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Fishing: What casts?

6096 Views 31 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Klem
I'm very new to fishing with a two-handed rod. I'm curious to know what casts you use the most when fishing? My knowledge is limited. I'm guessing that things like belly length and line type matter. I've been told (and read, and taught) that factors like the side of the river you are on and the direction of the wind make a difference.

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I agree with Dana, the easiest casts to learn are the double and circle. The only difference between these two casts is the way you set the anchor. The D-loop stroke and the forward stroke is identical. Sticking to these two casts will bring consistency to your practice enabling you to minimize the time it takes to become proficient. They're easier to learn because you're setting the anchor with one stroke and developing your D-loop with another stroke, rather than doing both things simultaneously as with the single and the snake roll. I also recommend that you use your eyes to watch your anchor and D-loop. Watch the anchor to see that it's placed properly and that it comes out of the water and travels in a forward direction rather than slip backwards toward the bushes. Watch the D-loop for size and shape and to make sure that it is in line with your target area. It's very important that when you turn your head to watch the D-loop that you avoid turning your body and shoulders.

I wouldn't get carried away with what casting style to emulate (ie; skagit, underhand, or traditional), they all use anchors, D-loops, forward strokes and all the basic fundamentals of fly line casting apply. The difference between these styles is nothing more than the little things that the individual instructor emphasizes during his/her lessons.

My recommendation for a beginning line would definitely be a Skagit head. These lines are a lot heavier than any others and so it's very easy to feel the loading process and thus works to acquire a sense of rythm and timing that is so critical. The difference between casting a Skagit head and a mid-spey line is truly the difference between throwing a baseball and a wiffle ball. As a steelhead guide / spey casting instructor I can't emphasize enough how these lines have drastically reduced the time it takes me to get new casters casting well enough to catch fish.

These two casts, with this line, will meet any fishing situation.

I am very curious about the bad habits that occur when someone does most of their casting with a short head. Way?
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Sorry about this Brent, but the worst possible advice a new caster could get would be to start with a mid-length line. I was afraid my post would ignite the old short belly vs. long belly feud. It won't be long before this thread will have to be moved from SPEY BASICS, perhaps to a new category called CONTROVERSY. Now you're put in the unenviable position to sort out the information from both camps and decide who makes the most sense. Best of luck and hopefully you'll pick up a few fish along the way.

I believe your question was to what line to use and with what casts. It's obvious that, given your location, you'll be doing a lot of winter fishing which means sink tips. With the exception of Kaufmann's spey schools all my teaching is done while guiding, which means I need to get the angler casting well enough to actually catch a fish, not next week or month but today. I can't think of a more difficult task than to try and teach a new caster a double spey and circle spey with a mid-length belly and sink tips. If I understand Juro's reasoning then it would make sense to teach a new single handed caster to start with 60' of line and a double haul.

"If your intent is to eventually learn a casting style that supports 65, 75, 85 or even 105ft heads in your fishing applications then working with short head lines (54ft or less) can build muscle memory that will not necessarily be ideal for the transition upward in length."

Hopefully your intent is to catch fish, but if your intent is to cast long belly lines, then the muscle memory you'll develope, and understanding of the basic fundamentals you'll learn with a short belly line will make the transition quite nicely.

"For instance, the shorter the line the less particular the lift technique; the easier the sweep, the smaller the d-loop, the less important the shape of the D-loop and timing of the stroke, the easier the anchor is to set and slip with less critical anticipation timing, and the more abrupt and forward oriented the casting force can be applied. There is nothing "wrong" with this, in fact for these very reasons it is a great beginner's approach."

When using sink tips and large flies the lift technique is monumentally important. The heavier the tip the more "particular" it becomes. The rest of this paragraph is accurate.

"If the caster wishes (or you suspect he/she will based on where they fish) to become proficient with long belly lines I would agree with the camp that suggests recommending a mid-length line for initial instruction. The transition to extended belly line casting can be harder if the arms and mind are grooved into short belly casting."

Again, "if you wish to become proficient at casting long belly lines". Making a transition in any direction is going to take some practice, I don't see where making a transition in any particular direction would be more difficult than another.

"The caster may have no interest in learning long belly casting technique. They might live in an area where long belly lines have no application, and with deep winter steelhead fishing only (e.g. some GL areas). 54ft head length ranges certainly are practical, functional and catch a lot of fish. Shorter Skagit heads might be even better."

Well put.

"Yet in some fisheries, and for the traveling spey angler there is a need for long belly casting not to mention a certain unmistakable joy in casting long belly lines that for some, myself included, is at the core of Spey casting and arsenal."has it's place along with Scandinavian, Skagit, and overhead casting with two-handed rods. It has a deadly application in certain fisheries just as the others do in other applications and is part of the well-rounded caster's arsenal."

There is simply no fishing situation in the world that can't be met with a short bellied line, but can be with a long belly, the opposite, however, can be said. There is certainly no arguing with an individuals joy or the satisfaction of eventually becoming proficient at all the availlable techniques.

"Bottom line is that if you plan to learn long / extended belly casting then it's easier to learn if you start with mid-length lines not because it's bad or good but because it's less different."

The bottom line is that regardless of your future intentions, it is easier to learn with short bellied lines.

Juro, I sincerely hope that you don't hate me now. We are, after all, homeboys. I'm originally from Brockton and would absolutely love to fish the Cape with you some day. I'll even bring my XLT. BTW, beautiful web site.

Scott O'Donnell
Scott Fly Rod Pro Staff
Rio Products Pro Staff
Nautilus Reels Pro Staff
Kaufmann's Streamborn Spey Casting Instructor
Northwest Steelhead Guide (Fly Only)
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