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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On another thread a comment came up about casting angle - in general when winter fishing what angle do you cast across the river? Some seem to think that something close to a 45 degree angle makes more sense than say a 90 degree angle while others like a 90 degreee angle. I recently watched Dec's video and he seems to like a more angled approach as he thought the fly got fishing quicker.

I don't normally have a set pattern but vary as the water varies. I don't necessarily believe that the fly needs to be under tension to be fishing. A well designed fly will fish dead drift or under tension. Casting straight across does a couple of things especially if you put a bit of a reach cast into things. It will often allow the fly to get deeper quicker. You are also covering significantly more water. If you cast an 80 foot line at a 45 degree angle you are essentially out in the river around 57 feet or 23 feet less than if you cast at a 90 degree angle. Unless you are fishing a specific section of water you are missing alot of potential holding water. I will in fact soemtimes cast at a 45 degree angle upsteam to get the fly very deep then dead drift through a section and follow up with a swing with fly under tension. I have had steelhead grab the instant the fly hits to to final dangle. I guess I normally fish more of a right angle than a number of my friends but at times it just makes more sense to do the more angled approach - seems generally eaiser with less line manipulation through the swing

Which brings up another commen difference amoung flyfishers - mending - some think you mend once and leave it alone as any mend will disturb the fly and make it less likely for a fish to grab. One of the best steelheaders I know does a constant twitch mend making an effort to actually move the fly. I think you can postion the line with gentle mends with little impact on the fly - this seems easier with long belly lines where you can gently lift large amounts of line with not much disturbance of the fly but it can be done with short belly lines also. I used to mend much more than I do now but still will often mend several times through a drift if I think it will slow things down (assuming that is what I am striving for).
 

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Rick,
I think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested varying the angle to suit the drift/water conditions. I think you have to angle your cast to the desired degree, to suit the swim you require.
Obviously in faster drifts, a longer cast at say 45 degrees, wheras a squarer cast to speed the fly in slacker water.
I also agree that deviating from the norm can prove effective, after all, how do we know exactly how slow/fast the swim should be?
As regards mending, I would prefer to mend a little less, rather than too much, especially for Spring fish. There is a thin line between altering the fly, and interfering with the fly.
Angle and mending go hand in hand, and both need to be taken into account to produce the desired effect.
As in all things, variety is the spice of life, and all to often seems to work.

Tight lines.
Cascade.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Opinions notwithstanding my experiences lead me to believe an important factor is sunk line verses greased line.

If I dredged a black sinking line and it's corresponding winter-fat bright belly cross-wise through a holding pool with the belly leading the way and the fly trailing fast downriver I never succeeded in exciting any fish into striking. This is also true for sight fishing, the term "lined" is a fitting description.

However a down-belly streak has got my arm ripped off while fishing skaters on the surface on summer and fall days.

.02
 

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loco alto!
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Currents are different in each and every pool. Even with a sunk line, some pools will tolerate a 90 degree cast, and some won't.

In some pools I prefer a 90 degree cast because it allows the fly to be presented broadside drifting downstream. But only some pools will allow it.

I've also noticed that surface currents exert much less play on skinny running lines than fat longbellies. Correspondingly, I find less need to mend with WC and other short lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Juro - your statement implies that if you cast 90 degrees you would essentially be fishing a grease line condition but you can mend so the belly is not leading the fly. Thus I commented that a 90 degree cast seems to generally require more line mending and manipulation if you do not want this to occur. Does the upside of potentially covering more water win out over more line mending and maybe disturbing the fly? As Steve pointed out it certainly depends on water conditions but it seems that some folks just get in a rhythm independent of water condditions and fish water the same way. I would agree that under most winter conditions I do not want my fly trailing the line downstream and moving fast. But a 90 degree cast can almost be a dead drift type situation with mending until such time as the line gets downstream and goes under tension
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Thanks Rick, you certainly re-awakened some good memories of fishing pools where a 90 degree cast has sufficient tension on the line due to the way the current pulls, which is also an excellent point made by Steve.

I guess I am mostly reacting to my own tendency to cast 90 single speys having worked on getting the cast down so long, and thus have to remind myself to fish appropriately for the water instead of making the run a single spey practice session ;)

Point(s) taken!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Juro - the single is my weakest cast as I don't practice it much - seems most of my fishing for some reason is river right so I go to the snake , DS or reverse snap T - need to change that - and just spend the day throwing singles!

Curious when you are fishing tips and big flies do you prefer short lines or long bellies? I have been very impressed with the heavier xlt as a tip line but have been having fun lately with the new skagit lines. What technique are you using to get the line and fly up - a slow lift or do you use the spiral single mostly?
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Rick -

I truly like them all... the short lines are a breeze to cast and very efficient to fish but if the casting requires some distance then the stripping gets old in a hurry; the other is usually not as effective with "big flies and big tips" but will handle reasonable tips and reasonable flies so I would use a long belly with tips wherever I can get away with it and enjoy wearing full fingered gloves on cold mornings.

Mostly depends on the river and conditions - for instance an extended belly makes little or no sense on the Sol Duc I love long lines and tips for the broad and bouldery runs on the Skykomish. If wading deep a long rod and short line makes life easy, if beating the brush a short rod is much nicer to have. I'm glad we have so many choices.

Recently I was Skagit casting with a big tip on a custom winter line made by Dennis Worley of Seattle and just really enjoying the heck out of the very different load characteristics of that style.

I have yet to cut my new Grandspey but the taper strikes me as having the guts to really drive a tip. I like the Midspey with tips as well, the 8/9 on the steelhead specialist is a nice match for a mid-length line for instance.

One thing that really helps with long belly lines and tips is to play with high-density shooting heads to cut as tips. You can get them in all kinds of aftma ratings and match them as you fancy to the long belly tapers. By trying various wts and lengths on your favorite lines it's surprising how simple it is to lift and cast the right tip even in winter, and the thinner tips really get a fly down especially if the fly is designed to cut the currents like a nice purple seal dubbed marabou winged guinea collared wet on a 2/0 heavy iron.

Sorry to be so indecisive but I really enjoy the variety and if the approach fits the fishery then I am in heaven. There is so much to learn when it comes to Spey, a guy could spend a lifetime exploring all the possibilities!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since I started spey casting at over 50 I had better start packing in the opportunities as my life time ain't what it use to be !!!!!!!!!!! I agree with you about liking them all!
 

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When fishing a broad run with a fairly uniform bottom (my usual situation), I mostly cast around 90 degrees; because who knows when or where, in the fly's swing to downstream, a steelhead will notice it and begin to follow it, and why should I care, so long as it concludes with the steelhead taking the fly?
But when I take the time to fish the soft inshore water with less dense tips or a floating line, I cast downstream more, 45 degrees at most. The fly won't be near the bottom until near the end of its swing in any case, so this saves time, allowing me to cover the inshore fairly quickly, then rerigging and casting to the midstream depths.
I don't believe in mending more than necessary, but I'm not afraid to mend, because with a little attention, it's not hard to mend close to the far end of the floating line without yanking the fly into a grand mal seizure. Use the amazing line control that a spey rod affords.
 

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For winter steelhead ive always had the most success casting downstream. I believe in this way I always lead with the fly and I find I have much more controll over the speed of the fly from the instant it hits the water. I find I can cover just as much water with the downstream casting however the distance to cast to the other side of the river while casting downstream is a longer cast than casting 90 degrees across. If i need more depth on the swing I will go to a heavier tip or a heavier fly to attain that desired depth as opposed to changing the angle of my cast to attain depth. Summer steelhead are another story altogether,many times they can be so aggressive they just hammer anything.
 
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