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Indicators Anonymous
846 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I read in passing Dana making quick mention of drift...a technique so heavily utilized in over-head casting but not spoken of when the subject is Spey casting.

So anyways I began thinking about drift along with my sometimes rare, somtimes persistent tailing loops. I also thought about the past when various people told me "I was trying to hard" or "Hitting the rod too hard."

And then I thought back to just a month or so ago when a good freind made the comment "Your d-loop is a cast in itself!"...an old habit of sorts. See when everyone was telling me I was trying too hard and hitting the rod too hard etc., I relaxed my forward stroke, backed off my forward stoke but never thought about the application of power and energy on the formation of my d-loop.

I also thought about Skagit Casting. The ever-increasing load during a Skagit-Cast coupled with a reach would seem to eliviate the issue with the tailing loop (the rod is never allowed to pop into that oh so deadly concave shape...the miserable shape that manifests itself when you have too much loadon a single-handed rod for the forward cast right as you begin that stroke).

And so now we have drift. One of the primary reasons behind drifting after our stop on our backcast in a standard over-head stroke, is to reduce or even eliminate any flex in the rod for our forward stroke (we must maintain that flex and then increase upon it during our forward stroke to prevent a tailing loop).

So can the same thing be said for the two-handed rod?..but then again load on the rod for the forward stroke is of much more importance when Spey casting, then over-head casting...Hmm. DANA!...is that why you 'drift?'...and if not, why do you??????

Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
1,771 Posts
I will defer to Dana on this but would like to offer a comment on your topics of drift and tailing loops:


The core reason to drift is to extend the stroke length. Extending the stroke length allows for a longer and smoother acceleration, which increases the final power of the cast when stopped, hence more distance and power.

To your point a dampening or quieting of the rod is performed as part of the drift, and this is necessary in order to maintain the start position of the rod while eliminating turbulence in the line which robs the cast of power. This lets the angler more effectively feel the load developing to know when it's time to apply the smooth acceleration in the other direction, and also have the rod in the right position to make the best path.

However I would not say that drift directly causes or cures tailing loops.

Tailing Loops

Although concave path of the rod tip is a good explanation of the root cause of tailing loops, there are many subtleties within this 'generic' description.

For instance Simon G. points out that even though many tailing loops are from people hitting the stroke too hard too early, he demonstrates how creeping it forward and then hitting it hard at the end of the stroke without proper pre-loading also causes nasty tailing loops.

Lefty Kreh and George Roberts put is very well in the context of single handed casting (fully applicable to spey). If the rod is unloaded at a level that is higher than the path of acceleration, a tailing loop will result. Lefty Kreh often tells us at the fly shows that the rod tip has to stop below the level of the speed-up (underneath the line) to avoid tailing. Lefty insists that this is the core problem, not all that other hogwash people talk about with tailing loops.

Since a concave path of the rod tip does in fact unload the rod higher than the path of acceleration (which took a dip) the relationship between path of acceleration and stop/unload position seems right on the money.

To support this, when I tried to reproduce Simon's creep/tailing loop example, I found it to be easiest to do when the altitude of the line dropped due to the sluggish creep forward. The sudden 'hit' that follows occurs above the path of the crept-fallen line and a tail occurs.

When instructing I make the obligatory "concave path" comment, but I also talk about the position of the stop relative to the path of acceleration to explain what is really going on with a tailing loop. By taking care to ensure that the path of line during acceleration is smooth and straight, then by making sure the rod is unloaded just beneath the path of acceleration, I've virtually eliminated the tailing loop from my spey casts.
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