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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So ... I ran into a nice guy who showed my how he used a long belly line to single spey for landlocked stripers, which was a new one on me. He was showing me how it was great for getting the fly quickly to the place where they were pounding the baitfish on the lake at that moment. Then I saw some folks practicing long belly spey casts on the casting pond this weekend and the Golden Gate Casting Club in San Francisco. Now I have itchy...well I don't know what spey casters have ... itchy palms I guess - not to mention potential itchy wallet syndrome.

I can more or less do a decent single spey on my 12'9" 7wt spey rod with an Airflo Scandi compact line. If I want to graduate to trying out longer lines how should I go about it. I would assume I should try the next longest spey line (shortest in the "traditional" spey catigory). Is that a good idea? Ok to keep using the same rod for now? Or do people have a different idea about the best way to go about learning.

Edit: Sry, just realized this should be in the "techniques" forum. Guess it started out about itchy palms and turned into a howto technique request. Apologies.
 

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RIO and Cortland make integrated Spey lines with approx. 42ft heads,,, a place to start with your 12'9" rod.

Next step up is a longer rod with longer heads.

Regards,
FK
 

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If you've got the T&G casts down with the Scandi head you're well on your way. Just migrate to longer and longer heads now...and longer rods as they're the most appropriate tools for the job.

Just remember to slow down and elongate/exaggerate your stroke. If you're a purely underhand caster then you'll likely want to incorporate more top hand. personally I aim for 60/40 (top/bottom) for longer lines (65'-85' heads).

Enjoy the experience! I pretty much use long lines whenever possible. I've grown to really hate (did I mention hate) stripping!
 

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I would also highly recommend getting a cope of Rios modern spey casting DVD. I took out a 55' head for the first time a couple weeks ago and although it was hideous I had a great time doing it! I then watched that video again and it was much more informative after playing with that line a bit because I had a better clue what was going on. Very different from scandi heads
 

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I'd just go back to the GGACC ponds on a Sat. morning and ask for help. There are always some excellent casters there and long lines are one of the favorites to practice with, so you should get plenty of help. You can also try lines of different head lengths there before going out and buying one.
 

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All Tangled Up
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I can more or less do a decent single spey on my 12'9" 7wt spey rod with an Airflo Scandi compact line. If I want to graduate to trying out longer lines how should I go about it. I would assume I should try the next longest spey line (shortest in the "traditional" spey catigory). Is that a good idea? Ok to keep using the same rod for now? Or do people have a different idea about the best way to go about learning.
Just curious what day you were at GGACC?

Having been through this same itch myself, I have no shortage of opinions on the subject:

You could well start getting the feel of a longer head with your rod, but, if you are really serious, I'd go up to something in the 13'6" -14' range fairly quickly. You will get more leverage, something of the feel of a longer rod, and have a good learning vehicle for 45-55' heads. And they are still versatile fishing tools for about anywhere in CA. If you really want to become proficient, you really must dedicate yourself for at least a fishing season to the new equipment. The 15-footers are more specialized, harder to line, and at their best in the over-60 foot category. Get your technique spot-on with a 55' line before going to the long stuff. For your current rod I would suggest the NextCast FF45s or maybe the Beulah Aero, lines in the 45-foot range +/- a few feet. When you get a longer rod go up to the NextCast FF55, or stay with the Aero.

You can learn a lot hanging out at the Golden Gate ponds. You will find quite a few people like me, intermediates trying to move up, but also, especially over the next couple months, some very serious tournament-level casters. GGACC also has a spey learner program for members. Just be aware, if you talk to a half-dozen casters you're going to get twelve different opinions on any given subject. Not all of those opinions will be useful for you at your current stage. Some of them will send you in the wrong direction. So, it will be really, really helpful to find a good mentor/instructor, someone who can give consistent feedback in a single style. Casting flaws that, at this point, you may find barely noticeable, can be fatal with a 70' head, and it can be frustrating to figure out yourself what is going wrong, even if you have prior experience. Maybe doubly if you have prior experience, with people giving you bad advice from time to time. GGACC is a bit of an exception, there are so many accomplished casters, and it is long-line central, but it's truly amazing how many casters I've had come up to me elsewhere giving unsolicited advice when I was struggling with long heads, only to find they, literally, could not get the line out of the water, or some other silliness. There are several THCIs in the area and quite a few others who do instruction on a semi-formal basis. Drop me a PM if you want some specific names/opinions. For that matter if you're around the Bay Area and want to try some different equipment, we can probably find a time to meet too.

I also agree getting good reference materials and videos is helpful: the Rio video, both of Simon's books, Mortensen's and Buhr's books, MacKenzie's video.

And you absolutely must go to spey-o-rama!!!!
 

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when I first started out, my mentors were Steve Choate and Way Yin and I got to be pretty proficient with the original xlt (close to a 90' head) on the Scott 1287 (a line Way designed around that rod) so you do not need to graduate up to a longer rod at this point. That rod easily handled the mid-spey lines at the time -my favorite being the original Delta Long with heads in the mid 60 foot range

Not to say don't gravitate to a longer rod but as others have said - go back to GG and you will get to try a variety of rods and lines before you invest
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your very helpful replies. Yes, I was thinking just going up to the next size, like about 45 feet. That would be 7-8' longer and I probably could make the adjustments gradually.

I am in fact signed up for the Spey program class you mentioned (this month) at GGACC! Been really looking forward to it. I was a complete Spey casting noob 5 month ago when I got in the queue but I couldn't wait to fish so I started learning on my own. I also did a few of Jeff Puttnam's classes on the American and that got me over the initial hump. In the meantime I have caught the bug, making me seriously consider even giving up the one-hand 5wt. I am guessing from the materials for the GGACC course that Bob Pauli's style it going to be very much after my own heart. It sounds like he is very analytical and methodical about teaching - I think he is an engineer, and I'm a Physicist.

Anyway, the longer stuff is just for fun right now. The process of learning is a big part of the enjoyment for me, as the process of learning your "home water" over the years it part of the enjoyment of fishing, not just the catching of fish. I do take you point about being careful not to practice bad habits though.


Just curious what day you were at GGACC?

Having been through this same itch myself, I have no shortage of opinions on the subject:

You could well start getting the feel of a longer head with your rod, but, if you are really serious, I'd go up to something in the 13'6" -14' range fairly quickly. You will get more leverage, something of the feel of a longer rod, and have a good learning vehicle for 45-55' heads. And they are still versatile fishing tools for about anywhere in CA. If you really want to become proficient, you really must dedicate yourself for at least a fishing season to the new equipment. The 15-footers are more specialized, harder to line, and at their best in the over-60 foot category. Get your technique spot-on with a 55' line before going to the long stuff. For your current rod I would suggest the NextCast FF45s or maybe the Beulah Aero, lines in the 45-foot range +/- a few feet. When you get a longer rod go up to the NextCast FF55, or stay with the Aero.

You can learn a lot hanging out at the Golden Gate ponds. You will find quite a few people like me, intermediates trying to move up, but also, especially over the next couple months, some very serious tournament-level casters. GGACC also has a spey learner program for members. Just be aware, if you talk to a half-dozen casters you're going to get twelve different opinions on any given subject. Not all of those opinions will be useful for you at your current stage. Some of them will send you in the wrong direction. So, it will be really, really helpful to find a good mentor/instructor, someone who can give consistent feedback in a single style. Casting flaws that, at this point, you may find barely noticeable, can be fatal with a 70' head, and it can be frustrating to figure out yourself what is going wrong, even if you have prior experience. Maybe doubly if you have prior experience, with people giving you bad advice from time to time. GGACC is a bit of an exception, there are so many accomplished casters, and it is long-line central, but it's truly amazing how many casters I've had come up to me elsewhere giving unsolicited advice when I was struggling with long heads, only to find they, literally, could not get the line out of the water, or some other silliness. There are several THCIs in the area and quite a few others who do instruction on a semi-formal basis. Drop me a PM if you want some specific names/opinions. For that matter if you're around the Bay Area and want to try some different equipment, we can probably find a time to meet too.

I also agree getting good reference materials and videos is helpful: the Rio video, both of Simon's books, Mortensen's and Buhr's books, MacKenzie's video.

And you absolutely must go to spey-o-rama!!!!
 

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If you're a physicist you'll have no problem understanding the principles behind spey casting. Then there's the fun part of testing and trying to make those theories work! :chuckle::chuckle:

I know some have mentioned going slowly to longer lines however I know some that have jumped from 35' heads right to 60'ish heads with relative ease. That said, they were using 15' rods.

Have fun! Enjoy the journey. I think if I was able to cast 150' consistently in all river conditions I'd probably find spey casting boring. Needless to say my spey journey will be never ending....:)
 

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I am in fact signed up for the Spey program class you mentioned (this month) at GGACC! I am guessing from the materials for the GGACC course that Bob Pauli's style it going to be very much after my own heart. .
Sounds like a Perfect plan. Bob will steer you in the right direction.
Enjoy!
Gary
 

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buy a long line and only cast the long line until you figure it out :)

I tossed a nextcast WA 70 on a 13' 7wt decho II, wasn't easy and pretty but none the less it was a good practice stick to see if I liked it.

The key it sticking with it and not switching your line out when you're struggling, better to stop, analyze what's going wrong and try to correct.
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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The most ballsy solution:

Put a DT line on that rod and work it till you're throwing darts.
It will suck, there will be pain, it will change your life.:smokin:
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by a long line. A long-head spey means that the head is 70 to 80 feet long. A medium-head spey is 50 to 60 feet.

Here's my two cents, which some may disagree with: If I were to cast a long-head spey line I would want a long spey rod, probably 16 to 17 feet.

(If you watch videos of great long-head spey casters - MacKenzie, Armstrong - they're all using long spey rods.)

If I were to cast a medium-head spey line I would want a spey rod of about 14 to 15 feet.

My experience taught me that, if the length of the spey rod and spey head match, casting is much easier.

Randy
 

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Someone who cannot cast a 55' head on 13'6" rod (head 4X rod length) or a 70' head on a 15' rod (head 4.6X rod length) would be much better advised to invest in casting lessons than a different rod. I would guess most if not all of us passed through a phase where those equipment combos were challenging but with proper instruction and practice both should be within reach of an upper-intermediate-level caster. Particularly the 55/13.5 combo really should be perfectly relaxing to cast.

16-17' rods are very powerful tools, most of them are big, heavy, and a little ponderous. Certainly they make managing a longer line easier, but you will pay a price.

Likewise I do a lot of practice with a head in the low-60s range on a 15' rod. It is fun and I worry less about line management and so can concentrate on other aspects of the cast. (I cast on still water a lot, slack management is a big deal). So I really do think there is a lot to be said for backing off on head length both in early learning and later technique refinement. But at the same time let's not set the bar too low, hmm?
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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The designation nomenclature varies somewhat, and after all it's only semantics, but for what it's worth:

4X rod length=mid
5x rod length=long

Maybe I'm being snarky or something, but some young guy told me recently he was "fishing a longbelly off my 15' 8/9 Deer Creek last weekend on the Hoh". As it turns out, it was a Delta.:rolleyes: so, he was really just aspiring to be-

Being the considerate type, I didn't burst his bubble. Besides, I'd be a hypocrite. Most of my longbelly heads are really on the long end of mids for their chosen rods. There's too few true longbellies out there. I'd probably suck with them anyway. Give me a nice-shooting mid head, I'm reasonably happy most of the time.

My real point is this: the key to having bragging rights in that arena is technique. A 12'9" rod with a 60 ft head on it (or for connoisseurs, a DT) will require some pretty damned nice casting to make it go with any style at all. And it will sharpen technique to a fine point too. So what if it's really a long mid? go for it, lie, everybody else is>>>:saevilw:
 

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Often there are different and valid perspective on things.

At my age, when it comes to fly/spey casting I want to spend the least amount of energy as possible, that way I can spend more time on the water.

To do this, I want to make the most efficient casts possible. IMHO, it simply takes less work - and less technical perfection - to cast a true long-belly line with a 17 foot spey rod than with a 15 foot one.

I've watched many videos of great casters casting long-belly lines. It seems to me that they are all using 17 foot spey rods. There must be a reason for this.

My two cents.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would assume since it was obvious I was a noob that I would get a break on the nomenclature, but from the actual post it should be crystal clear that by "long" I was talking about a line longer than the one I was using. I decided to try playing around with a delta spey for my current rod - getting a new rod is not on the table until later. That one should be about 56 feet (and so 4.4X, officially a mid belly), and plenty hard for me on my 12'9" rod. The DT idea sounds like a great one. While it is probably much easier to learn than the DT, I have found practicing spey casting with my trout line also does a lot of good for my precision. :)

Thanks for all the advice folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
BTW, I am only interested in this as another tool for *fishing* in the future. I don't see myself ever needing a rod longer than 14' where I fish. But usually in the past when I made a statement like that I broke it within a year. :)
 

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You won't need anything over 14' for a 70 footer. After long lining for a bit I knew it was something I'd like so I got a 8139 Burkie and a Nextcast WA 70 footer, it's an amazing rod for long lines!
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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...well, this thread was the trigger; I've been meaning to subject myself to some DT lovin' and I spooled the old 9wt up this evening.

120 feet, 1050 grains. Old school, baby.
If you see me on the river you'll know me by the long buckskin colored line and loud, intermittent cursing. :lildevl:
 
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