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chrome-magnon man
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5,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The single Spey is the very best cast for anyone wanting to become an expert Speycaster. When coupled with the Snake Roll the advanced caster has two technically demanding casts that are extremely powerful and impressive to watch. We can monkey around with all other casts and become proficient--and well we should give attention to the variety of Spey casts for there is much to learn from each--but to master the single Spey is to put you at the top of your game.

Better than any other cast the single Spey gives us insights into the essence of Speycasting--line control. For no other cast demands as much precise line control as the single. In order to single Spey really well you need to do everything right at every stage of the cast. There is very little room to fix the cast once it's begun. The single Spey was the hardest cast for me to master, and it remains the cast that I tend to work on most of the time.

The elements of the single Spey are the same as every other cast--the initial lift, D loop formation, and delivery cast. Mastery of these with the single Spey will give you insights into all other casts and allow you to apply your knowledge so that you can improve your casting on your own.

What elements should we look for when seeking to improve our single Spey? First, let's look at line tension. Fromthe moment you begin your lift until you stop the rod on your forward delivery, you should do your best to maintain line tension. Line tension lets you know that your system is free of slack and that you're getting the most out of the energy you're putting into the cast. Perhaps the greatest secret to line tension is the speed at which you move through the casting motions. Most casters move too fast: fearing that slack will appear in the system, they hurry through the single Spey, thinking that this will maintain line tension. In fact, raw speed is not the answer. It is slower, controlled motions that keep things slack free.

One of the great problems with moving too rapidly through the casting motions is that you have very little room left to add even more speed during your acceleration of the rod tip to a stop to form the D loop and the loop for the delivery cast. Whether backcast (D loop formation) or forward cast, all fly casts are made by accelerating the rod to a postive stop. If you start out moving everything too quickly, you risk the need to move things so fast that you lose control of the rod and line. Loss o control at any stage creates the opportunity for slack to sneak into your system, defeating all of your efforts. Watch the great modern tournament casters like Scott Mackenzie or Gordon Armstrong and you will see a relaxed continuous motion through much of the casting cycle, with rapid--even explosive--acceleration during the final moments before the rod stops to form the outbound loop. There is no rush--in fact, it looks like these masters are simply picking up the rod and moving it around. Of course it isn't quite as simple as that--they are masters of line control and the subtleties of power application during the casting cycle--but it is worth paying attention to the speed at which they move the rod around. It isn't very fast at all (note: you can see Armstrong casting in the members' video section).

Of course, in order to move the rod slowly, you have to start out with a completely slack-free system. As a casting instructor I'm always on my students about eliminating slack before they cast. The steps are simple:

1. make sure the line has finished its swing and is hanging straight below you in the current.
2. strip in to make sure your line is tight.
3. point your rod tip at your line and drop it until it is about 1/2 an inch above the water.
4. strip in a bit more just to be sure.
5. slowly begin your lift, watching your rod tip. It should start to bend immediately and continue to bend thorughout the casting cycle. If it doesn't bend right away, or if it straightens out at anytime before you throw you D loop or your forward cast--even if it straightens out just a little--you've introduced slack into your system.

(bonus points for anyone who can figure out why #2 and #3 shouldn't be in reverse order!)

From now on in any of your practice sessions, pay close attention to your rod tip. Work on moving the rod slowly, and watch for that bend. Keep it there, and then through acceleration increase it to it maximum point just prior to loop formation, and you'll find that your casting gets a whole lot cleaner, easier...and more powerful.
 

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fly on little wing
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1,136 Posts
hey Dana

about the bonus points. Does it have to do with casting or fishing? I can understand why you don't want to reverse the order when fishing.

Gary
 

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Registered
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112 Posts
Bonus Points

2 then 3 then 4 removes curve in the line due to current differences between where the caster is standing and where the fly is downstream. Curve in line translates into slack.
 

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Norwegian speyfanatic
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197 Posts
At least when fishing for atlantics the salmon sometimes takes when you start stripping. If the rod tip is level to the line you will get too much contact with the take and you will in most cases loose the salmon.
 

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fly on little wing
Joined
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1,136 Posts
yes,

What McIntyre says.

Big take. Tight direct line. No shock absorbing. Lost fish.

Gary
 
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