everyone.

Also "I would suggest learning the switch cast and then single spey first since this skill translates to all other casts". Yeah right. But,,, both of those are kiss & go casts. Not exactly the easiest casts for a newbie to pull off.

Simon Gawsworth's father started him out on the double spey, a water borne anchor cast. Also, since the double spey is a down river anchor cast, any slight hesitation (common with newbies) only takes the anchor point further away. Rather than pushing it in closer. Simon's father would not let his son do any other cast for two years! Practice the double spey only in no wind or down river wind conditions. Otherwise, it will blow the D-loop closer to your body and you'll end up whacking yourself.

Hearing the line crack behind you is the result of putting too much power into the cast. You've pulled the anchor, causing the fly to come out of the water traveling back towards the bank then having to change directions and go forward. The "crack" is the fly breaking the sound barrier. If you still have a fly. Most often, it pops them off.

Whacking yourself is often the result of casting off the wrong side and fighting the wind. Learn to watch fo any sign of the slightest breeze. The other cause for "whacking" yourself is too much speed, too early in the sweep, and/or sweeping around too far.

Another common problem for people making the transition from single hand to spey is they tend to think only in a single plane. Up & down, forward & back. Not good.

I suggest you keep on going to the AATF Sunday clinics. Find someone you can relate to. MK the Skagit Godfather, worked for me. But you may get along better with someone else. Once you find someone, stick with that same person, and that person's style, until you learn to cast.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 07:59 PM
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Oh No!

Originally Posted by denali View Post
I'm ready to give up on learning how to spey cast.
Don't even think that! I just started spey casting this summer. I started off sucking worse than sand in your scrambled eggs. Worse than a soup sandwich. I filmed myself and watched the videos and compared it to the videos on you tube. Once I could see what I was doing wrong my casting improved by leaps and bounds. Spey casting is now my favorite way to fish. You can't give up. Maybe if you got a line that was easier to cast, like a short belly floater like a delta spey you might find it easier to get casting down. Some of these guys here would be better at a line switch than I would be. It is the line I started with. I can already shoot way more line than I need to now. Way better than 100'. I learned watching you tube. The Rio trailer helped me alot. I can't imagine how much you could learn from the video. As soon as I am feeling rich and famous again it will be mine, oh yes it will be mine.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 09:23 PM
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don't give up, Denali.
maybe you're trying too hard.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 09:32 PM
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Most of the guys around here are lots more experienced than me...but I think It really comes together when you start putting your anchor in the right place consistently. Did for me, anyway.

When that happens....then everything else falls pretty much into place.

When I was learning (still am, I guess) I concentrated on everything else....anchor seemed unimportant. But now I know how hard it is to do anything without a consistent anchor.

Hang in there...And I'ld say that you drop the lessons and just go fiure it out on your own, now. 16 lessons is a lot. May be too much info.

Just go cast.


Last edited by moethedog; 09-27-2009 at 03:03 AM.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 10:23 PM
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Been at it 5+ yrs or so. After about 3 yrs I noticed the bad days were getting fewer and further between.

I still have them here and there, still blow casts, still takes me a bit to get warmed up and into a groove.

Keep at it, its worth it.

My first 16 hours were a nightmare. Nobody around here to tell me what I was doing wrong. Bad equipment match, old Accelerator 8/9 on a Sage 12ft6in8wt. Nice rod, decent line, but not together.

I still have a ways to go. This board and its members have been a big help.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 10:26 PM
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I know this is easier said than done, But SLOW DOWN.....feel the rod loading up before making the stroke forward. That can be accomplised with a moderate or slow action rod. If you can feel it load, it is a trigger for the mind of when to fire. Something I have found is that a lot of people starting out are misled into thinking they need the fastest action stick out there. For a very small few this works, but for need a slower action to allow you to feel the load, this in turn will slow your casting down.

When I first started.(.and I am by no means an expert/Jedi) but I rushed out bought the fastest rod I could find, found it didn't do a thing for me learning, sold that one, bought a slower rod...getting close, sold that one and bought an old model Lamiglas LS series rod and matched it up with a Airflo delta spey and I was on my way. I have now progressed...a little and have a slightly quicker rod now...but that has taken 5 years.

So bottom line....slow down, try a slower action , and realize that good things come to those who wait. I would also try another instructor.

You should try and make the Clearwater Clave if you is one this week...loads of great people there and you can try a bunch of rods while you are there....No pressure, no sales men will call.....LOL


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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jamey McLeod View Post
This board and its members have been a big help.
Quoted for truth! I've received more help via PM alone to keep me going for a long time. One thing I've found out is that the guys/gals into the spey thing are a great group of folks always willing to help.

I'm very, very new at it and trust me, the 4 piece rod I have almost turned into seven or eight on Saturday. I feel I can hang with just about anyone on the river when it comes to a single handed rod, but Saturday I found myself around a bend and away from others so they couldn't see me flogging away, cursing, just a plain old mess. But one, just one cast went well and it made it all seem right. Think of it this way, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-23-2009, 12:12 AM
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Long ago I quit trying a single spey. I can't do it. When I quit trying....I progressed much more rapidly. If there's a cast you'e especially crappy at...don't try it. use one you think you can work with. Build some confidence.

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-23-2009, 12:16 AM
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I taught my two sons how to spey cast when they starting fly fishing at age 5 with a short single-hand rod by having them make double spey casts first. I didn't even bother to teach them switch casting because it takes more correct timing to do properly. They each learned double spey casting and used it for all their fishing for at least a year before I taught them a switch cast. The double spey is easier to learn because the timing isn't so critical. The line is on the water and it is easier to see when the line is at a proper anchor point as a result. Thus, the cast is the easiest spey cast to learn.

Also, don't try to cast 70' when starting out, 45-50' is plenty. Lengthen your casts only after you are consistenty casting the shorter distance. Don't worry, just like with your single-hand casting, distance will come with time and improving technique.
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