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Discussion Starter #1
I have found the cackhanded single spey to be one of the most useful casts in the situations I fish in. Seems like for some reason, I find myself fishing river right more than river left. I love the efficiency of the single spey and cackhanded single spey. When I have my timing and stroke just right, this cast sends the line out with a satisfyingly tight loop and straight delivery of the fly.

However, at other given times, this cast falls apart for me. If the wind is blowing just a bit too hard upstream, when I am wading deep, or when I am applying too much power while going for distance, things can go south with my cackhanded single.

Just wondering if you guys have any thoughts on using the cackhanded single and how to maintain consistency with it.

Thanks,
Todd
 

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Why not go ambidextrous?

Have you attempted casting with your other hand up top?

Cack-handed casting is for wimps. :chuckle:
 

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Cackhand???? Try both hands!

After casting righthand up and cackhand for two plus years a friend told me to start practicing left up and stick with it. Well after a few weeks of feeling like a spaz it started to come around. Switch cast and then the single spey started to work OK. Double spey followed. I am now trying to snake roll......looks prety ugly. But with practice, practice and more practice it is stating to look good. I single spey than snake roll back. I have not developed the strength to go as long left up as I can right up, so I switch back to right up and give the left a break. I guess my point is that you have to stick with it and it will start to work. Being right handed spey casting came along faster and the left is so much harder but worth the effort in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re; left hand up

Thanks guys for the suggestions to cast left hand up. I tried that for a while and it worked fine with some practice. I then started practicing reverse or cackhanded casts and I like them better. I am able to get more power and am less likely to over rotate when I make my d-loop. I am doing ok most of the time with the cackhanded single, I just want to continue to improve it.

Todd
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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After casting righthand up and cackhand for two plus years a friend told me to start practicing left up and stick with it. Well after a few weeks of feeling like a spaz it started to come around. Switch cast and then the single spey started to work OK. Double spey followed. I am now trying to snake roll......looks prety ugly. But with practice, practice and more practice it is stating to look good. I single spey than snake roll back. I have not developed the strength to go as long left up as I can right up, so I switch back to right up and give the left a break. I guess my point is that you have to stick with it and it will start to work. Being right handed spey casting came along faster and the left is so much harder but worth the effort in the long run.
Like old uncle JD says, the mind commands and the body obeys...
reluctantly.
You're lucky, you only felt like me for a few weeks. try 49 years...:chuckle:
 

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Fishing the Purple Tiger
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Being ambidextrous, while good for bragging rights, doesn't mean you catch more fish. I fish some big rivers and the only reason I go to a cackhanded cast is the wind, not the distance.....anyway, my point is this:

Who cares if you are ambidextrous or not? Answer: people who are and want to brag about it.

In summary, go cackhanded if you want, it works fine, you will catch the same fish as an ambidextrous caster if you are a good fisherman.


Answering your post xgolfman. I think the reason your cast falls apart is the fact that a single spey is the most difficult of all to learn. Just keep doing it and it will come along. Remember when you began and your trusty doubles would fall apart in certain runs but they probably don't anymore? Same exact $hit.
 

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Ambidextrous not for bragging ... natural and practical.

Here's fuel for the fire ...

The cack-handed cast and then holding the rod through the drift with the unnatural hand is just that ... unnatural, with the arm across the body during the cast, creating a sharper rod angle after, and producing a shorter swing and, in turn, less drift. Come to think, yes, the fly is, in fact, in the water less. Casting and swinging with the unnatural hand is like walking backwards and turning your head around so you can see where you're going. Henrik Mortensen, the ass, personally taught me the sense of learning how to apply the natural arm for the natural direction of the river's flow.

Proficient, ambidextrous casting ... no, swinging, will catch more fish because your fly is in the water more. But that is a subject for another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
V-Loop,
I don't use the cack handed cast because it is necessarily better, I use it because I am simply more comfortable with it at this point in my spey journey. About at year ago, I actually thought I was going to be only using left hand up casts rather than reverse/cackhanded casts when needed. I got to be minimally proficient with left hand up casts and I was continuing to practice them. However, when I was stuck in HI I had a lot of time to experiment with all kinds of different casts and when I started experimenting with the cackhanded casts, I just liked them better, if for no other reason than they began to feel better to me than using left hand up casts.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll go back to using left hand up casts. I think whatever suits a person at a given time is all good.

XGolf: thanks for sharing the video, that's was a cack single should look like!

Grace and Peace,
Todd
 

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Fishing the Purple Tiger
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Or one could just do a cakhanded cast and than.........*gulp*.........put the rod in the left hand. :Eyecrazy::saeek::whoa:
 

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Here's fuel for the fire ...

The cack-handed cast and then holding the rod through the drift with the unnatural hand is just that ... unnatural, with the arm across the body during the cast, creating a sharper rod angle after, and producing a shorter swing and, in turn, less drift. Come to think, yes, the fly is, in fact, in the water less. Casting and swinging with the unnatural hand is like walking backwards and turning your head around so you can see where you're going. Henrik Mortensen, the ass, personally taught me the sense of learning how to apply the natural arm for the natural direction of the river's flow.

Proficient, ambidextrous casting ... no, swinging, will catch more fish because your fly is in the water more. But that is a subject for another thread.
When you learn to actually fish instead of talk and practice casting you'll realize that it doesn't matter what hand you use or where it's placed..I don't throw my fly straight across but on an angle down so it is fishing immediately.

Jesus, I'm amazed sometimes at what I read on here...:hihi:

HbyW....It took a bit to get out of the skagit mode and to also find the right leader....i.e. with the scandi you really need the 1 1/2 length leader or you get the "jerk" at the end of the cast...Hardest thing is to find the "stop" at the top on a short rod...when you've been using 13' rods an 11' is an even tighter stop....I've been using the shoulder more and almost zero top if possible and that has tightened the loops quite a bit..
 

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''Speydo-masochist''
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I cast cack handed off the right bank quite a lot, I am strongly right hand dominant & casting left handed is more difficult due to a previous shoulder injury -which is no problem day to day, but for a weeks fishing with the big sticks [16 footers] + sunk lines in Autumn, well I'd rather not put it under this sort of repeated stress.
Double spey is fine if you have more room at the back for the D loop, but definately not recommended in an upstream wind.
Cack handed works fine with a moderate upstream wind [lets be honest - nothing works well in a howling gale] & throws the D loop more upstream than 'in-bank' so requires less clearance behind than the double spey.
In terms of consistancy /power, rather than over power the forward cast which will result in the usual problems, make sure you transfer your weight efficiently between your feet. In other words:

1] at the start of the cast - weight on your right foot as you commence your lift.

2] transfer your weight to your left [upstream] foot as you sweep the line upstream of you to form the D loop - this will apply extra power, smoothly, to the sweep ensuring the touchdown is where you place it with a dip of the rod tip rather than falling short [ if short, stop the cast as you would risk being hooked if you continue] then continue to lift the rod into the 'cocked' position ready for the forward stoke as the D loop finishes forming.

3] transfer weight back to your right foot immediately before the forward 'tap' - this will tension the loop as the rod drifts forward with you, but still in the 'cocked' position, it will also partially pre-load the rod.

4] a sharp tap of a forward stroke with plenty of bottom
hand & the right stopping high to avoid driving the line down on to the water - the left hand having to stop abruptly to avoid you clouting yourself in your lower right ribs with the butt cap forces us to do what we want to achieve & should be matched by an equally abrupt stop with the right hand, this will create line speed & provide good turn-over.

5] make an upstream mend if required [prior to touch down if using a fast sinking full line] then swap your rod to the left hand keeping the rod out across the current to slow the initial swing of the fly & - Important this bit, I learned the hard way! - as your right hand comes back from the forward position on the rod butt run down the line & clear any loops that are wrapped around reel handles, reel seats etc, failure to do so can lead to some very exciting [but not in good way] moments, it amuses any spectators however.

If you consistantly use the same weight transfer it will provide a smoother cast requiring less 'operator input' at the end, if using sinking lines remember to do a down stream roll cast first to bring the line to the surface & if you are in a deep slack on your bank then you made need to do two of these to achieve that end, partcularly with big water resistant & heavy flies / turbo disks etc.

Oh aye, lastly avoid this cast in a strong down stream wind, although it's slightly more managable under these conditions with a sinking line than a floater as the latter is a lot less dense / fatter & catches the wind more resulting in a greater risk of being hooked or flayed by the fly line, but if possible use the double spey or another alternative where the D loop is formed on your down-wind side in these conditions.

Best of luck, Tyke.​
 

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A point that perhaps everyone understands and just isn't mentioning, but I will and is the point of this post, is that the rod usually balances(my goal at least) near the top of the upper cork, just about where the upper hand grasps the rod. This is the fulcrum of this rod/lever system. More leverage occurs the further the force is applied from below the fulcrum/upper hand. By applying more power to the bottom/right hand---in the case of single spey/river right---I've found the transition from a caquehanded(right hand up) SS/RR to an 'ambidextrous'(left hand up) SS/RR to be much easier. The good looking and 'feeling' casts are remembered as ones in which 70% or so of the power came from the lower right hand. The 30%upper/70%lower hand power on all casts creates a more leveraged and efficient cast. The "teeter-totter" we played on as kids is the mental image that simplyfies the physics involved here. If I've just stated the obvious to everyone on this thread I apologize, but I thought it needed saying.
 

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The best cackhanders I know tend to like and use one or both of the following...
slower action rods
shorter spey lines or shooting heads

Most long belly guys use off hand up.

There are of course exceptions to this.

I noticed with my own casting that if I was using a long bellied line and/or a faster action rod I do better with left hand up for off shoulder casting. I then do better with slower rods going to reverse/right hand up on off shoulder. I fish all sorts of lines and all sort of rods so I practice and fish both and feel I need to know both as an instructor. I recommend that folks do which ever they are comfortable with and stick with it. That being said when folks are brand new sometimes their best casts will be with their off hand up because they are not fighting years of single hand casting muscle memory. If you are new, I would suggest trying left hand up even if you consider yourself very right handed. You might surprise yourself. If you hate it then stick with the reverse. Both work and #1 you should be comfortable and enjoying yourself.

I bring up the slow rod/fast rod and long line/short line thing hoping that it may help someone figure out what is best for them so that they can practice the one that is right for them and get it dialed quicker. Without getting long winded it has to do with the dynamics of body rotation, core strength, etc. etc. We all have different body types, different strengths, different injuries, different length arms, different sized beer guts, different rotation abilities, etc. so I think it is very important early on to find the spey style that will work best for you and stick with it.

Again, there are exceptions. I have seen very good long liners with slow and fast action rods cast very well cackhanded. And slow rod guys with shooting heads cast very well with the off hand up. But I believe most folks with fall into the rule not the exception.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
re: rod/line w/cackhanded casts

Gregg:
You raise important points. I neglected to mention that I primarily use the cack single with a 6126 Echo Classic and 6126 DECHO. These are not fast rods and I most commonly use an AFS head these days. I think you are right that shorter heads/slower rods lend themselves to the cackhanded casts more readily. I do use the cack single with a Delta Long on those rods as well, but I am not as consistent with the longer line.

I think an advantage of the cack single is that in close quarters, it prevents you from over rotating on the backcast/D-loop formation which is important when you have brush, rocks, and other obstructions right behind you. I would tend to bring the line further back with left hand up casts.

Todd
 

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HBW,

Yeah that would be a simple solution to the problem. Assuming there is actually a problem. ;)

William
A few months back, I was on a section of the Sky' that had a bank with an incredibly annoying canopy of trees pressed up against and above me. The flow was to the right. I remember having absolutely no room to navigate a reverse cast of any kind. Also, I remember how guiding my rod through the swing with my natural, left hand was most advantageous. Had I reversed the cast and swung the rod with my right, unnatural hand, no amount of compensation would've done me any good because the surroundings denied it. I then learned that, albeit small, yet significant, how holding the rod in the natural hand through the swing does widen the angle and lengthen the swing.

Show me a proficient cack-handed caster with his or her backside pressed up against a bunch of protruding trees and then show me another proficient caster that naturally casts with the natural hand in the same scenario and I'll wager that not only is the swing a bit longer but the cast will prove more suitable and natural.
 

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I find it hard (if not nearly impossible) to execute a good "chip cast" cackhanded, which is how I prefer to avoid obstructions when fishing a full floating dryline. The chip cast, for me, has made poke casts largely unnecessary with full floaters - a favorite for tough spots and tough condiWtions.

and realizing that I'm no Popeye armed caster ... if I spend multiple consequetive 14 hr days fishing cackhanded (say 4+ days), the forearm of my top hand gets quite sore from all the strain. That too stopped when I started switching hands.
 

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Man, I remember navigating through all those trees, with their branches and limbs interspersed here and there, reaching into the water all around me ... luckily the depth was only, on average, knee deep. After fishing that stretch, I felt like a damn ninja. :chuckle:
 

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ummm - what HauntedByWaters said!!

A good friend of mine who is one of the best steelhead fishers I know uses cackhanded casts when necessary but he almost always holds the rod during the swing with the outside hand whichever that may be so he is at times switching hands - really not that tough!!!

And the outside hand can help some to more easily slow the swing down by reaching out - you can't reach out quite as far with the inside hand
 
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