(Long Belly Perry Poke)
copyright 2005 all rights reserved
(Long Belly Perry Poke)
copyright 2005 all rights reserved
A few months ago I was watching Nobuo Nodera’s new Speycasting video featuring Ian Gordon. There is some great footage of Nobuo casting on the River Spey and raising and hooking some fine Atlantic salmon. But what was most intriguing to me was the incorporation of what Ian called a “false cast” into Nobuo’s long distance casting. In one memorable scene Nobuo is working his way down a pool with a single Spey. Once the cast has been fished out, Nobuo strips in until the line is set up to load the rod for the forward cast. He then makes the first cast at about a 30° directional change but does not shoot any line. Then as soon as the line lands Nobuo picks it up again to make his fishing cast, with a final directional change from the initial pick up of over 60°. In the background you can hear Ian Gordon say “false cast” which I’d never really heard applied to a Spey cast before and it got me thinking.
For the past several years since learning about the Perry Poke from Skagit casting I’ve been doing a similar thing with long belly lines on the Thompson. When fishing the single Spey with a long line and wanting to change greater than 40° I’ll usually pick the line up and then lay it down again in a kind of long belly version of the Perry Poke to set myself up to make a “perfect” switch cast as my final delivery cast. This is an especially useful dodge on the Thompson’s Graveyard Pool where a strong upstream wind often makes accurate placement of your anchor during a single Spey near impossible.
Unlike Nobuo’s false cast that is essentially a completed forward cast that is then picked up again and switched into a long distance delivery cast, the Long Belly Perry Poke (LBP2) takes the line and sends it out in the intended direction of the forward cast, but like Ed Ward’s Perry Poke with a Skagit setup, mine does not extend the line, but rather folds it so that the last ¼ of the length of the head remains stuck to the water to form the initial anchor. Once the rest of the aerialized line has landed I then pick it all up to form the D loop of a switch cast, then fire the final cast out there, shooting line to add distance. This past fall on the Thompson kush and I noticed a few other fellows were doing something similar, but usually using a Snap-T or Circle Cast to do the initial line repositioning rather than aerializing the line in the upstream sweep of the classic Perry Poke. Still, the results were identical, with the line positioned for the final powerful switch cast.
The LBP2 takes practice, but anyone adept at the single Spey can get in with a few practice sessions. The version that uses the Snap-T/Circle Cast is even easier, and a skilled caster can master it in a few minutes.
Here are the steps for the LBP2 on river left for the right handed caster:
1. The line is on the dangle straight below you. Face your intended target with your feet positioned comfortably as you would for a single Spey.
2. Pivot your torso about your hips so that you are now facing downstream.
3. Strip in the running line until you have the head ready at your casting position for optimum rod loading and all the slack is out of the system.
4. Lift the rod in a smooth easy lift until your top thumb is about level with the top of your hat. Keep an eye on your rod tip: as you lift the rod tip should bend progressively as more line leaves the water, and stay bent throughout the entire casting cycle until the line is once again committed to the water.
5. Once the line has come off the water so that only the leader and perhaps a few feet of line remain “stuck” on the surface, without hesitating, sweep the rod upstream with enough power to cause remaining line and leader to leave the water and begin to travel upstream. Move your top hand with enough power to keep the rod bent and maintain the sensation that you are in contact with and therefore in control of the line. Continue your upstream sweep until your top hand arrives slightly upstream of your right shoulder.
6. Continue the movement of your top hand up and into your normal firing position for a forward cast, at the same time pivoting your body so that you are now facing the direction of your intended target.
7. As the fly passes you, bring the rod tip forward and down, executing a weak forward cast. This cast will have just enough power to propel much of the head of the fly line out towards the intended target, leaving the leader and several feet of line folded back on itself and pointing 180° opposite the intended target.
8. Once the line has landed on the water, move into your normal motions for a switch cast, lifting the line off the water, forming your D Loop and executing your forward cast, shooting your running line into the forward cast for your final delivery.
With this method it is relatively easy for a skilled caster to make comfortable directional changes with a single Spey even in nasty winds that would normally make control of the single Spey difficult. I guess you could practice really hard and make flawless, perfectly controlled single Speys instead…but why?
Of course, there is one drawback to the particular cast: like the original Perry Poke, the LBP2 tends to tear up a lot of water in front of the caster. If you are convinced that the fish you are after are out at the end of your long cast and swing, that’s not really a problem, but it will quite likely disturb any fish holding in closer to you. But salmon and steelhead are never really in that close anyways, right?
Here is some video of the cast:
The Snap-T/Circle Cast version looks like this:
Long Belly Snap
Notice that throughout the casting cycle the caster (me) is very relaxed and there is very little effort involved in making the cast. This is because I am maintaining line tension throughout the casting cycle and not allowing any slack into the system.
As always, I am not laying any claim to the creation of this cast—it is simply a Perry Poke modified slightly to work with long belly lines.
And it works great!