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Discussion Starter #1
Another question along my road to learning to spey cast. I have seen some videos and read some material about anchor placement. However, I'm struggling to adjust my anchor placement. I'm using an 8136-4 with an Airflow 600gr skagit compact with a 50/50 floating/sinking MOW tip. I can't figure out how to place my anchor in front of me and only seem to be able to place it behind me. This is all with a single spey cast.

Do I need to lower my backcast, or is there something else I'm missing? I'm trying to increase my casting distance and can't seem to add power without blowing my anchor or placing the anchor way behind me. Advice?
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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With a single spey you need to make sure you start with a slow lift to about 45deg rod angle before you start to sweep/rotate. If you sweep/rotate too fast you will pull the line out with too much force and the anchor will land too far back. It should be forward of about a rod length beside you. Hard to be sure without actually seeing the cast.

Dan
 

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I don’t see a major issue here, just keep at it. Practice putting the anchor in different places, and go back to doing switch casts when things are breaking down. FWIW single spey with a skagit and sink tip is not the easiest match, and people generally are just happy if they come off. As you probably are already aware, the forte of single spey cast is with longer lines. With the system you are using while doing a single spey you have a very limited d-loop and don’t have much access to a sunk anchor, so power will be limited.

A possible solution for your setup is to try the single spey “figure-of-eight” style. I got it originally from the Hugh Falkus book (his term) and some of his videos, but for him this was simply how you do a single spey. I’ve seen various instructors including Jeff Putnam and if memory is correct Simon Gawesworth demo it. This involves a high lift and a smooth but very pronounced dip of the rod before coming back up into the key position. With a longer line you may even start a bit towards the shore, hence the figure eight.

Needless to say this violates most of what people will tell you about doing the single spey in this century, but Falkus considered it to be so important at the time that he had a kind of permanent sculpture built for his students (see below) so they could learn the shape sliding their rods over the curve. Unfortunately all the Falkus videos that were once on YouTube have been now been removed, including his “classic” and even spoofed “how to get out of the river when your waders are full of water” one. :( But long story short, try a more pronounced lift and dip this will land the anchor more out front, but tune it back if you start getting a bloody L. But a very pronounced dip as is used here, and not the “error” dip on a more horizontal sweep that is warned against will, if done correctly, remove the bloody L issue and leave the anchor straight. It works great with skagit heads. It’s not canonical long line single spey anymore but for such a short line you may find it gives you more power.

But if this is only about learning I would suggest learning the SS first on a scandi head with a long tapered mono leader. Learning it for the FIRST time with a skagit head is kinda like Steve Martin’s suggestion that a practical joke you can play on young kids is to speak gibberish around them while they are learning to speak.:chuckle:
 

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Hacker
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A possible solution for your setup is to try the single spey “figure-of-eight” style. I got it originally from the Hugh Falkus book (his term) and some of his videos, but for him this was simply how you do a single spey. I’ve seen various instructors including Jeff Putnam and if memory is correct Simon Gawesworth demo it. This involves a high lift and a smooth but very pronounced dip of the rod before coming back up. With a longer line you may even start a bit towards the shore, hence the figure eight.
This is the way I was taught and it worked well. There are some very good videos on the swing the fly site. One has Bruce Kruk talking about the single spey at Poppy's spey clave this last fall. Also, anything you can find from Zack Williams, he stresses anchor placement. You might also want to consider the circle spey or similar cast for the length-challenged skagit heads.
 

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This might help a bit. Gawesworth demonstrates anchor placements that sounds very much like what you're describing.

 

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BULL DOG!!!!
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Are you doing a water born cast or a airialized cast.
Good rule of thumb is line follows rod tip so wherever you stop the rod tip the line will follow
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for all the great info. I'm doing a water borne cast. I am going to try with a scandi and see if it helps. It makes sense that a skagit might be less forgiving for a single spey given the head length.

I love the old photo and am watching and re-watching that episode of Spey TV. I'm going to have to look up the rest of the series. I had actually tried dropping my rod tip to get a better anchor with mixed success. I also need to just work on keeping my cast smooth, I'm guessing that just takes a lot of practice. I'm in Florida so instruction opportunities are a bit limited.
 

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Try practicing first with a switch cast- just a single spey without the change of direction.

And then I'll paraphrase Zack Williams- don't cast, just set your anchor. Lift slow..... no, slower than that, then rotate to float your lone back and let your anchor fall in place. If it goes too far, you're using too much speed/power.

Don't cast, Roll cast it back down and start again. Just work on your anchor til you can get it where you want it - within a rod length and in front of you.

Keep working on your switch anchor til you can place it consistently. then start firing off casts- back the direction you lifted from. Once you are doing that consistently, incorporate the change of direction for a single spey. After you figure out how to make the anchor land where you want.
 

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And for what it's worth I hate the dip. I think it leads to crashing/crumpled anchors. Fly should land first, followed by the tippet and and enough tip to create your anchor.

I like everything by Robert Gilespie

 

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Discussion Starter #10
And for what it's worth I hate the dip. I think it leads to crashing/crumpled anchors. Fly should land first, followed by the tippet and and enough tip to create your anchor.

I like everything by Robert Gilespie

That is a great video! Really shows the figure 8 well also. Although all these videos are a bit depressing since it looks so easy. 🙂
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
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Robert would roll over in his grave if he was dead at hearing what he is doing as a figure 8 lol.
Climbing curve means, as he’s doing the lift the rod tip is lifted towards where he is going to cast or the target.
As I stated lines follows rod tip so why would you lift away from the target to make it harder to swing the line to the target thus increasing slack in the line. Another issue that happens when lifting away from the target to the inshore bank is the propensity to pull the line around with the top hand which cause all kinds of other issues with one of them being not having control of the line and thus no control as to where the anchor goes.
Admittedly this applies far more to longer lines, but good casting is good casting.
 

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Robert would roll over in his grave if he was dead at hearing what he is doing as a figure 8 lol.
Climbing curve means, as he’s doing the lift the rod tip is lifted towards where he is going to cast or the target.
As I stated lines follows rod tip so why would you lift away from the target to make it harder to swing the line to the target thus increasing slack in the line. Another issue that happens when lifting away from the target to the inshore bank is the propensity to pull the line around with the top hand which cause all kinds of other issues with one of them being not having control of the line and thus no control as to where the anchor goes.
Admittedly this applies far more to longer lines, but good casting is good casting.
Yeah, that wasn’t it in the video. :Eyecrazy:

When done correctly with correct timing the figure of eight style does not create a crumpled anchor and the anchor is lined up, but it is true that the fly lands later. I think this type of cast has even been advocated for keeping your dry fly dry when casting in tight quarters - if you are fast enough. ;)

I don’t see the point of bashing a cast because of problems when doing one incorrectly since every technique has similar issues and pitfalls. There probably were a whole set of reasons this style worked well with the older, heavier gear and lines Falkus was using. Seeing one video is enough to convince anyone that the gear was different. Pity they all got removed from youtube, which is kind of crazy because it is nearly impossible to actually find and buy the original programs whose copywrite was being protected.

I’m not advocating it for general use, only as a possible solution to a specific problem created by using a SUBOPTIMAL setup for doing doing a particular spey cast. Don’t get me wrong, I will usually during a day of fishing do a dozen or two snake rolls and a bunch of single speys even with a Skagit head and the heaviest of tips. I just feel like these aren’t “real” snake rolls and single speys with that head. :chuckle: But they do get the job done and sometimes are even the best casts in tricky situations.

The reason for using a scandi setup to learn the single spey is not that it will be easier, but because it will teach you the right lessons about the cast - precise timing, the smooth acceleration on the turn and a delicate touch and go, not to mention NO dip. AND since you will not be trying to trick a setup that was IMO never intended to do really graceful single spey casts in the first place you may get good results following all the videos etc on how to do it. Simon said it in right the video posted above, yes you can do one with a skagit head but why? You CAN put ketchup on your ice cream too. As Crocodile Dundee once said “you can live on it, but it tastes like s***!”

I’m also convinced that if the OP learns it on a scandi setup first and really gets it there when he come back to the skagit it will suddenly work and make sense.
 

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Try not to break you wrist backwards at any time during the cast. Also, and this is important, don't let your upper elbow swing outward. If you do you will dump a lot of line on the water behind you. (You'll have too much anchor on the water.) My elbow is kind of a pivot point my forearm circles around,

I like to keep my top elbow pointed at the target. This puts a part of anchor in front to me. Also, when I execute my forward cast I won't lower the rod tip from the target line (a la Joan Wulff and Steve Rajeff).

Randy
 

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Lots of very good casting tips here for you, but I have to say that imho for your set up I think you’re over complicating things a bit. With a 13’6” rod and a 25’ Skagit head you really don’t have a ton of wiggle room in regards to your anchor placement. For working on your single spey cast, and other touch and go type casts, you might find a lot of this information more relevant and helpful with a bit longer line. Starting with no direction change (or going back to no direction change in times of trouble) can be very helpful in terms of sorting out your anchor placement and casting stroke, tempo, etc. The less variables you try to juggle, the better you can focus on specific ingredients. That has been a very helpful tool countless times for me at least.
Best of luck,
JB
 

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Kinigit

Watch Gillespie's Incline Exercise video and practice each step. Then watch his climbing curve videos, they are in 3 parts, but are short and very informative (do the exercises first though). All four videos really helped me and I return to them at least annually, or whenever my casting's gone to the dogs. Having recently graduated to longer bellies they were of real value to me. As he says, once you've mastered the incline exercise "it's game over"...sort of, bookmark the videos. Enjoy the ride.



Mark
 

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Kinigit

Watch Gillespie's Incline Exercise video and practice each step. Then watch his climbing curve videos, they are in 3 parts, but are short and very informative (do the exercises first though). All four videos really helped me and I return to them at least annually, or whenever my casting's gone to the dogs. Having recently graduated to longer bellies they were of real value to me. As he says, once you've mastered the incline exercise "it's game over"...sort of, bookmark the videos. Enjoy the ride.



Mark
These videos just made everything “click” for me. I only wish I had seen them in July. Looking forward to getting back on the water and casting after watching them. Thanks for posting.
 

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You bet. Notice that he applies the same principles to both touch and go and sustained anchor casts. With the later there are a wealth of videos on the actual setting of the anchor for different SA casts. Ed Ward's and Tom Larimer's are highly recommended.
 
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