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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have watched numerous instructional videos and had a couple lessons from experenced spay casters. I spend 2 hours a week practicing the same failed attempts to execute the “double spay“cast from river right constantly blowing the anchor. I have spent over 50 years fly fishing and I am committed to learning this technique however I could use some advice as to how I to overcome my inability to spay cast.
Your suggestions are appreciated.
 

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Slow down and watch your D loop form, once it's at full draw, let er rip tater chip. It's not about power its all about timing.
It's a journey and will take time, there will be many frustrating days. Even after 20 yrs I have my days that I need to pull it all back to the basics!
Where are you located?
 

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Slow down and watch your D loop form, once it's at full draw, let er rip tater chip. It's not about power its all about timing.
It's a journey and will take time, there will be many frustrating days. Even after 20 yrs I have my days that I need to pull it all back to the basics!
Where are you located?
I concur with Rifflehitch. Like you, I've been fly casting for over 50 years but I've only been at this spey game for a year now. However, I do have over 300 hours practice in so far with about a half dozen lessons. I also had a lot of trouble with the double spey. My casting instructor told me the same thing that Rifflehitch is saying: slow down. In particular on the sweep. I was always putting too much energy into the sweep and causing the D loop to swing out of position, ie: too far downstream and then blowing the anchor. Also, as RH says, watch your D loop - make sure that when you initiate the forward cast, the join between the sink tip and the head is only about a foot or two (assuming a 10' sink tip) out of the water. Any more than that and I find I blow the anchor every time. If using a longer sink tip, say 15', then as the old guard used to say "half out and go"!
That's my take on it so far. If any of you great casters out there who have years experience on me please feel free to correct me about how much anchor stick to have (how much sink tip to have out of the water) before initiating the forward cast.
 

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I had a lot of trouble with that cast at first. I worked on it for a while and can now make it work consistently. Here’s what I learned. Watch your anchor placement. Get it close to you. About a rod length. Touch the water with your rod tip and it will probably be a lot closer to you than you think. On the sweep, keep your top hand elbow close to your body. I break my wrist (just a little) at the end of the sweep getting into key position. Your top hand shouldn’t go past (farther back than) the side of your face. My top hand forearm seems to end up between 12 and 1 o’clock. And one thing I learned with all my spey casts, the more I try to force it, the worse the cast is. When my casts start to fall apart my immediate response is to force it and put more energy into the cast. I’ve learned (still learning...always learning) it’s better to slow down and focus on each step. This advice is with a skagit line and 10-15’ sink tip. I don’t have enough practice with long belly lines to give advice on those.

Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Slow down and watch your D loop form, once it's at full draw, let er rip tater chip. It's not about power its all about timing.
It's a journey and will take time, there will be many frustrating days. Even after 20 yrs I have my days that I need to pull it all back to the basics!
Where are you located?
WI. I will give it a try. Thanks.
 

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It’s impossible! Stop now, save yourself a pile of money and frustration!!!

or

Stick with it, with more modest expectation, and perhaps a different instructor or two, piles and piles of patience, and understand that spey casting an single hand overhead casting are quite distinct in terms of muscle memory and mechanics. It is quite possible, or even likely, that your 50 years of single hand fly fishing is actually slowing your learning curve a bit, rather than short cutting it. Hang in there, it doesn’t need to get overly complicated to start getting some good, fishable casts out.
 

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What line have you been using to learn? I find things get easier with a longer line. You get more time and it easier to adjust the cast. With say a skagit head, very short, things happen quickly. Not much line to stick to the water. Also if you put too much energy into the sweep you will literally rip the anchor out of the water. As mentioned previously, slow down and enjoy the process. Unfortunately your 50 years of overhead single hand casting doesn't translate well here.
 

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I have watched numerous instructional videos and had a couple lessons from experenced spay casters. I spend 2 hours a week practicing the same failed attempts to execute the “double spay“cast from river right constantly blowing the anchor. I have spent over 50 years fly fishing and I am committed to learning this technique however I could use some advice as to how I to overcome my inability to spay cast.
Your suggestions are appreciated.
Suggest: "Drift" if you don't already - it is done slightly different on a spey cast than on an overhead cast but accomplishes some of the same functions one of which is to slow you down by delaying the forward cast just enough that it prevents blowing the anchor. There are other basic aspects of spey casting that must be done well ( small stick, big D loop, 180˚ out ) ... drift in my opinion just makes for better fly-casting in general.
 

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Practice each part of the cast over and over. Set your anchor over and over, then set your anchor and just sweep, over and over, then put the whole thing together over and over. It's redundant, and monotonous, but you will develop muscle memory on the cast. I believe someone else pointed out to use a longer line, Skagit's are difficult to get the timing on Double Speys. Maybe try a Scandi with a long leader until you get more comfortable with the cast.

Another note, I've taught friend's of mine who are experienced Single Hand casters on their opposite side when doing Spey. It takes awhile but learning to use the bottom hand will change your casting 100% for the better and it takes away the muscle memory of using the power with your dominant hand on top. Just a thought.
 

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I'll give my 2 cents as a new Spey caster and the things that helped me out.
Anchor placement is perhaps the most important thing. If the anchor is not proper, your off to a bad start.
Slow down.
Remember, your casting the D loop, not the fly, try turning your head and actually watch the D loop form before starting the forward stroke.
Use the bottom hand , don't try to power thru with the top hand. Let the rod do the work.
 

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I am by no means an expert. In fact, I am a novice and hoping to become proficient myself. So I am probably not the most qualified to help. But there are two things I notice when my casting isn't working at all. What others have said about speed already is number one. I am almost always forcing it way too fast when the casts are terrible. Slow it down. Then slow it down more, but it needs to be a constant motion which starts off with a slow sweep and accelerates smoothly after forming the D loop. The other is something my instructor told me about the D loop. The D needs to be forming "up" towards the sky, followed by starting the cast. If you pause after the sweep you can see the D forming towards the ground, what is called a fallen/falling D. After years of SH fishing and pausing on the backcast to load the rod, particularly when fishing a heavy set of indicator + weight + nymphs, it is VERY HARD to break the habit of pausing prior to casting. I have to really concentrate to keep constant motion, it is not natural yet.
 

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I think the double spey is the hardest of all. I have never quite succeeded at it. And that's just fine since you'd much better learn to cast with both hands. Much more fun, quiet, body friendly and efficient. If you can single spey/snake roll, you don't need any other sort of cast.
When coming from SH casting for long time, the hardest part is to get used to apply power with bottom hand (undehand). And this is much easier learnt if you practice DH casting with your non-dominant hand on top for steering and dominant hand on bottom for power. Muscle memory won't slow your learning curve. You would also get rid of the need of learning all those awefully disturbing sweeps that come with the double, the snaps and others. This is quite important if you fish for Atlantics or any other easy spooked fish.

The other thing that helped me a lot is to stop trying to cast far. Simple but important.
JG
 

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I like to have my anchor sit a few seconds before I start the sweep. Has improved my cast.
 

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There is a Zen saying “look at the moon, not the finger pointing at the moon”. Rifflehitch had it, but to double down with emphasis .... The first rule before anything else is EYES ON THE ANCHOR! By that I mean the point the line touches the water and everything around that which of course includes the D loop, but also how much line is out of the water, and its location, orientation and straightness. Everything that actually matters. And I especially mean through the WHOLE time you are in the sweep right up to (and even a little past) the power stroke. It’s just amazing how many people don’t do this, and it is a (perhaps THE) classic beginner’s issue. When I hear “I keep blowing my anchor and I just can’t figure out what is going on” it is virtually guaranteed you aren’t really looking closely enough.

Yes there are “reasons”, tricks you can do to get you to make the right motions, and yes various levels of more sophisticated explanations and understanding, but even without any of that it is the feedback you will get by simply watching where the crucial action is actually going on! If you are looking you will rapidly learn which things you do lead to the anchor coming out of the water in the wrong way and will correct intuitively - no theory required. Plus you can and will simply stop the cast and start again when you SEE things are not right. That by itself should eliminate your blown anchors. Maybe - OK probably - everything will not be perfect without more “refined” corrections, and practice, but if you are really LOOKING at your anchors through the whole cast you will rapidly stop blowing them.
 

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I have spent over 50 years fly fishing
That is your problem. Even if you think your are putting it out of your head, your hand and arm are sure they know what they are doing. And they don't.

Slow down. SH has a much quicker cadence.

Your upper hand is a fulcrum. Tuck your upper arm elbow in against your ribs and keep it there throughout the cast.

Put your mind in your bottom hand and make the rod move with the motions of the bottom hand.

Take a lesson. Practice for a week, then take another lesson.

Repeat.

Video tape yourself from different angles. Compare Make sure your anchor is being placed in front, to the side, and rod length away, 180º from your target.

Slow down.

Take a lesson. Practice for a week, then take another lesson.

Repeat.

Did I mention take a lesson?
 

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Lots of good advice here, especially things like slowing down, paying closer attention to your anchor, etc. After re-reading your original post I realized that you mentioned you had some instruction from “experienced (spey) casters”. In my first reading my brain had switched that to experienced spey casting instructors; big difference there! I don’t know the instructional capabilities of these knowledgeable casters, but I do know that those are two completely different skill sets.

If there are some good professional instructors in your area, that would be time and money very well spent! Without seeing your actual casting, or understanding your strengths and weaknesses, we are all pretty much guessing. A good instructor should be able to quickly spot one or two of the fundamental issues that are causing things to start to derail, and should be able to show you some specific exercises to help reinforce the right muscle memory. They should also be able deliver this information in a manner that is easily digestible for you: whether that is through technical detailed descriptions, visual demonstrations, analogies, or whatever clicks for you. If you don’t get that from an hour or two with an instructor, find a different one. There are plenty of good books and videos, but those don’t give you any feedback about what you are actually doing (or not doing); in other words, they are a great additional resource, but they aren’t at all a substitute for hands on instruction.

Next best option would be to get some decent video of your casting and post it here. I’m sure you would get tons of well intentioned feedback, some it would be very good and helpful no doubt. Good luck man, stick with it.
 

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The 2 most common problem I see with the double spey is the lift, and to fast of movements. Most new casters pull the line for anchor position instead of slow lift to break the line from water tension. As a result the anchor is not consistent or in the right place. Then they are too eager to get the cast going they don't let the line sit before the SLOW sweep. So my 2 cents is SLOW lift and SLOW down. That was Poppy's recommendation when he was giving advice years ago and it helped me a lot.
 

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The 2 most common problem I see with the double spey is the lift, and to fast of movements. Most new casters pull the line for anchor position instead of slow lift to break the line from water tension. As a result the anchor is not consistent or in the right place. Then they are too eager to get the cast going they don't let the line sit before the SLOW sweep. So my 2 cents is SLOW lift and SLOW down. That was Poppy's recommendation when he was giving advice years ago and it helped me a lot.
the lift is critical - I see it in my own casting. It doesn't matter overhead or spey - it ought to be done with smooth acceleration straight line rod path to a stop.
 

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Couldn’t read all the post, I don’t know if the memory muscle factor in a 50 years of single hand fly casting was considered...??

It’s a good sign you still can do 2 hrs practice every day, because if we do wrong with a longer stick for only10 minutes, the level of stress you can put on the muscle and tendons can definitely cause a serious injury to a chronic tendinitis.

If you only film your self once for few minutes, and share here or with a certified casting instructor, the learning curve will shorten drastically.

My biggest issue with this cast was the line control with balance in both hands from the lift to find the 180 rule after the anchor placement before the final forward stroke.

I correct -the hands balance vs line control fault -by only going back to a basic roll cast, yes!
after sharing a short clip with a instructor, he suggested to go back to basics, to almost the first square at times. It hurts deeply but, I gain so much control in just few days.

I keep practicing the basic roll cast until I was able to consistently control the anchor placement, either over my casting side or cack handed by only using the amount of line outside the rod tip I comfortably can control, just a few hrs ago I use it as a warm up drill, by use a more advanced or dynamic basic roll cast looking for anchor placement targets to create the D vs V loops.

Today I apply same baby steps kind of concept, to assure a well establish balanced movement dynamics in all my new Spey casting techniques.

Line control is a first priority, from 18’ to 55’ traditional Spey line control it’s a huge achievement in my game. I noticed the better Im able to control the line closer to the rod tip, the better results I have on my loops shape and size.

Hope it helps

mag
 
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