New to spey - basic cast suggestions - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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New to spey - basic cast suggestions

Gents, I just got my first spey rod, a Meiser 11’7” Highlander Classic 5/6/7. The rod is capable of handling 400-600 grains and paired with one of Steve's Scandit shooting head systems.

The plan is to practice for an hour or so several times a week on a local stream using the floating Scandi tip with 10’ Rio Versileaders or the Skagit head with light sink tips.

Keeping things simple is important to me. Can you recommend a few basic, easy-to-learn casts for a beginner to practice in preparation for next fall’s steelhead run?

Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:02 AM
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Roll cast, overhead cast.

...and yer ready to fish. Concentrate on a high, FIRM stop on the forward stroke.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:08 AM
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Basic casts

The first casts that most people have the easiest time learning are the double spey, and the snap-t or some call it a circle cast. If you can get those down from both sides of the river and make clean cast to 65 or 70 feet you are ready to fish almost anywhere.

After you master these cast then start thinking about single speys and snake rolls.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:18 AM
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I'd advise you to pick one line and concentrate on mastering one or the other.

If you chose Scandi then master the "kiss and go" or "touch and go" casts: Single Spey and Snake Roll.

If you chose the Skagit, master the water born anchor casts: Circle Spey and Double Spey.

Note: I am just suggesting the most two basic basic casts for each style and I am not addressing wind direction etc. Nor am I addressing casting back (cack) hand or learning non dominant hand up. Do you your homework and a pick the style that suits your target species, waters you fish, and style you find attractive. Above all other considerations BE SAFE. Wear a hat and glasses at ALL TIMES.

Oh yeah...HAVE FUN.

I am also trying not to biased. I do have a strong opinion on where you should start. I'll leave that to others and or you to your own devices.

Good luck and welcome aboard.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:25 AM
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I've just been through the

same thing you're going through now, Tamarack. I recently bought both a Switch Rod and a Decho 7wt, and have been practicing and learning a lot in the last couple months.

I don't know anyone where I live in Minnesota that Spey casts, so I've been going solo. Undoubtedly getting individual lessons is the best approach, if it's an option for you.

I don't know what advice others might give you, but for myself, I learned the most by purchasing Ed Ward's Skagit Master DVD, and watching it a bunch of times, and practicing both on the grass and in the water (fishing for smallies).

I also watched Mel Kreiger The Essence of Fly Casting 2, and Rio's 3 dvd set on Spey fishing. Both are great and helpful. Plus the great books by Dec H and Simon G. Plus all the chatter on this site -- amazingly helpful, and nearly every conceivable issue has been addressed and is archived. Plus you can find stuff on Youtube. I had to figure out, however, that I couldn't mix casting approaches as I'm learning. So I settled on Skagit style and have attempted to learn the basics. And for that, the Skagit Master dvd has been absolutely invaluable. I recommend it. (Apparently Vol 2 is out, or soon to be out.)

He covers super basic principles for sustained anchor casting (pick up, set, sweep, 45 thrust, etc). Once you learn those they can be applied in all the casts. He goes over just a few basic casts that are foundational (C-Spey, Double Spey, Perry Poke, etc). Thanks to EW for the clear and informative teaching, and for breaking the cast down into the component parts.

The learning curve is steep, especially if you have muscle memory for the single handed style, as I do. But it's coming along nicely. My casts are improving, and occasionally it all comes together. Feels pretty dang good too.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:48 AM
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I am also new to this sport and have found lots of usefull info here on speypages.

Four casts that you should learn to start off with, are: C-spey, double spey, and the reverse of both of these casts.

Another cast that is a bit easier than the double spey, for me anyway, is the downriver C-spey.

These casts were created for skagit style casting, but I have found, with advice from others, that they work very well with the scandi lines also.
All you have to do is power down on your casts, because the line will be lighter.

Good luck on your adventures with spey casting!

Tight Lines!


You do not cease to fish because you get old, you get old because you cease to fish
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 03:02 AM
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The following is the recommendation from another novice, just ahead of you on the road.

In the long term, try to learn all of the casts that you can, with the proper hand up. Focus your initial efforts on on the double and the snap-t. Those are both water-borne anchors, so the timing is easier to get. If you know both, with left and right hand on top, then you'll have one upstream anchor cast and a down stream anchor cast, from both banks. You'll be able to fish.

I'll leave the question of lines and casting styles to you, because it really is dependent upon the type of fishing conditions you deal with and your own personal preferences.

Best of luck,

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 12:30 PM
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Not to muddy the waters because I agree with these posts but the Perry Poke is a very fun cast -

I learned to fish first with kind of a double spey by pulling the head into the rod, just out of the reel. Then after I set the anchor below me I basically just brought the rod around and did a roll cast. More of a flop than a cast but it got me fishing. Then I tried it cack handed and it kinda worked ok.

But I think the snap t or circle cast or snap c or one of those types is the easiest to cast- May look hard but its easy and fun.

But the double spey was the most difficult for me to really learn to cast correctly.

Now, I'm a Jedi

eres un mentiroso y gordo
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, folks. I am currently working on the snap-c from river left, double spey from river right and simply "hopping" the line back and forth, John Hazel's exercise to learn the timing required by the single spey. These casts should keep me busy all summer.

Here's a quick followup question: where does your bottom hand stop at the completion of the forward stroke? Mine seems to be touching my hip or just slightly above it. Does it matter as long as the rod makes an abrupt stop near 11:00?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 12:27 PM
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Mine usually ends up higher- like by my right pec muscle or mid sternum- but I'm just making conversation- hip might be a little low.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 11:27 AM
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Tamarack - regarding final bottom hand position - it partly depends on how deep you are wading. for typical wading to say mid-thigh you can have a fairly low stop - belt buckle or belly button. Probably what is more important is staying inside the box if you have seen Ed's video. This box can be low or it can be high if wading deep but you should keep the hand and arm motions compact - if you are wading up to your chest, you need a high box to keep hands and elbows out of the water.

Regarding whether you change hands - that is a preference that is up to you. For short head systems I see no need to change hands but rather just cast cack-handed and in fact that is probably my most powerful and consistent cast. If you can develop left hand up - more power to you but I prefer to just go cack-handed rather than trying to change hands when the wind is swirling.

I think there is benefit of switching hands when using longer line systems as cack-handed has some limitation in extending the casting stroke and drifting
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 10:27 AM
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watch the casts done right

It was mentioned above-- but I'd suggest that a good dvd is something to seriously consider, too. Spend the dough there instead of all the lines we are tempted to get and fiddle around with.the rio modern speycasting one covers all the casts nicely, and shows the common errors and what causes them. It shows all the timing based casts, and the skagit techniqes; all in one set of discs.
I got helped by eliminating the errors; and what was left was a fishable cast. Consider that if you're doing something wrong the first time out, all your practice might be reinforcing the wrong thing over and over if you're on your own. If you cant get pro instruction, this is a good substitute. And you can watch proper casting motion when you aren't on the water, over and over.
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