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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was out practicing casting yesturday and wanted to know if the 23 ft shooting head that I have for my 11'6'' Switch rod is causing issues with energy transfer. I followed the head length formula recommendation and this head length is within the 1/3 the rod length. I noticed when forming my D loop that at least 1/4 of the head remains in the water prior to performing the forward cast. I can get the line to shoot but I feel like I'm limited and it is not shooting easily. Is this too much shooting head in the water? I was under the impression that very little of the head should be in the water prior to the forward cast. Should I try a shorter shooting head like a 20ft or even an OPST 16ft head instead?
 

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First answer some questions. What is the rod weight and line wt and type? What casts were you performing?
I just used a Greys 11'6" yesterday. This is the shortest rod I've ever cast. It work extremely well with a Beulah Elixer. Rod is 6wt and the line is a 400 or 425. Forget which.
 

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Just as an apples to apples thing, I've gone to longer heads on my switch rod. 11'9" Method and I run a 29' skagit and a 32.5' nextcast sink tip line then generally add a 10-13' level sink tip (t8-14) on that. Just work on developing a bigger d loop. Whether that means a more open sweep or a higher energy sweep, just find your happy spot.
 

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"Drift" - if not already doing it. But just from you've provided it sounds like there may be too much anchor on the water, some misalignment and not enough line into the d loop which"drift" will take care of.

Best regard,
Vic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First answer some questions. What is the rod weight and line wt and type? What casts were you performing?
I just used a Greys 11'6" yesterday. This is the shortest rod I've ever cast. It work extremely well with a Beulah Elixer. Rod is 6wt and the line is a 400 or 425. Forget which.
I'm using a Redington Dually 8wt 11'6" switch with a Rio Skagit Max Shooting Head (23') which is 525 grains and is within the rod grain weight window. I was performing double spey and snap C as well as some Perry poke's.
 

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Meiser 13689, Burkie 6128
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I would look at the following in no particular order. Size of the D loop, are you looping far enough back? Anchor placement, is the anchor too close, and speed, are you forming the D loop fast enough to throw the loop behind you. Other possible factors, are you standing in deeper water, raising the rod high enough when forming the D loop or have a dip in your stroke? It is possible the line isn't optimal but I always find my problems to be operator error, not equipment related.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your input everyone. I have a few things to look for now the next time I get out to cast. My guess is that i'm likely not throwing the D loop far enough back prior to forward casting as the only place I can practice is on a local pond standing on the bank. I am probably drifting/creeping as well prior to the forward cast which would also rob energy transfer. I will say that I don't have this issue casting on the grass with a grass leader but then again it is definitely not the same as being on the water. I wish I could record myself but I don't really have the equipment to do so without assistance and when I'm out casting I'm on my own. I'm sure my casting could use some professional instruction as I only started with the two hander not too long ago. Those you tube videos I have watched make it look a lot easier than it actually is to perform. Based on the responses, it is not likely my head length that is the issue.
 

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My guess, as I have done it myself, is not waiting for the line to come around into the d-loop. In other words, your forward stroke is too early. Slow down and let it come together. I've seen so many skagiteers rip the line from the water so hard they send the fly backwards. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of a Spey cast.
 

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Your phone is all you need. Take a fishing bag along and prop your phone on it, guessing on the framing of the shot based on your intended casting spot. Shoot a little video, and check it, reset your phone locations as necessary, then shoot video of half a dozen casts. As much as we’re all casterbaiters, no one wants to watch an hour long practice session.

Pro-tip- you can get a little iPhone tripod for about $15.00.

Also, slow down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My guess, as I have done it myself, is not waiting for the line to come around into the d-loop. In other words, your forward stroke is too early. Slow down and let it come together. I've seen so many skagiteers rip the line from the water so hard they send the fly backwards. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of a Spey cast.
Yes. I did do this a few times as I was rushing and trying to power the cast but I forced myself to slow down and pull with the bottom hand which resulted in better casts. I have blown my fair share of anchors and know what it feels like and I'm getting better at preventing this. As mentioned, perhaps i'm creeping prior to the forward cast when I should be drifting back a bit. I'm going to have to rig up something with my phone and try to record myself.
 

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I would look at the following in no particular order. Size of the D loop, are you looping far enough back? Anchor placement, is the anchor too close, and speed, are you forming the D loop fast enough to throw the loop behind you. Other possible factors, are you standing in deeper water, raising the rod high enough when forming the D loop or have a dip in your stroke? It is possible the line isn't optimal but I always find my problems to be operator error, not equipment related.
Some very good suggestions in all the replies. I think “Notwrkng” above pretty much covered it all in one paragraph. I would just add one more line item to it. Make sure there’s no pause from once you start the peel to the end of forward cast. Continuous motion as Ed Ward preaches. A “dip” or “pause” will both cause enough slack to drop the head back down to the water surface when you’re trying to form your D-loop.
Note: Drift is good, Creep is bad! (not the same thing)
I would also think that head you are using is too long and too light. If you’re standing above water at the pond and still have 1/4 of the head length laying on the water during your forward cast that’s going to be very hard to overcome and get right even with using all the suggestions that are given. You need 100% of that Skagit head in the formed D-loop, a couple feet of sink tip is ok too.
I have a GASS 8116 and I use a 550 Skagit Max short or a 575 short for bigger fly/sink tip combos. You say you’re new to the two hander so you’ll probably favor more weight. Practice with a 10’ T11 sink tip and small light fly as well.
You can purchase a 575 or 525 short for $30 on sale, 550 is sold out. PM me if you want the link. I’m not sure we’re allowed to bump any shops in our posts?
Once you figure it out there’s no looking back, also make room for another half dozen Spey rods in the garage
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Some very good suggestions in all the replies. I think “Notwrkng” above pretty much covered it all in one paragraph. I would just add one more line item to it. Make sure there’s no pause from once you start the peel to the end of forward cast. Continuous motion as Ed Ward preaches. A “dip” or “pause” will both cause enough slack to drop the head back down to the water surface when you’re trying to form your D-loop.
Note: Drift is good, Creep is bad! (not the same thing)
I would also think that head you are using is too long and too light. If you’re standing above water at the pond and still have 1/4 of the head length laying on the water during your forward cast that’s going to be very hard to overcome and get right even with using all the suggestions that are given. You need 100% of that Skagit head in the formed D-loop, a couple feet of sink tip is ok too.
I have a GASS 8116 and I use a 550 Skagit Max short or a 575 short for bigger fly/sink tip combos. You say you’re new to the two hander so you’ll probably favor more weight. Practice with a 10’ T11 sink tip and small light fly as well.
You can purchase a 575 or 525 short for $30 on sale, 550 is sold out. PM me if you want the link. I’m not sure we’re allowed to bump any shops in our posts?
Once you figure it out there’s no looking back, also make room for another half dozen Spey rods in the garage
Thanks. I'm in Canada so I will try to find a shorter head on sale and see if that helps. I have already been looking at the Skagit Max Short and OPST. I have been casting with a TC Tips S3/S5 which I think is the heaviest tip I have thus far. I have watched many of Ed Ward's videos and try to make the cast as continuous as possible. The two hander is very addictive and i'm already planning on getting a full 13ft spey rod eventually (wife is going to kill me!). The rivers that I have to fish locally are not very big or roomy when it comes to casting so that is why I ended up with a switch rod to start.
 

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I cast Scandi and mid bellies on all my switch rods, anywhere from 38 to 47 feet, not counting tips. D loops are large and as said above, work the rod higher to keep off water. I've learned to add a miniscule pause at the key position to further the depth of the D loop
 

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I was out practicing casting yesturday and wanted to know if the 23 ft shooting head that I have for my 11'6'' Switch rod is causing issues with energy transfer. I followed the head length formula recommendation and this head length is within the 1/3 the rod length. I noticed when forming my D loop that at least 1/4 of the head remains in the water prior to performing the forward cast. I can get the line to shoot but I feel like I'm limited and it is not shooting easily. Is this too much shooting head in the water? I was under the impression that very little of the head should be in the water prior to the forward cast. Should I try a shorter shooting head like a 20ft or even an OPST 16ft head instead?
With a longer head and shorter rod, to form a larger D Loop, speed up your stroke and open up a bit more. Or you can just get an OPST head or a Rio Max Power 20ft head and you can keep your stroke the same.
 

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Thanks for your input everyone. I have a few things to look for now the next time I get out to cast. My guess is that i'm likely not throwing the D loop far enough back prior to forward casting as the only place I can practice is on a local pond standing on the bank. I am probably drifting/creeping as well prior to the forward cast which would also rob energy transfer. I will say that I don't have this issue casting on the grass with a grass leader but then again it is definitely not the same as being on the water. I wish I could record myself but I don't really have the equipment to do so without assistance and when I'm out casting I'm on my own. I'm sure my casting could use some professional instruction as I only started with the two hander not too long ago. Those you tube videos I have watched make it look a lot easier than it actually is to perform. Based on the responses, it is not likely my head length that is the issue.

I was out practicing casting yesturday and wanted to know if the 23 ft shooting head that I have for my 11'6'' Switch rod is causing issues with energy transfer. I followed the head length formula recommendation and this head length is within the 1/3 the rod length. I noticed when forming my D loop that at least 1/4 of the head remains in the water prior to performing the forward cast. I can get the line to shoot but I feel like I'm limited and it is not shooting easily. Is this too much shooting head in the water? I was under the impression that very little of the head should be in the water prior to the forward cast. Should I try a shorter shooting head like a 20ft or even an OPST 16ft head instead?

Thanks. I'm in Canada so I will try to find a shorter head on sale and see if that helps. I have already been looking at the Skagit Max Short and OPST. I have been casting with a TC Tips S3/S5 which I think is the heaviest tip I have thus far. I have watched many of Ed Ward's videos and try to make the cast as continuous as possible. The two hander is very addictive and i'm already planning on getting a full 13ft spey rod eventually (wife is going to kill me!). The rivers that I have to fish locally are not very big or roomy when it comes to casting so that is why I ended up with a switch rod to start.
Just to reiterate: Drift is good - Creep is bad.

Drift is good casting-form with several positive effects. Minimal anchor/large Dloop for one. Drift limits top-hand/arm movement on the forward cast while casting using two hands forcing you to initiate with the bottom hand on the forward cast which is most efficient.

Drift can be done with any type of line system, spey casts and overhead casts too.

"Creep" is a common casting fault.

Cheers.
 

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Now then, if you're casting from the bank or a platform on a pond, it sounds very much like you're simply not getting enough of the line behind you or forming a big enough D,V or whatever loop ( you could be touching the bank or other obstructions with your D loop, which certainly won't help.).
I cast a Scandi Compact from my 11ft 6ins Sage One and that's 33ft long.I usually couple this to 16ft of leader, either 10ft poly+ tippet or 10ft tapered leader and tippet.
It absolutely flies, in fact I've to hold on tight it go's so well.
In reality you should use the leader and the front few feet of fly line to anchor your D loop., with the rest of that loop held in a tight formation in the air off the water by the fixed anchor at the tip end of the line and by the variable anchor at the rod tip.
Your Spey cast should be a slow lazy sweep with your rod tip following a low plane, no way at all do you want to dip your rod to encourage a splash down!,as you proceed with the rod going backwards you want to plan the leader to touch down slightly upstream of your upstream shoulder by slowing the sweep slightly then by lifting the rod point to the 1 o'clock position up behind you.This will form your D loop underneath your rod point and allow ( very important word that!, ALLOW ) the leader etc to touch down 1st as the main portion of the line will still be moving behind you ( albeit at a steady pace! ) maintaining tension to the rod point and keeping your loop shape well defined.
At this point when your loop is cocked and loaded, you can risk a little lift onto your toes and a slight upward lift of the rod point to further tighten everything up, then your forward stroke( pull with your bottom hand 75% and 25% push with the top hand ) needs to be up n out.As your loop will be formed underneath your rod point, it will follow the rod tip up n out!.Like this it will encourage your loop to " fly" unravelling as it go's, dragging your running line too, giving you increased distance and better turn over and thus presentation as your loop will have chance to unravel above the water just before touchdown.
If you can source a Video/DVD by British casting guru Michael Evans, he recommends performing an in line roll cast time after time after time until you can plan how and where your loop will form, then still in the plain single plane you preform a " jump" roll where you lift the line completely off the surface and allow it to anchor just out from your body.Again time after time after time until you plan exactly where you fly will fall onto the water followed by your leader etc to anchor your D loop. Gradually increase the amount of line you work out as you go and slowly you'll get a feel for how to do what you should be doing.
Once you're cool with that then its time for the sweep up and round and again keep at it, because it will come and you will develop greater understanding as you are breaking the cast into its component stages, master one, move on to the next.
Best of luck with it all, and don't worry, most folk are just as frustrated as you at one point or another, it will come and in all probability you sound very close.
Yorkie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Now then, if you're casting from the bank or a platform on a pond, it sounds very much like you're simply not getting enough of the line behind you or forming a big enough D,V or whatever loop ( you could be touching the bank or other obstructions with your D loop, which certainly won't help.).
I cast a Scandi Compact from my 11ft 6ins Sage One and that's 33ft long.I usually couple this to 16ft of leader, either 10ft poly+ tippet or 10ft tapered leader and tippet.
It absolutely flies, in fact I've to hold on tight it go's so well.
In reality you should use the leader and the front few feet of fly line to anchor your D loop., with the rest of that loop held in a tight formation in the air off the water by the fixed anchor at the tip end of the line and by the variable anchor at the rod tip.
Your Spey cast should be a slow lazy sweep with your rod tip following a low plane, no way at all do you want to dip your rod to encourage a splash down!,as you proceed with the rod going backwards you want to plan the leader to touch down slightly upstream of your upstream shoulder by slowing the sweep slightly then by lifting the rod point to the 1 o'clock position up behind you.This will form your D loop underneath your rod point and allow ( very important word that!, ALLOW ) the leader etc to touch down 1st as the main portion of the line will still be moving behind you ( albeit at a steady pace! ) maintaining tension to the rod point and keeping your loop shape well defined.
At this point when your loop is cocked and loaded, you can risk a little lift onto your toes and a slight upward lift of the rod point to further tighten everything up, then your forward stroke( pull with your bottom hand 75% and 25% push with the top hand ) needs to be up n out.As your loop will be formed underneath your rod point, it will follow the rod tip up n out!.Like this it will encourage your loop to " fly" unravelling as it go's, dragging your running line too, giving you increased distance and better turn over and thus presentation as your loop will have chance to unravel above the water just before touchdown.
If you can source a Video/DVD by British casting guru Michael Evans, he recommends performing an in line roll cast time after time after time until you can plan how and where your loop will form, then still in the plain single plane you preform a " jump" roll where you lift the line completely off the surface and allow it to anchor just out from your body.Again time after time after time until you plan exactly where you fly will fall onto the water followed by your leader etc to anchor your D loop. Gradually increase the amount of line you work out as you go and slowly you'll get a feel for how to do what you should be doing.
Once you're cool with that then its time for the sweep up and round and again keep at it, because it will come and you will develop greater understanding as you are breaking the cast into its component stages, master one, move on to the next.
Best of luck with it all, and don't worry, most folk are just as frustrated as you at one point or another, it will come and in all probability you sound very close.
Yorkie.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. Certainly breaks it down for me. By your explanation this sounds more like a touch and go type of casting for Scandi or Traditional Spey lines. I'm using a Skagit head so will be performing more sustained anchor casts, that is until I get myself a different head. I'm sure the principles still apply with little tweaks here and there. I have heard two different explanations with regards to the forward stroke, one which says to move up and out and the other which says to pull the bottom hand down and in. I guess I will have to try both and see which works best for my setup. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just to reiterate: Drift is good - Creep is bad.

Drift is good casting-form with several positive effects. Minimal anchor/large Dloop for one. Drift limits top-hand/arm movement on the forward cast while casting using two hands forcing you to initiate with the bottom hand on the forward cast which is most efficient.

Drift can be done with any type of line system, spey casts and overhead casts too.

"Creep" is a common casting fault.

Cheers.
Just to clarify...Drift is when you slightly drift your top hand back during the formation of the D-loop just prior to the forward stroke? and Creep is doing the opposite....moving your top hand forward prior to the initiation of the forward cast?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was able to get my hands on a Rio Skagit Max Short in 550 grains so I will see if this helps once I receive it and get a chance to cast it. 🤞
 
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