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Beginner Spey Caster
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

Quick introduction: I am from Australia and have just started practicing spey casting. No-one that I know of in my area knows what a spey rod is, or how to cast one. So I am doing this for myself, on my own.

The question: I can't get my line to move off the water to make a waterborne anchor near me :( Switch cast, cross- body, off the dangle.... It feels as if it's nailed to the sea floor!! And there is no fish on the other end of it!! Yet.
My first motions are exactly the same as per Rio's Modern Spey Casting (switch cast, step 1), but the line is just draaaaaggging slooooowly across the water, like i've got a massive lump of seaweed on the end of it.

I have a 15' 10wt Grey's XF2 "Scandi" Series, equipped with Airflo Delta Spey 10/11 mid-belly floating head with floating tip attached. I have ~25ft straight mono line as a leader and a bit of yarn tied on.
The only way I can get an anchor close to me is do a snake roll first. I am thinking I am not pivoting my body enough or should pull in some of the head in the rod, lighten it up a bit and keep trying?

Sorry about the huge message, if anyone has any advice, or can point me to the right thread, it would be much appreciated!

James.
 

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Dedicated Fisherman
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3,262 Posts
Hi James,

No casting pro here but a guy who learned the hard way and can't see a post go unanswered, specially from a new member :)

I've seen some water that seems to grip the line a little better than others. Here are a couple questions; is the water smooth or choppy; how much belly do you have out when you sweep up the line?

With that 15' rod I'm guessing you may be casting with around 45 - 50 feet of line out the tip top. I use a 15' with a Delta Long 9/10 on it and you almost need 50 foot when setting up the cast.

Not likely that the leader has anything to do with the problem, so............

Current or still / slow water? Getting the line almost strait down on the dangle makes things much easier for me with a similar set of kit. Without actually being able to take hold of your rod and feel what you are dealing with I'm left only to guess at things.

One thing I know is that with a 15' rod I tend to have a need to take it easy when I make the sweep. If I lift to strong & quick the line / anchor will go way farther than I want it placed. This tends to make me go slow with the lift and I do feel significant resistance when doing so.

I would dress that line very well with Mucilin or similar floatant. Then, experiment until I found the proper combination of power and speed perhaps with a touch of snake roll tossed in for the sake of breaking loose the grip between the surface & line, until I hit a sweet spot that works.

Hopefully someone who knows the casting business will spot your post and solve the problem for you.

Ard
 

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Beginner Spey Caster
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks heaps for the reply. I didn't want to elaborate too much in a single post and it will be hard unless you're standing next to me watching or like said, can hold the rod.
I am practicing on pure salt still water with no chop. I also headed down last night to a strong sideways current ocean mouth with no chop either.
I can launch a roll cast with my left arm fine with the full head out (56ft), but right arm (SH arm) probably only 40-50ft of the head out.
When on the dangle I lift to above eye height, there is the same amount of belly as if it were sitting level to the water no matter how aggressive I lift or sweep. If I lift higher and sweep hard, still about 30-40ft is stuck dragging in the water. I can't even get it to fling the nail knot too far past me just to see.
I know I have a pretty fast action rod too, but i'm going to discount the line stick to mostly technique.
I will dress the line as you mentioned and try again over the next few days, with a little less aggressiveness and loosen up a bit.
Do you also have a rough idea of a good leader length for practice?
I literally rolled out about 15-20ft of mono and said "that'll do" and headed out.

Kind regards, James

p.s. I just realised i wash the line with mild detergent (aka a degreaser!) after each outing for the salt...This could be one of those silly little things on my part causing this issue! I'll get back to you when i've washed and re-dressed the line...
 

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Maybe?

"I am practicing on pure salt still water with no chop."

First a warm welcome coming at you from the Darkest Reaches of Southern Oregon.:smokin:

You 'problem' is your using a spey line designed for cold water. Warm water lines (I'm making a safe assumption here given where you're located) are a VERY different Animal in design/construction materials. A cold water line would likely be a total flop in warm salt water.

Google RIO and shoot Simon G a e mail and, with the rod info, he may very well be offer you a 'warm water' single hander line recommendation that will fit with your fishing conditions. Suspect it will be a very heavy weight forward head on a 'tropical water' single hander line.
 

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JD
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Where in Australia?

One of your compatriots, Max Garth, is in Perth (west coast). He is an old hand with this spey stuff & fishing the salt. I think he is a member of spey pages. He also posts now & then on Dan Blanton's page.

The first thing I would recommend you do is shorten your leader to approximately one rod length. Also, you may find it helpful to mark your line such that you can easily tell when you have the entire head plus somewhere between 2" to 12" of running line outside the rod tip. Although you may still experience difficulty in bringing your anchor back to proper position, this will, at least, provide a gage with which to work. Everything will improve with practice. Rather than trying to execute any of the airborne anchor casts, I have found it much easier for beginners to concentrate soley on the double spey. Wind permitting. Think of the DS as a two part cast. 1. Set anchor 2. sweep & cast. First bring the anchor into position. If the anchor is not in proper position, roll cast the line back out & try again. It is pointless, and a waste of time, to attempt a cast with the anchor not positioned properly.

On second thought, casting in the ocean, having to deal with other than downstream currents is a whole other can of worms. You may find a snake poke to be the best solution.
 

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Internet Scientist
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I can launch a roll cast with my left arm fine with the full head out (56ft), but right arm (SH arm) probably only 40-50ft of the head out.
Hey James - this tells me there is nothing "wrong" with your current setup (although it probably could be improved as noted by others) as your throwing the whole head with your weak hand up. I'm in the exact same position right now with my 15' 10wt and a 75' SA Distance Spey line. I can throw the whole head and shoot about 20-25' of running line with my weak hand up on a single spey, but struggle to throw just the whole head with my right (strong) hand up. Obviously, I'm doing something "Tim Tebow-ish" with my right arm (I'm working on a seriously bad habit of dropping the tip on my d-loop setup when transitioning to the power stroke - Gene Ozwald discovered this for me at the Sandy River Spey clave). I'm going to have someone video my casting hopefully in a day or so I can see why my weak hand mechanics are better than my strong hand mechanics. Can you find someone to do the same? I suspect this is more of a "muscle mechanics" issue with technique than line/rod mismatch. Maybe one of the expert long liners can chime in.
 

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I use cold water spey lines in qld temperatures with no ill effect, shouldnt be a problem at all down south in gelong (its colder water down there)
I would say you are not clearing your line off the water enough as you go to set your cast ie line is kn the dangle - you lift the head to position for xyz cast - if you dont clear the line from the surface it will drag, try some different casts, a double spey perhaps - bottom hand stays low near the body, top hand lifts to rotate the rod through 180 degrees to set the cast.
Dont use detergent to clean your line either, just my opinion, could prematurely wear your line.
Youtube is a great resource for visual info, if you can diagnose your own casting faults u will be able to see the sometimes not obvious things others do to make a cast look easy.
Ultimately you are telling the line where to go via the direction of the tip of your rod, no different than single hand casting, if u tell it to stay low and drag through the water it will do just that, direct it to land in a heap and it will do that to etc etc.
 

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Floating tip AND25' leader?

Welcome, James.

Two very respected members have said it is not your rig. I'd offer a contrasting thought.

I'll be interested to hear other's thoughts, but:

On my Delta and Delta longs I've always used just a leader, not a polyleader and a leader. So if by "... with floating tip attached", Poly and leader that would be 35 or 39', depending on length of polyleader. Not only am I unsure if the Delta is really designed for Polyleaders, but if some do use them, I'll bet it is with a much shorter piece of straight mono off the end.

With the risk of suggesting too many things to try:

1) Experiment with just 10 to 15' of mono, no Polyleader.
2) be absolutely sure there is no down element in your sweep. Needs to be straight and, ideally slightly up sloping before moving into your key position, and, of course
3) Slow down.

Would be happy to come down and help. I retire later this year.
 

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The Lift

Are you using a shotgun lift? If not, give it a try along with other's suggestions.
 

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I was thinking lift as well.

Jim, if you have a GoPro or a PS camera that does video could you post a video? That would help immensely.
thx
 

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Beginner Spey Caster
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much everyone so far I just got back with an outbound line loaded on while I cleared any excess detergent/salt off the Delta Spey. There are a few things to address and ill answer all questions very soon! I'm just in the middle of a full day casting my spey rod and keeping my mates happy with a surf rod and bait at night :( Will keep in touch pretty soon.
 

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Beginner Spey Caster
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Discussion Starter #12
Alright, i've got some time in between fishing to go over everyone's helpful posts. So hello to everyone here firstly and thanks for all your help!!

fredaevans- Thanks for the advice, i'm currently in very cold water all year round, near Melbourne, Australia. Sorry for not being too clear on the weather situation:) But as you state, I have seen a similar effect but on a coldwater line in 40deg centigrade heat when I was on holidays- it was virtually unable to shoot.

JDJones- I will take these steps on my next outing, and did notice when I left 2' of running line on the outbound from the tip, it roll cast good enough and loaded well overhead if i smoothed and lengthened out my casting stroke, but I have to translate this finesse with the delta spey line on and spey casting. I will most definitely look up Max Garth soon & adjust my leader length.

middlecalf- I watched my rear overhead cast today with the outbound line and did a few forward spey casts for a bit of fun. I did note that muscle memory permitted me to drop the tip too. For me, this was due to on a SH the accelerate to a stop was very abrupt and small stroke. Also I have been using full sinking line for SH, so i tend to put a slight wrist flick at the end of the cast to launch a tight loop-only for the sinking line though. You probably don't have these issues, but watching my left arm, it remained smooth and never deviated off plane, which translated a smooth powerful launch of line. From SH launching bead-head streamers in the wind I also adopted an oval cast which really gets amplified on my right arm when I pick up my DH. I can't say much else, as you probably have encountered and overcome similar subtleties already. I am going to use both arms for spey to remove my old SH habits.

ozswitch, reelstory, Svend_Tang- I am going to spend a long time with the lift, easing up a bit and not bullying the line out of the water. When I roll cast the outbound today, I lifted with a slower, angled lift and it came off the water much better. I am becoming aware that I lift, pause, sweep, for some funny reason, I will try this in one smooth motion without a pause and see if I can lift the line properly. I have a HD photo camera and tripod so will try to get some videos if I still have issues.

locvetter- Sorry about my bad description!! I am going to sound like a dumb#ss on this one but it's all new to me. I meant the Delta Spey Multi- Tip kit 10/11. I spooled on the spey line, then attached the corresponding floating tip on from the wallet that came with it in the box to complete the line. I think one tip from the wallet has to be on to complete the head length/taper. Then I just looped on about 20ft of mono and yarn as a leader+fly. I will take you advice on casting when I am on the water tomorrow.

I hope I didn't mean to sound negative or anything in the above, I tried to answer most questions pretty quick before I get whisked away to fish again at night
 

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Hello Mater James,
I'm siding with locvetter on this: The only thing that seams out of the usual, or typical set-up is the extraordinarily-long leader. I suspected also at first that you are casting the full floater (not the tips-version,) plus another floating tip, then 20+ feet of mono. You've clarified that is not the case. A shorter leader ~15' should make it easier to lift the line from the surface for the anchor set.
 

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Beginner Spey Caster
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Discussion Starter #14
Cheers, I'll tie one up and give it a go tomorrow, weather permitting
 

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Beginner Spey Caster
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Discussion Starter #15
Hi guys,
Looong reply after a few years & travelling the world with my spey rods!!
So I just updated my account on speypages & I have learnt a few things since then!!
I must have had that extremely long leader (what was I thinking!!) & not had a correct lift aka jumping the line off to lay a nice touch & go with leader only!!
Its a funny feeling re assessing something a few years later!!!
Cheers everyone for the help: its taken me from all over Australia to Canada & now New Zealand.
I exclusively use DH only unless forced to go SH on a stream
 

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Meiser, T&T, and OPST two handers; Scott, Orvis, & Winston SH. Danielsson and Hardy Reels
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Nice to read a follow-up

I had not read the original thread as I only started Spey Casting in 2013. As I read through it today, I noticed a lot of the same problems I had well trying to self learn in central Illinois amid a distinct lack of two-handed casters, or so I thought. The lift ended up being my biggest problem, as it seemed to be yours.

Right now, all my easily accessible water is frozen solid, so my daily routine of practicing is interrupted. The only thing not mentioned was practice. I have found it absolutely necessary. However, it also is part of a problem. Here in Mid-America, a lot of two-hand fishing is in the Great Lake tributaries and is done from a boat. My well intentioned practice done either from the shore or standing in the water didn't serve me well when I tried to cast from the boat.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to review our introduction to Spey fishing.
 

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JD
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For those residing in the colder climes where ice happens, you might consider the Rajeff Sports practice rod. I think Joan Wulff also makes one. They are short one handed (more on that later) rods having a weird line made up of various sections of heavy yarn. They are ideal for practice casting indoors. With a little ingenuity, a chop stick, & a wine bottle cork, these rods can be converted into two hand micro spey practice rods. And carpet provides a nice anchor.

A couple other things comes to mind from my days of playing with long belly lines. The shot gun lift you have heard mentioned, is necessary to get all of that line off the water. one of the problems common with a lot of beginners is they worry too much about getting everything just right. If there is any hesitation during the lift to the sweep, the line goes slack & you are screwed, right then & there, end of story! You will have to roll cast the line back out & start over.

You need to have all the slack out of the system before you start the lift. Let the river help you here. Still water is a *****, you have to roll cast all of the slack out, and drop your rod tip at the end of the cast. Start the lift from the rod tip just off the water. Smooth & steady is the name of the game. It's like Lefty Kreh says, you have to get the fly moving, before you can make the cast. Once you have all the slack out & the fly moving, you can accelerate the sweep into the cast.

Moving water is always changing. You get to where you have it figured out & can get everything working right, step downriver a couple of times and it changes. Either it won't let go of your fly, or worse yet the fly breaks loose & comes zipping up too close. There is no fast & easy cure for that. It just takes a lot of time on the water.

I learned Max is no longer with us. R.I.P. Max
 

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Snow Spey

Snow is excellent for Spey casting practice unless it is too cold to practice. We need only 80ft of about 50lbs mono which is tied to something which is 80ft in front and which does not protrude from the snow where mono can tangle. Small weight pushed inside the snow is good but a stick above snow is bad. 100ft mono for longer rods 14ft and up and mono can be stronger about 65lbs. Mono eventually breaks but should last couple sessions. I have tied it back together and continued casting but for next session I have took a new mono.

When you stand where the line ends the D-loop comes right size. If you don't have any experience of Spey casting there is a possibility that you do too powerful back cast sweep which then in water blows the anchor. Just like water casting watch the anchor and adjust the sweep power. There is way too much back cast power when the D-loop forms so fast that mono and line tip bounce up.

This video should explain all better

https://youtube.com/watch?v=dn_d_Pu7QGo
 
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