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Fishing: What casts?

6092 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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IMHO, "bad" habits wouldn't be my choice of words, but "less particular" might fit. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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Scott O'Donnell said:
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)
Scott -

Quite the contrary brother! You've started to shift my thinking a bit on this topic as a result of your convincing comments. Clearly you are speaking from a position of deep experience, and the fishing argument is unquestionable with shorter spey lines.

Perhaps it's best to say that all lines and styles should be understood and explored by the beginning caster so that they might find their own way into a natural fit. Of course like the rest of us this might change over time, and the exploration is without question a huge part of the experience.

Brent -

CONGRATS!!! Best of luck on your future learning curve, you are in good hands on the Speypages and off to a great start with that fish. The positive outcome of this discussion, even if it sways, is that you may have become a little more conscious about the different styles and philosophies as you begin the journey into Spey universe!

Dave -

Thanks for the compliment, although I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Must have been being extra-careful as Nobuo-san watched like an eagle ;) I was equally smitten watching all of the amazing loops flying around out there from other caster's rods. I had a variety of lines on those rods, as did Nobuo and Tyler. On the Skagit the 8/9 Midspey, 8/9 SA, 8/9/10 Windcutter, 9/10 Carron, just to name a few - but Dennis Worley's Scandi head was a Skagit casting wonder on that rod. It was too heavy for my tastes in touch-and-go casting but that head could put a mean wallop in to a perry poke. For my schpeel I had the Steelhead Specialist with the Jetstream but frankly I like the Rio Mid 8/9 with the Wulff tip enhancement best. The Thompson with the Grandspey 10/11 was a perfect fit per Tyler's recommendation, and my favorite on the salar is the Tournament Carron, a match like few others IMHO.
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Just wanted to point out that at Speydays Nobuo demonstrated spey casting with a high-density full sinking spey line using the single spey as the main left-bank change of direction cast (with a gentle and slow initial roll-up).

Spey anglers in the namesake river (the Spey) and surrounding rivers in the UK are known to fish intermediate and sinking lines as well. So I guess some out of towners do know how to "get down" without even a "whimpy" floating back belly ;) ;) ;) Just kidding guys, my point is different strokes for different folks.

As for myself, I fished the 15ft type 6 all day the one day I had to fish, on a 42ft Skagit head loving the perry poke although I need to spend more time practicing it (even when I don't need it to cope with tight spaces). Having been weaned in the PNW since the early 80's I know what fishin' is verses casting. However I truly enjoy them both!

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