Mid-belly lines, shooting and room for the d-loop? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Mid-belly lines, shooting and room for the d-loop?

I recently bought a rod off someone here on the forums that came with a SA mid-belly spey line. The belly is ~54ft long. I spent all last weekend learning to cast with it, and I can officially say I can do a double spey and single spey (most of the time ). I think I would have had a much easier time figuring things out with a shorter shooting-head system, but I was just using what I had and despite the initial frustrations, I think I have it mostly down.

Anyways, I basically just kept most of the belly outside the rod tip (sometimes less for shorter casting), and played around with touch and go casting, and didn't really shoot any line. Is it typical to just not shoot much with these lines? Even with some of the most well executed casts I did, it wouldn't "thunk" against the reel that hard. I was basically fishing ~70ft out, which was able to cover the water pretty well and I also liked how much of time I was able to keep my fly in the water and swinging (as opposed to stripping, casting/shooting, swinging and stripping again).

Also, what's a good rule of thumb when thinking about backcasting/d-loop room? I was fishing the Deschutes last weekend, and it's difficult to wade more than 15-20ft from the bank, and in a lot of cases it was much less than that. Doing just a single spey seemed to require a massive d-loop to load the road and would catch the bank, so I started using the double almost exclusively and it helped and I got cleaner casts in general. Is it safe to say that you can divide the length of your lines belly by two, and that basically tells you how far to stay from the bank?

I think I will probably go for a skagit line before too long, just for the sake of room for the d-loop. I also tried a small section of sinktip with the mid-belly line and it made for some hideous casting. That just won't fly for winter steelies
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 06:27 PM
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Hey These lines take a bit more practice to get used too. I would say a 54 foot belly is a short head line with 65 feet more of a mid belly line. I found that learning the snake roll is good for shorter back cast room. Its also a nice smooth cast to learn. Just lift and make an e shape. I usually shoot about 10 feet of line if I want to. Make sure you don't have any running line outside of the end guide.
If you have some time before work or whenever to practice for 30 minutes thats great. Just be patient and you'll love it more than and skagit or scandi. Unless you really need the backcast room I'd stick with it for a while.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 07:11 PM
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I agree with the last idea that the line you have is really a short head line. Most mid belly lines start at about 63 feet or so. It could take awhile to get the timing and power application nailed down depending upon the rod you're using. Some rods seem to favor "heads" (shorter heads yet) more than the mid belly lines. I may be wrong on this but it seems to me that the timing is easier to get with a rod that bends deep into the butt, one that flexes into the cork. This usually is a "slower" action rod which gives you a bit more time to get your timing correct for the power stroke. When you finally "get it" you'll find that these lines can shoot line with the best of them! They do require a correspondingly larger, flatter, d-loop if you are to achieve this, however.. Others on the forum with competition casting experience may want to weigh in on this subject since they do this stuff all of the time as they learn to push the "envelope" even further.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 07:19 PM
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on backcast room, you initially need about 1/3-1/2 of line length for the D-loop. As your single spey improves with a shorthead (~50') spey line, you learn to adjust anchor placement and D-loop orientation to where you can honestly expect to stand 10' from the bank and throw 100' with no backcast issues. It is when you're literally an arm's length from the bank that things start to get so tricky that distance and accuracy take a hit. As an occasional problem, I've found that tradeoff is worth it for the efficiency gained elsewhere. However, add tips and big weighted leeches to the tight quarters, and the shorter shooting heads quickly start to show their stuff.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 07:21 PM
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It's OK to not shoot line, but for me at least, isn't typical. It depends on what you need to do to fish the water, that's all.
A good caster can shoot substantial amounts of line with any properly matched head, short or long.
Not so much a rule of thumb as a judgment call; but the closer to the bushes you are, the shorter your head should be unless you really want to limit the arc of your swing.
Keep practicing, get some coaching, and applaud yourself for small wins!

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffvl View Post
Hey These lines take a bit more practice to get used too. I would say a 54 foot belly is a short head line with 65 feet more of a mid belly line. I found that learning the snake roll is good for shorter back cast room. Its also a nice smooth cast to learn. Just lift and make an e shape. I usually shoot about 10 feet of line if I want to. Make sure you don't have any running line outside of the end guide.
If you have some time before work or whenever to practice for 30 minutes thats great. Just be patient and you'll love it more than and skagit or scandi. Unless you really need the backcast room I'd stick with it for a while.
Yeah, I am planning on using this line for as long as I'm able to fish a floating line this season. I don't think there'd be any way to use this line for winter fishing.

To answer Steelspey's question, I am using a Redington CPX 7-weight with a 7-weight SA Short Head spey line (not sure why I thought it was mid-belly... thought I read that mid bellies were in the 50-60ft range). If I had to guess, I would say that the rod does feel a little underlined, as the rod feels extremely fast. I don't feel the rod load very much at all, even when I get a really clean and tight loop.

This also caused an issue with trying to get my anchor positioned correctly. Slightly too hard and my d-loop turned into a false cast and sometimes ended up in the bushes, and too light ended in too small of a loop and wouldn't load the rod. It seems like the margin for error is absolutely tiny, but I guess practice makes perfect.

Also, is it possible to do things like the snap-T with this length of head? I feel like it would be really hard to snap that length of line around.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and a quick question on polyleaders: are they going to make it much more challenging to cast? I want to fish some of the local rivers (Sandy or Clackamas), but I think I may need to get just a little deeper as it's been raining for a couple weeks.

I'm thinking I'll need to fish 1-2ft deep. Any recommendations on sink rate?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 03:06 PM
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Polyleaders in the floating and intermediate will not change the casting. They will give a little more "stick" than a mono leader. It is when you get to the fast sinking and heavier poly leaders that floating line tips need to be cut back some. For example a RIO AFS has a long fine front taper. If I am using a heavier poly, I will cut it at 7 feet and put in a loop for the poly.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by t_richerzhagen View Post
Polyleaders in the floating and intermediate will not change the casting. They will give a little more "stick" than a mono leader. It is when you get to the fast sinking and heavier poly leaders that floating line tips need to be cut back some. For example a RIO AFS has a long fine front taper. If I am using a heavier poly, I will cut it at 7 feet and put in a loop for the poly.
That makes sense. Does that just mean I need to lift the line out of the water more aggressively to set my anchor?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 03:39 PM
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For the floating and intermediate, you will probably notice little difference from a mono leader. The problem comes when the polyleader becomes too heave. It takes mass to turn over mass. For the heavier polys you will want to cut back the floating line or the energy will not transfer well and there will be hinging.

Try the leaders you have. Right now the water temperature should be high enough that you do not need to get deep. For an extra fast sink poly, you will probably have to cut the floating line back some and add loops. Save the floating section, loop it back on and you have your original floating line.

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 07:10 PM
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Oregonism-Your observations re the difficulty you sometimes have in "casting short" is something that is familiar to me. I have a short head line(Delta 7/8) which casts well on the rod I got it for-but-only when the entire head is out-otherwise the rod does'nt seem to load adequately. I have experimented and have since decided that a scandi head works much better for casting "short" on my rod and gives up nothing when I have to cast long so I switch back and forth between the scandi(when the water is lower)and a Skagit head when the water begins to get higher. I just loop to loop them to the same "ridge" running line. It only takes a few seconds to do this. Casting short has always been one of my biggest criteria for a rod/line combination. Distance can be nice and even necessary on some rivers but, for the ones I'm presently fishing, being able to cast short trumps distance most of the time and distance is easily achievable if it is needed. The only drawback is the line handling required, since, once the weather gets cold you have to get your hands wet. Then a midbelly or even a short head might well be more comfortable to use. You just have to decide how much discomfort you can put up with so it's a tradeoff.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by steelspey View Post
Oregonism-Your observations re the difficulty you sometimes have in "casting short" is something that is familiar to me. I have a short head line(Delta 7/8) which casts well on the rod I got it for-but-only when the entire head is out-otherwise the rod does'nt seem to load adequately. I have experimented and have since decided that a scandi head works much better for casting "short" on my rod and gives up nothing when I have to cast long so I switch back and forth between the scandi(when the water is lower)and a Skagit head when the water begins to get higher. I just loop to loop them to the same "ridge" running line. It only takes a few seconds to do this. Casting short has always been one of my biggest criteria for a rod/line combination. Distance can be nice and even necessary on some rivers but, for the ones I'm presently fishing, being able to cast short trumps distance most of the time and distance is easily achievable if it is needed. The only drawback is the line handling required, since, once the weather gets cold you have to get your hands wet. Then a midbelly or even a short head might well be more comfortable to use. You just have to decide how much discomfort you can put up with so it's a tradeoff.
I was able to cast short towards the end of my second day, but it was mostly just a roll cast. As long as I had at least ~40ft of the head out, I could do normal spey casts fairly easily. Any shorter than that and things got a bit ugly.

I'm thinking I will get a compact skagit and running line setup in December when the winter fish start rolling in, but I'll keep this line and just snip the head off and add a loop. That way I can just throw it on the running line when conditions call for it. I am going to get some intermediate or fast sink polyleaders this weekend and play around with those and see how I do. A couple of the coastal rivers here in Oregon are just stupid with fish right now
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 02:47 PM
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I like "stupid with fish" and wish I could be there to "help"!
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 03:07 PM
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I find that I can go some of the way to solving the 'little room behind me' problem with the use of a Snap-Tee cast, placing the anchor out on the river. It even seems fairly safe in an adverse wind situation provided a gale is not blowing.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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I find that I can go some of the way to solving the 'little room behind me' problem with the use of a Snap-Tee cast, placing the anchor out on the river. It even seems fairly safe in an adverse wind situation provided a gale is not blowing.
Yeah, I think the snap-t and snake roll are going to be the next casts I'll focus on learning. Fortunately, the rivers I'll be fishing through most of October are low gradient freestone streams, so you can wade out far enough to have a pretty good amount of backcast room. I will be back out to the Deschutes in early November, and it's just a notoriously hard river to wade once you get up past a certain point and you have to stay in pretty close to the bank.

@steelspey: Yeah man, should be fun! My buddy was down on one of the rivers and said there were steelies rolling everywhere, and there are also a good amount of chinook and coho. He only landed one 10# hen though.
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