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Broken Down Spey Freak
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Fishing at distance allows for a steep angle on your line. Combine that with a long leader and your fishing low and slow through the whole swing.
When fishing a long line you still start in close and work your way out. So yes, you are fishing the water in front of you. It just takes longer before you have to move down stream and disturb the upcoming dangle.
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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My observations of Spey casting on the Skeena:
1. Length of cast is inversely proportional to number of steelhead encountered.
I'm not sure how the length of the cast changes the amount of fish in a given area.
2. Depth of wading is also inversely proportional to the number of steelhead encountered.
Again, I don't see the relationship here. You cast to your best shot regardless of the depth your standing in. Close or far.
 

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All Tangled Up
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715 Posts
I'm not sure this question serves any real purpose other than to churn the forum as the answer totally depends on context. The fish are where the fish are. There are many steelhead rivers I fish where maybe one run in a day do I need to go over 60' foot to fly. There are others that have a few weirdo spots that really do need a long (100'+) cast, and they are high-productivity spots because they aren't pressured, mostly because they are overlooked but partly most anglers on that river can't reach them. I am not disadvantaged in any way fishing rivers of the first type because I can also fish rivers of the second type.

For trout spey, there is one river section I regularly fish where almost all my fish come from 'longer' casts, if the definition of 'long' is further than most other anglers on that river, as they are all overhead single-hand casters. Being able to fish two feet off a hugely overgrown bank, with left-side spey casts, 60-70', is the difference between zero fish and many fish. Couple miles higher in the watershed it's all 20' roll casts on a single-hand 3 to 5wt.

Relevance of distance is totally situationally dependent.
 

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I'm not sure how the length of the cast changes the amount of fish in a given area.

Again, I don't see the relationship here. You cast to your best shot regardless of the depth your standing in. Close or far.
Many of the catchable steelhead (my experience) on the Skeena run near the shore - within 30 ft of the beach. I live on the Skeena and fish more days than most of the guides in the area and have the opportunity to see a large variety of spey fishermen. I have followed some wonderfully skilled long casting fishermen down the river. Many of these excellent spey fisherman wade butt deep into the river and cast beyond the most catchable fish. As they are throwing into deeper water they tend to have sink tips that make it difficult to swing into the most productive shallow water.
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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3,412 Posts
I agree, most fish are closer to shore. I may only be casting and fishing 30 feet from the bank but I'm standing 100-150 up stream to do it. Steep angle, slow swing. More time in the slot.
I don't use tips very often at all so I can't speak to them for swinging but if the are known fish out there that's where I'm going to fish.
 

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A lot of variables here… if I’m doing half as long casts I can move through a run twice as fast and then be in the next run by the time someone is half way through.. Casting long feels good but it’s not the most efficient way to find fish in most situations. That being said I also move probably twice as fast (4-5 steps a cast) as most anyway as I want to find fish vs try and poke a sad one
 

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Way too many variables. Depends on the river, winter or summer fish, etc..

but I’m here, so I’ll bite.

As highlighted to me on a recent trip. If fishing a head of 60ft or more, when you add leader and rod length. You’re pushing 100ft with less than 20-30 feet of running line out and can single spey with both hands you can cover massive chunks of water very quickly without wasting time stripping in running line. I however am not yet that comfortable with long lines and fish shorter heads.

With heads less than 40ft I don’t find it all that efficient or fun to cast more than 70-80ft due to the time it takes to strip in line between cast.

if I am fishing a single hand take off another 20-30ft.

Given an average run and assuming we aren’t talking about turning over heavy tips and flies, I don’t think any of the above scenarios are more effective than the other. Just depends on how you want to fish and spend your time. Fish can be anywhere or nowhere.
 

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So, I'm confused. If you're fishing big rivers for steelhead and you only cast 60 feet even if you're not the first guy through and you see buckets 80 or 90 feet out, do you just skip them? I try and fish every bucket or seam I can cast to effectively. Of course I start short and work my way out, but I try to fish as much of the river as I can as long as I can still control my fly. Trout are a different story as well as Atlantics. Different fish and tactics.
 

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18 foot spey rod DV8
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1,116 Posts
I would coach that you spey all the water you can reach with a controlled swing that presents your fly at different speeds, angles, actions, and depths. Line control through aerial reach and elevated mends allows you to lead your fly and lift your line above broken swirling surface water and protruding boulders. This is where the mending proficiency of a longer 16 foot traditional spey rod and line, as well as its added reach, is advantageous over that of a shorter switch rod and Scandi line, even on a medium size tributary rivers.
Regards from the Restigouche...Jim
 
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