Newbie help: casting troubleshooting - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie help: casting troubleshooting

Hey guys, I've done some searching, and I've had a tough time finding much info on beginning a cast. I've read lots of posts and articles, watched videos, etc.

I'm totally new to two handed rods, and frankly quite novice with fly fishing in general. I started about a year and a half ago when I was living in BC for about a year. Most of my fishing out there was in small mountain lakes in my float tube for cutties, or surf casting on beaches, not a lot of flowing water experience.

Now I'm home in Ontario. I want to get into steelheading, and I wanted something that I could also use for bass and other species in brushy rivers and other tough conditions. So naturally I started looking into spey options. I found what seems like a crazy deal on a beginner setup, and I pulled the trigger. Swinging flies seemed like a good place to start? Specifically I bought an 11'6" 7wt Cabelas TLR, with Rio switchchucker (7wt).

I did a bunch of research and hit the river, and luckily no one was around to watch lol. Went home, did some more research, built a "grass leader" and tried some casts on land. After about an hour of lawn casting, I was tossing pretty consistantly 60-70ish foot casts and I felt like that was a good start, and I wasn't sure how my anchor or rod load would be compared to actually being on water, so I seemed like a decent first session.

Went out today, it was a mix of some decent fishable casts (maybe 70feet) and horrible failures.

I think one of my issues was I was wading to deep.

One question I have is my tip choice. I was using a medium iMOW (2.5flt/7.5't11) and I'm wondering if it's too heavy. Rio says medium is recommended for 475-575gr and the head on my chucker is 465? I didn't have a tip on when I was lawn casting, so I'm not sure if that the difference.

My other question I've had a hard time finding an answer to is starting my cast. As a rule of thumb; where should the head of the line be in relation to my rod tip (ie: head "x" amount of feet outside of the tip of the rod, flush with the tip, inside the guides "x" amount, etc). And does this "starting point" change depending on the tip choice?

Sorry for the long winded backstory and probably dumb questions, I appreciate any sort of guidance you guys have to share!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 10:31 AM
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Location: Lower Grand River, Saugeen and everything else wet.
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I will try and help you out.

First of all, a skagit head/line needs a tip to complete it. As a beginner I would stick to a full float just until you get the hang of it. As for as how much running line out of the tip, you will need to play with that. I normally have about a foot of line. Some folks prefer more, some less.

Distance! Forget about distance. Focus on your technique and distance will come. Pay attention to your motion and speed. Most people when they start out are way too fast with there stroke attempting to bomb it out there. It really doesn't work that way. You have to let the rod do the work. If you try and force it your body will pay the price.

One thing I might do is to start with a scandi line. They can be a little more forgiving and I prefer these over skagit anyway.

I suggest to find a certified casting instructor in your area. It's money well spent. I don't know your location or who would be in your area but there are many around and many shops offer classes sometimes free. I can make a suggestion for one in my area if you want just PM me.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 11:24 AM
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You just started learning and some of the casts are still crap. Yeah, sounds like you are on track, check.

The chucker is basically a shortish skagit head, and REQUIRES a tip of some sort. Any experience you had without a tip you can just forget about. The tip you are using is fine. Various lengths of T8 would be good too. Maybe a bit nicer/easier, but not a major issue.

The head weight seems like it could be on the light side for a 7wt but maybe still in the ok range. Maybe some people on here with experience with that rod have a better idea. A 7wt would normally use a skagit head that is something like 480-530, unless the head lenght is super short << 20 ft. The super short ones like the commando are a separate story, but the chucker unless they changed it is not that short.

Overhang - start with about a foot of shooting line out the tip. With the damn chucker it is going to be a bit of a pain - I know the floating one I have from several years ago is all one color and to make matters worse there is a fat “handling” section of runnning line behind that, so perhaps not the easiest line to experiment with overhang. You can use a sharpie to create a mark/band on the lines to mark the end of the head if you don’t have a color change or something. Anyway, you may find it marginally easier at first with just a little shooting line, as I said about a foot, out the rod tip. But a thing to experiment with early on, but once you are casting OK-ish is more overhang. Using more overhang wil help create a tighter loop and possibly increase your distance and elegance, but will show up any slack or imperfections in your casting which may make it more difficult to cast with a lot of overhang. It depends on the rod, line, personal tastes, etc. but you can even use 3-5 feet, or more. A drill to do is to gradually work the overhang out and see both which amount you prefer, and later on just how much you can handle as you get better. A a general rule as you use more overhang it will be easier to produce tighter loops, but may eventually get more more difficult to cast as you work it out. I generally prefer at least 3’ with a skagit head on many of my rods, but many types of lines can benefit from more overhang, and for some it is almost mandatory.

Hope these tidbits help a bit.
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Last edited by Botsari; 05-06-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses guys I really appreciate it!

When I was reading about grass leaders the one article said it would act as the tip and leader for lawn casting purposes, but I may have misread that, either way it seemed a bit strange. I'm hoping to head out to some local ponds on the weekend and try to figure out the fundamentals, without being on moving water.

I'll definitely play around with the overhang, it's nice to have a rough idea on where to start. The chucker I have is a grey head with green running line (the handling section is also green).

I'm not sure what the grain window is on the rod as it isn't marked, I've tried to do some research on it and can't seem to find much info on it.

I'll also try to slow things down a bit, I'm sure after some frustration I was probably trying to rush things.

The casting instructor is something I've been thinking about, one of the local shops is offering a basic fly casting clinic this weekend which I'll be attending, so I was going to speak with them about some lessons. Maybe I'll pick up a floating tip as well while I'm there. I do have some t8 lengths as well that I'll try.

Eriefisher, I'll definitely PM you.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 03:04 PM
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Enjoyed this post - I just got a trout spey rod and have hit the water twice. So far I can't get the feel of my rod loading. Just planning to work on my anchor point and forward stroke for several more casting sessions on the water, and video myself to come back and watch my form. I consider myself a good caster with 5 wt and 7 wt single hand rods and fish 2-3 times a week with dry flies, nymph rigs and streamers. I can double haul well. But this spey casting is right up there with golf swings. It's going to take some time and effort to get the form down. Without fishing I might add. Just many trips to some nearby body of water (city park pond or lake or river) to focus on the cast.
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