I hardly ever go waist deep anymore especially with the longer casts and mending capabilities of the spey rod, plus the rivers in Michigan I fish really are not that wide. Most of them I can cast across with a spey rod.
To paraphrase spey guru Mike Maxwell: "If you're wading more than knee-deep, you should stop and ask yourself why." It seems that the advantage of wading closer/deeper is largely offset by the increased difficulty of casting. Since I took up spey fishing, I've retired my shorty vest. I just don't go that deep any more.
There are certain runs I fish that require deep wading. Not because you have to wade out farther, but because there is no sand/gravel bar behind you, but trees/somewhat steep bank, and you must wade up to your mid thigh often times, sometimes almost to your waist depending on water levels, to get in position to spey cast to the fish that sit in this run.
The depth at which you wade is another variable that you must consider when spey casting (on top of length of line out, sink tip, floating, or full sinking, length of rod, style of line, and other variables that influence how you time your particular cast for a particular situation). To a point though, use your common sense always and don't put yourself in a situation you don't need to be in.
Unfortunately there are a number of rivers that I fish that are simply to wide to cast across and to get to some of the seams and holes requires a little bit of deep wading. Unable to acces from the other shore because it is simply too deep to wade at all under any river condition? There are also a number of holes that within 3-5 steps of the bank you are waist deep or worse depending upon river conditions? Wondering what to do for casts in these circumstances? So far the double spey seems to work the best but also looking for alternatives.
I fish large water that requires both deep wading and long casts. There are a couple of things that will make it easier. Successful casting while naughty-bits deep is really about keeping your D-loop out of the water. First a long rod is key, I used to fish an 18 footer, now I'm fishing a light powerful 16 1/2 foot rod, it makes sense - the extra length keeps the loop off the water.
As well, the cast you use will contribute to how much D-loop you can carry. While the double spey is a good cast there is too much line on the water and therefore too much potential for cast-killing line stick. I think very dynamic casts like the spiral roll or a good single spey have the energy to keep the loop moving up behind you. I know that when I'm deep wading I really focus on lifting my hands as high into the firing position as I can, this too keeps the D-loop elevated.
As a rule, wade only as deep as you need to, but there are clearly times when you will need to make a cast while you are out to your belly. I think the mark of a great caster is not necessarily how far you can chuck it, but more the ability to make fishing casts - that is the cast that is needed for the situation at hand.
One of the casts that can help in casting when waded deep or with trees or brush behind you is a Square Cut.
Looks like you are in the Mid West? Distance might not be as much of a premium as out in the West. I would suggest a short belly line that will allow you to keep the "D" loop smaller and still allow resonable length casts without too much stripping.
You might also try casting farther at a shallower angle to get the presentation you want.
I am with Mike I refraing from deep wading.
But when I must Kush's advice is sound.
For every foot you wade you loose 5 feet of working line.
So if I am going deep it is with a long stick to get back my lost working line.
Knee deep 14 ft.
Hipp deep 15 ft.
or longer if I can handle it.
Any deeper than that .
A double single and call me in the morning.
Apparently Mike Maxwell never fished the North Umpqua.. It really Irks me when people say if your wading soo deep your wading too deep. every situation is different and ever river is different. There are places where if your not wading deep your not fishing. You can't even use knee deep as a general rule there are just too many times a places where a deeper wade is needed and the best cast's to use when your waded deep I think are spiral "snake" rolls and single speys. the worst you can use is the double or a snap tee. You need to get the line out of the water and throw it back our before it settles on the water again.
But I find that using a PDF, suspenders, etc., (unless in a boat situation) tends to make one "bold." To (probably miss-quote) 'there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.' Only a couple of places I'll 'deep wade' even with a wading staff; and that's during low water conditions.
You've only got to be slammed/pinned against a rock wall by water pressure (and I've been there twice!), and have it take several people to extricate your butt, to gain the utmost in respect for moving water. :whoa:
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